Every week in "The Hook," we take a look at Crunchyroll simulcasts or new catalogue shows, and tell you what'll keep you coming back for more.
It's a magical week for "The Hook," as we dip our toes in two fantasy series from our spring simulcast lineup. GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation and Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor will take you to faraway lands, but what will keep you coming back for more? Check out this week's column to find out!
GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation
Smartphone fantasy RPG GRANBLUE FANTASY is one of the most recent to get its own anime adaptation, and it's eye candy from the start. We start on an airship, as Lyria (the resident Girl with Mysterious Powers) is being snuck out of captivity by the knight Katalina. Unfortunately, the altercation doesn't go well, and Lyria plunges to the earth below.
Fortunately, she is found by the villager Gran and his lizard-like friend Vyrn. But guards on the lookout for Katalina and Lyria soon drag Gran and his fellow villagers into their business... with disastrous results.
The Hook: Gran dies. That was a short show.
... okay, what actually happens is Lyria resurrets Gran using her mysterious powers. And thanks to his resurrection, he appears to have some strange powers of his own. The episode ends with Gran and Lyria facing down her captor with Bahamut: a beast they've just summoned together.
Who Is It For: While it's based on a game, it gives enough information by way of setting and plot to draw you in without you having to have played before. It has all the earmarks of modern anime fantasy: pretty ladies in armor, a mysterious blue-haired girl, marketable mascot, evil ruling class, and skyships. Fans of the genre may not find it unpredictable, but it's definitely fun, with some lovely art and a really cool pair of opening and ending themes.
Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor
If the title is a mouthful, it's probably based on a light novel. And if there's an average-seeming guy in a fantasy world surrounded by cute girls, it's also probably based on a light novel. We're two for two with Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor, whose title character is a new substitute teacher named Glenn Radars.
Glenn is an underqualified mage starting his first day at Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, a prestigious magic school with some really wild uniforms. We follow best friends Sistine and Rumia as they encounter Glenn prior to and then during class... learning once and for all that, yeah, he's kind of a bastard. Turning every class into self-study, mouthing off at students, and walking in on girls changing are just a few of his infractions.
Finally Sisti, desperate to get some actual education in, threatens to get Glenn fired... which he seems happy about. The end result is a magic duel in the schoolyard after class... which he loses. Several times.
The Hook: As Glenn mentions, he's there under duress. Professor Celica Arfonia insists that he teach there, and is ready to reduce him to magical atoms if he refuses. She claims it's so that he can lead a full and happy life. But there's clearly something else at play here.
And why is Sisti so intent on her teacher behaving? It's not just because she's our resident Hermione Granger. Sisti has her sights set high -- literally. She wants to learn the secrets of the mysterious flying castle over their school, and knows she'll never manage without a proper magical education.
Who Is It For: If you want to see one guy get beat up in sixteen different ways, we've got a show for you. Yes, there's a lot of slapstick. (And a little fanservice.) But for all the silliness, there's definitely something interesting to unravel under the surface -- chief among them being what Glenn's real story is.
Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, blogs and runs interviews for (Re)Generation Who and PotterVerse, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl's Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.