Double Seven Arc
Story: Tsutomu Sato
Art: Kana Ishida
Translation: Jill Morita
What they say
April 2096 has arrived. Despite the commotion they were involved in, Tatsuya and Miyuki safely passed all their classes and are now returning as juniors for another semester. In light of Tatsuya’s accomplishments, a magic engineering curriculum has been established, granting him a new lease on proper student life. With his new classes and his position as acting student council vice president, Tatsuya is certain that this year for sure, he’ll be able to enjoy a peaceful time at school with his sister… until three freshmen from the elite Numbered families start raising hell in their First High Debut!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Irregular at Magic High School Volume 12 starts with an expositiony prologue detailing the start of magicians in history. It all started ninety-seven years before Tatsuya was born. The first magicians were successfully manufactured, and thus a race began among the many countries to see who could create the stronger magicians faster. In many ways, it mirrors the Cold War between Russia and the US, which makes me wonder if perhaps Tsutomu-sensei was changing historical facts to match the narrative of his story.
While these facts seem fairly useless, they do set the pace to explain a lot of new information we’re given during this volume about magicians—particularly the so-called Numbered families.
Our real story starts off revealing a new character. Her name is Minami Sakurai. She’s part of the Sakurai series of manufactured magicians. If you’ve been keeping up with these novels, you’ll remember there was another person of the Sakurai series who showed up in volume… 8, I believe it was. She was Miyuki’s bodyguard who sacrificed herself helping Tatsuya during an incident in Okinawa where Chinese forces invaded the island three years before the start of the series. Minami ends up becoming Miyuki’s new bodyguard and now lives with her and Tatsuya, referring to them as Big Sister Miyuki and Big Brother Tatsuya.
The first few chapters kind of meander about as they introduce all kinds of new characters, information, and incidents that happen outside of the main story. The Saegusa Family head is scheming to bring the Yotsuba down a notch, the Yotsuba are aware of what’s happening, and several new students are enrolling in First Magic High—including three troublemakers who will be giving Tatsuya many headaches in the future.
Something interesting about this volume is that with the start of the new year, a new curriculum has been added to First High. Called the Magic Engineering Curriculum, it is something that was brought about as a direct result of Tatsuya’s overwhelming abilities the year before, which forced the administration to acknowledge that leaving Tatsuya as a Course 2 student would be detrimental to their image. Many people will claim this is just a way of showing how “Mary Sue” Tatsuya is—and they would be right. I think the author has created a very Mary Sue character, someone who is so perfect he can be likened to the Jesus of light novels. This doesn’t bother me, but I’m certain it will bother some people. Of course, if you are reading volume 12, then you probably enjoy watching an overpowered and perfect character steamroll over his enemies.
Following the introduction of Minami and the new curriculum, Tatsuya, Miyuki, and Minami travel to Shizuku’s house for a party. We soon learn that some people are suspicious of Tatsuya. Shizuku’s mother—Benio—informs him during the party that she did a background check on him. She claims it is very suspicious that such an outstanding individual has such mundane Personal Data. While nothing has come from this particular event yet, I can imagine it is leading up to the big reveal where people discover Tatsuya and Miyuki are, in fact, members of the Yotsuba Family. All we’re left wondering is when this event will happen and what the outcome will be.
The first day of school turns into a disaster with the introduction of three new freshmen: Takuma Shippou, and Kasumi and Izumi Saegusa. We learn a little more about the friction and political situation between the Numbered families from them. It seems Takuma hates the Saegusa because they stole knowledge from the laboratory that made the Shippou family, and though his father urges him to stay out of trouble, the young Shippou ends up causing a mess the likes of which should have gotten him expelled. As a character, I don’t like Takuma very much. Not only is he hotheaded, but he treats everyone who isn’t a member of the Numbered families like they don’t matter. He looks down on people just because of his lineage and treats them like crap. Then, when he duels the Saegusa twins and loses, he claims it was because Tatsuya was showing favoritism toward Kasumi and Izumi.
There are many more schemes being worked on in the background of this volume. A young actress named Maki Sawamura wants magicians for something and is using the new First High Freshmen, Takuma Shippou—the heir of a Numbered family—to meet her goals. She goads him into feeling enmity toward Tatsuya and Miyuki for unknown reasons. Even after the end of this volume, we do not know why she did this other than because Miyuki and Tatsuya spurned her invitation during the party at Shizuku’s house. On the other hand, Kouchi Saegusa launches a plan to use the Anti-Magician political faction to curtail the Yotsuba Family’s power by having a member of the Diet make a surprise visit at First High.
At over 300 pages, The Irregular at Magic High School Volume 12 is one of the densest light novels I have read. It is chock full of new information, new revelations, new problems, and new situations. As much as I’d like to say I don’t really like this story, I have a lot of fun reading it. Tsutomu-sensei’s world is vast, detailed, and very intricate. I feel like he spent a very long time creating an intriguing backstory so this world would feel as fleshed out as the real world.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13 & UP
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: June 18, 2019