A new part time teacher is appointed at a prominent magic academy only he doesn’t seem overly interested in teaching, at least at first. Enter some life or death situations for the students and then enter a heal the teacher/impart some wisdom on the students dynamic that will persist for the rest of the series.
If you are interested in my thoughts on individual episodes click here.
I’m going to have to take a plus/minus approach to this review. The thing is, this show probably isn’t as bad as I found it but because of its nature, and the nature of the main character, I really didn’t like quite a bit of it. There were a few shining moments though and that kept me watching right until the end.
The first lesson that Glenn actually bothers to teach where he explains how modifying a spell will change the effect is fantastic. If they’d given us more episodes and lessons like this I would have hated Glenn less and enjoyed the show far more. This element of the story, how magic actually works in this world, is one of the better parts and it would have been interesting to get more into just how far you can push a spell modification. Unfortunately, after this lesson, other than a few references to students adjusting spells on the fly, there’s really little to look forward to in this department.
I’ll get it out of my system: I hate Glenn Radars. It isn’t that he is a poorly written character or that he has no development or anything like that, though there are moments where he could certainly afford to more nuanced. He’s a perfectly functional character within the story. I just hate him. His disrespect for his students and his job in the first episode really got under my skin and his continual deliberately putting people on the wrong side or allowing them to misunderstand his intentions just reinforced my dislike. Everytime I thought we’d finally moved on – the lesson he taught that was so interesting, the few times he stops acting like a jerk long enough to actually help his students without teasing them, his cool moments during a fight – almost immediately after Glenn would do something incredibly frustrating and infuriating that just reminded me I didn’t like him. For me, this made most of the show a fairly frustrating viewing experience and one I think most anime fans are familiar with. It doesn’t matter if a show is brilliant, if you are actively hoping for the main character to fall into an active volcano, you probably aren’t enjoying the show.
The three girls who end up being the main focus most of the time, Rumia, Sistine and Re=L, actually have a fairly good friendship dynamic even if the inclusion of Re=L originally felt incredibly forced into the plot. Once she was an established part of the trio the scenes where these girls interacted felt fairly genuine. Now we could argue that pretty much all these girls were just taking it in turns to be the damsel in distress, but that doesn’t take away the strength of their friendship.
Other than characters who seem missing in action more often than present, are there any female characters who don’t need to be saved by Glenn Radars? Seriously. Just looking at the main 3 girls, they are incredibly capable and hard-working. These girls should not be designated victim of the narrative arc. And in case you want to point out the final fight where one of them did get to fight, I’d respond with pointing to how that fight ultimately ended and why. And just so I don’t have to add it as its own point, can I raise the issue of the stupid female uniforms that serve their actual purpose of fan-service very well but serve no other point whatsoever particularly when compared to the design of the male uniform.
The stories get moved through fairly quickly so we aren’t really allowed to become bored. A problem comes up, we spend an episode or two running around, and then the problem is solved, ready for the new one. Most of these problems have some loose connection to either the politics of the world or some weird cult (so also probably political) and I’m guessing eventually someone will tie these plots together but at the moment they are more a disconnected series of events that occasionally have a recurring villain, but the point is that each story does not overstay its welcome before we move into the next arc.
What exactly is the overall point of this series? Glenn kind of actually becomes a teacher by the end of the story so maybe it was about his journey but he probably could have checked that box back at episode 4 if he’d wanted to. We still don’t know enough about Rumia, what the Akashic Records are, why there’s so much political discord, or anything of actual significance to the world the story is set in. We also don’t really know anything about the villains introduced other than they are all unhinged. So we’ve watched 12 episodes and while a continuation of this might be able to give us a bit more of a point, really the point of this just didn’t become clear.
This is again an incredibly subjective one but almost every moment of ‘comedy’ in this fell pretty flat for me. Mostly this was because a lot of it centred around Glenn and my active dislike for him made it difficult to find anything around him funny. But moments like Sistine blowing him away with a gust of wind, three times in one episode, came across as more tedious and desperate than actually funny. Again, that was my feeling and that was because I didn’t like the main character and I’m not a huge comedy fan in the first place.
Basically, even with my instant dislike of Glenn and the comedy missing the mark more often than not, I still watched this series through. There are enough decent moments spread throughout and the stories are tolerable enough even if they become a little predictable as the series progresses. It looks pretty good, the music is fine, there’s some cool magic effects and magic lore, and every now and then they throw in a touching and dramatic moment. For people who don’t mind Glenn so much and find the comedy more appealing, I’m certain they’ll actually have quite a lot of fun with this series even though it will still not exactly be a stand out in any particular department. For everyone else, there’s probably other magical high school shows you could get into that might be a bit of a better fit.
Thanks for reading.
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