FI – Akashic Record – METANORN

First Impression – Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records

Be honest, you want a hot and fresh cup of smug, don’t you?

Smug is versatile, you can milk it for all it’s worth and it’s still gonna be sweet. But even after saying that, Akashic Record is probably something you’ve seen before – and if the truth is really to be told, something you’ve dismissed before. A cup runneth dry…

Too Smug, No Cup

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The show wears its sameness to other LN properties like a well-tailored, yet still ill fitting suit; ain’t no model ever gonna fit into these clothes, but more on uniforms later. So, here we  have a samey sort of magical kingdom, and a samey sort of school life masquerading as the So Very Important World Shaping Awesome Magical Academy. Then we have the samey sort of set up with multiple female characters (Rumia and Sistine) arriving on stage, all cute and docile and just so in the moment, only to be followed by the awkward (yet still impartial, and you know an even more awkward reintroduction is coming later) introduction of the befuddled, idiotic, malcontented, yet still someone destiny changing, and doesn’t quite acknowledge his real awesomeness, only his fake awesomeness, jerkwad of a male (Glenn Radars – yes that is his name!) lead – phew! Sorry about that! The dude upstages the girls, who in turn, upstage his upstaging in a rapid succession of cartoon violence to the screams of “no ecchi!”. Lather that stuff up, rinse and repeat. You got 23 or so minutes of samey. And they really do repeat that stuff, “comedy” happens in multiples…

Wait! This isn’t a typical Trope!

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So after saying all that, we come to the inevitable, “but, but, it’s different”, part of the review. In that respect, it kinda is. But only just kinda. The reaction animation is actually quite nice, with a well crafted layer of fluidity and timing. The comedic facial features sell the characters well, and I cannot fault it for that. In fact it’s a really good selling point, and lines up all the right numbers for the the farcical feel the show wants to groove on. The intent behind the females supporting cast, with Sistine taking the lead, is spot on – if not outright just the same as any other show that bills itself as an ecchi comedy. It’s a decent flipping of that script, with the male leading showing no real capacity on being the exceptionally talented yet idiotic wunderkind these long winded LN titles seem to want. He remains a belligerent, know-nothing, do-nothing, lazy, jerk from start to finish. They do hint that he is needed and necessary to the plot for some reason or other (and so what!), but for right now, he’s only motivated by self-preservation; his wrangler, Celicia, being a well designed, if not stereotypical, outlier of sorts, pushes him into the plot, despite some odd give and take with the school higher ups. With all that in mind, I can almost gleem, I can almost sense, that they’re trying to tell us something important in all this; that the fact of the matter is that girls are underestimated and have to work harder to get to the same relative level of success that guys get just by being guys. So there is some messaging.

Celicia is the stand-out character – the only one that seems competent

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But, and this is the backlash, it’s in the wrong place, saying the wrong things. So in getting back to one point, I don’t object outright to the uniforms the girls wear – designs for exaggerated figures in anime space are  not the same for designs in real human space – but I absolutely have to admit they are really regrettable, and they stand out just for the sake of standing out. While I do expect spectacle from anime, there is a standard of good and bad taste, and this stuff is Crossing Bad. Which is even more regrettable because I think there is some dinky well meaning behind it, that goes along with that messaging, that girls are coresetted and garter’d and all, but that restraint is their real strength or, being the power behind the power is where they belong, or some other such half-thought out nonsense. Costuming and hair are visual clues, only this one has a poked out eye.  So, like the farcical elements the show intends to give us, it’s not being executed with honesty, only earnesty. Which takes me aback, as LindenFilms usually makes some good stuff (shush, I’m being generous, Airua being a long time favorite of mine) so perhaps they have some decent stuff on the back burner for Akashic Record? Well, I doubt that…

Sistine: What did I just watch? Can I please leave?

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All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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38 Responses to “First Impression – Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records”

  1. Smiley says:

    Obviously, the MC’s scummy behavior here is just a caricature to serve as a contrast to whatever true righteous heroism lies underneath that he will undoubtedly be forced to reveal later on for plot reasons. But boy did he make this premiere even less enjoyable to watch.

    • skylion says:

      I really can see what they’re aiming for, but this was just a damn odd first step to do it. I mean, I can like an arc that starts on the waaaaay far down place, but this is taking it to dumb.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Ugh, I don’t think I’ve ever had a first outing on a show this coarse. Nice, refined animation for the scenery and character designs if you’re aiming for eye candy. But man, that protagonist is scum incarnate. Truly, the feelings of the students, especially Sisti are mutual. I wanted to jump in and personally kick that useless guy’s ass. The last lead to get under my skin this badly was Re:Zero’s Subaru Natsuki in the show’s penultimate arc. Which is not a good sign. I’m not sure I’d be up to endure any more if this is just the first step.

    • skylion says:

      Well, like Smiley say above us in his comment, maybe this arsejerkwad approach is a mask and he’ll shape up soon. He got like what, two episodes to do that?

      • BlackBriar says:

        And I’ll be paying close attention to every detail.

        If you haven’t yet, check out the first episode of Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism. The protagonist is somewhat of a delinquent but he’s far more tolerable than this show’s scumbag lead.

        • skylion says:

          He’s a bit better, but really he only exists to be a jerk that the girls are obligated to fight, at least that’s the way it looks the first episode.

          • Highway says:

            Yeah, I would put the Sword Girls protagonist as much less interesting, and much less tolerable, although the show doesn’t help him at all by begging all the questions. “We’re gonna fight, so let’s fight now.” Wait, why are we gonna fight? Who decided that? We gotta go right to the fighting? Plus, the Sword Girls protagonist is far more of a jerk. At least Glenn Radars (who has a stupid stupid name) is completely honest about his motivations.

            • skylion says:

              They fight because that’s what they do. It’s their default. Lunch? That’s just a deviation from fighting! It’s tolerated only because it provices fighting fuel! But that’s about as nuanced as they can understand it…

  3. Overcooled says:

    I gave this one a shot and yeah, it really doesn’t do much from the usual. I do like when the main dude is extra smug though. He just seems so ridiculous that I can almost forgive him for being a weirdo.

    The uniforms are certainly interesting. Garterbelts or suspenders could theoretically work…but both? Just throw in some more straps and you’ve got the attack on titan gear ready to go.

    I gave it a shot, but now I’m giving up.

    • skylion says:

      I almost thought, and even had a sentance or two that didn’t survive the post, about saying something in how his smugness was a refuge in audacity…but I think he fell short, and you have to get all the hearts to Shoot The Moon!

      LOL. Maybe they volunteer, or maybe they should volunteer to Attack the Titans? It seems like a magic spell, Nape Slicer, Area Effect: 2 miles, Cooldown: A minute could be perfected in short order right?

      I may watching this a few more and see where it goes. I like the goofy faces and animation enough to watch it with at least half my eyes…

    • Highway says:

      I would really like to see them put ALL the students in those uniforms. Everyone wears midriff-baring waistcoats, suspendered miniskirts, and gartered stockings. This must be done.

  4. zztop says:

    I don’t outright object to the uniforms the girls wear…but I…admit they are really regrettable.

    Uniforms and character designs by Mishima Kurone, Konosuba’s LN illustrator.
    The LN describes the uniform as a “light” outfit with a “cool-looking vest”; no descriptions of midriff-baring. I wonder if Mishima was inspired by Ryuko’s Kill la Kill battle uniform when making the designs.

    In this case, I think the sexy design is less about establishing the setting/personality and more about selling an image to Japanese otaku, to give an extra reason for the books to fly off the shelves.

    • skylion says:

      It’s odd, I usually look up creator information, but since i wasn’t covering this show from the get go, and had no intention to after viewing, I just didn’t bother this time around. But I guess the Kill la Kill influence is there…

      I have a tendency to see creators taking advantage of design to sell, to otaku like you say, and and story or a characterization, which is the tack I took here. I could just be making more of it than is there?

      • zztop says:

        I have a tendency to see creators taking advantage of design to sell, to otaku like you say, and and story or a characterization, which is the tack I took here. I could just be making more of it than is there?

        You have some good points, which are applicable to characters of other famous franchises.

        One example is an article I read which talked about the costume redesign for the Beauty and the Beast live action movie and what it meant for marketing.
        For example, while Belle’s peasant costume was designed to somewhat fit a French historical look, it was also designed to emphasise her active, outsider personality and make her stand out more – hence anachronisms like long bloomers, practical boots, and hiked up skirt.

        • skylion says:

          Oh yeah, different parts of your brain react to different stimulus. So while there were folks that will always call out the anachronisms, I’m willing to beat that other part of the brain was sensing the outsider vibe you spell out. I’ve been working on a sit-down RPG (think D&D) for the mid 1800s, and I was looking up some of my notes for what was happening in real history and a few points got out of whack. Then I look at the points of the game, and it has a type of elves, it has dwarves, and human-animal hybrids…I can be flexible with the history, so long as the story connects the dots. That’s the important bit.

  5. zztop says:

    The dude upstages the girls, who in turn, upstage his upstaging…

    The story 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.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Then that establishment should happen soon than later. First impressions are everything and calling his “appalling” is a huge understatement.

      You can tell just by looking by the two that Celicia’s stronger. Somehow I can imagine her having a collar around his neck with a leash tied to it because of that.

      • skylion says:

        …that collar would make him at least ten times more interesting, and it would make Celicia’s a thousand times more. This stuff just writes itself, doesn’t it?

    • skylion says:

      he’s got his own special skill set and tragic past

      …because of course he does, no LN male lead can have anything less than that! LOL!!! 😉

      I hope she stays the Ace to bring him down. I like her as a stronger character, or I like the idea of that, it’s still early days.

  6. Rathje says:

    Trinity Seven did all of this better. No reason to continue watching this one, other than being out of options.

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, this one doesn’t look like it’s packing much, and was never considered critical. I think I like Celicia enough to watch more.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Celicia and the other two girls would be my only reason to continue watching. Though I doubt my fortitude to put up with Glenn in the meantime.

    • BlackBriar says:

      No contest there. If we’re judging first impressions, Arata outshines Glenn so much he’s getting burned by the very light.

      • skylion says:

        ..did you see the recent film? Arata was such a damn horndog, as usual…

        • BlackBriar says:

          I’ve downloaded it but work, gaming, catching up with other shows and other affairs are depriving me a chance to sit down and check it out.

  7. Highway says:

    Actually, I’d kinda love it if he was terrible through the whole show. No hidden talent, no redeeming power that makes dealing with him worth it. I actually liked that he was completely true to himself. He doesn’t want to be there, he doesn’t think he should be there, and it’s only someone making him be there. I wish we could have a story like that, rather than the “hero MC saves everything.” I’d love it if he were the one who needs saving every time by Sistine and the others, if he was the one who screwed things up and they fixed it. There’s still the opportunity for even a harem there, because he could learn to find his place in the school, even if it’s a bit beyond him.

    I won’t get that story, but I’d love to see it.

    • skylion says:

      OMG that would be a great turn out. It’s risky given the audience, because it’s challenging and creative. So yeah, not gonna happen.

      I guess we have to settle for the awesome that is T7, the story that got it right!

      • Highway says:

        Why I oughtta….

        The only thing worth watching T7 for is Yumi Hara saying “Arimasen!” And now you could watch Ange Vierge for that and be better off (light beeeeeeaaaaams).

  8. HannoX says:

    This is a first episode drop for me. Yeah, I’m sure later we’ll find out the male MC has a heart of gold and is really awesome under his jerkwad persona, but he’s such an ass in this first episode that I can’t stand to stick around and see him change–which would probably require putting up with his obnoxious character for several more episodes before he begins to change. Nope, no way, no how.

    Then there’s the fact that this whole episode was done by rote hitting all the most cliché tropes of a magic high school with absolutely nothing fresh about it. And the tropes weren’t even well done.

    Now, I like sexy clothes for girls, but those uniforms were just ridiculous.

    So I’m out of here.

    • skylion says:

      Oh my, this has become the default for most potential fans for the show. It’s just a bloody awful bridge to far with all those points on the checklist. In some respects, it looks like the design was “Oh, is that trope on the list? Is it set to 11? NO! Well set it to 11 immediately! You Foooooool!”

  9. belatkuro says:

    Well obviously he has some secret in him that makes him very special but they’ll have to make it extra special to make up for how he is. He’s pretty honest and open with his intentions but it was a bit too much that I might find it hard to believe he has something special, if not for how this trope always goes.

    Another thing is that we’re not really told why that professor was special herself to recommend this guy. Sure we got a taste of her power from that flashback but we’re only just told “she recommended him, it’s okay” without saying why her word has the final say in his employment.

    The uniforms are ridiculous I admit but I’ll just roll with it since it does make them a bit marketable if they have such a…unique look in them. It’s entertaining to say the least, in this aspect and all other things about the show. It’s my kind of show so I’ll watch it. As always, not expecting a lot from it but as long as it entertains me, it’s good enough.

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