Mahouka will show you how!
— So Chen Xiangshan goes to… man, I don’t even remember these people’s names anymore. This other guy is supposedly one of the arc’s primary antagonist, but he has had so little presence up until now that I can’t even remember who he is or where he came from. I could look his bio up, but I’m sure it’s not worth the trouble. This entire arc isn’t worth the trouble. In fact, if you feel the urge to tell me all about Zhou in the comments, don’t bother. I won’t read it.
— With SAO getting progressively dumber by the week, Mahouka has been falling by the wayside hard and fast. Kirito may not be as overpowered as Tatsuya, but he’s got the best Gary Stu lines. Meanwhile, even though Mahouka has been nothing but talk, talk, talk, the last month or so has been so utterly forgettable. Anyway, as I was saying, Chen Xiangshan has come to what’s-his-face for help even though the Great Asian Alliance will be sending him a warship. Yeah, a warship. Don’t get your hopes up, though. Tatsuya will probably just fart in the warship’s direction and sink the damn thing.
— I like how Chen Xiangshan, the fearsome Chinese spy, looks like someone who just walked out of a tennis club.
— Supposedly — and this is just what the characters tell us — shit will soon go down as Chen Xiangshan strikes back against our heroes. But this is Mahouka, so nothing interesting will happen.
— After the opening, Erika and Leo practically begs Tatsuya to let them serve as his bodyguard. Heh, implying that he needs a bodyguard. Mikihiko stupidly wonders if anything would even happen at the magical thesis competition. Thankfully, the Gary Stu assures us that the magical thesis competition is targeted every year. These high school events are a big deal, man. So naturally, something big is going to go down at the competition this year.
— Elsewhere, some girl — Suzune, I think — meets with Chiaki to tell her that, uh, the latter is so insignificant, her actions won’t even register on the Gary Stu’s radar. No, seriously, that’s what this scene is all about. You guys remember Chiaki, right? Well, I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t, but she was the one who tried to sabotage Tatsuya’s work. Well, Suzune basically says that Tatsuya’s too godly to bother with a worm like Chaiki. Seriously, this whole scene is all about how awesome the main character is: “Shiba scored so high that he left everyone below second place in the dust. In particular, he achieved an astonishing perfect score in Magic Engineering.” Gee, tell me more about this Tatsuya character, why don’t you?
— We then get right to the crux of the issue. Apparently, Chiaki is the person to score the second highest on that test. Suzune then claims that the could totally surpass Tatsuya one day. Please, don’t lie to the girl like that. That’s so mean!
— In case anyone actually makes the mistake of thinking that anyone could surpass Tatsuya, Suzune leaves the room and says, “Seriously… I’d make a fine con artist, wouldn’t I?”
— Suddenly, we cut to the two dorks from Third High. Oh, remember them? Crimson Prince and Curious George, his loyal pet monkey? Gee, what have they been up to ever since Tatsuya embarrassed them at the Nine Schools Competition? Oh right, right… the magical thesis competition is coming up and no doubt the monkey is involved. I guess these two just want another beating.
— As if the story doesn’t jump around enough, we cut to yet another pair of characters: Toshi-something having dinner with Kyouko. The pacing for this story is all over the place. There are too many characters, but each episode only gets a little over twenty minutes to cover everything. Seriously, I can barely remember half of these characters’ names, so it hardly needs to be said that I hardly know any of them. Mahouka desperately wants to be an epic story with a billion characters, but they’re all cardboard cutouts. They’re all empty vessels, and the only character who has any impact on this story whatsoever is Tatsuya. Even his sister has pretty much faded into the background. Those like Erika and Leo don’t even live their own lives. They spend hours upon hours training their bodies and just for what? Just to protect Tatsuya! All these characters and they do nothing. It’s quite feat.
— Blah blah blah, they make preparations to attend the magical thesis competition, and make sure nothing bad goes down. Gotta protect that Gary Stu!
— The next day, Kyouko visits Tatsuya to tell him that the “Mobile Suit… has been completed.” Oh dear, we’re going to see some hot Gary Stu in mecha action. After we do all this talking, of course. She then warns him that something’s about to go down, which is kind of pointless because Tatsuya himself has already told us that something will go down in the same episode. And yes, that’s basically three out of the four scenes in which the characters have assured us that something — oh my god, something! — will go down. Are you ready, audience? Are you fucking ready? Have we not watched the previous twenty-two painful Mahouka episodes in preparation for this?!
— Later, the Crimson Prince and Miyuki have their little reunion. The guy says how he hasn’t seen her since the dance party in the previous arc. Aw, isn’t that cute? He thinks he has a chance. Of course, Miyuki apologizes for not keeping in touch. We all know, on the other hand, that she’s been too busy squirming for her brother to care about anyone else, but shh, that’s our little secret.
— Apparently, the Crimson Prince is here to make sure shit doesn’t go down either. Have you heard? Shit’s going to go down! Shit!
— C’mon, dude, what next time? You lost like a chump.
— Erika: “Would you mind not lumping me in with [Leo]? All I did was bestow some skills and weapons on him… There’s nothing at all between us beyond that!” Please, Gary Stu-kun, don’t throw me out of your show! I haven’t done anything untoward! But seriously, the shaming in this show is strong. Boob-shaming (remember Miyuki giving Mizuki shit for her outfit?), friendship-shaming, etc. What a sad, repressed little world.
— Shit’s going to go down, but what’s one more boring conversation between two people! Another one can’t hurt! So we get to watch as Haruka and Kyouko share a conversation. Wow! Apparently, Haruka is known as Ms. Phantom. As for Kyouko, she’s the Electron Sorceress. Are you cringing at their nicknames yet? I am.
— The two ladies aren’t even talking about anything interesting. Kyouko merely suggests that they stay out of each other’s way. Blaaaaarrgggh.
— Kyouko receives news that Lu Gonghu has escaped. Like it matters. We’ve already seen him lose to a bunch of high schoolers. Do we really need a Lu Gonghu Incident Part Deux? What would it even prove? That it now takes two Gary Stu farts to take him down?
— By the way, I’m really trying. I’m trying so hard to make these episodes seem interesting. Mahouka just won’t cooperate. There’s no overwrought displays of sentimentality like “You already live inside me!” Lately, watching Mahouka is like sitting down to a bowl of saltine crackers, and you’ve been given no liquids to wash it down.
— More characters! We need more characters as the anime cuts to Jumanji and friends. No, it’s not enough. We need to check up on more characters before shit can go down! In fact, I bet shit won’t even go down in this episode at all! Gasp! B-But the characters promised!
Jumanji: “Is there anything about the current situation that feels off to you?”
Hanzo: “There seems to be too many foreigners around here now.”
Jumanji: “You think so, too, Hattori?”
Jumanji: “What about you, Kirihara?”
Takeaki: “Yes, sir. Compared to the convention center, the atmosphere in the city seems more strangely menacing.”
Oh, you don’t say! Damn those menacing foreigners!
— Finally, First High’s presentation begins. A bunch of students stand around the convention center to stand guard. Yeah, students. There are like no adults in this world. In fact, the inside of the convention is full up on people, but like always, the outside world is strangely and creepily devoid of life. Look at this. Mahouka‘s world is completely dead. Elsewhere, the bad guys stand around smirk. Great. They’re smirking.
— This presentation is too boring to talk about. We could sit here and break the ideas down if we want, but it has nothing to do with anything.
— But this is a sad, sad world, so we can’t have nice things. Even though there’s only a minute left in the episode, what do we see next? A conversation between Tatsuya and Curious George. The latter swears that he’ll beat Tatsuya in this magic thesis competition.
— All of a sudden, a loud explosion rocks the convention center. And just like that, the ending credits proceed to roll. Great. That’s just great. Yeah, it’s not like I actually expected shit to go down. I just found it amusing that the characters kept alluding to this event only for us to get nothing but an explosion. Twenty-plus minutes of boring conversations and all we get is one measly explosion for our troubles. Oh well, that’s just Mahouka for you. All talk and no substance.