The Alzano Empire is home to one of the most distinguished magic schools in the world: the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy. Here, ambitious young students undergo training to become competent magicians. Sistine Fibel, a stern noble girl, and her bright-eyed best friend Rumia Tingel attend the Academy, determined to cultivate their magical skills.
However, their world is thrown for a loop when their favorite teacher suddenly retires and the enigmatic Glenn Radars replaces him. His lazy and indifferent attitude toward life and magic quickly puts him at odds with his class. What's more, nefarious forces hidden within the empire's walls start to become active, and Sistine, Rumia, and Glenn find themselves caught up in their schemes.
Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records follows Sistine, who is captivated by a mysterious floating Sky Castle; Rumia, who is haunted by a troubled past; and Glenn, who may be more than meets the eye. Though completely different on the surface, they are inexplicably bound together by a thread of fate.
Open up a light novel with a school setting with pretty girls and a protagonist standing in the middle. Then in the background, watch for signs of magical content like sparkles, circles, etc. I swear, almost every light novel adaptation these days has something similar in nature and it doesn’t take a creative mind to write a story about them. Given the way Rokudenashi is written, there’s no treasure you’ll find in this series. Instead, you’ll spend endless hours wondering why the characters’ school uniforms look so ridiculous.
Also known as Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor, the series takes off in an academy life setting.
From the first few episodes, the series doesn’t hide the personality of the main protagonist, Glenn Radars. To put it straightforward, he is a bastard. His personality is very sarcastic, lazy, and seems to never be able to stand still. However, Glenn has shown that he is a capable instructor with a decent knowledge of magic. And in essence, he has a good heart to help his students. So I guess in a way, he is able to walk between the line of a lazy bastard and as a guy his students can rely on. Unfortunately, my early impression of Glenn is that he is very difficult to take seriously and is someone that can barely act his age.
Given the context of the series, the girls doesn’t present a good impression of themselves either. The first time when Glenn interacts with Sistine, a promising student at school, he is literally blasted away by his awkward introduction. Her best friend Rumia seems to be more understanding although she seems to fit into the category of the classic damsel in distress. She is pretty, kind, has blonde hair with a cute smile but unfortunately never able to save herself. You ever see a horror movie where an innocent blonde girl is running for her life and desperately needs to be saved? That’s how I picture Rumia throughout the show as many episodes seems to put her into such position. At some point, I wouldn’t be surprised if viewers label her as a hostage simulator.
On terms of character relationships, the series seems to jump from one to another although the core focus is still Glenn. I have to admit, his relationships with his students is pretty uninspiring. On paper, Glenn and Sistine has a rocky relationship ever since from their first encounter. Their relationship seems to warm up a bit although can hardly be memorable given their contrasting personalities. Let’s face it, Sistine is a serious working student hoping to make her dreams come true while Glenn is a lazy bastard who seems to be taking life like a game. There’s hardly any connection between the two except we learn that Sistine does remind him of another character in the past. Given the length of this adaptation, that territory is hardly explored which is pretty disheartening to be honest. In the meantime, there’s Rumia and Glenn. They get along better and if I had to guess, she might have developed a girly crush on Glenn just because of how much times he’s saved her. Beyond that, it’s nothing home to write about. Oh and of course, there are some other characters we’ll encounter like Re=L, Albert, and Celica. Between Glenn and them, it just feels like these characters are there and hardly stand out with their role. The only character on that list worth mentioning may be Re=L but she has the personality of a doll and a peculiar background story. And trust me, with a character like Re=L in this show, it feels like they are trying to bring in every type of generic character personality they can into one place.
By expectations, the series probably excels most when it takes a more serious approach at magic. Understandably, this show surprisingly does a neat job at explaining magic, or at least on a level that makes sense. Antagonists are able to utilize magic at a level that looks threatening while Glenn establishes himself as a capable instructor with his knowledge of magic. By storytelling standards, magic is also a core motivation for Sistine as she wishes to discover the secrets of the Flying Castle. So if any positive stands out about this show, I can safely say that magic adamantly stands out. It’s even part of a tournament although the storytelling itself in that field is pretty underwhelming.
If I was to talk about the art of the show, the first thing that pops to my head is the school uniforms. Somehow, the female characters finds no troubling wearing them despite their ridiculous design. Attached to a string and exposing the bellies, it makes me curious if this school even has a damn written dress code. Character designs look somewhat noticeable such as Sistine’s cat ears, Re=L’s blueish hair, or Celica’s black dress. Character expressions for the main cast are somewhat entertaining to watch at times when the timing is appropriate. However, the antagonists in this show are very disappointing to look at. I mean, an evil maid? A guy that dresses like he works as a stagecoach driver? Can this show get any more awkward? On the other hand, I guess the academy itself looks normal or fits within the category of acceptable. The action sequences on most parts flows well. But again, it’s mostly the magic doing the work.
I don’t have much to say for the soundtrack or music as it feels rather blend. The OP and ED theme songs are pretty generic while the battle soundtrack is hardly original. My impressions of the voice acting also remains so-so. Glenn sounds too sarcastic for a guy of his age while Re=L is devoid of emotions. Sistine and her friend Rumia doesn’t bring in any memorable lines and often makes comedic scenes look shameful.
In retrospect, I can’t say this is a good show. Or in fact, it’s not even half decent. It fits more into the category of academy story with characters molded by the most generic personalities possible. The storytelling itself borders into the realm of gobbledygook as hardly any episodes are memorable. With cheesy character dialogues, weakly developed relationships, and attempts at crafting humor, the show doesn’t do well at it selling whatever it intends to. Oh and school uniforms…
Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records is in my opinion the greatest disappointment of the spring season. Don't misunderstand me, I really enjoyed the show but after watching the first episodes my expectations were really high, this anime had a lot of potential and it got wasted, so this is why I feel let down.
The story, which seemed really good at the beginning, went to nowhere, there's no plot overall, the anime consists in Glenn (the MC) saving continuously the girls he's bound to because everyone of them is important for some reason or another and the storytelling towards the end was very rushed: I
felt like it was lacking something so I read the manga (I know the LN is the original but I couldn't find it anywhere) and noticed that some details were left out of the anime adaptation. So, if you liked the show I recommend you to read the Light Novel or the manga.
I liked the characters and the comedy but I grew a bit annoyed at them with each passing episode because they lost their initial impact, I think the show needed to renew some gags, but it was funny nonetheless and I didn't get bored.
Speaking of the characters, the girls' chara design was beautiful, Rumia, Sistine and Re=l were extraordinarly cute. And I found the voice acting really good, I was most impressed by Sistine's VA, it was perfect and I loved it.
So, long story short: if you like the magic/school genre this is a piece of cake, it's entertaining and I had fun watching it, but don't make the same mistake as me, don't raise your expectations, because the anime starts off pretty well, but it becomes somewhat predictable afterwards.
If there is one trend I dislike more than anything over the past few years, it is the plethora and popularity of light novel adaptations. Now, of course, to clarify, I don't believe that just because an anime is adapted from a light novel, it is inherently bad. There have been plenty of light novel adaptations in the past that have actually been pretty good, but what I am referring to, in this case, are the light novel adaptations that feature some boring male protagonist with spiky hair that acts as a self insert for all of the filthy otaku, who goes to some random
high school that is usually one in which the students have super powers (and for some reason it's always fucking magic) as he becomes stronger and stronger while all of the female cast gets wet at his complete awesomeness! Most of these light novel adaptations follow the same basic elements, character archetypes and plot threads, and, if you've seen as many as I have, all begin to blend into one gigantic, horrible mess. I hate these types of light novel adaptations, because they're so fucking lazy and so god damn unoriginal, yet, they still become widely popular; undeservingly so! While I have seen a couple of them done decently well, such as Chivalry of a Failed Knight, which plays around and subverts some of the troupes found in these typical shows, Akashic Records is not decent... it's not even mediocre! It's terrible! Everyone of these elements I have listed in this opening paragraph are present in this shit, and the writing, characters, narrative and the world presented to us are so boring, generic and cookie-cutter that I feel like throwing up just thinking about them! While this shit is not the worst light novel adaptation I have ever seen (that honour would go to Absolute Duo or The Asterisk War) it baffles me why this show is receiving such praise from some people and why it has sat at a score of around seven on this website. As soon as I saw the words "light novel" and "LIDENFILMS" in the seasonal charts before the show started up, I think I died a little inside and, to this day, this studio still hasn't produced a single anime I would actually consider to be noteworthy with this being their minimus opus, if you will. With all that said and done, let's jump into the narrative (if you could even call it that) of this absolute train wreck!
To say that the story of Akashaic Records is generic would be the understatement of the year. If anything, this narrative is incredibly linear and predictable every step of the way with glaring pacing issues while shoving down your throat as many stereotypically dull speeches about life as it can possibly muster in each episode. It's set in a world in which magic is a viable tool and is used often for war against other nations, and, of course, as typical of light novel stories, the teenagers in this world are able to use said magic and attend special high schools. Enter the Light Novel guy for this series; a lazy man with an indifferent attitude who also happens to be a shut in, takes up a job teaching magic at some random magic high school after being forced to by the woman he lives with. This, however, is greeted by distain by the students in the class he has to teach, in particular, by two female students, called Tsundere-chan (Sistine Febel) and Basic Bitch (Rumia Tingel). While this first greeting is met with hostility, this new teacher eventually warms up to the rest of the class and they begin to develop more of a bond with him over the course of the series! And that's it for a plot! If it sounds like I'm being incredibly vague with this plot synopsis, that's because nothing really happens in this show from a narrative stand point. It feels like a sequence of events that just happen because the writer needed to fill in some time and they connect so loosely with each other and have no overall bearing or impact on the plot that the narrative feels weak and lacking emotion. None of the characters have any motivation or any clearly defined goals in this series and thus it is hard to actually get invested or engaged into this world at all, or to care for any of the characters. The narrative has no sense of direction, and a weak narrative isn't exactly a game breaker for me as long as the characters are good (which they're not, but I'll get into that in a bit) but I'd like to have some kind of story actually happening! There is an evil magic organisation of some sort but they barely play any part in the narrative and feel so tacked on and vague that half of the time I forget that they're even present or playing any part in this story. They do introduce a new villain in the show but it's WAY too late into the narrative in order to flesh him out and instead they rush this character's introduction, his involvement and his back-story within only an episode or so.
Speaking of the pacing, holy fuck is this broken. The show tries to squeeze so much into its short twelve episode frame that it feels like a chore to watch since they're constantly throwing more and more shit at you at every passing episode. It's also another kick to the nuts to realise that everything that does happen in the show is so inconsequential and boring to boot as well, which is also present in the setting for the show. The world of Akashic Records is one of the laziest thought out worlds I have ever seen. It's a world in which magic, FUCKING MAGIC, is a part of everyday life but we barely seen any examples of how people coexist with magic in the narrative in their daily lives outside of high school nor is the magic they use themselves all too great either. The great thing about setting your world in which features magic is that it allows you to be as creative as you could possibly want in regards to how the world operates and how its people live, while excusing it with the pretence that magic is an in depth and intricate system that makes sense to the characters that live in this world, but, instead, they do nothing with it. For the sake of argument, let's compare it to the series Little Witch Academia, which aired alongside this show. Aside from doing everything better than Akashic Records, the world of Little Witch Academia is built around this idea of magic, and is used in creative ways which brings the world to life. The world is interesting and alluring. Not only that but each of the characters have clearly defined goals which helps to push the story forward and keep the audience immersed in the story; two things that Akashic Records doesn't have.
A lot of the time the narrative is just simply tasteless, making light jokes and comedy from molestation and rape of all things, especially from the second episode. The tonal shifts from watching a girl almost get raped to then making a stupid joke is painful and is almost as bad as the tonal shifts from Drifters. Speaking of the comedy, it feels so damn forced and trite as well as predictable that every attempt at a joke falls flat on its face and isn't funny in the slightest! The show also throws a shit ton of blood at the audience in a petty, pathetic attempt at seeming hardcore and edgy since the writing isn't strong enough to hold up by itself. Not only that, but the insane amount of blood half the time just feels silly, such as in episode nine, where Basic Bitch is lying unconscious in the floor with an insane amount of blood plastered on the bed, floor and curtains (enough that would kill a person), but her only wound is a slight wound on her stomach! How? Why? Who knows! Fuck it.
There actually is a tournament arc in the show, but just like everything else, it is terrible. Again, since this is a world full of magic, the writer could have written some very interesting fight scenes or competitions around the use of magic but all of them are just so boring and the show glosses over this arc so quickly that it feels entirely pointless. Some may argue that the true meat of this arc was in fact Basic Bitch's relationship with the queen and everything surrounding that, but, again, it feels so boring to watch, this is never brought up later again in the series and this scene is one of the worst cases of melodrama and bad writing I have seen in a very long time. And much of the show is forced with melodrama too, which, doesn't feel emotional since I don't care for a single one of these characters and all of these situations I've seen to much better affect somewhere else before. There is even a beach scene, thrown in just for some silly fan service, scenes that could have been used for character development and growth instead, but, nope, CLEARLY, the most important thing to do is show the audience what each girl would look like if they were in bloody swimsuits! The narrative is just so boring, predictable and unfocused that it's hard not to fall asleep whilst watching it and every single element in the story has been done elsewhere before in a better capacity. Even for Light Novels this story is generic and they use every cheap writing technique in the book to try and make you feel sorry and sympathetic for these characters when they have not been built from the ground up from victimisation, to the loss of a loved one in the past; this shit has it all!
The characters are just as bad and are essentially just all archetypes of previous anime character personality traits. Not a single one is interesting and none develop at all during the entire duration of the show; they're all stagnant. Glenn, as a main character of a light novel series, is a little bit more interesting than what I am accustomed to however, not only in physical appearance, but also in personality. He is an adult character, makes fun of people, is lazy and is just all around a dick. He doesn't get flustered when he sees girls naked (instead he actively tries to) like most light novel main guys either. Does this make his character good? No... not really. The main problem with Glenn as a character is that he is inconsistent and his back-story is both generic as hell, and is very heavily underdeveloped to boot. He is made to be, at first, to be an incompetent idiot with no speciality for magic, but after episode three, he pretty much can do anything the plot demands from him because B U L L S H I T. While, at times, I did enjoy his random hijanks and ass-hole nature, I found him to be extremely boring, and lacking when compared to the series Great Teacher Onozuka. The other main characters include Tsundere-chan, who begins to develop a crush on Glenn as the series goes along and GOD I wanted to smack this character in the face. She is constantly complaining, whining and nagging at every little fucking thing and her character design, and personality, has been done so much at this point, that every time I see a Tsundere character I want to slam my face into a wall. Basic Bitch, otherwise known as Rumia, is the only character with some emotional weight to her as her back-story is decently explored but is nothing to write home about. I refer to her as Basic Bitch because that is exactly what she is: basic. She acts as the good moralled, angel type character which sickens me to death with how boring she is. The only other character who is given somewhat of a back-story is a character called Re-L, who assumes the deadpan loli archetype that has been done so many times up to this point, that every time she was on screen my mind sort of hazed out and lost interest straight away. While, sure, we do learn things about her character, it's, again, nothing all too great, boring and after her mini-arc is completed she is pretty much pushed to the side lines afterwards and plays hardly any factor in the rest of the show.
The rest of the cast is equally as generic, boring and underdeveloped, and it's giving me a migraine trying to refresh my memory of them. The only character who is SOMEWHAT likeable, and I stress that "somewhat" greatly is Celica, mainly because of her personality but this character is given so little screen time that I forgot about her entirely. When she is on screen, she is fairly interesting but is not enough to save the anime.
The overall aesthetic and quality of the artwork was just fine, but the animation was just pretty lazy since they reuse the same shot of Tsundere-chan punching Glenn into the sky about twenty times, three within one episode sometimes. It's not the worst I have seen, and I do like some of the palette as well, but it's overall just a very bland looking show. However, the character designs are some of the worst I have ever seen! While the boy's school uniform is fine and conventional, I have no fucking clue what the hell happened to the girl's outfits. It looks like something you'd find straight out of a porno for fucks sake! The skirt is about five millimetres in length, covering barely any flesh and they have these short tops, which exposes their stomachs, complete with garter belts and straps around from their skirts to their stomachs. How, in the holy mother of fuck, was this allowed in a fucking high school is way beyond me, and, as a result, it pretty much ruins every dramatic moment in the show since the uniforms are so silly, they end up distracting me from the emotional scenes. Fuck me, this shit is bad! As for the music, it's perhaps the most stock and dull soundtrack I've heard in a while. Not a single one is memorable or even decently composed, and the opening and ending tracks are just generic pop music that you'll forget as soon as you listen to something else. The opening, in keeping up with the traditions set by the Gun Gale Arc from SAO, also spoils who the main villain is going to be. Fucking beautiful.
If you've seen any light novel adaptation about a group of kids with magic powers inside a high school then you've seen Akashic Records, because each one of these shows is fundamentally the exact same fucking thing with only slight variations, and I'm done with this shit forever. Each one of these shitty, insipid, shallow, vacuous light novel series can seriously just go fuck themselves for their insulting storytelling, awful characters and fucking terrible pandering. These series are essentially the anime equivalence of the films made by Illumination Animation; they're both produced with no soul or intent at creating a piece of art, or telling a story with a message that can resonate with an audience. I love both the medium of film, and the animation medium very much since they have provided some of the most heartfelt, and most impactful pieces of fiction I have seen. Film and animation can make you cry, make you laugh, they help shape you as a person, especially at a young age, and I honestly don't know where I'll be without them, for as corny as that sounds. But, these light novel adaptations offer nothing at all; no emotion, other than genuine anger and irritation, and hence, I am done forever with these shitty shows. I'd rather digest cyanide than sit through another show like Hundred or Absolute Duo, and, especially Akashic Records ever again. Of course, if you like these shows, then that is completely fine. I'm glad you're able to enjoy something that I don't. After all the world would be a boring place if we all liked the exact same thing. But, to me this show is awful in every sense of the word. It has nothing. I'd rather watch Hand Shakers on repeat than watch one of these shows ever again. Now, that's saying something...
"If the best thing I can say about your show is that the girls are hot, then your show is terrible!" -some lazy jackass
*Spoilers for Akashic Records*
Before I start the review proper, or rather, this long, epic roast about why this show is a total generic and irritating fraud that actually manages to squander any potential it had for some lazy comedy and infuriating LN bullshit clichés, I have two things I feel I must notify you of. First, a decent chunk of this review will be spent analyzing the ideas this series had and how with some major and minor tweaks, the series could've
been better, at least from a storytelling perspective. Secondly, I'm about to let out something I have to get out of my chest because while this insufferable mentality I’m about to describe isn't truly widespread, I've still seen it a handful of times, and quite frankly, it's sickening. People who have this upcoming mentality infuriate me with their ignorance and sheer vindictiveness.
If a title is almost nothing but recycled content from shows prior, then to me at least, it has no excuse and little reason to both exist and be defended as a work of fiction. It seems like creativity isn't as valued as it should be and this has been a problem in every industry at almost every point in history for one reason or another. With the anime in the 80's/90's, it was schlock bloodbath OVAs and nowadays in anime, it's Light Novel School Battle and/or Harem anime. Titles that largely or even entirely fit these descriptions can still break the mold and achieve something greater.
We do not have some "mythical, absurdly high, nigh-unachievable standard" these assholes keep accusing us of having! I'm sick of ignorant pricks assuming that we do! We just want anime to actually have a sense of life, a sense of passion, and a reason to exist outside of making corporate money from people who have loved tons of shows borderline identical to what they're currently watching and fapping to. Even among school battle (usually harem) anime, there are some that go above and beyond, like the aforementioned Chivalry of a Failed Knight. In fact, even among the standards if these "copy-paste" anime, some manage to really sink below to almost creative levels of suck, like The Irregular at Magic High School, as if to prove that there is a standard to hold titles like this by and that even this kind of anime has its own hierarchy like all the rest.
In summation, we do not all have some absurd standard for anime, we just want these kinds of titles to die out (or rather to not be as widespread, which in fairness, is already happening somewhat over the past year) so that anime that actually have passion and creativity can more easily flourish, and even by the standards of the now incessant LN school battle harem anime, some can go beyond the expectations or fail to even meet such bottom of the barrel standards. If you enjoy these titles, that's fine, just at least have some standards regarding these things since not all of them are of equal quality and the ones with the least amount of effort put into making them worthwhile works of fiction do not deserve to be defended, at least to me. Again, like them if you want, just don't accuse of of bad standards or incorrect views since we dissented from your "it's done before but that's fine because I like it" viewpoint.. Before we start, let me state that this mentality pisses me off about as badly as this show did, hence why my tone will sound insanely aggressive throughout, since, well, this show was offensively bad. Leave now if you're not ok with kind of atmosphere and tone, and/or if you're not ok with me bashing the show (assuming you didn't leave by that point since I'm showing it absolutely no mercy). With that tirade out of the way, let's start the review proper.
Mixing Konosuba humor and Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei is like mixing a liter of ghost pepper juice and white paint. You know, shit like this is why I invested in a tomato farm. Wait, I'm sorry, was that joke not predictable enough for you? My bad, let me try again: Ahem, “This show is cancer.” Actually, my previous joke was funnier than both this one and every single joke here in this god forsaken show.Let me grab those tomatoes now.
Akashic Records. For some reason, people thought this was actually funny and “totally not exactly like all of the other trash we hate because it has more comedy in its trashiest scenarios than those others shows that do the exact same thing but with a permanently straight face.” This show isn't funny; it's predictable. It has no semblance of tact or actual self-awareness on how awful its writing and gaudy cheese-fest self-justification for subsequent action exposition dumps that last up to a minute are. You people call SAO terrible? At least it has more tact and worthwhile humor than this show ever did, as well as more originality, better music, a much more tolerable color pallet. Even with its bad pacing, at least it never showed off early events that feel like they should be coming in much later than they should, or give flashbacks to equally terrible and popular shows with specific plot points. This show thinks it can get away with being the trashiest LN garbage ever as long as it adds “hurr-de-durr” to everything and adding a funny face just to really make it even more obvious than it is. It thinks it's the Konosuba of school battle harem trash; it's not. It takes itself just as seriously for most part, so that doesn't work. Hell, it's even worse since those shows take horrible scenarios like attempted rape seriously when presenting them. This show doesn't. But enough rambling; what makes Akashic Records so awful to the point where I actually believe that The Asterisk War is a much better show than it? Well, let’s find out, shall we?
Let’s address the elephant in the room before we really rip into the logic of this show: the female school uniforms. You know, I think it should be the woman’s choice as to whether or not she’ll be so scantily clad that not only are her midriffs and things exposed, but that she also has suspenders at the thighs and waist to make sure that two-piece outfit doesn't fall apart, not something that a school, let alone an “esteemed private academy” such as this one, should mandate. This kind of uniform that would make any real school principal revile in horror is, while sexy and appealing, downright disgusting in the fact that a school mandates women wear that as their official uniform. I get that this is a trash anime, but no successful school in their right mind would pull such a stunt without raising absolute hellfire from parents, true gentlemen, feminists, other schools and districts, and SJWs across the nation, especially when this show’s one obviously hot and fanservicey character is more decently clad than the high school students (aka, generic archetype bitches) that are forced to wear this. I mean, the men wear regal and classy suits befitting of gentlemen (even Glenn wears something of decent clothing, and he’s the lazy asshole pervert), so wouldn't it make sense to have the ladies wear something even more regal and classy, like Celica, the obviously hot fanservice character? You wouldn't believe how badly that made me lose hope in any logic found in the story. I mean, I am a teenage, straight male, and I like hot women like the rest of my kind, hell, I can ogle at Celica all day, but this is just ridiculous!Now, to everything else.
To be fair, the series doesn't really have major plot holes, even despite a few minor ones (nor all of which I'll cover), but it does have many leaps in logic for the characters, bad pacing, and it manages to portray certain scenes horrendously. But there are decent moments, like the rare joke that hits, occasional (if not successful due to poor pacing) attempts at emotional scenes, and the scene where Glenn goes Grammar Nazi on students to show just how convoluted magic can really be. I'll start by going rapid fire on a few dumb things from episodes 1 and 2. Still, prepare to be here a while, the story segment takes up a vast majority of the review since there is a lot I need to say here.
Why does Celica threaten Glenn to get him to work at this school despite knowing that he is beyond unqualified and that he hates magic? Is it because she just wants him to get a job and if he a deadbeat regardless of whether or not he is remotely qualified, because if so, that's stupid (since she needs to make sure he is at least remotely qualified for his job). The series checks out one important trite bullshit (aka bad cliché) from the list really early with a scene where the flatter student (Sistine) helped the big-tits student (Rumia), but here, it's portrayed in such a sexual manner to the point where in other series, they are still sexual harassment despite teasing, this is easily a more blatantly disgusting and uncomfortable act of sexual harassment that sent out of its way to be as horrid as possible (partially since it made me hate the Sistine, one of the main characters, by the first episode, the episode where we are supposed to be sold on these characters).
The entirety of episode 2 felt like it should've been stretched out over multiple episodes given how here is a small time skip in the middle of episode 2 after Glenn reaches the importance of grammar in changing magic, and how much is packed into this episode story-wise. In order of appearance: Glenn starts the episode same as before, he goes so far into dissing magic that Sistine slaps him and leaves in tears, each character has an emotional moment before Glenn realizes how little students truly know about magic besides one particular method for each spell, he schools them, then his students like him, he has then made progress and is now infinitely more passionate about work, we go back and reaffirm that there is a moment in which Rumia was saved by presumably Glenn (we even see the hair color, and in episode 1, she looks familiar to him, but this isn't spaced or enough to feel organic or that it would take a little while for us to really explore this point without coming up with the answer so early into the show), and then terrorists. All of this should've been episodes 3, 4, and even 5. I mean it. We could've just done the same shenanigans and have episode 2 end on the moment where Sistine slaps Glenn and walks off in tears, then episode 3 have an emotional episode that shows us another side of our (at the time) 3 important characters while showing us that terrorists are soon to some before at the end, he busts out some knowledge on the students, then episode 4 not only shows us how much all of this is working out while at the same time showing us that he is actually becoming happier overall while doing this, but then the episode brings us back to that moment where we see him and Rumia interact before we learn that she was saved by someone who looks suspiciously like Glenn, and then it ends on terrorists moving in. Episodes 5 and 6 would be a bunch of terrorists raising hell in the school and then Glenn, and all students and teachers fight back in a mini war arc, by editing the final few minutes of episode 2 where terrorists show up and turning that into episode 5, and editing some of the intrusive comedy of episode 3 and making it episode 6.. There, I just vastly improved the show just by taking episode 2 stretching it out, and adding and editing parts as I went along,like making episode 3 episode 6. If only the writer was this capable.
The moment that made this show awful beyond redemption was the attempted rape scene. Let me set the scene. Terrorists have just captured Rumia who turned out to be a former princess but her family was killed and she escaped (hence why she said she was saved by someone before terrorists would've killed her). Sistine is alone in a room, and a terrorist walks in. He then begins to toy with her, saying that people like her are surprisingly and deliciously fragile while pinning her down and slowly undressing her. Then, Glenn walks in and it turns from trite to actively offensively terrible. In the midst of a scene of attempted rape, Glenn walks in, pays no mind, and lackadaisical comedy ensues for like 40 seconds! WHAT THE FLYING FUCK IS THIS SHIT?!?! A character is in the verge of getting rape, and the supposed “hero” who busts in not only doesn't recognize the situation, but acts all lazy! Needless to say, this moment made this show practically impossible to redeem. When SAO can treat this kind of scene with infinitely more tact than this show can, in regards to content and tone, you know we have a problem here! Sure, eventually Glenn saves her, but then we get the rest of the scene.
Glenn busts out this arcana card which nullifies all magic (especially opponents’ and enemies” magic). This is a very generic magic for an MC to have, and it's giving me Mahouka flashbacks, as if the school terrorism thing didn't do that already. Glenn just busts out an arcana card unceremoniously, and explains what it does in his usual lackadaisical tone (tired of me using that word yet?). This is the first time we see this kind of magic card in the series, adding to the already surpassingly convoluted magic system of this world, so at least the show could do is unveil it with grandeur. Even Mahouka did that right! Whatever, a badly animated curb stomp commences in which Glenn wins, and episode 2 ends. As you can no doubt tell, the rape attempt scene should've never happened and in my version above, it never would.
Actually, there are a few things in episode 3 I would alter, since it's not a great episode either (I mean, what did you expect from this show). I think the worst thing this episode does is prove that this crock of shit had potential, potential that it, predictably, squandered. I mean, Glenn was a mate killer, so that could've been explored and built up a bit better since before then, the only buildup was him saying magic kills people. In this episode, I would edit out the numerous and always monotonous self-justification for what someone is about to do exposition dumps there always last for around 30 seconds, some of the intrusive comedy of the first 6 minutes, and do one last crucial thing in the last few minutes of the episode. Remember how Professor Huey apparently left (hence why they have a sub) prior to the events of episode 1? Well, here he is again, but has no exposed motivations for being here, and he just stands there, saying that it's a game to see if Glenn can free Rumia from a bunch of magic circles, so, none of that makes any real sense. He needs a reason for doing this, and why he is treating this like a game. Also, at the end, they completely gloss over what Rumia’s true name as princess was Eruminia, and I don't know why. This also confirms that yes, Glenn was the one that unknowingly saved her. It's a shame that one of the most potentially interesting hook questions about the series was dealt with only 3 episodes in out of 12.
I'm not going to go or if my way to really break down the rest of the episodes since that would take fucking forever and I'm already spending a lot of time doing rapid fire on a few problems per episode while fixing the series as a whole. But now, we reach the tournament arc, starting with episode 4, so time for me to keep doing what I've been doing. The queen is still the mother of Rumia but apparently everyone was killed but her. Why did she pronounce her daughter dead after the terrorists came? What actually happened? Did terrorists simply kidnap her from everyone? Has the school heard nothing about the Queen? What about the dad/king?
The other thing is that we are suddenly introduced to what all of the students can do during the beginning of this tournament arc via a pep talk from Glenn. Want to know how to have made this moment work. Have it so that when the terrorists showed up, they all do what we would hear them being capable of, that what this moment would be actually gratifying since by then we would've known a bit about all the students and then have epic realization that Glenn was exactly right since that what they did in that hypothetical. This has been another round of me improving the series. In fact, the actual tournament section in episode 4 could've been 2, maybe even 3 whole episodes in order to make an interesting tournament arc up until the next episode (specifically, 7-9 on my version), since there are so many games that are glossed over since most students are not important. Hell, even before that, we saw a typical asshole vs underdog rivalry set up with Harley and his class vs Glenn and his, and then it would be gratifying and exciting to see both groups compete and Glenn’s class do well on each of these events. This has been another round of me making a better series out of the pieces this one failed to put together. Also, the asspull of Rumia winning her round because the big buff guy suddenly blacked out for no reason was infuriating, and the fact that it came after a rushed and stupid bit of her teammates telling her to quit since they “care for her” despite her being in no peril and her wanting to do this, is especially galling. When both The Asterisk War and Fairy Tail can make a better tournament arc, then your arc is shit, and by extension, you're shit!
Episodes 5 and 6, barring a few really dumb moments (as per usual), are probably the best in the series, as little as that says about them. The comedy is still pretty miss for me but not only are there a few genuinely sweet moments like Glenn’s conversation with Rumia I episode 5 and her true reunion with her mother at the end of episode 6, but also, the way Glenn defeats the villain of this arc is actually pretty intelligent and entertaining, reminding me of some of the most popular protagonists in anime like Lelouch from Code Geass, Light from Death Note, and Sora from No Game No Life. Still, time to fix ‘em. I'll give this series a compliment when it deserves one; it's already like...96:0 in problems (and you get a cookie if you get where that reference came from). The way to make it better this time is simple, and it builds from the last fixing I did: actually juggle the rescue attempt and the tournament matches equally and flesh them both out, that way we have all of the emotional payoffs actually pay off (at least if you give each scene enough space), and so that we can actually enjoy the tournament side of the arc, and have that whole thing from episodes 5 and 6 take up 3 more episodes (10-12 in my version) while removing some of the fake out comedy, taking away the explosion speeches about “me saying why I'm doing what I'm doing”, removing the dere moments Sistine has with her teacher (I get that he is 19 but still it's sorta creepy for a student to have a hunted romantic interest in her teacher) and altering the ending where the students spend all his money to him actually treating them with some of his money, that way nothing about any of the arcs each character went through get cheapened upon rewatch and hindsight (namely Glenn’s). Also, have more animation in the arc since this series doesn't really have much actual character animation.
See? It's simple. If we create a brand new episode 1 from scratch to replace this episode 1 and take all of the ideas I brought up that modify these episodes, we could've had an actually good series on our hands since despite all of the LN trope bullshit, awful comedy moments that ruin certain scenes, and a few other things, all the pieces were there for the first 6 episodes to be a good 1 cour series. The other 6 on the other hand...yeah, I haven't been really living up to my promise of tone, and these episodes are gonna change that; they are that bad...
*sigh* Episode 7 is where things go back to being abysmal instead of just bad, partially due to almost half of it being a cliché beach episode and the irritating comedy, partially due to the character Re=L (make your Ergo Proxy joke elsewhere). She is such a bad character, and it is the impetus of the arc and why it's horrible. Her heel turn is insanely telegraphed and still incredibly forced, being out of jealously in episode 7 about the fact that the deuteragonist females are quote unquote “stealing Glenn away from her”, and because she is just a double agent who likes her dead brother who she saw again (which means he was revived, which is a major plot point in the arc, revival) in episode 8, while the rest of episode 8 before that is just the introduction of revival, one of the villains of the previous arc showing up and being a crazy bitch, and Re=L moving around and being an insufferable bitch. Fuck this arc in its entirety. Oh, and she nearly kills Glenn because of this and badly injures Rumia. When you consider that up to this point, she had been trying to kill Glenn (or at least she attacks him as greeting and always wants to settle a score with him) and the fact that she genuinely talked of the fact that she had a lot of fun with the people she immediately afterwards hated) and the fact that she had just been a generic deadpan loli character, this sudden turn is infuriatingly stupid and forced. The 9th episode is just as bad honestly, and they rushed the shit out of a villain death and the backstory Re=L has can't redeem her in the slightest. Also, the main blue-haired villain of the arc was wasted in the fact that there is a malicious character named Reiner, but this guy was just some random who wasn't connected with anything and is just a “bad person who does bad things because villain” character. I literally have no way to really remotely fix this arc; it was dead on arrival.
But now, we finally reach the final arc. It is one of the stupidest story arcs I have ever seen in my life, if not the absolute dumbest and most wince-worthy of them all. Here is the main plot of arc 4: Some creepy teacher guy continually confesses to Sistine and after Glenn overheard him dissing her dream, he puts on this front about wanting to marry her for money, and it all becomes a pissing match, except between teachers over a student. Fucking creepy! It's beyond stupid a premise given the age ranges (adult and teenager), and given how this is the impetus on having another evil protagonist bent on using Rumia for some scheme, you'd think this wouldn't exist and that they'd find a less disgusting way for this to happen. The sub plot is about Glenn suddenly realizing that Sistine looks like Sera, a now dead girl he once loved before he left the Imperial Corps, and that now angel dusts addicts (I wish they meant the real life Angel Dust drug) are dying, even a year after that substance was said to have been eradicated. All of these have no right of intertwining with the main (disgusting and wince-worthy) plot of the arc. Also, Re=L is off scot free after the betrayal (did she not ever get arrested for treason for that whole thing in the previous arc?), just to add on to what an irredeemable crock of shit this final arc is! Then, the finale. Oh boy. It's probably the most generic episode in the entire show. Turns of there was another traitor that posed as Leo's after he killed him part-way into episode 11, and the only thing resolved is the immediately inserted grudge match between the two. I don't even have the energy to go into any depth with this one, it's just generic and bleh, as if the show is not even trying to hide it's true colors anymore. Serves it right.
You know, if the story wasn't so shit in the way that it was, Glenn might have been an actually good character. Think about it: a cynic who was broken by the lives he took and lost in his pursuit of being a hero of justice who now teaches the very thing he hates against his will while rowing attached to his students despite him not coming off as a good person. Despite what a radical shift in personality he has from past to present, if the writing did how I laid out above, he could've been a pretty good character, assuming they toned down the perviness completely and just made him cynical and partially lazy instead of basically a cross of Archer from UBW and Kazuma from Konosuba. I also like how he is an LN protagonist who isn't very overpowered, but that's not enough to save him from this awful writing. Celica is a hot and haughty woman who is basically never capable of being there since she’s so overpowered that the narrative wouldn't throw a challenge unless they restrain her or just keep her or entirely beforehand. What I like about her is some of her almost motherly nature towards Glenn, like how she threatens Harvey for dissing him in her presence, even if the whole blackmail job thing was nonsense. Now, for the actual named side-characters with relevance outside of just one arc since I'm not even gonna cover the antagonists (partially since I kinda already did in as much detail as they deserve, barring one who I'll get to), nor will I cover small characters like the queen mother or the annoying parents of Sistine.
Sistine is the second worst, second trashiest, second bitchiest tsundere I have ever seen (the only one worse is Mine from Akame ga Kill)! She is even worse than Julis from The Asterisk War, and that's saying quite a lot! She aggressively checks out all of the boxes of a bad and cliché tsundere, and does it in a way that makes her especially obnoxious. The fact that she has this dynamic with a teacher makes me even more grossed out, and I don't care that he’s 19, which makes it so that he’s about 3-5 years older than her (which is still wrong for a teenager). She's also absurdly useless, to the point that this is a legitimate plot point that carries throughout each arc until she finally does one thing right in the finale. Rumia is basically a typical dere-dere of the group who is basically the macguffin for all of the arcs in this show. I've already talked about why Re=L is such a shit character so I'll cover one more: Albert. He’s the stoic badass of the bunch whose hunch is always right, so there’s not much to say on him. Lastly, why don't we talk about Leos. He is such a shitty character. He apparently had been asking Sistine our since they were kids and not only has he not let go of that, he has gone pathetic over it despite coming off as a decent person (typical of this trope), but again, the whole teacher and student bit makes it worse, and the fact that ha managed to spend only a paltry evening to be able to decipher everything about Glenn, Re=L, and Rumia is absurd, though it turns out it was this Justine guy from episode 11 who is just another evil LN bad guy for LN bad guy sake villain, since literally every single antagonist in this show is the exact same. They turned a crap and generic character into something creepier and stupider and then replaced him with the exact same character as every other villain in this retarded ass show; how typical! So yeah, that's everyone relevant. What a shit cast, am I right? As if the wasted potential as generic characters weren't bad enough, they reuse the same bad guy personality and havesometeuly horrible characters thrown in the mix. Let’s move on before I die of embarrassment.
Part of the problem this time isn't that the show is badly animated per se, but that its animation insanely limited. Its own damn OP has about as much animation as a typical episode of this show, and there are plenty of reused clips, like the clip of Albert pulling Re=L’s hair or Sistine blasting Glenn with wind, and the slew of reused clips are reused at an insane rate with no remote variation. Hell, even the fight scenes have little animation, especially the one in episode 2 when Glenn beats up the attempted rapist.I initially couldn't stand the color palette but I got used to it. I already mentioned how awful the uniforms are so no need to repeat that. There is minimal (albeit terribly some CGI though it's blink and you miss it), but did there also have to be minimal animation too? Oh well, at least I like the eyes (they remind me of the trademark Studio White Fox eyes) and some of the admittedly humorous facial expressions.
The OP, "Blow out" by Konomi Suzuki is a pretty generic (if somewhat catchy) OP that feels like it should be part of a generic fantasy adventure anime, not a generic school battle anime with fantasy elements thrown in there. The ED, "Precious You☆" by Sistine Fibel (Akane Fujita), Rumia Tingel (Yume Miyamoto), Re=L Rayford (Ari Ozawa) is absurdly MediocRE that I never bothered listening to the entire minute and thirty second ED. The OST is decent in its own right but honestly feels misplaced here in the same vein as the OP in terms of where it feels more suitable, even despite the darker tone the series boasts on about half of the episodes.
The dub is probably one of the worst dubs Funimation has produced in recent memory. Next to none of the voices even remotely fit the characters and sound like they'd fit completely different sounding roles, like Monica Rial as Rumia and Josh Grelle as Glenn, but the absolute worst offender here is Sistine, played by Rachael Messer, whose acting not only sounds miscast, but at times, bad in its own right. The tertiaries and antagonist roles aren't good either, and some of them were doomed to be inferior (like Re=L since it's much harder for a dub to pull off a loli voice), and the only voice I sort of see working is Morgan Garrett as Celica. Then again, dubs have been getting worse in recent years, so I guess this is to be expected.
Needless to say, I hate this show. I hate it so damn much. I only found one joke funny since it was the only one that wasn't predictable as shit, and that was in the very first episode. Any potential the story or characters had ended up being squandered rather quickly, which is frustrating since the first 6 episodes could've actually been pretty good had they removed the bullshit elements and made it a 12 episode series that fleshed these episodes out, though the last 6 are beyond terrible and impossible to redeem. Then again, the show lost any path to actual redemption during the rape attempt scene where they treat it with so little tact that there is comedy in the already drawn out scene. The lack of animation made the fights pretty dull as well, and a lot of the characters, namely Sistine and Re=L were infuriating to no end. There are times when a show offends me with how terrible it is, but when it happens more than once, let alone up to 5 times, that's when we know that the show is dogshit and that I'm in for a terrible experience.
When I wasn't aggravated to some degree, whether it be mild or insane, I was pretty bored since the action was mediocre and the comedy didn't stick with me at all, and a lot of the awful LN school battle harem tropes are here in full display, sometimes taken to the most disgusting degrees possible to the point where I almost wanted to vomit. Also, the final arc is one of the most wince-worthy pieces of animation I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing, as if arc 3 didn't piss me off enough to the point where the show went back from being bad but salvageable to irredeemable and truly abysmal again. Shame really, since the second arc was actually somewhat enjoyable at times and has the most potential to be good. So yeah, I'm basically repeating myself at this point so let’s just move on to the final thoughts.
OVERALL: 2/10 RAW SCORE: 20/100
You know, it's almost cute to know that this shoe thinks it can get away with being typical LN trash just by adding more comedy, disgusting elements, and an occasionally bleak tone and more blood. It pretends to not be exactly like its brethren but does all of the same awful things you'd expect a show like this to do, only with a tinge of extra putridness. When there is a good idea, it's ruined, and the comedy is more predictable than a generic shounen anime. I've already spoken ad nauseam about basically everything wrong with the show and I'm basically repeating myself, but yeah, suffice it to say, this is one of the worst anime I've seen all year. Hopefully this is a lesson to all of you that even among shows like this, there are still standards that some of them can meet and surpass their contemporaries, and that we don't just have absurd standards that only value high art. Also, hopefully you realize why this show is such a trap that you shouldn't fall for. Well, with all that said, I bid you adieu.