“In which we get our first major retcon.”
Up until now, this series has been largely about adding things to what we saw in The Irregular at Magic High School rather than outright changing them, showing us what certain side characters in the plot were doing when big events were happening, as well as expanding a lot more on Miyuki's internal thoughts and motivations. Moreover, underlining all this has been the show's base expectation that viewers have already seen both seasons of The Irregular at Magic High School anime. Thus, the show is not afraid to address things that would have been major spoilers for things to come if expounded upon in the original series—which brings us to Honor Student's first major deviation from the main series.
In both this episode and the original Irregular at Magic High School, Tatsuya, Miyuki, and their strongest combat companions attack the Blanche base. During the attack, Tatsuya decides to head off to confront the leader while Miyuki stays back to handle the terrorist goons. Of course, it's then that one of the terrorist tries a sneak attack on Tatsuya, which draws Miyuki's ire. Even though she is told to be sure and hold back, she does not.
We get an extended scene of her freezing the terrorist one-by-one as they panic and attack—expounding on the events of the series so far in a chilling monologue while doing so—before casting Niflheim on the entire group. This is overkill and she knows it, but her anger prevailed. Freezing them in this way has all but assured their deaths—even if they were thawed.
Now in the original series, after Tatsuya saves them off screen, Miyuki smiles at the fact that she hasn't become a murderer after all. But this is not the case in The Honor Student at Magic High School—instead, Miyuki is devastated, knowing (like seasoned viewers do) that the only way possible for him to have saved the terrorists from their icy grave is to take on their pain himself. In a very real way, she has put her brother through the suffering and terror of being frozen dozens of times. Is it any wonder then that rather than being happy at not killing anyone, she spends the rest of the night crying for what she has done to the person she loves most in the world?
This is a fantastic change—fixing something from the original series that was out of character for Miyuki given what she should have known and felt at the time. This is the kind of retconning I can get behind and I truly hope the series won't shy away from doing similar things going forward.
• This episode corresponds to episode six and seven of the original Irregular at Magic High School.
• The other fun little retcon in this episode is that it is now the detective girl trio that tipped off the disciplinary committee to Tsukasa's part in the terrorist attack—which gives a nice little ending to their story over the last few episodes.
• While previous episodes have done a good job at avoiding retreading too much, this episode didn't do quite as well. We didn't really need to see the scenes of Mibu in the hospital or her trying to steal the data (as she's basically a non-character in this version of the story). A line or two of exposition would have been enough.
• One thing about this series I've liked is the division between Miyuki's friends and Tatsuya's. Sure, they all hang out together at times, but this is more because the siblings are together than them all being friends independently. It's surprisingly realistic.
• ...I mean, if we're going to be introduced to a set of new characters, showing how badass they are only to immediately follow it up with a scene of them taking a shower together is one way to make them memorable in just a few seconds of screen time.
The Honor Student at Magic High School is currently streaming on Funimation.