Hey, hey… Tatsuya would never let his boys go into a fight unprepared, right? That’s why Leo and Mikihiko will have to put on their robes and wizard hats. And with that, welcome back to another installment of The Gary Stu at Pandering High School.
— “They’ll operate under the same theory as Engraving Magic via an Anci–…” Aaaaaand I’m gone.
— So our Crimson Prince has an advantage in the open field. But wait! Tatsuya will have an advantage in close quarters combat! Unfortunately, actual brawling is not allowed, so Tatsuya will somehow have to fight the guy without, uh, laying a finger on the guy. It’s like a delightful, little chess match… a very boring chess match between two queens.
— Tatsuya confesses to himself, “No, even if Ichijo Masaki were my only opponent, at this moment I can’t say with confidence that I’d beat him.” Oh, I see what you’re doing there, trying to create tension and all that jazz. That’s cute. After 15 straight episodes of pure, concentrated Gary Stu goodness, however, do you honestly think you can pull the wool over our eyes? Not only that, think about how Masaki’s character would have normally developed in any other story. You’d actually see examples of his greatness, huh? You’d actually see him own people left and right for multiple episodes.
Usually, you’d have a build-up to the big, bad boss, and this would leave the audience waiting in anticipation for the final battle. Not in Mahouka, though. I’ve spent most of this current arc watching a bunch of nobody girls “win” a slew of incredibly boring matches, then at the very last second, the Crimson Prince suddenly emerges as a threat. Sorry, but that’s not how storytelling works. If you want to write shitty fanfiction, knock yourself out, but at this level, I expect something a little more competent.
— Miyuki drops by to kiss her brother’s ass some more. What’s that? Tell you something you don’t know? Sorry, but that’s how it goes with this anime.
— Naturally, Tatsuya doesn’t have to wear the dorky robes he had given his friends. But honestly, they look a little lame, but nothing that would make me bust a gut, y’know? Nevertheless, Erika can’t help but laugh so hard that she cries. It just feels really forced and awkward. The author really wants you to think this is funny, but it’s just, well, not.
— See, this is why your parents tell you not to wear that ratty trench coat all the time. You’re not edgy or cool. You just fucking stink, dude:
— Remember the chairman with no whites in his eyes? Well, he’s in attendance, but nevertheless, a bunch of attendants walk up to him and ask, “What brings you to a place like this?” He’s here to watch? It’s the finals of one of the biggest events in the competition? Even assuming that he doesn’t know anything about Tatsuya — but he does — wouldn’t he be interested in seeing the Crimson Prince and Curious George in action? Seriously, what is this question? Everything about this anime is just stupid.
— The match begins and… and… they’re walking slowly towards each other as they make or shoot at concentric circles in the sky. Seriously. Look how pumped Tatsuya is for the biggest battle of his young high school career:
— On one side of the battlefield!!!
But then on the other side of the battlefield!!!
I can’t help but feel…!!!
— But guys, people are cheering. They are watching this tense, exciting battle and cheering. Look!
See? It’s exciting! There’s so much energy in the air, we can’t even animate it. We’ll just blur the picture like this… and then shake it like so…
— The anime has the gall — the fucking gall — to cut to Tatsuya’s classmates, and have one of them mutter, “How incredibly bold…” No, wait, let the man explain himself: “Under all that pressure…”
What fucking pressure! …ahem. Please, do go on.
“…to be able to churn out those spells with such accuracy.” Those spells? These spells?
Yeah, would you just look at them?
— Christ, it just keeps going. More concentric circles. More slow motion walking. More stoic expressions. More passionless combat. A comatose patient has more signs of life than this “epic” final between the two top schools in the nation.
— What’s sad is that Tatsuya can’t even lose. The only question is how much of his true power can he hold back and still win. That’s… that’s just a Gary Stu for you. I mean, what can I say? We’re not wondering whether or not he can lose, and that’s so dumb.
— As if the show wasn’t already exciting enough, we cut to two people in the audience as they proceed to talk about the match. Exciting. So exciting.
— I know Madhouse is better than this. I know Madhouse can make some really cool-looking shit. And yet, this episode is full of nothing but action lines…
…more action lines…
They come in every which direction. Radial around the center of the image! Diagonally across the screen. Horizontally across the screen. Why, I’ve never seen so many creative uses of action lines before!
— Now they’re coming from the ground!
— Aw, Masaki isn’t a bad guy, just a rival. At one point, he thinks he had screwed up and as a result, his spells will kill our Gary Stu. Silly Crimson Prince. Don’t you know Tatsuya is invincible? Tatsuya proceeds to twirl like a ballerina and shoot all the concentric circles down:
That’s mah boy! You show those circles who’s boss!
— When Tatsuya manages to get hit by a single spell, there are even action lines when his haremettes gasp in shock:
They’re just so concerned, yo!
— But it’s okay, because our robot immediately reboots himself. And thanks to his solid state drive, he’s back in action in no time! You just, uh, have to endure Tatsuya going all Ken doll on us.
— When Tatsuya comes back to reality, he suddenly snaps his fingers next to Masaki’s ears, which causes — you guessed it! — action lines to appear:
— After the dust settles, Masaki falls to the ground. So, uh, what the hell just happened? Well, our Gary Stu knocked his opponent out with a massive sound wave, duh. Tatsuya probably planned this all along, too. Masaki is superior in combat, they said. Well, let’s see how superior he’ll be when he lets his guard down because he thinks he had used excessive force. In any case, what an exciting finish to the match, huh? Wait, wait, it’s not over just yet!
— Meanwhile, Mayumi is freaking out about the fact that Tatsuya somehow managed to recover himself from certain death. Baby, baby… I’m the Gary Stu. C’mon, have some faith.
— Another scene of those two idiots sitting in the stands, talking about Tatsuya. Very exciting. Look at this organic expository dialogue, though: “He’s a valuable asset, one of only two in this country… and one of a rumored fifty or so in the world, after all.” Thanks, lady. I had no clue how special our Ubermensch was, but those figures really helped. Even with the adults, however, you can see how the lady is concerned for Tatsuya’s well-being. Meanwhile, the guy doesn’t think a few experiments could hurt our Gary Stu. The girls love him, the guys hate him, meet the Gary Stu that can seduce any woman but his own aunt (and probably even her too if he really wanted to)!
— Tatsuya has a weakness! He’s slow with spells that have long Activation Sequences. But then he doesn’t have a weakness! After all, he can just use Flash Cast! Yay, Gary Stu!
— By the way, this scene started two minutes ago. We’re basically just killing time with these two talking heads. Fantastic.
— Eventually, we do return to the match at hand, but Boy Georgio is the only meaningful opponent still standing. I mean, there’s the third guy, but we don’t even know his name…
— Somehow, Mikihiko takes out Boy George, then Leo sneaks in to knock out the last guy… aaaaand they win. That’s it. No exciting conclusion. Yes, our Crimson Prince literally bit the dust minutes ago, and the match comes to an end when the third guy — the nobody, mind you — gets taken out without any fanfare. That’s Mahouka for you.
— Gee, I dunno, maybe you should look a little closer at those giant, block letters:
— In the aftermath, Tatsuya’s hearing has become impaired, but of course, the guy knows how to read lips too. He then looks up to his doting sister, and the episode comes to a nice, little incestuous end.
— That concludes this arc, though, right? Wait, what about those evil gangsters who had tried to rig this whole competition? Oh god, don’t tell me there’s more of this shit to watch. After 16 episodes, however, I don’t feel as if we’ve gotten any closer to uncovering an overarching plot to the story. Seriously, is there a point to any of this?