Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – 13

maho130

Whether it’s Shizuku in speed shooting, Honoka in Battle Board, or his own sister in Ice Pillars, this week even the First High rookie ladies dominate their NSC events, thanks to Tatsuya’s engineering prowess and personal attention. That, in turn attracts both envy and derision from the struggling guys, and the attention of his rival-in-waiting, Ichijou Masaki.

maho131

As one girl remarks at a banquet, giving your CAD over to an engineer for close inspection and calibration is akin to bearing your innermost feelings to that person. In that regard, Tatsuya is quickly developing into the school ladykiller, having already “won the hearts (i.e. CADs)” of so many. At that banquet, for instance, he is literally surrounded by girls.

maho132

But Tatsuya isn’t one of those happy-go-lucky school anime leads who has a mission to collect as many lambs as possible for his flock. He has other reasons. He was called upon to do a job, and he’s going to do it to the absolute maximum level. And we still have yet to see the Shiba Tatsuya whose time his sister promises “will come without fail,” pledging herself to him in the coming fight against the Yotsuba clan. All of this is a means of honing his magical skills in preparation for that fight.

maho133

One could say he’s using the girls as test subjects for his new magic methods.. That sounds…a bit underhanded, but the girls obviously don’t care. It’s an equitable deal: they get to win due to their full potential being optimally exploited, while Tatsuya gains valuable data and gets to watch his magic being used the way it’s meant to be, something he couldn’t pull off himself. The ladies’ success also motivates Hanzou Morisaki, who still wants to prove blooms are superior to weeds; a seemingly outdated position to be dusting off at this juncture…until you realize the girls Tatsuya is helping are all blooms.

maho134

Still, none of this is really news; it was already established in the last couple episodes. Rather than make a big bang at the midpoint of the series, Mahouka chose to keep things in cruise mode, reinforcing Tatsuya’s impact and letting First High bask in the gleam of victory a little longer before their enemies come down on them, whether its the bookies who need First High to lose to save their own skins, or the ever-ominous Masaki.

7_mag

First Cour Average Score: 7.00
First Cour MAL Score: 7.75

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – 03

mahouka31

After being swiftly, decisively taken down a couple of pegs by the first-year Course 2 student, all Hattori can do is apologize to Miyuki and walk out quietly, but not before remarking that the tests that determine who’s a bloom and who’s a weed don’t relfect Tatsuya’s skills. In fact, those tests have a tremendous blind spot, where Tatsuya lives and thrives.

mahouka32

The analysis of the fight between the witnesses assembled got into fairly technical territory, but everyone was impressed enough—and the terms were intuitive enough—to conclude that Tatsuya uses magic like no one else they’ve seen, combining it with Kokonoe’s intensive ninjutsu training. As everyone marvels at the ingenuity and resourcefulness, Miyuki merely smiles with pride; she already knows what he’s capable of. (Later, she can’t help but show herself off to Tatsuya, and his auto-heal gambit is a neat twist on the Jealous-Sis Attack.)

mahouka33

After this week, the rest of the school will know too, very soon. Watanabe admits she’s grown weary of the rift between blooms and weeds (and the terms themselves), and sees Tatsuya not possessing the ideal skillset and disposition valuable disciplinary officer, but as a living, breathing, ass-kicking symbol of the fallacy of the current status quo. She puts him to work immediately, patrolling the maelstrom that is club recruitment week.

mahouka34

Tatsuya takes to his new duties like a duck to water, wasting no time swooping in to save Erika from a grabby mob. She inadvertantly rewards him with a peek at her cleavage, but forgives him when he accompanies her to the kendo club. She decries the sport as dull and staged; he posits that they can’t be anything else since true martial arts battles consist of two people killing each other.

mahouka35

And that right there is Tatsuya in a nutshell. The blooms perform flashy “exhibitions geared for publicity” that dazzle bystanders and earn them top marks, fancy badges, and the superiority kick that comes with them. Meanwhile, Tatsuya quietly, calmly works in the shadows, assessing; not showing anyone his hand until it’s too late for them, as it is for the kendo members who try to impede Tatsuya’s duties.

8_mag

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – 02

mahouka21

Vice President Hattori is neither grateful nor impressed with Tatsuya’s neat little bit of diplomacy, but Tatsuya earned the gratitude of two other Blooms, as well as the attention of Disciplinary Committee Chairman Watanabe Mari. By the end of this episode, both the positive and negative ramifications would play in his favor.

mahouka22

When President Saegusa Mayumi offers Miyuki a spot on the student council, its another opportunity for Miyuki to demonstrate her fierce and unwavering loyalty to her brother by begging them to somehow bring him aboard too. But they can’t, because he’s a Course 2 student. That’s when Mari comes in, offering him a position on the disciplinary committee. When he hears of this, Hattori bristles, believing a lowly weed would be in over his head.

mahouka22a

One thing I’m enjoying about how consistently the characters’ traits are portrayed; whether it’s Tatsuya’s calmness, Miyuki’s loyalty, Saegusa’s amity, Mari’s open-mindedness…or Hattori’s haughty assholishness. He’s the kind of snobbish creep you love to hate, and while he’s outnumbered this week, he still brings the hate strong and fast, spitting on weeds like Course 2 and glibly accusing Miyuki of nepotism.

mahouka23

Miyuki knows aspects of her bro neither we nor Hattori know, that the established practical tests couldn’t detect (hence his low scores), and which Mari caught a tantalizing glimpse of. So if Miyuki says he’ll win against anyone, she may well be speaking the truth, unclouded by affection. This is confirmed when Hattori is soundly beaten in a simulated battle.

mahouka24

Hattori may be a powerful magician capable of acing the same practical tests where Tatsuya struggled, but in an actual fight, he put himself at a disadvantage by assuming Tatsuya would simply go down exactly as he envisioned in his head, ignorant to his skills. Now Tatsuya will be the first weed with the power to discipline blooms. The times are changing, but I don’t see Hattori and his ilk blithely falling in line.

7_mag