The “Crimson Prince” moniker has potential… if it had been a nickname for a vampire or something. But “Cardinal George?” Seriously? Did Curious George finally hit puberty or something? Hmm, nah, probably not. Anyway, it’s that time of the week again! Yes, we’re back with more unexciting non-action with Mahouka!
— Masaki seems somewhat taken aback that Tatsuya has even heard of his best bud. Like okay, obviously, everyone has heard of him, the Crimson Prince! But this loser over here?! No way! In any case, he says, “Hey, if you know not only about me, but George, too, this should be quick and dirty.” I’m sure it’ll be quick, but what on earth will be dirty about it?
— Curious George’s reaction is even weirder. He’s basically like, “Yo, I ain’t never heard of you… but I’ll always remember your name from now on.” Uh, that’s cool, dude…
— Obviously, these two have sniffed out the fact that Tatsuya’s the sole reason First High is winning most of the events. Yes, the sole reason. That’s not even hyperbole. Check the last couple of episodes if you don’t believe me. But to bring this back on topic, the two guys from Third High have come just to see what Tatsuya looks like. They had to see the magnificent Gary Stu for themselves.
— It’s pretty much one big circlejerk between these three with Miyuki looking on awkwardly. Nah, I’m just kidding. That would require a modicum of awareness on MIyuki’s part. Rather, she’s probably just daydreaming about her oniichan instead. In any case, Tatsuya and these two weirdos are busy praising each other. Me? The most prodigious engineer in the history of the Nine Schools Competition? But you — yes, you! — are the boy genius who discove–… snore.
— And that’s it. That’s the encounter, and it’s now time for the opening credits to play. But wait, don’t fast forward just yet! There’s a new openin–… haha, nah, I’m skipping ahead anyway. I mean, as soon as I saw a naked Miyuki reach her hand out to an equally naked Tatsuya (no, it’s not the screencap above, obviously), I just had to skip it. Watch the new OP at your own peril.
— After the OP, we are treated to more battle surfing. Yes, we’re still just watching the girls compete. You wouldn’t want to see guys in skintight outfits, would you? Mahouka certainly doesn’t! Still, one thing has at least changed: every single one of the girls are now wearing shaded goggles to counter Tatsuya’s stupid trick from last week’s episode. Yes, it’s a stupid trick. Why is it that in the entire history of the competition, no one has ever thought to blind their opponents with an optical illusion? Either there’s an unspoken agreement that such a thing is dirty as hell, or people in this universe are just that stupid. Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
— In the end, Honoka wins without any tension or drama. That in itself is a problem, but we’ve already talked about how it’s utterly boring to watch a one-sided competition. Rather, what’s stupid this time around is how she ends up winning. Since everyone’s wearing shaded goggles, she’ll just cast a shadow across the track. And just like that, her opponents are too afraid to surf in the darker parts of the track. Gee, we know First High won’t hesitate to resort to cheap, optical tricks, but surely, she won’t try anything now that we’re wearing these shaded goggles!
Oh man, we’ve been had! I mean, c’mon, this entire universe is filled with idiots. Obviously, magic is fair game. This is, after all, an anime about magic. Then why hasn’t anyone else tried to do anything interesting or fancy with magic in order to win this race? Why is the only magic we see a lame-ass optical illusion by a single character? Why is it that her opponents try to counter her magic with non-magic (the goggles) instead of magic of their own? How can you call this an anime about magic when there isn’t actually any damn magic aside from the cheap optical illusions?! I feel like the crotchety old lady from the TV commercials. Yo, where’s the magic!
— After Honoka’s victory, we cut to a scene in which Mayumi has a proposal for three of her school’s competitors. Y’see, since all three of them had made it to the finals, would they like to forgo the match altogether and just share first place? Are you serious? What sort of competition is that? It’s almost like individual accomplishments don’t mean shit so long as the school gets its points. Sure enough, one of the girls confesses that she had been thinking of withdrawing anyway. Are you kidding me? I bet you the next person in line would’ve loved to take her place at this competition. And here she is, passing up the chance to compete for the individual title because she isn’t up for it. I have no problems with anyone not wanting to compete, but if that’s the case, then you shouldn’t have even come in the first place. What a waste.
— But look at it this way. Since all three girls are from First High, that means all three girls would have their CADs personally calibrated by the Gary Stu himself. Sure, one of those girls happens to be the Gary Stu’s very own imouto, but still… as brilliant as the Gary Stu is, can he actually overcome the impossible and beat himself?
— Shizuka’s a gamer though. She wants to face off against Miyuki. Being the Mary Sue that she is, Miyuki won’t back down either. Mayumi seems somewhat disappointed for some reason.
— So the finals between the two girls begin. Miyuki puts up her right hand! Then Shizuka puts up her right hand as well. Then… something happens but not really! Even so, Shizuka thinks, “I can’t make a dent… Just as I expected of you, Miyuki.” Make a dent? I don’t see anything but wavy lines around the ice pillars. Where’s the magic?
— Shizuka thus pulls out her trump card: a second, gun-shaped CAD. Oh my! The girl then fires a shot that, uh, kind of dents one of Miyuki’s pillars. But trust me, it’s a high-level spell. Even Mayumi says so! Naturally, our Mary Sue won’t be upstaged by some minor character. Therefore, she casts Niflheim! That sounds really fancy. What does it do? Well, it covers the ice pillars in an opaque mist… She then causes Shizuka’s pillars to explode. And that’s that. No, really, the match is over. You know, in a typical competition between two individuals, there’s typically a play, then a counterplay, then a counter to that counterplay, so on and so forth. Not here, however. Let me recap the events of the match for you: Shizuka pulls out a second CAD and fires a single shot, then Miyuki mops the floor with her classmate, who doesn’t even react to any of Miyuki’s actions. Again, Shizuka fires a shot, then she proceeds to lose in a matter of seconds. What did I just watch? Not only are the conversations about Mahouka‘s magic boring to listen to, when magic finally does make its appearance, it’s boring to look at as well. Did we get any sense whatsoever that we had just witnessed the finale match between the two best Rookie ice-pillar breakers? Nope.
— An overly sentimental scene between Honoka and Shizuka follows. I don’t know anything about either character, so I don’t really care that Shizuka’s bitter about her loss. The thing is, any tiny bit of context would’ve helped. Had she been training hard for this moment? Was it her dream to be the best ice pillar breaker? Were her parents in attendance? Anything, man. Anything to develop her character at all. But no, we get nothing. So of course, I’m not going to give a shit about the fact that she lost. People lose all the time. Unless you have a compelling story to tell, why should I care that you lost? This isn’t even me being snarky about the anime. It’s just storytelling 101. Just like Honoka’s victory doesn’t mean anything to me — ’cause who the fuck is Honoka? — Shizuka’s defeat means nothing either. Ho-hum, she lost to the Mary Sue.
— Later that night, Tatsuya decides to lie back on his bed and feed us exposition. Yeah, after two oh-so-tense competitions, there’s nothing better than taking a breather as the main character drily drones on and on about the anime’s universe. Y’see, our Crimson Prince had once been a child soldier. Wow, that’s heavy! Have you seen those heart-wrenching documentaries about child soldiers in Africa? It’s horrible! I’m not even being sarcastic. It truly is horrible. In Mahouka, however, the Crimson Prince’s story is told through a Tatsuya voiceover as we see generic scenes of a wartorn landscape. Ex-citing. Naturally, Tatsuya’s focus is on the type of magic Masaki had used to overcome his enemies. Rapture magic, bros, Rapture magic. No, what’s important about Masaki’s backstory isn’t the fact that he has seen the horrors of war firsthand. What’s fucking important about his backstory is the magic he had used to massacre the enemy forces.
— As for Curious George, he discovered something that people thought had only existed in theory. So why the fuck is he a high school student? Why isn’t he already in college doing some high-level research? Because duh, everyone knows anime characters immediately wilt as soon as they graduate from high school. That’s why you don’t see a single adult in this universe. Even Ono-sensei looks like any other hot anime babe.
— The very next day, Miyuki runs up to Tatsuya with very bad news to deliver. There has been a “deliberate Over-attack!” A what? Well, we finally see some of the boys compete. Annnnnd they get critically injured. As a result, Shun and his buddies can no longer compete in the Monolith Code event. Man, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
— But again, our characters had some evidence that someone had possibly fucked with Mari’s race. Now, it’s clear that someone had cast an illegal spell during the Monolith Code event. So where are the fucking administrators? When will someone step in and say, “Wow, this is getting out of control! We better do something.” But nah. Tatsuya merely mentions that “the tournament staff is sure to be in a panic.” Why don’t we prioritize the health of our students and cancel the event? Indeed, Mayumi admits that there have been calls to cancel the whole thing and yet… well, here we are. Nothing has been cancelled, and First High will just have to forfeit the match… Don’t worry, guys. Gary Stu-by Doo and the gang will solve this mystery!
— Mayumi takes Tatsuya aside and asks, “…if you’re right and our school’s being sabotaged, what do you think their motive is?” Tatsuya then drops the bomb: a Hong Kong crime syndicate — of course it’s from Hong Kong — is trying to rig this whole competition. Ugh, those dirty Chinese people! Don’t they have anything better to do than to fuck with a high school event? No, seriously, don’t they? Surely, there has to be more than a thousand illicit activities they could do instead that are vastly more profitable than fucking around with a dinky competition between a handful of Japanese high schools. Not according to Mahouka, though!
— We immediately cut to those dirty Hong Kong gangsters. They are pleased with the latest results. After all, the Monolith Code event awards the most points. Wait, why? That’s basically telling the kids that this sport is better than your sport. Not only that, it kind of renders the early stages of the competition rather moot, doesn’t it? Yeah, I know you’ve been winning most of the events but… they caught the snitch, so they win!
— Next, we see Tatsuya giving a peptalk to his girls. Not only does he single-handedly win these events for them through his sheer engineering genius (STEM STEM STEM), he also serves as their coach. Gary Stu does it all. Eat your heart out, Kirito.
— So let me get this straight. Mirage Bat is basically a bunch of girls in silly outfits standing around on a bunch of pillars. When colored lights appear in the air, the girls must leap into the air to hit the colored lights with their batons. It’s like a competition of cats chasing a laser pointer.
— Even during this event, however, we’re talking about Tatsuya. It seems as though Azusa has come to the conclusion that Taurus Silver is none other than her Gary Stu classmate himself. In the end, you hardly get to see any of the event itself and whether or not it featured any sort of fancy magic. Instead, the spotlight remains steadfastly glued to Tatsuya.
— No, really: “The results you produced exceeded our expectations, and we thank you for that.” Fuck the lot of ya! Even Tatsuya is like, man, I gotta pull this back a bit: “It’s thanks to the players and their efforts.” But really, it’s a simple, little trick: by having Mayumi give all of the praise to the Gary Stu, he gets the golden opportunity to appear humble. Afterwards, Mayumi admits that Tatsuya’s right, but in a rather dismissive tone: “Of course it’s their achievement for working so hard. But every one of us here recognizes how significant your contribution was.” /winkwink
— Seriously, though, what are we doing here? Praising Tatsuya again? Get to the point already.
Oh man, that’s just rich. In order for First High to win first place in the Rookie events, the boys will have to win the Monolith Code event. Great, we’ll finally get to see the boys compete. Wait, no, we’ve been over this. Watching guys compete would be gay… unless, of course, we’re watching the Gary Stu instead. Brilliant! Let’s injure the shit out of the boys and have Tatsuya enter the competition for them! Tatsuya single-handedly wins everything for the girls! And now, he’ll literally win it for the boys. Now, normally, you can’t just swap athletes out, but the powers-that-be have decided to make a very special exception for this case. Yes, why cancel an event that has possibly been tampered with? Go ahead! Substitute in another one of your students and thus potentially endanger his life as well!
— Mari: “In terms of live combat skills, you’re probably No. 1 among the first year guys.” Mari, baby, please don’t insult me like this. “Probably?” More like “definitely.”
— Tatsuya tries to reason his way out of it, but you know the anime’s heart isn’t in it whatsoever. It’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that he’ll be competing. The door’s been open, and you can’t shut it anymore. In any case, I’d have said “Tatsuya‘s heart isn’t in it” instead, but he doesn’t have one.
— Still, Tatsuya resists. His haremettes are the ones trying to convince him, and their words are just falling upon deaf ears. Obviously, that’s not going to work. He’s going to need a man’s man’s opinion. In other words…
— Jumanji basically says, “As long as you’re a member, there’ll be no defying our leader’s decisions.” Whatever you say, Jumanji-senpai! Tatsuya will certainly respect what you have to say! And if you say jump, Tatsuya’ll jump!
See? Crisis solved. Our Gary Stu will win it for the boys because those selfish bastards just had to go and get themselves injured. Pfft, losers.
— Tatsuya also gets the luxury to handpick his own team… as if there are very many guys in this anime to choose from. He thus picks his two friends even though they’re not even part of the team. When Mayumi objects, Jumanji’s just like, “Eh, why not? The rules don’t matter anymore anyway.”
— And that’s that. Tune in next week as Tatsuya delivers victory for First HIgh on a silver platter. What can’t he do? Feel. He can’t feel. I’ll leave you guys with this parting shot from the (new?) ED: