Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Episode 9 – Doing it All

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, this write-up spends some time explaining explanations glossed over in the anime, and talking about basic story-structure, which this narrative doesn’t execute well.)

With every episode, we move towards episodes that don’t have less info-dumps, but where the non-infodump section is actually action, or where the infodumps are about action, rather than just theory! So close!

Yeah, last episode was bad in a different way, it had clearly shown that the author does not know what invests conflicts with weight, and how to make a conflict feel meaningful, and overcoming it a success. Well, new week, so new chances to impress us, right? Welp.

(It turns out I took 42 screenshots this episode. I have no idea how it happened. Here’s the album.)

Thoughts and Notes:

1) King Tatsuya Assumes His Natural Position:

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei anime episode 9 notes / The Irregular at Magic High School anime episode 9 notes - History is being made at the FCL labs

There are no photos of “The Chief” in the LN. I was sure he’d look older, somewhat short, and chubby. I can’t be bothered to check if they describe his physique in all of the books, but hey, doesn’t really matter.

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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Episode 8 – “Nothing is Impossible!”

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, this write-up spends some time explaining explanations glossed over in the anime, and talking about basic story-structure, which this narrative doesn’t execute well.)

Well, the first arc is finally over! The second arc is here, and it’s going to be fun, and have action! Just as soon as we finish preparing for the Nine Schools Competition and swallow some more magic jargon :P

Thoughts:

1) Highschool Comedy:

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei anime episode 8 notes / The Irregular at Magic High School anime episode 8 notes - Yoshida Mikihiko is afraid of bloomers!

They’re talking about ‘bloomers’.

1) “BS Magicians” always made me laugh – “They’re such “BS Magicians!” (Bullshit, for those not familiar with this acronym). Referring to magicians with a special inborn talent.

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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Episode 6 – Action, Interrupted

Mini-editorial, covering some points, one at a time. No episodic notes, but a bunch of editorial notes.

Full Title: How I Tried to Enjoy an Episode of Mahouka for Dumb Fun, To Find a Lot of Dumb and Too Little Fun ;_;

Or: Action Came, Wasn’t Good.

Pre-Episode Hopes:

Woohoo! Action! The reason I’m actually watching this show. And to think I picked it up hoping it’d just be a light popcorn show with no real subtext or anything ;-) Twitter already told me that as I suspected (and feared) last episode, this episode won’t finish the Enrollment chapter.

It actually makes sense – all of the pieces they set up thus far, you need fights fueled by ideology to settle things. That’s how fights in such shows go – they’re not fights where the strongest person wins, but the one where the one with the ideological belief that is “right” wins. Well, it works in most shounens, where our heroes use the power of “Friendship!” to fuel their punches and overcome stronger odds.

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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Episode 5 – The Weekly Strawmen Deconstruction

Mini-editorial, covering some points, one at a time. No episodic notes, but a bunch of editorial notes.

Full Title: The Weekly Strawmen Takedown and Thematic Dismantling of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei

Or: Can’t the action come already?

Being Tatsuya is Suffering:

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei / The Irregular at Magic High School episode 5 anime review - Shibata Mizuki adores Tatsuya

“My goal is energy generation, so I’m fine with being called out as inferior, which I am!” – Oh, what bullshit. No one in the world can handle all the processes for said energy generation on their own. Heck, at this point, as said in a prior episode, it’s one of the three great challenges – as such, it doesn’t matter how many processes he can or can’t invoke, it’s immaterial. It’d require a group effort. But, what can be done by one lone genius is a theoretical breakthrough – and we’re sure you’ll manage that, Tatsuya!

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Mahouka Koukou / Irregular at Magic High School: An Ode to Meritocracy!

I’ve warned people. I told them it’d be bad. I told them there’s a reason the messages in this show trouble me so. They thought I was just being overly sensitive. Well, episode 4 happened, so let’s talk about it.

Introduction: Weaponized Light Novels, Handle With Extreme Caution:

Plenty of media pieces convey opinions I don’t share. It’s not bad, it’s an opinion. An unexplored political opinion, a “normative message” (“this is how things should be”) is harmful. You can pick it up, but you should be aware of what its ramifications are, you should look clearly at what it’s actually saying.

Light Novels often contain an underlying subtext that is at best naïve and divorced from reality, and at worst poisonous. A lot of it can be chalked up to “wishful thinking” or “fantasies”, whether they are power fantasies where we get to do as we wish with our power, or ones where we’re smarter than everyone else and they despise us for it, or even where our moral superiority over others should give us more rights, affirming our deeply-felt belief that we are somehow better than those around us, who do not acknowledge us.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei anime / The Irregular at Magic High School anime - Shiba Tatsuya is Dark Flame Master!

Many light novels and anime works, heck, many films, video games, etc. are appreciated not in spite of the subtext, but because of it. We all watch and play stuff for the fantasies they empower and engender within us; that’s fine. If anything, it’s the opposite of escapism, tackling things we cannot handle in life on our terms.

And then we have messages such as the ones in Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, that seem benign, but are deeply insidious and had even caused much harm in the real world, and which make me shake my head mightily and cry out, “No. This is not fine.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei begins with the usual stuff: Presenting a picture of a world where we are glorious, but others just fail to see it, and when they do they flock to us, without us needing to actually do anything about it ourselves.

But then the show takes it further, and argues that people who seek more equality, or dare to oppose the benevolent rule of Capitalism are defeatists who blame others, those who argue for “false equality”, and even terrorists, while trying to present its “Rule of the Inherited Might” as not just benevolent, but “fair”, while it is anything but.

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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Episode 1 – Inferiority Complex, Memento Mori, Adaptation Thoughts

On Resentment and Feelings of Superiority:

It’s easy to understand the resentment felt by Course 1 students towards Course 2 students. Course 2 students are “replacements”. 100 students in each course, every year, so what are replacements for?

Replacements are there in case you lose the ability to use magic, or get hurt. To be constantly around people whose mere existence reminds you that you can lose the gift which you have, or even your life. To constantly be surrounded by people vying to take your spot. It’s unsurprising that resentment builds up.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei / The Irregular at Magic High School episode 1 - Standoff, Shibata Mizuki, Morisaki, Saijou Leonheart, Chiba Erika, Mitsui Honoka, Shizuku

The Course 2 students are essentially “memento mori”, a reminder that you are mortal, and replaceable (Later on there’ll be some talk that’ll make this more relevant, though they don’t touch on it again, just my own thought that makes all of this even more ridiculous, I’ll touch upon it when it comes up).

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