Nine Schools Competition Part IV「九校戦編 IV」
After 2 episodes of setting up the Nine Schools Competition arc, we finally get to the games. Yet the more interesting part was Tatsuya (he is the MC after all) and his friends in high places in the military. That’s a good mix of things though it did also mean neither stood out particularly. The games did allow for plenty of fan service though.
The Games Begin
The games are separated into Rookie events for first timers and Official matches, comprising 5 days each hence a total of 10 days of games among the participating nine high schools. First high has already won 2 years in a row and are looking to continue their streak – they even have an analysis team, though 3rd high just might give them a run this year. The games comprise events such as Mirage Bat (Miyuki’s rookie event), Battle Board aka water surfing, Speed Shooting aka clay shooting in our non-magical world, Pillars Break (also Miyuki’s), Monolith Code and Crowd Ball. Saegusa and Watanabe lead the contingent and the scoreboard in their respective games, pleasing the fans in the crowds who have come to see the Elfin sniper (complete with upskirt shots among others) and Watanabe play up her strategic skills in a bodysuit. Tatsuya’s impressed, not with the outfits of course!
Special Officer Ooguro Ryuuya
For all my self-inflicted hype over the games, things got way too technical and having Watanabe, Saegusa and Kanon-senpais in a league of their own, didn’t really serve up any interesting pacing or storytelling. But I’m not disappointed this episode because we find out (yet again, more about the stoic Tatsuya but he IS the MC) that Yotsuba Tatsuya aka Shiba Tatsuya aka Mr. Silver Taurus is now also Special Officer Ooguro Ryuuya. 2 episodes ago we knew he had military connections and it’s all but confirmed this episode when Major Kazama (Ookawa Tohru), Major Yamanaka (Tanzawa Teruyuki) and Captain Sanada (Shingaki Tarusuke) defer to his opinions on the No Head Dragon HK-based international crime syndicate, in his capacity as a friend. These experienced military men sit at the same table as 16 year old Tatsuya, currently First High weed student and Nine School Competition engineer. Also, we’ve known Tatsuya’s badass and awesome but did you know he’s a strategic-class magician who has flash cast skills, material burst and mist dispersion abilities of which the last is a Rank A destructive spell? It’s top secret military grade magic and so confidential Tatsuya can’t use it in front of just anyone, much less his schoolmates; Miyuki knows about Gram Dispersion from last episode and obviously can’t tell anyone it’s her onii-sama’s doing.
The other thing we increasingly get confirmation about stoic, emotionless Tatsuya is just how thick and clueless the guy can be. It’s exasperating! He doesn’t get just why Honoka’s so upset Tatsuya’s not watching any of her games. In another instance, he flatly “rejects” Saegusa’s advances (yet again!). She is the middle of three siblings and wonders if her relationship with Tatsuya is what it’ll be like to have a younger brother – unlike others, he doesn’t get tense up or flustered or distracted by her. Sorry to tell you Saegusa senpai, Tatsuya’s just that not interested because you know, he doesn’t have a younger brother himself so he plainly admits he doesn’t know what that feels like too.
In fact, apart from Miyuki and his own magic discovery engineering interests, Tatsuya’s basically apathetic to everyone and everything else. Though that may be slowly changing as he goes through life as an ordinary high school student. So much so that when Mikihiko felt depressed that he couldn’t handle the 3 members of the No Head Dragon syndicate with just his current magic powers, Tatsuya actually gave advice and chided him for discrediting himself so. If you need help, get help. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Major Kazama notes how rare it is for usually indifferent Tatsuya to actually care about others – does Tatsuya not feel it himself? But it’s precisely because Tatsuya’s graduated from such levels of inner struggles that he can openly tell others what they ought to do. One thing’s for sure though. Miyuki’s more important than anything else in the world, even if Miyuki chooses to misinterpret his statement and get its nuance fatally off the mark. Fatally. What a throwback to the sibling relationship we had back in episode 1.
Getting back to the main narrative, we are introduced to another first school competition member – Izumin, who may have a thing or two to do with the boys’ lackluster performance at the games? The rookies need to shine in the next episode to make sure it’s a third streak for first high but can they do it? Will the new “toy” Tatsuya gave/lent Leo prove worthy against the No Head Dragon? Let’s hope the pacing picks up in the fifth part of this arc!