Akashic Records of a Bastard Magic Instructor Series Review: Or Let’s Get Glenn Sensei To Save the Day.

Overview:

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.

Review:

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.

+ Plus

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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.

– Minus

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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.

+ Plus

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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.

– Minus

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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.

+ Plus

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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.

– Minus

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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.

– Minus

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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.

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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.


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Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor Episode 12

Review:

This show kind of gave its best and worst in this final episode. It reminded us of the ridiculous outfits and ways it has treated its female cast even while making us laugh as Re=L threatens to take down Leos.

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It gave us a truly absurd wedding dress and what did they do to Sistine’s hair?

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We also had a villain whose motives were poorly explained and who seemed fairly mentally unbalanced which has become something of a trend for this series.

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That said, we also got a really cool magic fight and Glenn got some of his slightly cooler moments fairly reminiscent of the episode where he first started actually teaching magic and not being a complete waste of space.

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All and all, this episode concludes the whole Sistine marriage to Leos thing (which was kind of concluded before the episode only, who knew) and they at least remember that the Akashic Records are in the title of the show, but otherwise we’re still none the wiser about most of the other aspects of the world or storyline. While I didn’t hate this, I wasn’t exactly sitting on the edge of my seat either.

I’ll complete a full series review of this shortly.

Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor is available on Crunchyroll.


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Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor Episode 11

Review:

In case it hasn’t become clear, Glenn really doesn’t have any shame but at least he understood his opponent and the tactics he would be up against and devised a suitable counter, even if he didn’t play to win but merely bring the duel to a draw.

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That said, his basic personality is all over the shop. I get that they are trying to give us this whole tragic back story so we can see Glenn as just a young mage full of ideals that got crushed by tragedy and his current obnoxious persona is merely a cover for deep inner pain but to be perfectly honest I’m not buying it. He’s just too obnoxious.

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That said, plot armour apparently broke this episode at least temporarily because while Glenn may have taken the class combat to a draw he later gets beaten fairly badly and from Sistine’s voice over it seems he slunk away. I somehow doubt that’s the case and it’s probably all part of some plan to have Leos reveal his hand so they can round up everyone all at once and somehow everything will work out, but maybe this show will surprise me. Maybe.

Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor is available on Crunchyroll.


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Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor Episode 10

Review:

Okay, right from the start my biggest issue with this show was Glenn. He was lazy and unforgivably sloppy at his job (which effected the well being of the students in his care), and basically his attitude sucked. Despite backstory which tried to excuse it, that didn’t make the initial impressions of this character any better, however he actually did start doing his job and was fairly competent at it once he felt inspired to do it. So this episode?

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They pull this exact same scenario three times and each time you just can’t help thinking how much better things would be if Glenn just never came back. While I get that a lot of this episode is set up for the next confrontation, when they play Glenn like this I hate him and to be honest there isn’t a lot else to keep you watching the show at the moment. Any interesting curiosities with the magic have ceased to be a point of discussion, the students have more or less just become part of the background, and the larger mysteries around Rumia have essentially been put on hold. So what I’m left with is a show where I don’t much like the comedy moments and a main character I despise. I really would pull the plug on this show except (there had to be one) that part of me actually wants to know what the deal is with the cult and Rumia.

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Though it is quite likely that Glenn would be more tolerable this episode if Sistine didn’t make some truly insane choices and you can argue she doesn’t do well under pressure (there’s certainly precedent), but there’s very little that is threatening enough to have her declare that she’s her teacher’s lover.

Akashic Records is available on Crunchyroll.


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Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor Episode 9

Review:

Drama, drama, drama. In this episode we get Re=L’s backstory, a fairly cool fight sequence, some magic spells thrown around, the old guy’s plan totally foiled, rescue the Princess, and make up with all our school friends to live happily ever after playing beach volleyball. It’s all very exciting but kind of feels like none of it was dealt with properly.

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Admittedly, at least we don’t spend three episodes with the whole which side is Re=L on and at least there’s some reason for the stupid name but really this kind of felt like they just wanted to get back to playing on the beach and girls in swimsuits as fast as possible and Rumia being kidnapped was just an unwelcome diversion rather than the main plot.

Akashic Records is available on Crunchyroll.


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Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor Episode 8

Review:

Well, they certainly upped the damage this week but I’m not sure what else this accomplished. Re=L has a complicated past tied up with her brother and the weird divine researchers secret cult thing that seems like one of the least secret organisations ever. The students get a lecture about revival magic which I’m guessing will become significant fairly soon.

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And for some reason mid-way through the episode the show forgets it isn’t a zombie story.

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It’s a messy episode that goes from dull and ordinary to hectic and doesn’t pause for breath after that point. Rumia is still the designated hostage of the episode, Re=L has become a cookie cutter character with little will power of her own swayed from one side to the other through some very basic mind manipulation, and Sistine hasn’t really been interesting in a long time so her crying and wailing this episode was more or less par for the course. That isn’t to say it wasn’t reasonably interesting to watch, but this show never really knows what tone or pace it is going for and more just pelts ideas around to see what sticks.

Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor is availabe on Crunchyroll.


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Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor Episode 7

Review:

This episode did an excellent job of reminding me why I hated Glenn during episode 1 and why, despite the positive personality traits he’s exhibited since, I always remember that I hate this character. It doesn’t help the last few minutes of screen time he gets this episode attempts to make him seem all caring and concerned because we’ve just watched him spend an episode making poor innuendoes toward one of his female students, convince the boys that they should in fact stare at the female students in their swimwear, and offered fairly creepy in the context compliments to the girls on their swimwear.

The one slightly interesting point from this episode was learning more about Re=L as she became the cliché transfer student.

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And there we have it. Off colour jokes of inappropriate relations between student and teacher as well as heading straight back into cliché territory. That was pretty much episode 1. While this show has delivered some great entertainment inbetween now and then, this episode was not particularly promising.

Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor is available on Crunchyroll.


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