Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records – 02

Now that’s more bloody like it. Thanks, Akashic Records, for validating my optimism! After an episode that makes Mr. Radars look like a total loooser, this week starts much the same way, with Glenn picking a fight with Sisti over the value and utility of magic, then going so far he makes her cry and slap him before storming out of class.

At the end of the day, Glenn spots Rumia working on a magical circle, and decides to help her out. She (and by extension we) learn a little more about Glenn, and we learn a lot about Rumia. She’s super-gung-ho about becoming a mage because she’s both indebted to and inspired by a ‘mage of justice’ who once saved her life.

Chances of this dude being Glenn are around, oh…99.99%. Still, I like the dynamic between Sisti’s fire and Rumia’s water regarding Glenn. It’s as if she knows he’s a better man than he’s letting on.

Glenn also takes Rumia’s advice and properly apologizes to Sisti, which flabberghasts her, but also eases their conflict considerably. From there, Glenn, outraged by the “For Dummies” approach his class had taken towards magic thus far, decides to actually give a shit and teaches them what he knows.

Mind you, he still manages to tease “Shironeko” Sisti in the process, but turns out to be a really good magical instructor. The class starts filling with rapt students. Shit is getting done. Just as Rumia saw a good man somewhere in Glenn’s initial bastardry, his mentor Celica predicted he’d be a great teacher.

This episode has a very talky middle, but I didn’t mind because it’s all fascinating stuff that delves deep into the magical lore of the show’s world. I also liked how Glenn actually had the know-how to back up his constant posturing.

But when the other teachers peace out for some kind of magical conference, a group of magical terrorists take advantage. One confronts Glenn in the streets, while others invade the school, looking for Rumia, who they call “Princess Ermiana.”

Sisti stands up for her friend, but when it’s clear the terrorists ain’t messin’ around, she comes forward, with a distinctly defiant look about her. Her faith in Glenn hasn’t been extinguished; she believes he’ll come and rescue them.

Sistine’s attitude gets her in real trouble when one of the terrorists takes her into an isolated room with designs on raping her, calling her out for her facade of strength masking a scared and fragile girl, and stating her type is his favorite. Yikes…shit got dark in a hurry.

Fortunately, this asshole’s associate’s magic didn’t actually do squat against Glenn, who arrives just in time to put a stop to his assault. He uses his ‘original spell’ The Fool’s World to nullify all magic within a certain radius around him, then uses some fly physical martial arts to incapacitate the jerkwad.

As Rumia—or Her Royal Highness Princess Ermiana, if you’re not into that whole brevity thing—thought, this Bastard Magic Instructor isn’t going to stand by and let even bigger bastards hurt his dear students. The straightforward comedy of the first episode wasn’t bad, but I enjoyed that same cheeky comedy interspersed with danger even more. The fact the “Magical Punch” is a kick, for instance; call me easily amused if you must.

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Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records – 01 (First Impressions)

Rudderless bastard Glenn Radars is appointed substitute professor at the illustrious Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, much to the chagrin of elite family heiress and top student Sistine Fibel. Sistine, her friend Rumia Tingel, and the rest of his class quickly learn Glenn’s a lazy bastard who refuses to teach anything, leading to a fed-up Sistine challenging him to a duel, which he promptly and definitively loses.

The title is certainly a mouthful, so I’ll shorten it to Akashic Records. And it’s pretty much the quintessential “7.33” anime. It’s definitely watchable, and I see potential in Glenn as either a redemption project or a paragon of stubborn bastardry. But man, the female students are moe-d out, with midriff-bearing uniforms reminiscent of Cross Ange and one or two too many accessories. There’s also a walking-in-on-girls-changing scene.

But the titular Bastard Magic Instructor Glenn is just such an unrepentant bastard, and there’s something oddly satisfying about just how immensely he’s wrecking this super-elite magic academy with his abject contempt for any kind of magic instructing. So too is Sistine’s seething outrage towards this cad who represents everything she isn’t.

Hints of his past indicate he was meant for great things, but either never got there or crashed and burned, and now he’s seemingly given up. But his friend professor Celica Arfonia won’t let him freeload, forcing him to substitute teach or face the wrath of her elemental magic.

But “fearing getting zapped by high-level magic” is not as powerful a motivator as one would think; after all, Celica just said he had to show up, not that he had to actually do anything but write “Self-Study” on the chalkboard in handwriting that gets worse as the day drags on.

Akashic Records’ and Glenn’s comedy is couched in the fact that despite being average on paper and having no public accomplishments (or even a teaching license) Glenn still struts around as if he was the Empire’s Chief Mage, or at least hot shit, and talks a ridiculously big game relative to his actual skill. It’s pretty fun to watch him revel in his bastard-ness.

Like Glenn himself, there’s potential in this show, whether Sistine’s somewhat repetitive (if completely justified) adversarial approach shifts into something more productive, or if the joke is that no matter how hard she or anyone else tries, he’ll happily remain being scum.

So I’ll give this a 7 for now and harbor cautious optimism. After all, it’s a pleasant-looking show with decent comic timing and doesn’t take itself deathly seriously. There’s also a laputa hanging up in the sky, and I’m hoping Sistine/Rumia/Glenn make their way up there before all’s said and done.

Blood Lad – 08

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Liz returns home, but is confronted by Officer Beros of the Acropolis Police, who arrests Braz for illegally leaving Acropolis. Fuyumi’s kidnapper slips up while feeding her, and she rings the bell Bell gave her. Bell intercepts the kidnapper, who is her brother, Nell Hydra, who says he’s only running an errand for their mom. Staz arrives, but Bell lets Nell escape to Hydra with Fuyumi and then shoots Staz, throwing him in her grid room.

Jealous of Staz’s devotion to Fuyumi, Bell challenges him to a fight to decide if she’ll take him to her. When she’s overly cocky he nearly takes her bottom half off, and she must abandon all the clothing attached to it. Before he reads her diary, she surrenders, and takes him to Hydra. Staz apologizes for causing her to be uptight, but won’t apologize, because he sees himself not as the hero, but the “bad guy.”

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If that synopsis was too long, here’s the tl;dr version: Staz goes looking for Fuyumi and runs into obstacles; the biggest among them Bell. She likes him, and it pisses her off that A.), he doesn’t notice, and B.), he’s so fixated on Fuyumi, and C.), he considers Fuyumi a rare and one-of-a-kind “collector’s item,” not an equal partner Bell could be to him. Their battle proves they’re on pretty equal footing power-wise, and FWIW, we’d choose Bell over Fuyumi every time.

Their battle is also a wonderful exercise in absurdity, as Bell gets caught with her pants down (literally!) and Staz is riddled with bullets to the point of needing to be pixelated (unlike Bell’s ass). Staz freely admits he’s not sure why Bell is so erratic around him, but he also tells her she’s welcome to take it all out on him, because he can take it, unknowingly endearing him to her even more. Even as she leads him to her home where he’s sure to meet her brother and mother on the way to retrieving her rival in love, she’s determined to keep her feelings hidden.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Blood Lad’s character designs are relatively simple, but fun and expressive, and the characters’ outfits change often (Bell’s in particular), keeping their looks fresh.
  • Now we know that crazy land with the planetoids/laputas in the ED is Bell’s home, Hydra.
  • Braz’s arrest by Berros shows us that, indeed, most people don’t really like him, which isn’t surprising.
  • Fuyumi seems to be a cooperative hostage as usual, but when the opportunity presents itself, she wisely rings the bell Bell gave her, setting everything into motion.