Can love bloom on the battlefield?
Mari, the head of the Disciplinary Committee, wants to recruit Tatsuya, but he’s hesitant to join. When Hanzo, the Vice Student Council President, hears about this, he vigorously voices his objection. When Miyuki tries to defend her brother, Hanzo accuses her of being biased. As a result, Tatsuya challenges Hanzo to a duel in order to defend his sister’s honor. It’s not like he wants to join the Disciplinary Committee or anything, uguu… Anyway, our hero easily defeats Hanzo.
• So the bullying asshole goes, “My name’s Shun Morisaki. I’m a member of the main Morisaki branch. Don’t think for a second that I acknowledge you, Tatsuya Shiba.” Yeah, well, you sure did not acknowledge him by introducing yourself. Before storming off, he then adds, “Miss Shiba should be hanging out with us!” Haha, this can’t be serious, can it? Even the most elitist idiots in the world would just give up after realizing that siblings are naturally going to stick together.
• But then one of the girl Blooms actually apologizes for her group’s ridiculous behavior. So is it just the guys who are assholes then? Shortly afterward, the young girl tries to refer to Tatsuya as “onii-san” and blushes profusely around him. Woo boy, what a playa! See, why would the bullying asshole put on a big song-and-dance over Miyuki choosing to walk home with her own flesh-and-blood, but storm off afterwards and ignore the fact that this young girl is practically throwing herself at Tatsuya? The inconsistency is bizarre, no? Wouldn’t you want to hang onto the Blooms that are already under your fold?
• A bunch of stuff about CADs, OS, Psions, and whatnot. I’m just going to drone it out… zzz.
• Apparently, Miyuki is so beautiful that when she bows, it makes other girls blush. Something something special glow. Okay.
• Mayumi invites our siblings to the Student Council Clubroom so that they can discuss something important. See? None of these Blooms seem like assholes. So I guess it really is just the guys.
• Then out of nowhere, our siblings comment on Mari’s bento and make the girl blush. Ooookay…
• This whole “I know everyone think my sister and I look like a couple, so I’m just going to play along” thing wasn’t even funny the first time…
• I’ve almost forgotten that the siblings are only here because Mayumi wanted to discuss something with them.
• So first thing’s first, Mayumi invites Miyuki to join the Student Council. The imouto has to look to her brother for some boost in confidence or whatever. He then nods his approval. I hope for her sake that her character grows beyond this dependency over the course of the story.
• Whoops, you shouldn’t have encouraged her, onii-chan! Miyuki suddenly launches into a tirade about Tatsuya’s high test scores. Unfortunately, Weeds aren’t allowed to join the Student Council. What’s even worse is that this limitation is dictated by the school itself. Yeah, that’s right, in order to perform bullshit bureaucratic duties (let’s face it, anime in general will always try to play up the Student Council like it’s hot shit, but it’s really not), you can’t just be smart! You need to know how to use your magic practically! So the adults do implicitly approve of this one-dimensional discrimination!
• But all is not lost! Mari suggests that Tatsuya could join the Disciplinary Committee instead. Ah, if you can’t be a politician, you may as well become their enforcers.
• Tatsuya: “Hold on a second, please! Don’t I have any say in this?” In anime? Of course not.
• Tatsuya: “In the first place, you haven’t even explained what it is that the Disciplinary Committee does!” Well, I’d imagine maintaining discipline at the school would be one of the committee’s many goals… Meanwhile, Miyuki’s busy blushing and smiling off to the side. I’d buy into these devoted characters a whole lot more if they were truly devoted to the objects of their affection. For instance, let’s say I’m Miyuki. My brother looks a little distressed by these recent developments. I would thus validate his feelings and support him in his reluctance to join the Disciplinary Committee. But it looks like Miyuki doesn’t really care about that. As long as she gets to see her brother join some fancy-schmancy group, she’s happy as a clam. That doesn’t seem like true love to me.
• Mayumi: “…the Disciplinary Committee maintains order at this school.” Big shocker there.
• Again, Tatsuya’s practically shouting at Mari, but Miyuki still has on her face that goofy facial expression.
• In the following scene, it looks like they’re moving some platform back on forth on a rail, but Tatsuya proves to be slow at it. Bit of a boring way to show off the character’s magical abilities, no?
• So after classes have ended, our siblings return to the Student Council Clubroom. A guy is now there. In other words, massive asshole incoming.
• Yep, the guy flat-out ignores Tatsuya to introduce himself to Miyuki. Oh, this one-dimensional discrimination…
• Apparently, it’s forbidden to refer to Course 2 students as Weeds, but I really doubt the whole Course 1 and Course 2 distinction is a whole lot better in practice. I mean, c’mon… at the end of the day, some guy isn’t allowed to join the Student Council just because he’s a Course 2 student. You’re not doing the guy any favor by opting to refer to his status euphemistically.
• Hanzo fights for his right to discriminate: “…do you intend to bust over a third of the entire student body.” Good argument. A large people are assholes, so being an asshole is… okay?
• Mari: “[Tatsuya’s] sure to become a powerful deterrent towards all those would-be violators who keep getting off easy because we can never establish their crimes.” Yeah, but you said it yourself: these baddies are “would-be” violators. If the spell never goes off, is it really a crime? Aren’t we bordering on some sort of pre-crime controversy here? Just because you’re about to activate a spell in the heat of the moment doesn’t mean you should be guilty if the spell never actually goes off.
• So to settle this once and for all, Tatsuya challenges Hanzo to a simulated battle. In response, the asshole goes, “Don’t be so arrogant. You, a mere reserve!” Um, well, if it’s arrogance to even test yourself against your superiors, we may as well just give up in life. The problem here is that the discriminating assholes in this story are idiots. Look, racist slave owners were obviously immoral, but they weren’t idiots. Most of them knew exactly why they fought to own slaves: money talks. The whole bullshit about black people being inferior to the white man is just a convenient justification to cover up the fact that racism is ultimately a class issue. The primary reason for owning slaves was because it made you rich as shit, not because you felt you were morally obligated to own slaves. Obviously, human rights should always supersede the pursuit of material wealth, but if you only cared about money, owning slaves made logical sense.
The discriminating assholes in our anime, however, don’t make sense on any level. Sure, arguing that members of the Disciplinary Committee should be determined by a meritocracy is somewhat reasonable. Therefore, Hanzo should embrace this challenge from Tatsuya. If he’s as superior as he believes himself to be, then logically, he should have no problems defeating a “mere reserve.” But there’s the rub: there’s no logical basis to why Hanzo and his ilk so vehemently detests Weeds. They’re both immoral and illogical, so it just feels like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s one thing to make the bad guys immoral. It’s another to make them idiots as well. It ends up feeling like you’re railing against some strawman.
• Hanzo: “Right after it starts, I’m going to launch a speed-oriented, simple activation sequence and have it complete before Shiba’s. I’m going to cast an Essential Singularity-type Movement Spell…” Yeah, okay, just fight, dude. No need to tell me what you aim to do. Here’s the thing: no one’s going to remember any of this. One or two episodes from now, no one but the most obsessive fan will say, “Gosh, remember the time Hanzo told us exactly what he was going to do in his duel against Tatsuya? I sure am glad he did!” No, most people will not care after the fact. You can say, “They had to do this or else the audience will be left in the dark,” but think about it: if the plot development and the characterization in future episodes are strong, nobody will give a shit about this minor moment near the end of the second episode. They’ll be too distracted to think back to some insignificant bit of expository detail. His thoughts are thus wholly unnecessary.
• Plus, it’s all backwards. Tatsuya’s the one with the special powers. Therefore, we should be hearing his thoughts and how he thinks he’s going to defeat the guy. I don’t give a fuck what Hanzo plans on doing. He’s not the main character. He’s not the one with the unique ability.
• So you know, the actual battle starts and our protagonist does that anime thing where he moves so fast, he disappears and reappears behind his opponent. And just like that, Tatsuya has won the battle.
Eh, another slow episode. The anime has yet to draw me into its world. We’re still just dealing with the petty squabbles between Blooms and Weeds. You can’t help but feel that none of the events in these past two episodes will be memorable once a real conflict shows up.