Mahouka is finally back with its second season under a brand new studio! And while the episode may seem fast-paced to some watchers(including me), it is a very good pilot episode with only a few minor scenes removed.
For the first time, we are properly introduced to Angelina, first seen in the non-canon film that takes place after this season. And I must say her character portrayal is on point. She’s fun, dangerous, and a real rival to Miyuki in both beauty and magical prowess. Youko Hikasa, famous for voicing Rias Gremory in High School DxD, is a good choice for voicing Lina, though how far she can take the character remains to be seen at this point.
The episode itself is fast-paced, but I didn’t feel it was that fast compared to the first episode of Danmachi’s Season 3. Some of the scenes were compressed, but they still portrayed the necessary information and emotion for the viewers to understand the story. Of course, there were scenes that were also altered, but these ones were very minor.
For example, Miyuki’s comment about Lina being pretty is more simple in this episode. In the novel, she actually said “What a beautiful girl”, which for me sounds better. The conversation with Maya Yotsuba Is also a partially anime-original scene. In the novel, it was part of volume 8, Recollection Arc, which detailed the full backstory of Tatsuya and Miyuki, and it was a meeting between Maya and Tatsuya. But in this episode, Miyuki is included.
The incest scenes have obviously been removed, and I will have to agree with that. One particular moment that was not included was after Miyuki and Lina tested their magic against each other. In this deleted scene, Tatsuya was once again scanning an almost naked Miyuki for any change in her magic, a scene we first saw back in season 1. There is an obvious sexual tension between the two in this scene, more so than the first one, so I understand why they had to remove it. But one thing I wished they could have kept in some form was the result of Miyuki’s scan, which showed that her CAD is no longer compatible with her increasing power.
One slightly important scene they removed was a set up to the antagonist of this arc. It was only briefly hinted at the end of this episode, but in the novel, it was a scene involving Erika’s brother is investigating a series of murders in which the victims’ blood was drained. We’ve seen this right before the credits roll, but without the scene I mentioned, it is left vague to the audiences.
Animation-wise, 8bit did a fine job with the aesthetics and character designs. The art style may not be the same as Madhouse, but I’d say it still fits the tone and atmosphere of the series, especially the fight scene. The opening song, Howling by Asca, is quite reminiscent of Lisa’s Rising Hope, and I definitely like the way it is used here.
Overall, Mahouka’s second season is off to a good start. Definitely an 8.5/10.