「入学編VI」 (Nyuugaku-hen VI)
“Enrollment Part VI”
This is what I’ve been waiting for – it’s magical combat time!
This Is What I’ve Been Waiting For!
Sanderson’s First Law states:
Sanderson’s First Law of Magics: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.
What first interested me about Mahouka is that it’s Hard Magic, which means the magic system should be well set up enough to solve lot of problems without resorting to bullshit dues ex machina. This is especially true of combat, and Mahouka did not disappoint. Take Leo’s combat abilities. Them talking about fortification magic (and even the voice-activated part being old school, though I was once again lost on the programmer-esque sequential casting jargon) fit in well with what we already knew of the magic system, so it was cool to see it used in a new way. (Disclaimer: it might only fit in with what I know about the magic system due to your comments, since the anime has been leaving out things left and right. So thanks!) Leo is a bruiser! A tanky bruiser, but that’s cool too. Plus the fight animation was good, which I appreciated.
Equality is a tricky thing. I feel like the goal is something like equality of opportunity + mutual respect (i.e. even if someone is better at something, they shouldn’t go around thinking that makes them a better person), not equality of outcomes. Mibu-sempai never had a clear enough view of what she was after for me to say she was on the wrong side of that argument, but she definitely wasn’t on the right side. Tatsuya was right – if everyone was truly equal (equality of outcomes), they’d all be trodden upon together. Differences are good! Different but with an equal shot of obtaining happiness. Something like that.
Putting Yourself Down
That’s when Miyuki hit with the knock out punch. “Was magic the only barometer by which you could be measured?” I hate to say this (note: that’s a lie, I love to say this), but I totally called it! Mibu’s problem is that she was pinning all of her self-worth to her magical abilities, and when they didn’t measure up, that meant she felt like she was nothing. It didn’t matter that she was one of (if not the) best pure swordswomen that any of the cast had seen, or that she was beautiful, or that she was intelligent and kind, if her magic was shit, she was shit. It wasn’t others that were putting her down, it was her.
You can’t do that all. Never pin your full self-worth to one thing. There’s far more to each one of us than grades, or salary, or magical ability. Also, who the fuck cares if some assholes are mocking you? Fuck em. There’s an old saying that goes something like “People can only put you down if you let them”, and it’s a lie. Cutting words can wound no matter what. You can certainly control whether they’re a minor inconvenience or a critical strike though.
A lot of commenters have been saying how much Miyuki is getting shafted in this adaptation, and this week we finally got to see some of her strength. Her in silly brocon “onii-sama!” mode doesn’t annoy me, but I like her more when she’s nuking bitches, flying around, freezing fingers, and generally being intelligent, competent, and powerful. I still want to see more depth, but we’ll get there I’m sure. I’ll give her some more time.
She’s a Weed!?
Backtracking a little, I rolled my eyes when Erika owned two guys in a row, and then stayed behind to finish one more. Just kick his ass and go along! Or have Miyuki nuke him, sheesh. I mean sure, maybe he was better than the other two, and maybe Erika could tell that, but we weren’t given any indication of that, so it made no sense in context.
It ended up working out well though. Erika is the kind of weed Mibu should try to be (and Leo, and Tatsuya too), one who doesn’t let a silly classification or the words of strangers get her down. Erika is strong, stronger at kenjutsu than even a badass like Mari, even if her magic is probably a bit shit. Or maybe it’s her grades? Because damn! That flash-stepping was badass, though I almost liked it more when Mibu turned on the Cast Jamming and Erika bested her without the flashy magic. A good fight with good meaning.
This episode was still a tad uneven, with some things that made me go “WRRRYYYY!?” The biggest was the misunderstanding between Mibu and Mari. Now, scenes can be symbolic and serve the story without coming off as overly convenient. The battle between Erika & Mibu did exactly that, since they were both radically different kinds of weeds. This just made me go “ugh”. Mibu-sempai’s whole arc came about because she completely misunderstood something Mari said? That felt unnecessary to me. At least Tatsuya is one of those inexplicably rare male leads who can actually hold a girl while she’s crying. At least one person did something right.
His Own Reasons
Speaking of Tatsuya, here’s another bit of evidence against him being a Gary Stu – he’s not universally loved. Take the beginning of the episode when Tatsuya tells the others to not go so easy on Mibu-sempai. Leo did not like that. Later too, Tatsuya wasn’t planning on going after Blanche for Mibu-sempai – no, it was because someone had interrupted his and Miyuki’s peaceful life, and that meant some bitches needed their faces pounded in. Technically that doesn’t preclude Tatsuya from being a Gary Stu, but to me part of it is being overpowered and universally loved, and I don’t think Tatsuya can claim the latter. Not if he keeps being a callous dick, at least. (Note: I’m not complaining.)
Not Such a Bad Guy After All
Finally, kenjutsu club captain Kirihara came back and asked to come along for the raid. The clear point here was to show that he’s not such a bad guy after all, but without the context I’m told there was in the LN, it came off as being very abrupt – from full asshole to suddenly complex individual. Jyumonji-sempai came across a lot better though. He’s a savvy guy, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of him – and soon, seeing him fight!
Looking Ahead – Right Through the Front Door!
It looks like they’ll be finished adapting the second volume next episode (I assume). Hopefully there’s lots of action ahead! Also, hopefully they continue adapting at a four-episode-per-volume pace, because the past three episodes, while still flawed, worked a lot better than the first three.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Finally, it’s fighting time! Leo, Erika, Tatsuya, Miyuki…we got some badasses over here #mahouka 06
- Ono-sensei may look more respectable in a sweater, but she’s still hot. Dem sweater puppies, DAMN! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
- The whole time Tatsuya and Miyuki were talking to Mibu-sempai in the vault, I was like “Holy fuck deal with the terrorists you two.”
- I wonder if that truth serum thing the disciplinary committee dude was talking about was a lie? I hope so, because that would be way more awesome.
- All members of the disciplinary committee should know martial ar–oh, they already do. Well played!