Monday, March 21, 2016

The Honor Student At Magic High School Volume 2

Miyuki is now inducted into the Student Council while Tatsuya is recruited into The Student Discipline wing of the Student Council and the mad rush of club recruitment begins while hints of a darker conspiracy involving an anti-magic faction and Miyuki's own confused feelings for he brother also churn inwardly. With this volume, a mixture of the expository world-building and technical data explanations wich are hallmarks of the series. At times, this can seem tedious although it does help set the reality of the world and avoids making it a lazy hand-wave or using the suspension of disbelief as a narrative crutch or assume a familiarity with the series a new reader may not have. Yet haveing pages dedicated to explanations of how the school's computer operating system works. Or the technical aspects of magic are admittedly dry. While the strongest part of the volume is Miyuki's internal monolog about her feelings for her brother and questioning those feelings and whether they are merely sisterly affection or something more. While the obvious jealousy she harbors for Mayumi being too forward with Tatsuya could be sisterly affection or the reaction of a lover. Mayumi for her part seems to merely enjoy doing it for impish amusement while Tatsuya is not interested in Mayumi's games or her. His closest emotional connection (in fact his only) being his sister. This could be the set up of some kind of love triangle but it's too early to tell and Tatsuya seems more uninterested than too dense to notice like certain character types found in Light Novels. While a good portion of the volume is dedicated to Honoka and Shizuku getting caught up in the chaos of club recruitment day. With them being scouted by The Skateboard and Snowboard Biathlete Club after almost getting abducted by two Senpai from the club for no discernible reason for a story that while it has interesting action points feels like padding yet is enjoyable if only for giving Mari something to do and Shizuku getting fired up over something is amusing given her often listless personality . While also focusing on Emmy (full name Eimi Amelia Goldie Akechi) the quarter British member of The Hunting Club who like Honoka and Shizuku realize that Tatsuya is "something special". Emmy is essentially the "American Stereotype" of the volume being forward and opinionated whereas Honoka is reserved. None of it is particularly deep yet it is good to see secondary characters get a chance to be the stars as well. The story does have different tonal shifts but none of them feel abrupt and the hints at a possible conspiracy and a Svengali in the shadows make it layered with possible social criticism wich is hinted at by the mere existence of someone like Tatsuya. This is probably going to be the strongest element in the series. While the mixture of hard technical Sci-Fi and fan service continues it doesn't feel that leering and it does show that despite a few quickly drawn comedic expressions the characters and action never feel rushed while the lack of background detail simply makes it all feel sparse and baren. While inconsistent in places due to asides, that slows the story down an inconsistent second volume still shows growth with Yu Mori as a new Mangaka while the prose is at it's best when investigating the internal lives of the character's or placing hints at bigger ideas. It may take another volume for the series to find it's "sea legs" but it has already found the elements that work for the story.

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