Nine Schools Competition Part II「九校戦編 II」
Aargh, part of me wants Mahouka to just get on with the nine school competitions already and show me some magic sequence action! Why end with a sneak peek of the Crimson Prince 2 episodes ago and NOT MOVE ON?!?! Yet, the calm and composed side of me knows that the developments in this episode are surely important for things to come of course. I see what you’re doing here director Ono Manabu. Mahouka’s a complicated light novel premise to work with so without this much exposition, it’s probably not possible to successfully tell a proper story. But, it’s dragging out a bit isn’t it? A lot of new characters are introduced – all girls and just 1 guy, and even more revelations into Tatsuya are revealed that more or less explains his personality, his reasons for being and why Miyuki’s soooo emphatically infatuated with her nii-sama. I so would too!
Tatsuya, I just want to protect you!
The first half of this episode gave clear indications that Tatsuya’s an awesome person. And that’s not just with regards to his skills as an engineer, being the head of the R&D department at FLT and having figured out one of the 3 great puzzles of weight-based magic – flying. As speculated, Tatsuya IS Mr. Silver although he’s humble enough to admit that if it weren’t for afro-haired Chief Ushiyama’s technical prowess on loop casing systems, there would be no Taurus Silver. As things turn out, flying is a very very massively big deal. So big a deal that Tatsuya’s almost single-handedly about to change the history of modern magic with his sustained gravity control type magic spell activation sequence. FLT’s share price is sure to increase (and somehow, I expect Tatsuya’s contribution to the magic community will go buried) so the Shiba sibling’s father, Shiba Tatsurou (Koyasu Takehito) ought to be happy. He is the VP of FLT after all.
Which brings me to the other reason why Tatsuya’s an awesome person. We are introduced to the Yotsuba family butler Aoki (Satou Haruo) who is also the 4th highest ranking person in Yotsuba (how?). He refuses to greet Tatsuya because he’s merely Miyuki’s bodyguard and so does not deserve his respect or acknowledgement unlike Miyuki, whom he says is a front-runner almost surely to be selected as the next head of the Yotsuba family. What ensues is Miyuki going all ice-queen mad at Aoki, fortunately thwarted by Tatsuya, the only person I suspect who can keep Miyuki in check, and then a glib series of clever dialogue between Tatsuya and Aoki regarding the butler’s insults and his unaccounted for insinuations. Tatsuya is cooler than Miyuki’s ice magic here which leads me to suspect it’s not the first time he’s had to defend himself in this clever, roundabout manner. What sort of upbringing led to this? Was Tatsuya outcast from the Yotsuba family from a young age? Even when he’s so technically incredible? We know his engineering skills make up for what he lacks magically but did a young Tatsuya start doing that in order to be more accepted by his own family? Why would his father imagine Tatsuya hates his own mother, the twin elder sister of Yotsuba Maya, the current head of the Yotsuba family (what a sinister pair of sisters they are)? Just what exactly happened in his upbringing for Tatsuya to conclude that he doesn’t hate his mother only because he doesn’t have a heart capable of hatred? To say that when you’re only 16, how traumatic a past must you have Tatsuya?! No wonder Miyuki always looks out for you, feels emotionally on your behalf whenever discrimination presents itself, speaks up on your behalf and genuinely looks up to you! No wonder you want to have an ordinary high school life for once, even if it means being belittled at school since with his background, nothing else can affect him emotionally any more than his family itself already has. Tatsuya’s slowly opening up and making friends (along with cold jokes) but through the 26 episodes, will we see his emotional scars heal? If so, I hope it’s tastefully done!
Game on girls
With the nine school games coming up, we meet more of the participants – mostly girls – Akemi Eimi (Nishi Asuka), Kitayama Shizuku (Tatsumi Yuiko), Mitsui Honoka (Amamiya Sora), Satomi Subaru (Saitou Yuka), Chiyoda Kanon (Oonishi Saori) and her fiance, the one guy and other engineer Isori Kei (Saito Soma). Needless to say, the introduction of so many girls is to play up to Tatsuya’s automatic harem gathering and instill comedy like when Miyuki insists the girls are JUST FRIENDS with her nii-sama. JUST. FRIENDS. Will everyone be vying for Tatsuya’s affections? Does Student Counsel Chairwoman Saegusa have a lead – no, either Tatsuya’s THAT much a thick, blockhead or he’s just not interested though I’m quite sure it’s the latter.
They are high schoolers after all
With the terrorist incident taken care of in the students’ own hands (instead of the relevant adult authorities), it’s easy to forget that we’re watching a bunch of high schoolers. That’s on top of dealing with pretty heavy themes of discrimination and political families etc. too. So it’s nice to see in the second half of this episode that the focus turns to the students as they hang out, help one another in the school compounds and just banter like students should. It’s nice to these parts mixed in with the magic such as when Shibata intrudes on Yoshida’s ancient spirit magic practice, resulting in him staring straight into her Crystal Eyes (no, that’s not meant to be a bad pick-up line). Then there was Suzune making fun of Hanzou (where are you looking Hanzou!) for his all too obvious infatuation with Saegusa, who’s got her eyes set on Tatsuya. Ah, youth~
I still have my hopes up we’ll finally get down to some competition games business soon though the episode ending with the car explosion and students wanting to activate their magic to save themselves (why was Mari shouting for everyone to stop their activation though?) makes my hopes postponed for at least another episode… That said, I’m looking forward to see how Tatsuya swoops in to save Miyuki in the nick of time!