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The Nine Schools Competition has began!

Episodes 6-8 lets us revisit this arc in a whole new way and see it from different perspectives and viewpoints. But while the original focuses on a thriller vibe, these three episodes show us what is happening in the competition itself.

As always, the spotlights are on Miyuki and her friends, but we have three new characters who are each interesting in their own ways: Airi, Shiori, and Toko from Third High. Obviously, they are like First High’s counterpart, and we can see that they are indeed skilled and capable, particularly Airi.

However, this is where Tatsuya comes in. As we’ve seen in the main series, he has a hands-on approach to the Women Team as their engineer, but this is the first time we witness how his technical skills actually helped the group win their matches. He even trains Honoka, which further develops their relationship.

Thus, it is no surprise that First High breezes through most of the competition with ease even though, relatively speaking, Third High’s students are a little bit better. This is evident when Shiori, unrivaled in her calculation speed that lets her shoot all targets in the Speed Shooting contest, is defeated by Shizuku, who is competent herself but nowhere near her level, all because of Tatsuya’s input and advises. It speaks much about his skills as an engineer, a fact that even Masaki and George acknowledges with concern.

With Shiori’s defeat comes some backstory for her and Airi. And while it may seem like your typical tragic character background, it is still sad in its own way, though it lets us understand more of her driving force and her friendship with Airi.

Meanwhile, Toko is slowly becoming an interesting character. She has that upbeat and hyper personality, a stark contrast to Shiori’s seriousness and Airi’s haughtiness, and her interactions with Honoka is just fun to watch.

But of course, this is still Miyuki’s show. And while her presence for the last three episodes have been reduced a little, her scenes still has impact. We get to see more of her thoughts on her brother’s increasing popularity and achievements, see her distress when Tatsuya refuses to take credit for the spells he created. And as always, her display of power is something to see.

Of course, this makes her Airi’s target, and it is interesting to see Third High’s Lightning Éclair acknowledging Miyuki’s prowess without realizing that she is a Yotsuba. Their rivalry is a breathe of fresh air, considering that the only other rival Miyuki has is Lina, who is powerful herself but on a different level than Airi.

On a fun note, there are several hilarious scenes sprinkled throughout these three episodes. There is the mandatory hot spring scene, but Masaki’s lovestruck expression every time he sees Miyuki definitely takes the cake. Who would think that such a calm and ruthless magician could act like that?

Overall, episodes 6-8 give us a deeper insight into a side of the Nine School’s Competition arc that the main series haven’t really explored. It’s nice to see more of Third High as well,  showing a different school with its own diverse roster of magicians.

Episodes scores: 7.5/10, 8/10, 8/10.

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