Hot off the heels of last week’s Why You Shouldn’t Be Watching: Eromanga-sensei, I’m bringing you yet another spinoff of my Why You Should Be Watching series, this time with Why You Should Maybe Be Watching: Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records.
This anime is about a magical instructor with a dark past teaching kids who find him nothing more than a lazy bastard… but there’s always surprises in anime.
Maybe find out what those are below the break!
Anime has a lot of problems as a genre. One of the biggest is its reliance on the standard tropes and fan service to pander to the otaku demographic and get them to stay and sit through the story you work hard to create. And this is no more apparent than the dichotomy between the first two episodes of Akashic Records.
Not only does the first episode include the walking in on girls changing, girl dueling main guy lead to show him who’s boss, and a send the guy flying scene that’s been in so many other anime before it, but the episode doesn’t even try to be unique or interesting in any way, shape or form. It’s an incredibly milquetoast anime if you just watch the first episode, which is frustrating because the second episode is so good.
Magic systems are the bread and butter of fantasy stories, and a good magic system can make or break the believability and interest of the viewer if it doesn’t have clear weaknesses and strengths. About the only thing the first episode does is barely hint at the fact that the magic system is more in depth at the end when the teacher duels his student, but the second episode goes into this system of magic hard.
The gist of it is that casting spells requires reciting mantras. Changing the words or phrases changes the spells in minute ways, with a short phrase creating a quick, but less powerful electric shock, for example, while a slightly longer phrase with a missing word creates a shock that curves left or right depending on the words spoken.
This is further elaborated on, and thankfully shown rather than just told through a lecture like most anime often do. We see examples of this strange form of magic then shown throughout the rest of the show, and the best thing is that the rules stay consistent throughout the plot. There isn’t a point where the magic system contradicts itself, except for one very important distinction: people with special traits and people who have come up with original magic.
While most anime would have these special traits or original magic spells applied more than once to the same person, Akashic Records actually makes a point to let you know what these forms of magic are incredibly rare and only one is really ever shown in a single person, at least as far as the anime has gone.
Unfortunately, aside from the in depth magic system, this anime adheres to the typical tropes way too often and too much to realize the potential I see in it, because it has all the makings of a great anime, with an interesting world, an organization of foes that could potentially be interesting, and characters that rarely almost, but not quite, hit the character beats that could put it on the same level of Full Metal Alchemist, for example.
High praise, you might think, but this isn’t typical of the show, and in fact, the show often goes out of its way to use its characters poorly, with the blonde girl used as a damsel in distress at every opportunity. But there are shining moments, extremely small and covered in the unfortunate trope-filled uses of character normally, that peek out and then return beneath the soil as if they never existed.
Akashic Records is the epitome of an average show. It’s not good, but it’s not bad, either. It will have its fans and its detractors in equal measure. Whether you like it or not really depends on how much media, and especially anime, you’ve consumed, since if it’s your first time or one of the first few anime you’re consuming, a lot of the tropes won’t bother you since you haven’t had much experience with them.
But if you’ve been exposed to the same story beats and character moments that this show repeatedly brings about to create needless drama or for a missed mark of comedic affect, the show is tiresome at the worst of times and sigh-inducing at the best of times, at least for me.
Aside from that, the music is mostly forgettable, with no particular tracks coming to memory as I write this. The animation is average for the most part, though I can’t recall any moments where it was particularly heinous. The humor is sometimes off the mark, but there are some instances where your funny bone will be hit.
One of the biggest surprises about the show is that despite its reliance on what you would typically see in battle school harem anime, there’s not a lot of fanservice aside from the first episode. There was a swimsuit episode recently, but the show relies more on its stripper uniforms for episode to episode fanservice rather than directly giving the camera salacious angles.
The story tries its best with what’s given, and like I said before, there are hints of interesting ideas scattered throughout, especially with the darker aspects of the mage corps that the teacher was formerly a part of, though the show has yet to focus much on them. There is a surprising amount of blood in this anime compared to most shounen, but it isn’t anywhere near the level of something like Elfen Lied, for example.
Ultimately, if you like the genre of battle school harem anime, this one will be another in a long line of forgettable anime with an interesting twist that can’t quite hit the heights it needs to. I would recommend watching Rakudai Kishi no Calvary instead if you want to get your battle school anime fix, especially because it happens not to be a harem.
If you enjoyed this look into why you should be watching this anime, but want a little more of my voice in your life, you can take a look at my YouTube channel where I discuss issues, ideas, and more through the lens of anime while giving insight into why I enjoyed the anime.
If you want to talk to me, you can always leave a comment down below or catch me @Croswynd on Twitter anytime.
Let me know what you think about having images in the article versus having just the text, too!
And, as I always say, remember to enjoy the way you watch anime, because as long as you’re having fun, that’s all that really matters.
See you next article!