「来訪者編ⅩⅢ」 (Raihou-sha-hen ⅩⅢ)
“Visitor Arc XIII”

You now, for a predictable finale, Mahouka’s season conclusion wasn’t that bad. While there’s plenty to be said (a lot of it the usual remarks) about Tatsuya doing Magic Jesus things, I’m not going to complain too much: the art was fun, the animation nice, and Miyuki likely deserves more of the credit for letting Tatsuya be himself. Also lack of appreciable Miyuki-isms, that never hurts either.

In the end, however, this arc did as I expected it would by largely serving as the bridge to Mahouka’s later material thanks to both introducing the NSF and their abilities alongside confirming Minami as Miyuki’s bodyguard. The reason and purpose of both are naturally ambiguous right now (especially the latter), but rest assured, we’ll be getting both explained in anime form before too long. Well, likely after that Miyuki side-story of course, because obviously we know who’s the best girl in this series (*inches closer to Erika*). Anyway, impressions time!

Final Impressions

When looking back at Mahouka’s latest affair, there’s honestly little more to be added than has already been said on this very site. This is a series which probably represents the best and worst of light novel adaptations – and makes no qualms about featuring both aspects in noticeable quantity. It ain’t perfect, it’s fully deserving of all criticism, yet it’s also a decent romp when approached with the right sort of mentality as this season highlights.

The thing I like most about this season is without a doubt the narrative control. Outside of Tatsuya (a whole topic in of himself I won’t touch on here), Mahouka’s biggest issue is arguably its infodumps: they are long, they are dense, and usually featur more technobabble than a normal anime-only viewer is able to handle. While this season had a few, particularly a critical, plot-relevant one, they were remarkably constrained compared to before, helping to let Mahouka’s action-focused aspects shine. I wouldn’t go as far to say Mahouka fully embraced the “show not tell” approach for this sequel, but it often let its world mechanics speak for themselves and let the viewer fill in the blanks while the visuals did their thing. This for me let me enjoy the show more by actually being able to watch an episode from start to finish and never feel the need to rewind, rewatch, and read a wiki just to get the gist of a particular plot point. If Mahouka’s future seasons can keep this up going forward, I dare say it’s on the road to anime redemption.

Of course, not all is roses here, and the major issues as expected revolve around characters. Secondary cast and giving them an opportunity to strut their stuff without main character intervention remains a perennial problem (albeit a very subjective one), however, the larger problem is definitely Miyuki and the focus on her more possessive aspects. Compared to the first season, Miyuki’s brotherly love ramped up severely this time, reaching beyond the usual lines of acceptance to at times go all-in on Tatsuya obsession. While Miyuki and her desires are admittedly a part of why many like Mahouka (not to mention an aspect which only increases in importance as Mahouka’s plot kicks into high gear), they are conversely one of this series’ main anchors and part of what definitely could be handled better for the anime. Might just be my memory playing tricks, but if Mahouka handled Miyuki similar to say OreImo (at least in terms of blatancy), I think the problems would be less pronounced.

In the end though, Mahouka, outside of a few structural changes, offered no major surprises and kept on doing what it does best (or worst). Fans of the series will find plenty to love, critics won’t be changing their minds anytime soon, and we can all look forward to seeing what’s next in store for the veritable Magic Jesus and friends. I may not be in the camp of Mahouka adherents, but I’m certainly down to seeing just where this story and its characters decide to head next.

12 Comments

  1. This was a decent watch, and having just recently watched the movie, it is of my opinion that the movie served as a better coda to this arc. It just flows more smoothly, but this 2 episode diversion is quite good enough as a bridge to the next arc, should it come. This series continues to be a flawed series and those who were unimpressed with the first season will most likely come away from this second season still unimpressed. I found myself looking for a decent magic based action, so this served its purpose quite well. Perhaps one of the major criticism of this season is that it is not friendly to first time watchers, or even those who watched the first season and was never into it. I fall into the second category, and I could barely relate to the characters this time around as if it requires one to be a BIG fan first before one can fully appreciate it. Still, should the next arc come, I would still watch it.

    WavePlus
    1. Oh yes fully agreed, Mahouka is not anime-only viewer friendly. It’s one of the legitimate criticisms of this series and something which I think heavily affected the first season. Part of it stems from the sheer amount of world building provided, but it also comes from the adaptation not making any serious attempt to adapt the light novels to anime format – it’s more or less just light novel advertisement. As a result it’s a show only fans will find a lot of joy in given the anime stands a good chance at turning off people expecting something different.

  2. Well, despite not watching the series, I still have this burning question for this season of Mahouka:

    What’s Miyuki’s total “onii-sama” count for this season?

    (Previous season [excluding the movie] for reference, 167 times she says “onii-sama” in total.)

    P.S.: Best of luck for those making a drinking game out of it. o7

    Incognito
      1. Not even for sh**s and giggles? I was under the impression there’s (still) fun to be had making fun of Mahouka‘s incestuous subtext (among other stuff about the series to make fun of).

        Oh well… How long has that meme been dead?

        Incognito
        1. I mean if you really want to know, you can just watch it and count for yourself. Aside from that, there’s not much else I can think of to make fun of the series, even setting aside the incestuous innuendoes. Most of it’s faults are from the awful mismanagement of the Anime Adaptation itself (Mainly due to awful Directing).

          It’s been dead since the Movie I guess? Nobody ever mentions that meme anymore, not even the Reddit pages. Never checked the Discord though, maybe one of them actually counted.

          RadioActive
    1. I did a search for ‘onii-sama’ (or ‘お兄様’ specifically) in the subs and came up with 172 hits in the first season. So that suggests that it was spoken five times by someone else. Miyuki should investigate in case someone else is calling her Tatsuya that.

      Regarding this season… in the first five episodes, it’s said 27 times (but most of those come in the fourth episode).

      Mockman
      1. Damn. Thanks for going above and beyond for the sake of an old meme.

        27 mentions of”onii-sama” (All from Miyuki?), just from the first five episodes? *chuckles* Won’t be surprised if the “onii-sama” count is less than the previous season, but I’ll LMAO if I learn it exceeds the previous season.

        Incognito
        1. No idea. I simply did a count of all instances of ‘お兄様’ in the texts, so it was only a few seconds of work. If I ever see the whole season I’ll update this number. And for what it’s worth, I don’t believe in memes 🙂 It’s obviously a feature of the story and I was mildly curious. Since the effort required was so low….

          I think you’re right about that. This season feels a little different from the first — the characters are all more mature. Miyuki is growing up, and her feelings for Onii-sama are evolving from idealisation into hunger. I think that the writing is a little better as well (of course, the bar was pretty low to begin with). Overall I enjoyed it and will watch whenever more comes out.

          Mockman

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