The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 8 of
The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc ?
“In which entirely too much information is thrown at us.”
After watching, re-watching, and re-re-watching this episode, one thing has become strikingly clear: this is the most confusing episode of the season so far. Unlike usual, this is not due to technobabble (though there is some of it in this episode), but rather the fact that there are so many moving parts that it's hard enough to track what's going on—much less who's doing what.
• The USNA forces are basically in mid-scandal now that their ops have been exposed.
• Ayako Kuroba offers Colonel Balance a way out if she stops all USNA magician-related ops in Japan—and she'll even get a favor from the Yotsuba family in the future if she does.
• The parasites are trying to get the parasite in Pixie back from Tatsuya and the others.
• Tatsuya, Miyuki, and Honoka are using Pixie as bait to draw the other parasites out into the open.
• The Saegusa family's section three is trailing those four, planning to abduct them for an undisclosed reason if they use magic.
• Retsu Kudou and Kyouko Fujibayashi are also spying on the four for unknown reasons.
• Erika and her swordsman clan are converging on the graveyard where the parasites are hiding.
• Mikihiko and Leo are doing the same (this is happening off-screen).
• Last but not least, we can assume Lina is doing something even though she doesn't appear in this episode (nor is she even mentioned).
This is an insane amount of things going on. Worse still, more than a few of these characters are completely new to the story or haven't been featured prominently since last season. And that's not to mention the new information we get from this episode's several exposition scenes. Tatsuya finally gets an answer as to why people's blood is missing after a parasite attack, as well as a clear explanation of the parasites' goals: they're trying to reproduce. Yet, every time they try, they fail—killing the potential host.
We also get a discussion between Tatsuya and the parasites where the latter proposes they will no longer attack magicians in return for Pixie, with the implication that magicians and parasites should band together to fight the normal humans who oppress them. Interestingly, Tatsuya rejects this—but not for moral or altruistic reasons. Rather, he wants revenge on those who harmed his friends. This is the first time we have seen him admit his actions are being driven by emotion rather than cold logic (well, actions not directly related to Miyuki, anyway). It's some solid growth for the character and a good step in making him both relatable and sympathetic.
However, the most interesting scene in the episode is actually the episode's cold opening. Miyuki, having voiced her true feelings for her brother a few episodes back, has begun to act on them. It's clear to her what her path in life is supposed to be: She's to become a powerful magic user, succeed as head of the Yotsuba clan, marry for political/bloodline reasons, and pop out the next heir to the family.
However, this future disgusts her. She feels her existence belongs to Tatsuya, likely due to the guilt she feels about how much he does for her and how his emotions for her have been used by their family as a means to control him. The only thing she truly wants is to be with her brother—in all the ways that sentence implies.
Yet, she is aware that his love and attachment to her is based on their sibling relationship—that if he saw her as something more than his sister, he might no longer care about her as he does now. Thus, she sets out to deceive him; by appearing to be less than she is, she will stoke his protective instincts towards her while making herself seem to be a poor choice to succeed the Yotsuba clan at the same time. If all goes well, she'll be able to stay by his side forever. Of course, objectively, it is a plan that is doomed to failure, especially with Tatsuya's intelligence and newfound emotional growth. But it's not hard to sympathize with a love that can never be.
• How did Tatsuya know the parasites were located at the graveyard?
• I didn't expect the parasites to be such fans of QUEEN.
• If I understand correctly, the parasites are now using necromantically-revived bodies as hosts—meaning they can switch bodies quickly if a body is destroyed. However, I don't really understand how this works given Pixie's explanation that parasites have no will of their own and only amplify their hosts' greatest desire. Do dead bodies have desires? Even Pixie needed Honoka's desire before she could move her robot body.
• Why are the parasites okay with controlling dead bodies but not Pixie controlling a robot body?
• I always laugh at the logistics of scenes like Erika's. She's alone in a giant room meditating and waiting on the call while more than a dozen soldiers silently kneel in wait outside in the cold. Sure, it looks badass, but those guys are going to have some major cramps to work out before they're ready to fight.
• I think what happens at the end of the episode is that Honoka's strong feelings allow Pixie to use Honoka's light magic (i.e., the magic we saw Honoka use on the section three soldiers earlier in the episode). I have no idea of the implications of this, however.
The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc is currently streaming on Funimation.
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