Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Episode 16: Showdown
While there were some exciting parts to Tatsuya and Ichijou’s grand showdown, ultimately it was fairly anticlimactic once again – oddly enough, there was more suspense to the match on paper than there was to it animated, as action-packed as it may have been. Detailed explanations and descriptions were removed, leaving most of their battle as a sequence where they both kept walking towards the other while shooting the same magic over and over again. In part, this is no fault of the anime – action-packed sequences are much preferable to someone narrating giant chunks of text, while in comparison, a giant chunk of text is the very essence of what a novel is. And even though they were repeatedly casting the same magic, there was some nice somersaulting from Tatsuya that was accompanied by slick animation on Madhouse’s part. But in the end, it doesn’t change the fact that Tatsuya ended up looking like he was playing a hybrid of Speed Shooting and Mirage Bat as he calmly Gram Demolitioned everything out of the sky. At this point, Monolith Code is pretty much just a cover, so I was expecting everything to feel a bit more radical – the monolith is just for show on the open plains stage, as it’s unlikely anyone will be able to get to it without incapacitating the opponent first.
Admittedly, both Tatsuya and Ichijou were nerfed, with the limitations of the Nine Schools Competition preventing their match from being as exciting as it potentially could have been – no killing is allowed, to state an obvious example. And so the Ichijou family’s Rupture couldn’t have been used. Similarly, Tatsuya’s power was also limited by both the 9SC rules and the Yotsuba family, who have their own agenda in not wanting Tatsuya to reveal the true extent of his power – when he was forced to show his hand, it was lucky that he decided on Flash Cast and Elemental Sight as they wouldn’t be identified as unusual to the majority of the spectators, with no drastic changes to either himself or the magic he used (i.e. it would seem as if he had just gotten better at dismantling Ichijou’s magic). And Self-Restoration, which he used back in the previous arc when Miyuki got pissed after trying to seduce him, was definitely a gamble. I love how Juumonji unknowingly helped to cover for him by explaining it off as him strengthening his body – somehow I doubt Mayumi bought it, as it was clear he was very injured after being hit by the two shots he couldn’t dismantle with Gram Demolition. While Tatsuya won, I don’t think the outcome would have changed had they both been allowed full access to their power – evidently Fujibayashi thought so too. Onii-sama is so modest.
Meanwhile, I was actually sort of disappointed with Kichijouji. It’s true that Tatsuya’s little trick prevented him from fighting at his best, but he would have lost early on had Ichijou not managed to cover for him. And he never quite got over the fact that Ichijou lost to the guy they were all already wary of. I’m glad that both Mikihiko and Leo were cast into the spotlight at this point though – Tatsuya couldn’t move after taking out Ichijou and hurting himself in the process, so it was left to them to finish the job and win the actual event. Sadly, Mikihiko’s monologue was cut out for the most part – there’s been a subtle side-story throughout this arc in which he’s been struggling through a confidence crisis. After his little talk with Erika last episode, his victory over someone as high-profile as Cardinal George was supposed to represent him overcoming this and having his self-confidence restored, the insinuations of which was almost entirely cut out in the anime. And the “Thunder Child” magic he used on Kichijouji was far less impressive than the one he used in the OP. That’s what his gloomy expression at the end was supposed to be all about – the idea that Leo and Tatsuya survived full-on attacks with only physical endurance left him with the mindset that he still had a lot to learn.
Oh well, I’ve gotten used to it by now. Stuff like that has never been this adaptation’s strong suit.