Tatsuya Shiba is a protagonist of The Irregular at Magic High School and is known to only love his sister. The Arc of Reminiscence reveals why.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Irregular at Magic High School, “Reminiscence Arc,” now airing on Funimation and Crunchyroll.
Tatsuya Shiba and his sister Miyuki are the protagonists of The Irregular at Magic High School. Despite being his older brother and a powerful magician in his own right, Tatsuya is treated as nothing more than a servant by his family, with the exception of Miyuki. Although he possesses impeccable combat skills and strong control over magic, he is still placed in Course 2 when he officially enrolls in the first high school affiliated with the National University of Magic.
While Tatsuya is appreciated and respected by his sister and classmates, much about him remains a total mystery. For example, he’s never bothered by the way others treat him and seems to overwhelmingly accept his position in life. Ironically, despite his apparent lack of emotion, he is very protective of his sister and maintains a very intimate relationship with her, much to the chagrin of everyone around him. While the previous two seasons of Irregular has not revealed much of its past, the “Arc of Reminiscence” fills many gaps.
Three years before the events of Season 1’s “Enrollment Arc”, a very young Tatsuya accompanied Miyuki and their mother on a trip to Okinawa. While the latter two flew first class, Tatsuya was seated with the economy class passengers on the plane. He was also responsible for collecting their luggage and escorting them to their vacation home as a bellboy. At the time, Miya was the head of the Yotsuba clan instead of her sister (and current leader) Maya. Although he was treated like a servant by his mother and sister at the time, even then Tatsuya did not reveal any feelings of anger or degradation.
All along The Irregular at Magic High School“Arc of Reminiscence”, Tatsuya continues to show his potential as a powerful magician. He even impresses Miyuki with his prowess as a hand-to-hand combatant when they encounter Left-Bloods – descendants of American soldiers after World War III – during his walks. Despite her highly protective demeanor, Miyuki is bewildered that her own nature is nothing more than her responsibility. It leaves her a little hurt and even a little jealous of his cousins when he genuinely smiles at them at a dinner party. Not being able to reconcile her behavior with her emotions, Miyuki at one point questions Tatsuya about this inconsistency. He tells her to ask their mother about it.
As Tatsuya repels an attack on Okinawa by the Great Asian Union, Miyuki asks her mother Miya why her brother is behaving the way he is. Miya agrees to tell him about his origins, on condition that she stops treating him like a brother. It turns out that Tatsuya was born a flawed magician, completely unfit to lead the Yotsuba clan. While normal magicians have the ability to manipulate and transform matter, Tatsuya is only capable of disassembling and reassembling objects. This posed a problem for the Yotsuba clan, but they still found some use in his strange power.
Deciding that he might come in handy as a bodyguard, Miya and Maya both performed a magical operation on Tatsuya to increase his existing powers. This surgery is similar to that of other modified magicians whose genetic information has also been altered. Although the procedure was successful, it also cost Tatsuya his ability to experience emotions such as anger, grief and jealousy. He isn’t even able to feel love for his own family members except Miyuki. Miya explains that if he is to feel affection for someone, it should be the person he will be tasked with protecting.
Learning about the operation his mother and aunt performed on Tatsuya turns out to be too painful for Miyuki to hear, but it helps put an end to her conflicted feelings towards him. The Irregular at Magic High SchoolThe “Arc of Reminiscence” not only explains why Tatsuya behaves the way he does in the present tense, but it also explains Miyuki’s own attachment to him, as uncomfortable as it is to the people around him.
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