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Roku de Nashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records – 01

「やる気のないロクでなし」 (Yaruki no nai roku de nashi)
“The Unmotivated Bastard”

From the first episode, the main draw of Akashic Records is the unscrupulous nature of our hero, Glenn Radars (Saito Soma). Through the unbridled force of Cecilia Arfornia (Kitamura Eri), he was granted a substitute teaching job to replace a highly renowned professor. He, then, proceeds to do everything in his power to get kicked out of his position. It is Glenn’s behavior that helps the show stand out from being another walk through fantasy school territory. There are still plenty of tropes that Akashic indulges in like an unusually placed fanservice scene in the women’s locker room that Glenn accidentally barges in to witness, but only he would be shameless enough to directly tell the girls he hopes to engrain the image of this scene in his eyes before he gets a face full of justice. Although there’s more time later to redeem Glenn as a magical prodigy in disguise, it is the first episode’s willingness to continue taking away any opportunities for Glenn to both take his job seriously and be taken seriously that makes it enjoyable.

One other aspect that Akashic does great is the chemistry he has with the other two main characters. Sistine Fibel (Fujita Akane), her no-nonsense attitude, and her disappointment in her new substitute teacher create a fun combination as Glenn aims to push her buttons while he slacks off on the job. Meanwhile, it is heart-warming that Rumia Tingel (Miyamoto Yume), Sistine’s close friend, was quick to grow some form of kinship with Glenn as their shared interest in food fleshes them out. Glenn and Cecilia started out amusing as she nearly blasts a massive energy beam at his face in one scene, and defends his honor from up-tight higher ups at the academy in another. They even make a funny pairing in the preview where she further pushes him to continue the show.

The only bond that does feel odd is the friendship between Sistine and Rumia. They’re the characters that are closest together as best friends, but the first episode doesn’t seem sure what the nature of their friendship is. Take the beginning, for example, where Rumia is portrayed as someone who goes out of their way to help people out, but is discouraged enough in her abilities that Sistine gives her a small pep talk to help her out. This seems more in-line with what their characters are really like. But then, there’s the part where Sistine makes herself feel better by grabbing Rumia’s boobs, making her friend flustered in the middle of the women’s locker room as she regrets not being as well-endowed as her blonde friend. Not that there’s any problem with this, but it did feel like I changed the channel, and this is one of the few times that Sistine looks hyper instead of serious or smiling contently. At least with fanservicey shows, it’s established much early which characters love to grab boobs. Sistine merely adopted the grope, which is why it feels less like it contributed anything to understanding their friendship and more like they needed something to pad the time.

And that brings me to one other flaw where it doesn’t want to give away its secrets right away. I understand how stories emphasize “show, don’t tell” as a way not to turn the narrative into an info-dump, but they leave out information that would be nice to know right away instead of an episode or ten from now. For instance, who is Cecilia and why does she hold so much weight to both the academy and to Glenn’s life? How did they just unanimously decide it was alright for him to be hired even with a shoddy resume and no relevant experience just from her word? How does he even know magic? Who’s this girl? These might just be nitpicks that would be resolved through the rest of the episodes, but for a straight-forward light novel romp, much of the mystery comes from details that would be more convenient for the audience to have much earlier on to understand why we should care about these characters.

With all that said, I am optimistic about the series. It does have some standard trappings of the fantasy school light novel genre with some narrative shortcomings, but the characters are amusing enough to carry the show, and it’s interesting that Glenn is presented by the end of the episode as an embarrassment rather than displaying some latent talent right from the start to blow everyone away. Still, I am cautious about how the rest of the show unfolds.

 

Preview

End Card

April 6, 2017 at 7:10 am
26 comments »
  • April 6, 2017 at 7:20 amCroos

    Interested in this show as I see the main character hiding a secret or something.
    Some this kind of “humble” main character effect in a twisted way or something.

    • April 6, 2017 at 8:00 amChoya

      That makes sense that he’d want to come off as a complete screw-up so that there wouldn’t be anyone trying to uncover any of his secrets

      • April 6, 2017 at 8:18 amzztop

        LN readers say something tragic happened in Glenn’s past, that soured him on using his true talents.

    • April 7, 2017 at 10:36 amWorldwidedepp

      Well, lets see. in the past there where many Shows of an Male lead in an all female school with an secret

  • April 6, 2017 at 7:27 amMentar

    I’d say it’s suffering the same flaw that many other good shows like Rakudai no Kishi had: In order to get the first light novel approved, they go all-out with standard tropes like “walking in on naked girls” and the likes. If the editor drops the script before the basis for the story is told, it’s over for the budding author. Consequently, the first episode is usually *ick*.

    Don’t worry. The story will shift gears right at the start of episode 2. And in fact, this story is much more dark and serious than the first episode indicates.

    • April 6, 2017 at 8:09 amChoya

      I’m not sure if the fanservice appeared in the original LN, but that sounds about right that it felt more like fluff they had to put in to cater to the anime format. Keep audiences drawn in to the cute characters to build some crossover between big money anime fans and those invested in the LN.

      That’s good to hear that the material does start coming into its own with time. Hopefully the staff doesn’t try to water it down too much because I see a lot of potential from the show.

  • April 6, 2017 at 8:05 amzztop

    Character designs by Mishima Kurone, Konosuba’s LN illustrator.

    • April 6, 2017 at 8:11 amzztop

      The plot should establish Glenn’s awesomeness later on; he’s got his own special skill set and tragic past. Celicia’s still stronger than him though.

  • April 6, 2017 at 8:11 amdrunkenveggie

    Can we talk about how ridiculous the female school uniform is? Like seriously. The locker room scene was all kinds of pointless seeing as they’re practically wearing the same amount of clothes there than when “properly” dressed. Seriously! That embarrasses you? You’re basically all half-naked already.

    • April 6, 2017 at 8:16 amzztop

      The LN describes the girl’s uniforms as a ‘light’ outfit with a ‘cool-looking vest’ which is very recognizable, but no descriptions of bared midriffs.

      I’m guessing the illustrator designed the uniforms after Kill la Kill’s Matoi Ryuko – considering the 1st book came out a few months after Kill la Kill ended, that may not be far off.
      https://taylorramage.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/ryuko-matoi-kill-la-kill-35886675-848-480.png

      • April 6, 2017 at 5:52 pmdrunkenveggie

        Yeah, I watched Kill la Kill, so I’m very familiar. But you see, that didn’t bother me because it was supposed to be ridiculous. That was an over the top show, and for that, it made sense. This is just levels of stupid (a la double garter) that baffle me. I understand pandering to fan-service, truly I do. But when your school uniform is barely covers you already…where’s the excitement for anyone? I mean, as a girl, I obviously view this type of fan-service differently, but usually I’ll have an “oh my” moment. This time though? I just felt like “kaaaaay….I don’t really see a difference.” I would even go so far as to say, the half-nakedness isn’t as provocative as double-garter (wtf). That’s just me though.

    • April 6, 2017 at 9:20 amAmon

      Those midriff-baring seifukus are top tier.

    • April 6, 2017 at 9:31 amChoya

      It goes to show how desensitized I am that the midriff outfit seemed normal to me until people started bringing it up as an example of the show’s fanservice efforts. There were so many shots of the character’s head and shoulders that I neglected to notice how huge the midriff was on those uniforms.

    • April 6, 2017 at 1:06 pmyoloalchemist

      Pardon me for taking their outfits way too seriously, but what in the hell did the in-universe designers think when they included those double garter belts on the legs and above and below the belly? It’d be cheap if it was part of some moral or royal etiquette their kingdom just happens to have, so instead, did they think they’d work better for their agility to make them more combat capable? Like just what? My bewilderment is on a hysterical level from this and I don’t know why laughing at the whole thing SMH

      • April 6, 2017 at 5:55 pmdrunkenveggie

        I will laugh hysterically if they ever explain the logic of the uniform in the show.

      • April 6, 2017 at 6:57 pmyoloalchemist

        I will cringe to death if they do, no matter what the logic.

    • April 6, 2017 at 9:12 pmRedRocket

      Love the outfit.

      And all over the world the less women wear the more rights and power they have now and down though history in general. Anyone who wants to repress women and take their rights away wants them to cover up their bodies. Not quite sure why this counter intuitive thing is true but many things are counter intuitive.

  • April 6, 2017 at 8:22 amzztop

  • April 6, 2017 at 11:02 amtheirs

    “What the heck did I just watch?”
    That was the first thing that came to mind after watching this. Hope they explain what’s so special about Glenn next episode though, cause right now, he seems to be more student material than teacher. They threw out any redeeming qualities so quickly that I knew he wouldn’t get the chant done before Sistine. Still had a laugh from it though.

    Regarding Celica, isn’t she a teacher? And an overpowered mage to boot. Seems like just the kind of person to get a recommendation from. At least that’s my impression. Of course her relationship with Glenn is a curiosity. Seems to be the only one that knows of his good points. Might even be the only one that know of him prior to this.

  • April 6, 2017 at 11:22 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    http://randomc.net/image/Rokudenashi%20Majutsu%20Koushi%20to%20Akashic%20Records/Rokudenashi%20Majutsu%20Koushi%20to%20Akashic%20Records%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2036.jpg

    I was really glad they subverted the cliche of the (male) MC suddenly going badass and/or easily owning their first (female) opponent and thus completely changing their view on them within a couple more episodes, if not immediately falling for them after (Infinite Stratos, Cavalry, Asterisk, etc.)

    • April 6, 2017 at 4:48 pmdaikama

      HalfDemonInuyasha: Haven’t watched this (yet), but totally agree with the sentiment. Ye ‘ol “I hate you, but now that we have crossed swords I instantly love you” trope is overdone and does not make for a good foundation for the inevitable future romance.

      • April 7, 2017 at 10:25 amHalfDemonInuyasha

        Yeah, I don’t mind if the girl gets curious and tries to get to know the guy at least and THEN starts to fall for him bit by bit as she does so, but to have her going from “I despise you and want this school to be rid of you!” without hesitation to suddenly be blushing, stuttering, (attempted) flirting, attempted shy moe actions, etc. within 1-2 episodes is just way too soon and jarring.

  • April 6, 2017 at 1:16 pmyoloalchemist

  • April 6, 2017 at 4:44 pmdaikama

    Hmm… didn’t have this on my watch list, but given the review, maybe I’ll give it a try.

  • April 6, 2017 at 7:22 pmsesame

    ah~ we got another kuzuma

  • April 7, 2017 at 5:20 pmboingman

    Watched it because it has Kitamura Eri in it.
    Decent enough first episode, will check out the 2nd one as well.