By the most boring competitive event ever. It’s so lame, no one is even watching these students compete except for the students themselves.
— Remember how much Mikihiro wanted to emulate Tatsuya at the end of last week’s episode? Remember how Tatsuya showed up anyway to steal Mikihiro’s thunder? Remember?! No, you clearly don’t. As a result, we’ll kick off this week’s episode with a reminder of just how awesome Tatsuya truly is, and how no one else can ever hope to have the spotlight. Suck it, Miki boy.
— Of course, Tatsuya tries to compliment Mikihiro for his takedown spell, but it ends up being a critique anyway. Our Gary Stu just can’t help it! You’re doing it wrong! You’re totally, totally doing it wrong! If you give Tatsuya an inch, he’ll talk your ears off about activation sequence this and casting speed that. God, man, nobody even asked for your opinion.
— As soon as Mikihiko leaves, Major Kazama shows up out of nowhere. Was he lurking in the bushes? Did he time his walk just right to run into our Gary Stu? I mean, what’s up with that?
— According to Major Kazama, Tatsuya sees a bit of his former self in Mikihiro. Oh, okay. I guess Mikihiro is Gary Stu Jr. Mikihiro proceeds to disappear from the rest of the episode. Seriously, we don’t see him again this week. There’s one quick mention of him, but that’s it. Did Tatsuya’s words really get to the guy that badly?
— The next day, the sporting competition begins in earnest. We get some shots of the competition area, but it feels empty like every other locale in this anime. Every single person you see in the screenshot below are in uniform. Are friends and families even here to watch these kids compete? Where’s the visual world-building, man? Where are the crowds? There isn’t even any excitement in the air.
And you know Madhouse has the talent to pull it off too, but I don’t know. It’s like they just going through the motions with this anime. Well, I guess I can’t really blame them. I’d be really depressed too if I had to adapt a material Mahouka.
— An announcer makes it sound like the entire thing will come down to a matchup between First Third High School. I guess the rest of the schools are just chumps. Even better, the announcer can’t even be bothered to hype up the matches and make it seem as though the whole thing will be competitive.
— Miyuki teases that Honoka is “getting quite muscular these days,” and the latter freaks out: “I’m not planning to turn into that kind of macho woman, okay?” Christ, calm your britches. Anyone can clearly see you’re not a competitive weight-lifter. But knowing Mahouka and its rather conservative attitudes towards women — y’know, the constant boob-shaming we saw in last week’s episode — a girl having a toned body is probably seen as unfeminine or some shit like that. God forbid a female athlete has biceps.
— To echo just how empty the whole place feels, the stands aren’t even filled up:
Is this competition closed off from the outside world or what? Is it just an event for the schools to pat themselves on the back in private?
— Right now, Honoka is whining about how Tatsuya won’t be in attendance for her events, but he’ll be watching the other girls compete. Hidoi, Stu-kun! This anime babe deserves your attention too! Anyway, the whole thing is funny, because people tried to tell me that this show wasn’t a harem. Pfft.
— Besides, Honoka’s words are falling on deaf ears anyway:
Mr. Robot cannot process such tricksy things like… oh, I don’t know… another person’s feelings.
— So the first match is some waterboarding event involving Mari. Like in a lot of anime, Mari is so cool that she has her own fan club full of squealing girls. I really would like to know where this stupid trope even started. In almost every crappy high school anime, there is always one girl who is obsessively loved by all the other girls in the student body, and I just want to know in what universe does this actually happen.
— “Most likely, she was trying to throw off the other contestants by creating a huge wave.” Thank you, John Madden. I had no idea what I was looking at. I mean, the girl threw a spell, the water splashed, and all the other competitors started to lose their balance… but I just wasn’t sure, y’know? Now, if you could just throw in some diagrams as well, Madden-san…
— Ahhhh, this is just an excuse for Tatsuya to sit there and drone on and on about the different magic spells Mari is casting in order to gain a competitive edge. You barely even get to see any of the action. Good job, Madhouse.
— After prattling on dryly about some spells, Tatsuya turns to Leo and says, “You do understand that, don’t you?” C’mon, boy! Try and keep up!
— The sad thing is, he’s just repeating himself. How many different ways can he sound smart about Mari becoming one with her board? Honestly…
— She’s quite the strategist, Tatsuya says. Cause she landed hard with her borad, thereby splashing water into her competitor’s face. What a strategy! But nothing eludes our observant Madden-san!
— Afterwards, Tatsuya goes to see Major Kazama as well as a few other men. Do these facial expressions look as though we’ve stumbled ourselves upon a group of friends?
— So a bunch of “friends” have convened to talk about the three intruders that Tatsuya had apprehended the night before, but this particular topic kind of just… peters out. Somehow, the topic segues instead into another boring conversation about magic: “Dispersing substances at the molecular level as you do with Mist Dispersion is a Rank A Destructive Spell…” Hoo boy. And somehow, we end up praising Tatsuya anyway. Y’see, he can’t compete because the magic spells he knows are classified! He’s just so special.
— I guess Mayumi is competing next. Miyuki says, “The other matches aren’t nearly as packed as this one,” and yet, I can barely feel the excitement in the air. Even the extras know that they’re in a boring-as-fuck anime.
— Mayumi is taking part in an event that resembles a skeet-shooting competition. In practice, you just see two girls stand completely still on a couple of platforms. The anime then cuts to a bunch of flying discs breaking apart. Madhouse is really putting the effort into these scenes.
Nevertheless, we’re told that Mayumi’s “Durr Freischutz” is totally super awesome! That’s the thing. The anime only tells us that what we are seeing is awesome. We don’t actually get to see any of it.
— The saddest part is how the matches aren’t even close. When you watch most sporting events, the clear-cut winner might be up by like ten or twenty points. In the real world, that is considered a blow-out. Not here!
Why are you even in a competition if you’re that much worse than the other athlete? Mahouka has to have every blow-out be a ridiculous blow-out. It’s like the anime is afraid you wouldn’t be convinced that these characters are super awesome if it was any other way. Then to top it all off, the other girl has to fall to her knees while Mayumi turns and takes in the crowd’s adulation. Laughable. Mahouka‘s writer is incapable of showing any restraint. Even though Tatsuya is King Gary Stu, his classmates are all baby Gary and Mary Sues of their own.
— Afterwards, the girls gather to celebrate their victories. One of them even mentions, “And First High won the Speed Shooting event for boys as well.” Hey, that’s what has been missing! We didn’t even get to see any of the guys compete! But duuuuuh, who the hell wants to watch people with dongs do anything?! Girls, girls, girls, girls!
— Instead, we just get a half-assed, still-motion montage of the guys doing the exact same events the girls had done. Hoo boy.
— Even better, guys like Hanzo didn’t do as well as they could have because they’re not comfortable with their CADs. And guess what? Tatsuya aren’t configuring their CADs.
— Miyuki pays her brother a visit just to ask him if he would configure Hanzo’s CAD the next day. Tatsuya instead tells her, “…but hotel or not, a young girl shouldn’t be wandering around at this hour.” That’s right! You’re a dainty, little imouto! Who knows what dangers could be lurking in this practically soulless (hey, just like Tatsuya!) military hotel!
Yeah, just look at Miyuki beam with happiness. Yay, I’m so happy my brother treats me as though my gender is completely helpless past some arbitrary time during the day! It’s good that our Gary Stu will put his sister in her place. She should know her role! Thank God we longer in live in the olden days with all the corrupt moral values. First, it was buying used panties from vending machines. Before you know it, however, women would be brazenly walking about hotel hallways! What’s next? A cleavage-baring top?! Women’s suffrage?!
— Good lord:
Remember when people were like, “Only the first arc is bad! The story picks up a lot after it!” Yeah… what a bunch of filthy liars.
— “It becomes you quite well” is the highest compliment Tatsuya will ever say about a girl and her outfit. Haha, it sounds like something a fucking father of the church would say. My sister, your religious habit… it… it becomes you! Forgive me for being so forward!
— Nevertheless, she asks Tatsuya to help her stretch. This is about as sexual as it’ll ever get, guys:
Ooh la la~… But no! I can’t! I’m afraid your contortions are making my activation sequences rise rapidly!
— I never noticed Mayumi’s red eyes before this scene, ’cause honestly, who gives a shit about her eyes? Seeing them now, however, I think she’s diseased. After all, she’s going on and on about how Tatsuya has helped her realize what it would’ve been like if she had had an otouto…. who cares? What a great fucking arc we have here.
— We get to watch another one of Mayumi’s matches, but this one barely lasts even fifteen seconds. It looks like a crappy version of tennis, but you can barely tell because it was so short. Mahouka can’t even show us a proper match in an episode all about sports. Good lord.
— We then see Kanon participate in an ice pillar breaking competition. That’s right, they’re breaking ice pillars. There’s only about two minutes left in the episode.
— This shot doesn’t even make sense:
When we do get a glimpse of the action, it’s nonsensical.
— Near the end of the episode, we learn that the boys aren’t doing so hot. Heh, that’s what they get for not relying upon our Gary Stu’s talents. But that’s all about to change as Tatsuya has this baby to bestow upon Leo:
Sweet… uh, rectangular thing, bro.
— And that’s it. That’s the end of the episode. We watched a few half-assed competitions, but in reality, not a single goddamn thing happened. Seriously, what was that? Did I really just sit through twenty plus minutes of absolutely nothing? And this episode follows the one in which the characters spent the majority of their time standing in one place and talking at some banquet. Hell, this arc is shaping up to be even worse the previous one.