Fans of Shiba Tatsuya’s exploits in the series Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (The Irregular at Magic High School) will know a little bit about the next installment in the franchise – Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei (The Honor Student At Magic High School), which follows the same events as the first season of the original series. However, it’s not a mere retelling of events, but rather a perspective shift from following Tatsuya, to following his sister, Miyuki. So, what exactly are the differences between The Irregular and The Honor Student, y’know, other than the obvious perspective shift? Let’s get right into it! For ease of reference, we’ll be referring to either show by their defining nouns - Rettousei for The Irregular, and Yuutousei for The Honor Student.
The Tatsuya is in the Details!
Class is in Session
A major difference between Rettousei and Yuutousei is the change in protagonist, and that leads to some very obvious differences. Like, since we’re following Miyuki this time around, we see Miyuki’s brand of icy badassery in the first few scenes of the show. Miyuki, as the representative of the first years at First High, is depicted much in the way that you’d expect any openly overpowered or super competent main character to be. When she gives her opening speech on behalf of her fellow first years at the school opening ceremony, the focus is on her fellow Blooms, Honoka and Shizuku, both of whom are moved by Miyuki’s grace up on stage.
In class, Honoka and Shizuku both take note of how talented Miyuki is in wielding magic, and their interest is piqued. Honoka herself seems smitten with Miyuki, who is calm, cool and collected and happens to be really nice too! In Rettousei, a similar situation happened with Tatsuya, where his mysterious demeanour and overwhelming competence made him a hit with his own classmates in the first year crop of weeds.
If we compare the two shows scene by scene, it’s fairly obvious where they overlap. If we look at the cafeteria scene of episode 2, we can see glaring differences when compared to the same scene, which was at some point in the first episode of Rettousei. In that first episode, Miyuki goes to meet Tatsuya and his Weed friends at the cafeteria, before Morisaki and a group of Blooms show up to take their seats away from them. Just some school hierarchy things, nothing too major. Anyway, in Rettousei, Miyuki goes alone to meet with the Weed group but she finds the Morisaki crew already accosting them, meets up with the Weed group, sits down and hangs out with them for a while before the Morisaki group comes to accost them. However, in Yuutousei, Miyuki heads over there with the friends she made in class, Miyuki and Shizuku. When they arrive to meet the Weeds, they already find Morisaki’s group harassing them for their seats.
In Rettousei, Honoka is seen in the Morisaki group when Morisaki tells Miyuki that she shouldn’t be hanging out with Weeds. The conflict escalates and is taken outside, where Mizuki, Miyuki’s Weed friend, attempts to speak to the shared status both groups share as first years. A fight breaks out, which Honoka attempts to break apart using light magic, but in Yuutousei, we get a first-hand perspective on her motivations for that spell in the first place, as well as a different sequence of events. Honoka was thinking about how Miyuki being separated from her brother is making her suffer. She exclaims, “I’ll stop you all!”, and Morisaki misunderstands her intent to be malicious against the Weed students; however, in Rettousei, Honoka doesn’t get the spotlight at any point before attempting to activate the spell. The rest happens as we remember – Tatsuya analysing the magic before it’s dispelled by the Student Council, as well as him defending Honoka using his knowledge of the spell she was trying to cast.
It’s in the Blank Spaces
The biggest difference in this series are all the scenes where Tatsuya has exited the metaphorical stage to go do something else. In Rettousei, the scene would change, obviously because that’s his story; however, in Yuutousei, it’s as if we get to leave the room and still see what happens and how Miyuki chooses to resolve certain issues like the cafeteria seating thing mentioned before. Since Tatsuya wasn’t really hanging out with Miyuki’s friends or any other, there’s also a whole lot more perspective from Honoka and Shizuku than there was before. In this situation, Tatsuya feels almost like more of a supporting character, perhaps even a step below what Miyuki was like in the first series.
When Tatsuya begins work under the Disciplinary Committee, we catch his exploits in Yuutousei almost all from behind since Honoka, Shizuku, and the horse girl, Akechi Eimi, noticed that Tatsuya was being targeted. Since they’re trying to cultivate a kind of friendship with Miyuki, the three start stalking, er, monitoring Tatsuya with the aim of finding out who is trying to take him out. In Rettousei, we didn’t know about this until later, when Tatsuya asks Miyuki if she’s made some weirdo friends because he noticed them tailing him earlier in the day. In Yuutousei, we get to watch Honoka, Shizuku, and Eimi attempt to help an over-competent Tatsuya and see his abilities first-hand.
While we saw Tatsuya’s induction into the Disciplinary Committee and subsequent crackdowns, particularly the one at the Kendo Club in Rettousei, Yuutousei glosses over that entire incident and refers to it in hindsight. In fact, when Honoka, Shizuku and Eimi begin stalking Tatsuya upon discovering his role in the DC, it is at some point after that first case at the Kendo Club. Unrelated but still important, we wonder if there’s more detail in the dialogue sequences in Yuutousei than in Rettousei because Miyuki is more concerned with what other people are saying than Tatsuya tends to be…
Allow Us to Reintroduce Ourselves
What is obviously the most important part of the season is the fact that it’s from completely different perspectives. Miyuki as a protagonist Provides much more context around things that Tatsuya could not have access to, Such as the student council and the various amenities that are available to Course 1 students (Blooms). She’s a great protagonist because she’s triple C (calm, cool and collected), she’s powerful to the point of being overpowered, just like her big brother, and she garners a lot of attention because she’s super competent. She’s the Honor Student!
Not only is Miyuki a good protagonist, but the complements brought on by the centering of former side characters like Honoka and Shizuku actually gives us a lot more context for their increased importance in season 2 of Rettousei. We also get increased insight into various important events, like the Morisaki incident of the first day of school. On a much more general note, the perspective change between the two shows also involves a shift from the perspective of the Weeds to that of the Blooms. Honoka’s disdain for the discrimination at school is more emphasized, like we see her actually talk about it in detail!
While it’s a bit weird, this iteration is what’s developing the Mahouka Koukou no series as a franchise of sorts. Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei (The Honor Student At Magic High School) is not necessarily a cut and page of what happened in the first series, but rather an exploration of the same lore in a different way. This is evident in how much material we haven’t seen is in this, and how the stuff we have already seen is displayed differently.
We’re getting different pacing and a different understanding of some of the same characters much earlier on, showing their significance to the overall series in ways that the original didn’t. We’ll be getting into that soon, but for now, let us know in the comments what you think about the retelling of events that is Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei!