Image source: ロクでなし魔術講師と禁忌教典アニメ公式‏ on Twitter

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor is at its best when it focuses on comedy.

Sistine Fibel and Rumia Tingel are students at the prestigious Alzano Imperial Magic Academy. One day, their instructor is replaced with a lazy and incompetent man named Glenn Radars. But underneath Glenn’s lazy exterior is a man who understands the fundamentals of magic. Now, Sistine tries to force Glenn into teaching while Glenn tries to avoid teaching at all costs.

There are many ways to present comedy, but Akashic Records uses two ways to heighten the comedy potential of the series. These are creating a gap in Glenn’s personality and the double act between Glenn and Sistine. Creating a gap in Glenn’s personality is as simple as setting him up as a lazy and incompetent teacher, but at times showing he’s much smarter than he lets on. The double act, in turn, sets Glenn up as a buffoon to Sistine’s serious straight man. By combining these two comedic structures, the series shines during the comedic moments.

Akashic Records Teaches You to Question Your Education in the Best Way

In the first episode of Akashic Records, Glenn’s layabout ways are quickly established. This is our baseline for his character and, because of this, we expect him to act a certain way in certain situations. Yet, by showing us how capable he is in a pinch, we see not only that there’s much more to Glenn but also how that serious side affects his lazy side. The fourth episode really demonstrates this when his class is choosing the members for the different competitions in the school-wide magic festival. Glenn shows that he understands the strengths and weaknesses of his students. But, his stated reason for drawing out their abilities is that he wants to win a big monetary bet he made with another teacher. That gap between his responsible purpose and irresponsible impetus brings out the comedy of the scene, while also showing us the different sides of Glenn.

This gap is really important for comedic characters like Glenn for one other reason: it rounds out his character. If Glenn were just a bumbling fool for an entire episode, it would detract from some of the more serious elements of the series. Going back to the fourth episode, it’s established early in the episode that Glenn is cheering on his class for money, which is funny. But, at the same time, he’s actually providing insightful lessons to his students, showing off his more knowledgeable side. This makes him three-dimensional and engaging. As viewers, this is the type of character we want to see—not a one-dimensional caricature.

Image source: ロクでなし魔術講師と禁忌教典アニメ公式‏ on Twitter

The second key to the comedy of Akashic Records is the double act between Glenn and Sistine. While the double act has the same comedic goal as Glenn’s personality gap—i.e., to make the audience laugh—the way it does so is different. Glenn does something un-teacher-like and Sistine rebukes him with common sense, e.g., Glenn doesn’t want to teach and Sistine wants a thorough lesson from Glenn. It works on such a simple level that it’s just too enjoyable

With these two competing wants at odds with each other, the comedy in their scenes comes naturally. The first episode is brimming with Glenn and Sistine’s double act with Glenn making each class a free study period and Sistine trying to force him to teach. However, this relationship also works in many other situations. Take the lunch break during the magic festival in the fifth episode.

Glenn, who is magically disguised as Sistine’s adopted sister Rumia and is starving from lack of funds, wants to eat the lunch Sistine made for Rumia. But stealing a student’s lunch would make Glenn an even worse teacher. Of course, it’s at that moment that the real Rumia shows up. What follows is some fast-paced talking and a few jokes in the same vein as Abbott and Costello.

The double act of Glenn and Sistine interspersed throughout the series gives more personality to all the characters too, as they have a chance to jump in on the joke. This makes Glenn and Sistine a marvel together because they bring a comedic energy to Akashic Records that Glenn alone just can’t provide.

It is in this way that the gap in Glenn’s personality and the double act between Glenn and Sistine create an anime that really shines in the moments when the comedy is on display.

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor is streaming on FUNimation and Crunchyroll.

Comments (1)
  1. Not going to lie. I will be the first to admit i wasn’t going to waste my time with this show at first. Getting tired of the rehashed shows we have been getting. After reading a few things online and comments few people told me to try it. Glad i did. The first episode made it hard for me to continue but after that hump it was a lot of fun. Been watching the dub since i find anime’s with comedy more enjoyable for me. That show has made me laugh my ass off many times and i appreciate it. It does get more interesting as it goes on so i’m glad i gave it a chance.

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