Image source: 【公式】バトルガール ハイスクール on Twitter

Behind the overt cuteness of the many characters of Battle Girl High School, there have been a few lingering mysteries. The most overt mystery has been with Misaki. Her resemblance to the main character Miki has not gone unnoticed by fans, and now a huge part of her origin has now been revealed, and it puts everything we know in a different light.

[This article contains spoilers up to episode 11 of Battle Girl High School.]

Misaki is a mysterious character to say the least. From the start, she appears to be associated already with the team of earth defenders—despite none of the girls knowing who she is. Whatever the teachers might know, especially the principal, is not shared with us or the team of junior high school and high school girls around which the series revolves. This team, when combined with the magical power of a holy tree, defends the Earth with brightly colored exoskeleton armor and technologically advanced weapons. The origin of the team and the invaders they fight, the Irous, are still unknown.

Image source: 【公式】バトルガール ハイスクール on Twitter

So while Misaki has been present from the very beginning of the series, exploration around her character has been limited—and intentionally so. While the Hoshimori have been introduced to us as a long-since constituted team of Earth defenders, Misaki just shows up. While there is some initial surprise at someone just randomly being added to the team, there’s not much resistance.

The character type of Misaki seems to be one often seen in ensemble heroine cast anime—i.e., the mysterious loner who has a great deal of combat ability but either lacks social ability or refuses to utilize it. Sometimes such a character is carrying a secret, but more often than not, what they carry is a trauma. Thus, viewers have been left wondering for some time what Misaki’s issue is.

Image source: 【公式】バトルガール ハイスクール on Twitter

It also has been noted amongst many fan comments (I never read them before an episode is out, but I sometimes read them afterwards) that the resemblance between Misaki and Miki is really overwhelming. It has been predicted for a while that Misaki would turn out to be a relative of Miki, probably a sister. I suspected this as well, although I felt it was perhaps too obvious and there had to be much more to it.

I always thought perhaps, especially considering Miki’s younger sister Miku, that Misaki was not an older sister at all, but a younger one. Specifically, a future version of Miku. But even with those thoughts, I definitely wasn’t prepared for the actual reveal.

We weren’t wrong, folks. We just weren’t entirely right.

Image source: 【公式】バトルガール ハイスクール on Twitter

In previous episodes we have heard rumors and even perhaps seen peripheral depictions of supposed “Human-Irous.” What exactly Irous are isn’t entirely known, and I’ve wavered in my commitment to viewing them as primarily mechanical or primarily organic. Rumors of the “Human-Irous” seemed a bit Cylon-like (if you’re a fan of Battlestar Galactica, you’ll know what I mean). I wondered just when we might get around to seeing the truth behind these “skin jobs.”

What I was absolutely not prepared for what just who these “skin jobs” are or who Misaki is. It’s not quite right to say simply that Misaki is Miki’s sister, because she’s not—she’s the sister of a parallel universe Miki. We have pretty clear evidence that Misaki is the younger sister of the parallel universe Miki. Miki of that universe clearly appears older, which means the timelines are not synced. Either, the universe began earlier, time moves more quickly, or key events in world or universal history occurred earlier. Is Misaki actually parallel universe Miku? That’s what I initially thought, but it seems that, no. Misaki is Misaki and Miku is Miku. While Miki is the same, there are all sorts of factors going into how a child will develop. Misaki isn’t a parallel Miku, she’s her own person. This is quite the interesting development, as it places Misaki sort of between Miki and Miku, and doesn’t displace Miku. While losing her own actual family is no doubt going to be difficult, at least a version of her family (mother, father, and sister) exists. And she gains a younger sister as well.

The other “Human-irous” are absolutely in fact parallel universe versions of other Hoshimori girls, however, they may not necessarily be the same people either. There is a major point of divergence that would explain why some people are not the same. While “our” Earth was successfully invaded by the Irous and humanity escaped to live and fight another day, in the parallel universe, this invasion was unsuccessful. However, in the future (relative to the timeline in our universe) the Irous came back and completely wiped out or coopted humanity, and worse, coopted the power of that universe’s holy tree. This has set up a “mirror universe” situation with the Holy Tree and Hoshimori fighting a set of evil twins (although not an exact set).

Image source: 【公式】バトルガール ハイスクール on Twitter

Truth seems to be, the parallel universe Hoshimori aren’t alien invaders. They might be invaders, but they aren’t aliens. The Irous themselves? Maybe aliens. We don’t know. But the immediate threats are of human origin. Given how blatantly the show has previously riffed on the trope of alien invader bug-things, it begs the question, how much else have we been misled about? Honestly, probably an awful lot. And with some distinct purpose. Those tropes were to lead us into a false sense of formula. We “knew” “this” or “that,” and so when we are shown to be wrong, it comes out of nowhere.

Perhaps the seeming blandness of the teachers, especially the perhaps a bit too young school principal, now seems less like lack of character dynamism and instead more likely intentional obfuscation. Now seems like an excellent time for us all to go back and rewatch previous episodes. What did we miss, what will we (re)discover, and how will it help us understand the origin of the Hoshinomori or the world-building at large. The series initial premise and setting have not prepared us for these turns of events… Or has it, and we’ve ignored it?

Battle Girl High School can be watched on HIDIVE.

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