Midweek Music: Mahouka OST: “Miyuki”

At the end of its first cour, I just couldn’t go on with Mahouka. It’s not that it was a terrible show, just a bad fit. But it did have some elements to it I liked quite a bit: one of them was Shiba Miyuki, who while often subservient to her dear brother, was always portrayed as a total badass with impeccable manners and frightening magical power, who could hold her own against practically anyone, her brother included. Hayami Saori was a great choice to voice her.

Another element I liked a lot was Iwasaki Taku’s soundtrack, which nails the “futuristic/magical high school” aesthetic. My favorite piece is “Miyuki”, which I believe we first hear when Miyuki visits Tatsuya in his room to show him her Mirage Bat uniform, then suddenly notices he’s floating above his seat, and proceeds to test out his new flying magic. It’s certainly not the most important scene from a plot perspective, but I consider it one of the best of that first cour, and the music that accompanies it is a huge reason why.

“Miyuki” is an ideal theme for Miyuki, as the overlapping female vocals represent her innate beauty, grace, elegance, and gentility, while the sick electronic beats symbolize her strong will and formidable magical power. In hindsight, it was probably Iwasaki’s soundtrack that kept me watching the show as long as I did. Like the OP and ED of DRAMAtical Murder, I simply enjoyed listening to the music.

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Hanayamata – 09

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While Naru has a serious case of “Oh no, not again!” with regards to her little slip-up, it is quickly acknowledged by everyone else that this is, indeed, not the end of the world, and Naru needn’t commit seppuku about it. If anything, the crowd was probably moved by the camaraderie and love inherent in the other three helping her back to her feet and finishing out their routine.

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The fact that Naru passed out moments after they finished and the general fatigue from lack of sleep due to excitement meant the group wasn’t going to put on a flawless show anyway; Naru just happened to be the first to stumble. However they fared (and they didn’t fare that badly), it was valuable experience to build upon for Hanairo.

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Everything is peachy…until the members find out their club isn’t official yet, since Sally-chan-sensei is just a substitute. This news is first relayed by Sari’s sister, Machi…and that’s no coincidence: Machi doesn’t want messing up Tami and the others like she messed her up. The balance of the episode is about how Machi’s idolization of her big sis evaporated after Sari left home to pursue her own interests.

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It was, as Machi oft repeats, “selfish and irresponsible”, but let’s be honest here: Machi herself is just as guilty of those adjectives. She thinks Sachi will betray and abandon them just they put the most faith in her, but isn’t Machi also afraid that the opposite could happen? That her sister could find happiness advising the Yosakoi Club, and “rub it in her face?”

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Machi has been staring at the flame of resentment she’s kept burning so long, she can’t see past her younger wounded self. In hindsight, she sees that she overreacted to her sister leaving. She knows how much pressure their doctor parents put on them, and Sari didn’t want to be a doctor, she wanted to be a teacher. She also learns that Sari wants to repair their rift, which is why she’s at the school at all. You could say if it wasn’t for Machi, there’d be no Yosakoi Club.

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Now that Machi’s older and wiser, she’s aware of the fact Sari did what she did out of her own personal drive, which everyone has to follow, even if it doesn’t hew to the expectations of those we hold most dear. But Machi wouldn’t have put out that flame if it wasn’t for Tami’s diplomacy. And in exchange for her help, Machi doesn’t refuse an invitation to the Yosakoi Club. We were wondering how she was going to join!

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