It looks like the Researchers of Divine Wisdom are going to be a recurring foe for the series instead of just a one-shot opposition for the first arc, as they apparently opted to aim for less direct methods this time around. If kidnapping Rumia isn"t going to work, then they"ll arrange for her to be executed as a traitor and force the Queen to cooperate by conning her into wearing a cursed necklace, the kind that can"t be removed or even talked about without killing the wearer. It"s not so surprising that it came down to something like that when Celica was being so dodgy about what she could say, but I was caught off guard by the maid turning out to be the ringleader.

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What I"m less clear about is the motives involved. Grand Commander Zelos knew about the necklace and what it could do, so I"m assuming, based on comments he made around the halfway point, that all his actions were in the interest of trying to safeguard Queen Alicia. In that context, the Imperial Guards" behavior toward the Queen last episode takes on a much less sinister connotation, since they are genuinely trying to make sure that she doesn"t undertake some foolish risk, trying to have Rumia executed because that was the only way to save the Queen. But it makes far less sense that the Researchers took this approach. Last time around, they wanted Rumia bad enough to blow up the school, and now they want her dead? Why the sudden change of heart? And were they also involved with the kidnapping of Princess Ermiana three years ago? At least we know that it has something to do with the titular Akashic Records. (Those are an actual mystical thing and not just an idea created for this series, by the way.)

Regardless of the truth there, the whole business with the necklace made it plain why Celica chose her words so carefully when she contacted Glenn at the end of last episode. I figured that coming before the Queen so he could use his Fool"s World spell would play into this somehow. His power prevented the necklace from detonating, so the Queen could take it off safely. As expected, Albert and Re=L prove to not be enemies after all, and while I didn"t expect them to be quite so chummy, I did forget that bull-headed Re=L, with her “creative” strategies, was the one setting the tone. (Glenn is definitely going to have his hands full when Re=L joins his class, presumably as undercover protection for Rumia, if the opener is anything to go by.) The one big reveal is that Glenn isn"t the only one connected to a Tarot card among the royal special forces. The scheme of trading places with Albert and Re=L was also clever (if hardly original); I suspected something was up with the second “what Glenn would say” comment. The scene toward the end where Rumia and Glenn reminisce over the time that he rescued her three years ago was also neat, though it raises the question about whether or not that incident led to her being cast off as dead.

Despite all these details, it just didn"t feel like this plot came together in dynamic fashion for some reason. The components were there, but everything lacked a certain verve. Maybe the pacing was a little too slow or the shot selection wasn"t that sharp. Whatever the cause, this episode should have more punch than it did, and that"s without bringing up the tired joke at the end about how Glenn can"t get ahead even when he wins. Still, the series is starting to build an intriguing story, and now I"m actually looking forward to more.

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Rating: B

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor is currently streaming onCrunchyroll.

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