「氷熱地獄 (インフェルノ)」 (Inferuno)
“Hell of Ice and Flames”
Geeze Yuutousei, where was all this during the first arc? The fun; the struggle; the competition: was it all meant to pop up during the Nine Schools Competition? Eh probably, but damn is it annoying knowing how a bit of imaginative writing (or adaptation license) would’ve gone a long way to letting this cast shine. Even if Shizuku bless her cute soul
you better show her off more or I’ll cut you wasn’t allowed to nearly enough this time around.
While Yuutousei doesn’t win any points for how it’s featured Mahouka’s version of garden variety school tournament (the derivation and developments are elementary), at least it’s arguably done justice to what Rettousei initially adapted. A lot of the events transpiring in the background then have now had their proper time of day, whether that be Shizuku and Honoka last week or now Eimi in all her glorious snaggle toothed glory pulling a side burster. These are the sorts of moments you expect from this type of story, moments not particularly amazing or standout compared to the central plot, but moments essential for adding colour and personality to the basic template. Mahouka after all is centered on its magic system and how the Shibas fit into it, but its everyday people like the girls seen here who ground it most. Let them strut their stuff and the fun quickly follows.
Of course the one who hasn’t really strutted her stuff long-term yet is Miyuki, though that looks to be rectified very soon. It’s quite funny in hindsight, Yuutousei is supposedly all about Miyuki’s side of the coin, and yet for a good while it’s been all about detective trio and overactive student president. Hell I’m even on record back at the start about my worry over what Miyuki-isms would pop up in a series wholly dedicated to her. Whether intentional or not, Yuutousei has done a much better job of fleshing out the better portions of Mahouka (at least for me) and minimizing its more egregious aspects than I thought possible. It’s not to say the problems aren’t still there (as every episode finds a way to remind, if less so of late *cries in lack of new full-length images*), but they’ve arguably found a suitable balance with Mahouka’s more vanilla aspects that has kept me interesting in seeing where this show goes in the end.
I don’t expect much in the way of perfection in Yuutousei’s last few episodes, but I’m certainly eager to find out how it’ll show off the last bits of this tournament arc.