Art: Yu Mori
Original Story: Tsutomu Sato
Character Design: Kana Ishida
Translation: Andrew Prowse
What They Say:
The Mirage Bat finals are drawing near, and Miyuki and Airi are the two front-runners! Airi’s confident in her jumping ability, but she’ll need a lot more than that to take down First High’s star player, who has already stunned the crowd with her incredible flight magic!
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the premiere Mirage Bat contest of the main competition about to start, the crowd in the stands is excited, especially First High and their hopeful player Keiko in the starting match, even if Mari is worried her short fuse might interfere with making the right choices. However as she successfully makes the initial play, all concerns seem to for naught until she attempts to land from the dizzying height, only to find out her C.A.D. malfunctioning and thankfully a referee helps her safely return to the ground. But as Tatsuya worries that could have been his sister in that accident, an observant Mizuki confirms his suspicions that the apparatus malfunctioned just as the athlete was attempting to input a new command, giving him a clue as to what went wrong. When he takes Miyuki’s own device to the competition committee for a pre-match check, this conjecture is confirmed allowing his anger to explode once he sees a virus being injected into his beloved sibling’s machine. After making a scene in his attempt to interrogate this saboteur, it is only the appearance of Lord Kudou that stays his deadly hand and allows the fiery engineer to return to prepare for the match.
After Miyuki’s first match begins, it is soon apparent their classmate cannot make any headway against Third High’s skilled competitor, with the contest being kept close thanks to strategic blocks and impressive jumps. As the first period ends, it is then when Shiba asks her brother if she can use the new device he has been working on to pull ahead of the other schools. Giving his approval, the audience is shocked to witness the second half begin with this beautifully angelic girl do what should be impossible … using flight magic. Taurus Silver had only announced the new sequence last month and all would think incorporating it would have been too soon, but with this new technology Miyuki is easily able to win the contest and embarrass all others. With her senpai now ashamed having losing to a rookie, Airi is more determined to best her perceived rival without utilizing the new spell, utilizing only her own amazing leaping ability and living up to the nickname of Éclair Airi – or Lightning Airi.
Ever since the Nine School Competition story arc began, there has been one event that we have been waiting for which puts our main character in the spotlight, and that would be the Mirage Bat matches. Of course if you have seen the anime, one knows how stunning this high school girl looks in her costume while performing those amazing maneuvers. And yet mangaka Mori-sensei has somehow managed to surpass that beauty with sensational black and white images which are alluring in their elegance and mesmerizing in the grace which is communicated across a two dimensional page. However the real problem for this volume are story elements cut from writer Sato-sensei’s narrative in order to make more room for Miyuki and Airi’s tale, making the assumption readers are familiar with the original and allowing for ignorance of the device screening; but at the same time, if this is your first time with the property, this event is what truly ignites Tatsuya’s hatred when he hunts down the gangsters behind the accidents within the competition. Without this information, the next book which begins with this purge has less impact than if we were allowed to relive the emotional trauma which stirs his one remaining emotion – the love for his sister.
The Honor Student at Magic High School continues to amaze us with the stirring relationship between Miyuki and Tatsuya, even as we approach the conclusion of the Nine School Competition. And while the beautiful artistry of this volume is absolutely memorable, what truly grabs our attention is the stunning full color cover showing off the alluringly costumes of Miyuki and Airi, drawing us into the beautiful spectacle which is Mirage Bat. One cannot but compare it to ice dancing, but with the contestants floating through the air like snowflakes, allowing us to admire the determination of these women and the grace of the athletes.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 26, 2019