So WordPress just reminded me that it’s Moe Sucks’ five-year anniversary today. I would celebrate the occasion, but I’m stuck watching and writing about Mahouka. Where have I gone wrong? WHERE?! It’s okay, though. I’ve found the perfect smiley for Tatsuya:
— Leo presses a button and the top half of the sword starts to levitate into the air… that’s nice, I guess? Tatsuya then launches into another one of his dry-ass explanations. I’m not going to cover it.
— Leo then tests the sword out on a bunch of straw dummies, but notice how the camera is really up close and personal with said dummies. We don’t actually get to see the guy swing his extendo sword around, because Madhouse doesn’t even want to animate this shit anymore. The story is so bad, the studio has given up on it. Just put in the minimum effort, and sell whatever blu-rays you can to the hardcore fans.
— The best part here, however, is that we don’t even see Leo or his magical levitating sword again for the rest of the episode. Hasn’t this just been the most useful scene?
— Usually, I have the magic touch, so I can skip through the OP without seeing a second of it. This must be a bad day, however, ’cause I failed and I was reminded of this:
So, y’know, when is this scene ever going to take place?
— After the OP, we get to see Mari compete again. Obviously, I don’t care about the show, so I don’t care about the characters either. But let’s just say I did like the show. Oh, I don’t know, maybe I hit my head at some point and I now think Mahouka is the best shit in the world. Even in that unlikely scenario, however, why would I care about Mari or how she does in this competition? What do I even know about her? Why should I even root for some random character? This is no different than asking me to watch a random sports team play and root for them. I don’t know Mari’s story. I don’t know what makes her tick. I don’t know why it’s important that she wins. Therefore, I don’t know why I’m watching her compete. This is just storytelling 101, and Mahouka fails at it 100%.
What’s even funnier is that Mahouka is supposedly focused on world-building. It’s the characters that are important, though. It’s the characters that bring life to your world. Otherwise, why even bother to world-build? Mahouka‘s characters are so underdeveloped and one-dimensional. Even Tatsuya has no depth to him. They’re just there to look cool. This show is such a sharp contrast to something like Ping Pong where you really get inside the characters’ heads. Here, it’s just a bunch of cool-looking people doing a bunch of cool-looking things. There’s no substance here whatsoever. This is a shallow anime for shallow fans. Sure, the story vomits an inane amount of details about the magic in Mahouka‘s universe, but this is nothing more than just extraneous details. Meanwhile, we have a bloated cast and none of them stand out in any way, shape, or form.
— One of the girls end up crashing into Mari, so she ends up in the hospital. But nothing has changed. Seeing her now injured, I feel nothing. It turns out she’ll be out of commission for at least a week because she’s broken her ribs. This should be a tragedy, but to me, it’s just like… eh, whatever. I’m sure it sucks, but she’s not real. And yeah, you could say, “Uh duh, fictional characters aren’t real. Tell me something I don’t know.” But again, that’s the whole point of storytelling. You have to get me to care about the fictional character that you’ve just conjured up out of nowhere. You can’t just tell me that one of your fictional characters has broken her ribs and expect me to give a shit. Oh, she can’t compete anymore? So what? Who the fuck is Mari?
— Mayumi: “Thank goodness… There doesn’t seem to be any mental damage…” Weeeeeellllllll…
— Even though Mari has helped save another girl’s career as a magician, she is salty about the fact that she now has to pull out of the competition. Mayumi tries to reason with the girl the only way she knows best: “That was Tatsuya’s opinion as well.” Yes, praise the lord, because Tatsuya has weighed in! He approves of your actions. Therefore, you need not be sad, little haremette. Yes, you won’t win any prestigious awards this year, but the harem lead looks down upon you and… smiles.
— Whoa, whoa, whoa… not only does Tatsuya approve, he was the one who carried Mari to the infirmary. S-she’s been touched by the lord himself!
— Tatsuya even told the paramedics what to do. Even though it’s their fucking job to help injured people, but it’s Tatsuya, man! Tatsuya obviously knows more about medicine than some random medical professional! Oh, you studied for years in school? Pfft, I’m the fucking harem lead! Do you know who you’re talking to?
— Just look at Mari’s reaction:
Nuh-uh, guys, this isn’t a harem! It just has a lot of elements you would find in a harem anime!
— Now the conspiracy begins. A mysterious third party had used magic to hinder the girl, thereby causing her to lose control. Thankfully, Tatsuya’s not here. He would’ve launched into a lecture on what angle the magic had been cast at, and whether or not his balls had felt a wind chill at the time.
— Mayumi goes, “Tatsuya agrees with me on that, too.” So you know it’s valid! Tee-hee, I’m just a haremette! Don’t ask me! Ask Tatsuya! She then says, “…he’s going to… analyze the fluctuations of the water’s surface.” Yeah, he would do that, wouldn’t he?
— New scene! And it begins with Tatsuya saying, “I considered it from all angles.” Bahaha, of course… But anyway, I spoke too soon when I had previously said, “Thankfully, Tatsuya’s not here. He would’ve launched into a lecture…” ‘Cause I sure as hell am getting that lecture now!
— Oh my, Tatsuya comes to the conclusion that something other than a human was lurking in the water. The magical interference came from… inside!
— Something about spirits and ley lines. I get enough fucking ley lines from Nobunaga the Fool, so I’m not going to bother with it here. In fact, mysteries are fun when something crazy happens. Like a murder. Or a grand heist. Here, someone conspired to knock two competitors out of a race. I don’t really care.
— To compound matters, Mayumi states that First High would have to win both of the remaining events to win the entire competition. Aren’t you glad to see animated bar graphs, though? Too bad I have even less reason to care about the school since it supposedly turns a blind eye to blatant discrimination.
— In the same scene, Mayumi goes, “…[we have] the added perk of having to watch out for interference by an unknown entity.” Do you really? Do you? If our characters are so sure that Mari’s race had been tampered with, why not bring their evidence to the officials? Don’t you think the tournament organizers would want to ensure fairness in an athletic competition? Don’t you think they would void the results of the event? Let’s not do anything reasonable, though! Let’s just have Tatsuya play master sleuth instead!
— Since Mari is out for the count, the Gary Stu’s almost equally Mary Sue-ish sister will have to take her spot. Yay, let’s now root for the girl with the bro complex! How convenient is it that Miyuki now gets to save First High’s competitive aspirations! And at the same time, Tatsuya truly saves the day behind the scenes! At some point, the story’s creator’s going to have these two characters cure both AIDS and cancer in one fell swoop.
— Miyuki doesn’t know why she’s being picked. Naturally, one of Mari’s reasons refers to what Tatsuya thinks: “Your little sister has what it takes to win the Official Event, right?” He’s not even talking to her! It’s totally up to Miyuki whether she accepts the role or not! Nevertheless, let’s ask Tatsuya what he really thinks! Nothing happens without Tatsuya giving a fart about it!
— Tatsuya says, “It’s possible.” As expected, that’s enough for Miyuki to beam with optimism. Hai, oniichan! I worship the ground you walk on! Too bad I’m not real… but you can always buy more of these crappy novels to keep the dream alive.
— Afterwards, more crappy competitions. Our lord and savior promises to watch Honoka’s match, which makes the girl super happy. Naw, it’s not a harem anime, guys. And apparently, Shizuku’s family wants to hire Tatsuya for some reason, but since this is the first time I’ve heard about this, I’m just going to ignore it.
— Honoka is nervous about her upcoming match. But wait! Let’s see what the harem lead thinks! Miyuki thus says, “I know you’ll be just fine, Honoka.” Wait for it… wait for it… “Didn’t my brother tell you the same thing?” There it is! We’ve gotten the harem lead’s approval once again! Alright, you are now allowed to live your life, Honoka.
— “So he’s steadily increasing his fan-base, huh?” Have you heard the good word about Tatsuya, our Gary Stu?
— We then see Shizuku compete in the speed-shooting competition, but there’s absolutely no substance here either. Honoka says, “Shizuku is tagging all solid substances inside the zone with Vibrating Wave Magic to destroy her targets.” Very interesting.
— No, really, just look at this shit:
Christ… And yet, the anime can’t be bothered to develop any of its characters. That’s fucking hilarious. Get to know Shizuku? Why bother! I’d rather sit here and watch random ass circles appear around a cube instead!
— On the bright side, I get to fast-forward through these dry-ass sequences, so my Mahouka viewing experience has been cut considerably shorter. Thank goodness for that.
— The best part is, even though this is an event to glorify these athletes, the girls are just sitting there droning on and on about what a genius Tatsuya is: “In effect, the player only needs to pull the trigger to destroy her targets… The proper name of this magic spell is Active Air Mine. I hear it’s a Shiba original.” Hear that, guys? A Shiba original! Mayumi then says, “I can’t believe that he came up with a sequence like this.” Did Shizuku get a perfect score? Or did Tatsuya get the perfect score? Think about it. Is First High going to win the whole thing? Or is Tatsu–… okay, you guys get the picture. Eveeeeerything is about Tatsuya. Everything. Having him on the engineering team is just another golden opportunity to praise him even more.
— Tatsuya is now running around like a headless chicken to make sure everyone’s comfortable with their CADs. Shizuku weighs in with her opinion:
Oh, if she only knew how right she was.
— She also adds, “Since you’ve done everything to pave the way to victory for me…” Classic stuff. And that’s how the episode ends. Not on a high point. Not on a cliffhanger. We simply end on the statement that Tatsuya is doing everything, and all these girls have to do is be a warm body.