When the student council president went into her big speech at the end of the episode in the auditorium about how the systematic oppression of those with less magic skills is actually the fault of those oppressed and they just need to be saved by those higher up, I was reminded of two anime. The first was those utterly bizarre Happy Science religious cult movies. Specifically Rebirth of Buddha and the scene where Buddha, reborn as Sister from Arakawa Under the Bridge, stands in an auditorium and makes a ten minute long speech about faith and spirituality and the like. It’s long and boring and makes fuck all sense, but everyone in the crowd starts perking their head up and paying attention and being totally moved by the whole experience. I wouldn’t have been too surprised if, much like in Rebirth of Buddha, beams of light started shining down on the student council president as she slowly ascended, riding on the back of a giant golden elephant. Sadly Mahouka is not as good as Rebirth of Buddha, but I suppose it was just the student council president speaking and not Tatsuya.
The other anime I was reminded of was Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Specifically the scene where Yang Wenli was asked to make a speech at a political rally. Instead of forwarding a political argument using empty platitudes ala student council president, Yang Wenli’s speech consists of saying “I’m Yang Wenli, pleased to meet you” and sits down again.
I’m now able to follow Mahouka’s long winded magic explanations. While his expectations can feel a little belittling to the audience in a “lol how can you not know this” sort of way, Tatsuya’s explanations are detailed and relatively easy to follow once you understand there’s a very rigid set of rules magic follows in this world. Which would be fine if I’d reading a textbook and was preparing for my magic finals at the end of the season. Instead I’m watching an anime and these explanations are long and boring. If it so pains you to remove your precious world building and yet you can’t find a way to interweave it more elegantly into your story in a natural fashion, take a leaf out of Attack on Titan’s book at put those long-winded shit into the mid-episode eye-catches. That way it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story and I can still go and read all this magic nonsense if I feel so inclined.
Except the point of this magic isn’t to do world building. How the magic system works hasn’t played that much into the story so far beyond explaining why Tatsuya is actually flawed at magic even though his failure has no practical inhibitors in real life, like being shit at speaking Latin or something like that. The purpose of these long-winded scenes is to make Tatsuya seem real smart and to explain shit to everyone so it looks like he’s lording the information and being generally superior in every way. Once you look through the lens of reading everything in this show is designed to make Tatsuya appear more perfect, it all makes way more sense.
The only scene that doesn’t quite play into this is when all the speeches about social inequality come into play because all they do is make Tatsuya seem like a snobby prick. However that would be because you are a normal, nice person who tries their hardest not to be a snobby prick. You may slip up every now and then and use a slur you don’t realise is a slur then bitch about political correctness going mad and then eventually not using the word again, but your heart is in the right place so we don’t hold it against you. Meanwhile Tatsuya appears like a snobby prick because the worldview Mahouka is presenting is that it’s the oppressed’s fault they’re oppressed and that’s because they’re just too stupid and resort to violence when they could just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop bitching.