On day four, it’s time to make the impossible possible.
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei was not a good show. In fact, it was a pretty bad show. The world building amounted to repeated info dumps that felt more like reading from a textbook than an actual narrative, the morality of the show was pure black and white and the first arc chose to bring some really weird politics into the story. But I finished it thanks to one man: Shiba Tatsuya, alternatively known as Mahoukaman, Mahoukadude, Jesus Tatsuya, Mr. Perfect etc. Tatsuya was mostly notable for how overpowered and perfect he was. Now he’s not the first main character to be an overpowered Gary Stu. What made Tatsuya special among all Gary Stus was how thoroughly the show dedicated itself to glorifying him and how unapologetic it was about the whole thing.
The show opens by introducing Tatsuya as a member of the high school’s “second class” which is for students who did not do well enough on the entrance exams to get into the first class. Now you might think that this set up is designed to look at the issue of standardized tests being a poor attempt at a “one size fits all” method of evaluating students and that some people have valuable skills that aren’t measured by entrance exams. But no, it’s just a feeble attempt to create some artificial adversity for Mahoukadude and act like he has some kind of flaw. It’s also an excuse for the first class students to act like irredeemable jerks towards Mahoukaman, which would become a pattern. All his enemies are clearly bad people and deserve what’s coming to them and all of Tatsuya’s supposed flaws are actually imagined or unimportant.
After “establishing” that Tatsuya isn’t perfect it was time for Mahouka to go into overdrive showing just how perfect Mahoukaman actually is. During the show Tatsuya single-handedly takes down armies of terrorists (from a country bearing a striking resemblance to China), he discovers the secrets of self-powered flight after countless scientists had failed to do so, he claims victory for his school’s team in the inter-school magic competition, he invents cold fusion and then nukes a battleship from a thousand kilometers away. It might sound like I’m exaggerating these things for effect but that’s literally what Mahoukadude does.
Now maybe you’d think he does this all through his amazing craftiness which makes up for his lack of practical magic skills. But no, his deficiency in magic really just amounted to not being able to push a block across the room properly. In contrast to that, his actual magic abilities include:
- The aforementioned power of flight
- The ability to disarm and neutralize any enemy in a single movement
- The ability to self-heal whenever he gets damaged
- The ability to instantly dismember any enemy he faces
- The ability to nullify any opponent’s magical power from range
- The ability to see through walls
- The ability to shoot enemies with lethal accuracy from a kilometer away
- And the aforementioned long distance battleship nuke powers
But I’ll be damned if that guy wasn’t completely incapable of pushing that block. What a failure. Life is so hard for Mahoukaman.
To top it all off, it’s revealed in the final episode that he can restore anything to its previous state for twenty-four hours, including bringing people back from the dead. Of course, this is played off as a burden because Tatsuya has to feel the entirety of the pain of whoever or whatever he’s repairing in the moment that he performs the ritual. Sure he’s basically a more powerful Jesus at this point and his power effectively trumps any possible enemy because he can reverse whatever they do, but can’t you understand how much of a burden this is and how terrible Tatsuya’s life must be?
The thing is, while all of this is clearly terrible writing and the fact that Tatsuya is invincible and all-powerful takes any tension out of the proceedings, the show’s dedication to glorifying him was actually kind of charming. The extent to which the show pumped Mahoukadude up to the point of self-parody kept me coming back for more. The show might not have been good in the traditional sense but it kept me watching week after week just to see how ridiculous Mahoukaman’s powers would get. And each week, the Mahoukaman did not disappoint.