Nine Schools Competition Part VII「九校戦編 VII」
Wow, we’re off to a good start in the second half of Mahouka. For viewers who’ve stuck through so far, I think we’re finally rewarded this episode over and above the new OP and ED! That new OP sequence suggests much by way of pacing too for the second cour of Mahouka ^_^ We’re nearing the end of the nine schools competition arc which can only mean pacing-wise, which is the main problem of Mahouka, we’re finally reaping some returns on all the earlier build-up. It could’ve been done better but I’m not complaining because it seems to me that the puzzles are finally coming together to maybe, just maybe, lead up to Tatsuya’s big reveal as the one true kickass awesome main character this show is slowly but surely working towards.
OP 2 “grilletto” by GARNiDELiA
A lot happened this episode so chronologically: Ichijou Masaki aka Crimson Prince and Kichijouji Shinkurou aka Cardinal George finally meet the Shiba siblings proper after we were first introduced to the Third High students 3 or 4 episodes ago (see what Mahouka does…), Kitayama reveals she’s no pushover either and is actually one of the more talented first years apart from Miyuki, Nakajou Azusa FINALLY puts the clues together to conclude Tatsuya is THE silver taurus and Tatsuya’s been selected to replace the course 1 bloom boys in the Monolith Code rookie event!
1 Crimson Prince + 1 Cardinal George = 1 Shiba Tatsuya
If you think about it, the powerful duo from Third High are essentially Shiba Tatsuya split into 2 persons, minus Miyuki’s affections of course so you can give up Crimson Prince lol. Ichijou earned his title as Crimson Prince because 3 years ago when the new soviet union invaded Sado, the then barely 13-year-old volunteered as a soldier on the defense frontline, massacring the invaders with his lethal Rank A “Rupture” magic. Tatsuya’s not the only person with live combat experience now. As for Cardinal George, at 13, the genius discovered one of the Cardinal Codes which was widely thought to be just theoretical, hence anyone studying the fundamentals of magic sequencing would’ve heard his name. They’re both understandably infamous though they’ve not likewise heard of a Shiba Tatsuya before, despite George proffering Tatsuya to most likely go down in the history of the competition as the most prodigious engineer. We’ll see how the boys do against Tatsuya + Leo + Mikihiko when they face off in Monolith Code next episode so stay tuned because it’ll surely be an interesting battle.
Tatsuya’s CAD vs CAD; Kitayama vs Miyuki
We’ve so far seen Tatsuya’s magic touch on First High’s CAD pitted against the other schools’ but for once we get to see 2 of his calibrated devices go up against one another as Kitayama fights Miyuki for first place in the ice pillar event. A couple of episodes ago we saw Miyuki replace Watanabe senpai as a first year student in an ordinary event. That’s a huge leap of faith the team placed on her, as is expected for a top student in the entrance exams. But no one mentioned Kitayama being in the ordinary event! And she’s a fellow first year! Anyway, because First High was tied for first place in event, the tournament committee was keen to not continue the event and place all 3 finalists as overall winners for First High. As nice as it was of them to do so, Kitayama wanted to take the opportunity to prove herself in a real battle against Miyuki, even though she had no confidence of winning. She’s good, being able to manipulate 2 CAD devices simultaneously and to use “Phonon Maser”, a high level spell that surprised senpais Watanabe and Saegusa. But Miyuki’s better, using equally difficult and high levelled wide-range “Niflheim” spell to create liquid nitrogen. It’s depressing Kitayama but at least you tried!
At least someone noticed Tatsuya = Silver Taurus
And it took only what, 13 episodes for us to get here? Silver Taurus’ number 1 fan and fellow competition team engineer Nakajou finally joined the dots. He could utilise cutting-edge research results to connect Kitayama’s generalised CAD model to a sub-system of a specialised model to create what is essentially new magic and he could programme Advanced Magic using activation sequences only ever made known to Rank A magicians. No regular high school student can do that! But why is Nakajou fret with worry at her revelation? Perhaps there’s some meaning to Tatsuya’s maleficent aunt wanting to keep Taurus a secret after all.
When this arc first started, I was really keen on Tatsuya being the underdog who would eventually represent the weeds and make history by partaking in the actual event games over and above having made history by being part of the team in the first place. As the arc progressed though, that plot became increasingly just wishful thinking on my part as though the production team wanted to steer clear of such tropes. Then this week, we get not 1 but 3 weeds replacing Morisaki and co. to go up against the Crimson Prince and Cardinal George in the rookie monolith code game. Talk about a triple turn of events! Understandably, Tatsuya initially refused Saegusa’s nomination/request. We’ve seen how he has to keep a low profile and with Nakajou figuring out who he is, it’ll only be a matter of time before the cat’s completely out of the bag. The HK crime syndicate made their move again, this time sabotaging Morisaki et. al. with a deliberate over-attack on the event building, critically injuring the team in what is a clear violation of the rules. Putting Tatsuya against the HK crime syndicate would put him in a precarious situation of revealing his military association since the military’s onto the No Head Dragons. Putting Tatsuya against fellow Rank A magician Crimson Prince would again, reveal him having live combat experience too. So even though Tatsuya may have genuinely wanted to reject the notion out of concern over the possible psychological damage it may put to the reserve students that a weed has replaced them blooms, Juumonji comes out not just sticking his neck out to justify the committee’s nomination of Tatsuya, but to actually reprimand him so, telling him to not use his status as a course 2 student as a way out of taking responsibility as part of the team. Tatsuya can actually look shocked!!! And he should because rightly so, he’s part of the 21-member contingent and chosen out of over 200 first year students so engineer or not, he’ll contribute when the seniors tell him to because they’ve not come to their decision out of whim or pity. It’s purely strategic, even if it means breaking more precedence by allowing Tatsuya to rope in non members but close friends and classmates Leo and Mikihiko, to form a team. Can’t wait to see them in action!
ED 2 “Mirror” by Yasuda Rei