Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor
Episode 7

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 7 of
Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor ?

To probably no one's surprise, Re=L has become both a regular cast member and a student in Glenn's class as of this episode, with the explicit (though still secret!) purpose of protecting Rumia. What's a little more surprising is that she also immediately becomes a focal point rather than just an ensemble cast member, as this episode suggests that she'll be at the heart of the new story arc.

A good chunk of this episode involves Re=L getting accustomed to school life, with Rumia and Sistine as her guides and friends. This plays out against a backdrop of ordinary magic school activities, such as magical target practice and a field trip to an island for study at an alchemy facility. The latter conveniently gets used to up a fanservice quotient that's been surprisingly lax for the last few episodes, as all the girls don sexy yet tasteful swimsuits. In a possible “meta” moment, Glenn even plays this off as the whole point of the field trip – which naturally makes him a god amongst the male students, although Rumia suspects this is his way of keeping the class distanced from military magic as much as possible. It looks like the Researchers of Divine Wisdom have other ideas about that, as Evil Maid shows up again to imply some dastardly scheme in the works at the end, but that's entirely divorced from all the more ordinary activities and frivolity.

I'm not convinced that putting so much storytelling weight on Re=L was a good idea, since she comes across as a stock archetype: the petite combat-focused girl with a one-track mind and social awkwardness ripe to mine for comedy. The writing drops hints that there's some issue with her brother in the past, vaguely suggesting that she might have transferred emotions toward her brother over to Glenn, and there are hints of possibly bigger issues too. Albert's caution to Glenn about Re=L being “dangerous” and her emotional near-meltdown near the end of the episode are cause for concern. That at least gives some hope that the story will move in an interesting direction in her case, but I'm not expecting too much. Granted, the series has shown some ability to step beyond its base elements, but that's going to be more difficult for this character.

For the most part, the execution in this episode is paint-by-numbers. The male protagonist rallies the horny boys while the girls look on with disgust (while disguising what may be purer motives), he's still working through a bad past, and so forth. There's even an opening training session framed as something vastly more sexual, though that was at least a little funny. Frankly, the writing is in danger of making Glenn too much of a typical good guy, as if it's decided to set aside the “bastard” part of the title. Yes, we want the protagonist to be heroic, but that doesn't mean he can't be a little more of an ass in the process.

Rating: B-

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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