「入学編V」 (Nyuugaku-hen V)
“Enrollment Part V”
The discrimination at Magic High School boils over as explosions interrupt Mayumi’s attempt to make real change.
Keep Your Magic Simple, Stupid
We’re getting more needed exposition and peeks into Tatsuya’s mind, and as I said last episode, I’m inordinately pleased with both of these things. The first scene of the episode was another attempt to show that no, really, Tatsuya really is weak at magic. Part of me feels these attempts are contrived because Tatsuya doesn’t feel weak, and yet they make logical sense. Wait, that thing I just said didn’t make sense either? I’ll explain.
Tatsuya has definite weaknesses. His casting speed is crap, and he’s limited to five different commands in any given spell – think of the mixing of different commands in Magi, or in a computer program that executes several discrete actions – among other things. These are what the school tests, and Tatsuya is actually okay with being called unskilled based on those because he is unskilled at those, and they are important. He just doesn’t feel weak (as a character) because his weaknesses have never stopped him. They’re there, I understand logically that they’re there, but it’s more of a tell instead of show until one of Tatsuya’s weaknesses actually stops him from doing anything. Until he comes up short because he can’t cast quickly enough, he won’t feel weak, because he has work arounds galore.
One thing I do like is that Tatsuya’s weaknesses impose a limitation that he will have to work around. He can direct code simple spells faster than he can by using an activation sequence (a blueprint, I think), so if he figure out innovative ways to use only simple spells then he can fight on equal ground with others. That and his martial arts skills. Those together are why he continues to feel like a badass, no matter what his practical scores say otherwise.
I loved it when Tatsuya called up Mibu-sempai and negotiated for her to come out…and then turned to the others and said they should take them all into custody. That move was worthy of Sora & Shiro! (Except without their style.) After all, why state outright when you can imply, and then do whatever you want when your opponent misunderstands? Though personally, I’d just go ahead and lie to them – they’re going to feel betrayed anyway because your words were meant to deceive, so might as well go the whole hog instead of trying to be clever about it. I did so enjoy everyone’s reactions to Tatsuya’s call though. Evil indeed!
Mayumi & The Bully Pulpit
As soon as I heard that they were doing an open forum, I knew it would be bad news, though for only one of the reasons that I expected. That kind of setup is ideal for a bunch of disaffected kids getting unruly and venting their spleens without any idea of ways to fix the problem. Hell, both Tatsuya & Mayumi revealed that exactly that was happening – Tatsuya called Mibu-sempai out on how the school had no power to effect any of the change she wants (they already ban the terms Bloom and Weed, though personally I’d standardize all the uniforms between the Course 1 & 2 students as well…these things matter), and Mayumi said that in the earlier negotiations the others seemed to want the Student Council to come up with concrete plans. It could have turned into a riot…but not with Mayumi in charge.
All props go to Mayumi for freely admitting that if they can best her in a debate, she would change the school. That didn’t happen though, because their arguments sucked. Instead it was Mayumi with the coup de grace. After using the banned terms Bloom and Weed openly in the assembly to get everyone sitting up and paying attention, she announced her intention to abolish one last bit of institutionalized discrimination – that all Student Council officers are nominated from among the Course 1 students. She used this open forum as a chance to push for a change she had long wanted to implement. Bravo! She’s going to be a fearsome politician someday. She already is, really.
Side note: I still find the discrimination in this show a bit comical. As a theme it’s treated relatively well, but since I come from a country with many varied (and harder to eliminate) flavors of discrimination, I can’t help but roll my eyes a little. Imagine if these kids had any experience with racial or gender discrimination – once you’ve dealt with the kinds of bigotry you can never get away from, dealing with a few snippy remarks due to crappy grades doesn’t seem like such an injustice. Still not ideal though.
Looking Ahead – Battlefield High School
After watching so much anime, I’m used to fighting on high school campuses, but this is something else entirely. That’s not a scuffle, that’s a full-blown terrorist attack! (Though since that’s exactly what it is, I guess it fits.) I liked how they smoothly showed how both Hanzo-kun and Mari-sempai are sort of badasses, but the real question will be, what the hell is Tsukasa Kinoe (Katou Masayuki) and Blanche really up to? I’d hazard a guess, but that’s no fun when there are a bunch of light novel readers who know the answer. We’ll just have to wait for next week to see.
Author’s note: Expect next week’s post to appear on Monday as well. I’ll be out of town most of the weekend, and I doubt I’ll have time to take care of it Sunday night. Thank you for your understanding.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Mayumi nearly calms the crowds with a much-needed reform, until literal explosions start going off #mahouka 05
- Excited Mizuki, hng~
- I can’t help but want to be kind to a show that uses phrases like “bully pulpit”. The old history/political theater buff in me can’t help but love that.