Nine Schools Competition Part IX「九校戦編 IX」
We’re getting closer to the end of the Nine Schools Competition arc and just as with the first arc, though it’s been dragged out so long over so many episodes, it was really well worth the wait to finally see team Tatsuya battle it out to win very, very gloriously. I daresay this episode alone notched Mahouka a point higher in everyone’s minds.
The rookie event of Monolith Code was probably the highlight of the entire games seeing as how it pit the infamous duo Crimson Prince and Cardinal George, against a team of course 2 weeds. That set up in itself would’ve attracted everyone’s attention. But the game of Monolith Code itself is a great one compared to other games, being the type that really showcases the magic used in the Mahouka universe. By incorporating strategy, it truly exemplifies what Chairman Kudou said way back – it’s how you use the magic that matters, not the amount of strength or power (i.e. course 1 blooms) one has. It’s not up to individual strength too as it’s the only team event so there’s a lot more camaraderie involved. With the entire school watching this finals event played out in full, plain view, it’s no wonder even Chairman Kudou himself graced the competition to watch the one student who’s got him intrigued…
Tatsuya vs Masaki
As is typical Tatsuya, he strategised by preparing black cloaks with pre-drawn spell circles and even surprising Cardinal George, re-calibrated the CADs in just 2 hours. He recognises that if this were an all out battle without any limitations between him and the Crimson Prince, he would probably lose because Tatsuya’s strength is in indirect attacks whereas Masaki’s is in direct attacks, which is what the finals stage is set up for. In hand-to-hand combat, Tatsuya may have the upper hand being Kokonoe’s disciple but we don’t know what Masaki is capable of. Whatever the speculations, the battle of Tatsuya vs Masaki was one all us viewers were raring up to see, as much as those in the know in the military were. We’ve got not 1 but 2 combat-experienced ace magicians capable of A-rank magic fighting it out fair and square (or at least so initially intended) in full display! In a battle of nerves and bravado, both boys were bold and upfront in ever so calmly and confidently walking up to one another firing off endless magic sequences while reacting to their opponent’s, kinda like a cowboy’s shoot-out but without all the sass. On top of that, Masaki could still cover for George who was outwitted by Tatsuya’s black cloak and Leo’s sheer strength. It did however give Tatsuya the opportunity to charge forward super quickly.
Masaki was taken by surprise and in what I can only imagine to be Masaki’s natural response. Instead of restricting himself, Masaki ended up going out in full force firing excessively in clear violation of the rules, knowing in immediate hindsight that he fired off enough to kill. The resulting attack was a sleek Matrix-like action-sequence treat for all viewers (the consistent animation quality is superb) as Tatsuya managed to neutralise almost all of the too-numerous attacks, dodging attacks while changing his gun cartridges and firing even while cartwheeling in air, upside down! He couldn’t get them all and was blasted from the last few with enough force for Tatsuya to again, very calmly analyse that he’s got fractured ribs and ruptured liver arteries (can he scan and read EVERYTHING?). Here’s where Mahouka’s inane need to front load information comes gets finally used in what has become Mahouka’s modus operandi – remember when Miyuki literally knocked Tatsuya out of his chair back in the first arc (yes that’s how far back it was)? That exposition was finally more clearly explained here as Tatsuya’s self-regeneration technique, one that allows him to almost instantaneously fix his physical self enough to continue battling. Again taking Masaki by surprise and confusing seeing as how he’s still reeling in shock from firing a lethal attack on a fellow participant who’s amazingly managed to survive, cool cucumber Tatsuya stands up, walks up to Masaki and snaps his finger next to Masaki’s ear, sending a powerful sound wave to knock Masaki out, literally blow the audience away while also taking out one of his own eardrums. And that’s how it’s done.
What was that?
First High won. Everyone’s happy – I’m happy to see how the friends Tatsuya’s slowly made in his bid for an ordinary high school life, show genuine concern and joy for him and the team, something he’s probably never had all his life. But Saegusa’s right in frantically asking for clarification on just what happened to Tatsuya because that blast was surely enough to harm the guy and yet he stood right up as though nothing had happened; it’s frightening enough to reduce Miyuki to tears over worry and panic for oniisama. And that sound wave – how?! That’s not all. Leo’s proving to be a force of brute strength to be reckoned with, even a motorcycle couldn’t take him down 2 years ago. It wasn’t magic that withstood George’s attacks, it was Leo’s physical strength! Mikihiko’s in awe with good reason over his 2 friends who react as though the competition was just another daily affair, nothing much to it. A burst eardrum? Piece of cake. Tatsuya can lip read? No big deal to Tatsuya. Leo could withstand that much magical attack? Nothing compared to the motorcycle. *JAW DROP!*
With each new episode, we learn more about Tatsuya’s background and therefore, I become increasingly forgiving of Miyuki’s brother complex. We learn this week that he’s one of just 2 rare magicians in Japan and a rumoured only 50 in the world who has the ability to cast magic almost instantaneously. From what I understand, this is the magic world’s way of putting people with photographic memories to a massive advantage. Rather than activate a magic sequence, these rare blessed/cursed ones can remember an image of the entire sequence and just cast it as it is. A military team member by the name of Yanagi seems to be the only other person who can match Tatsuya’s speed even though it’s hinted that Tatsuya’s still faster. But because of this ability (I presume he’s born with), Tatsuya’s been subject to military lab experiments which though aren’t gruelling enough to make Tatsuya fall apart (only because he’s that awesome and not because the experiments aren’t tough), are still just wrong in the first place. No wonder Miyuki’s always watching out for oniisama, I would want to hug/protect/defend that suffering poor boy too, even if he’s looked beyond his plight to become emotionally void.
We’ve still got an episode on this arc to go – recall the No Head Syndicate gambling fixing issue isn’t resolved yet~ can’t wait for more Tatsuya awesomeness though!
Incidentally, this amazing episode marks Akatsuki’s 100th post for Koekara~ ^^