Anime Review: Occult Academy (Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin)

Normally, I’d review an anime after it ends, but the climax of the show has come and gone with episode 12. So, I’ll proceed here and try not to do any spoilers per se.

One Stop Occult Trope Shopping

This anime takes all your millennial cult stuff – Nostradamus, mothmen, little green men, ghosts, ghouls – and combines them with further fantastical elements such as magic, a time traveler coming back in time to save the world (who ends up being a bumbling secondary lead), and, well, Maya.

Maya Kumashiro, heiress to the academy after her father is murdered.

What a character.

The above image shows her during one of her kinder phases. She has a great facial range and can be very nice, and also, very violent, irate, jealous, incredulous, disgusted, and so forth. She’s rarely honest about her feelings in words, and always honest about them in deeds.

See, Japan goes for the sincerity thing.

Anyway, Kumashiro is a pun.

Kuma is bear.

Shiro is white.

She’s like a sexier female version of a panda bear.

As in, try to cuddle up to her and she’ll claw you from head to toe.

Maya, put bluntly, totally makes this show.

A Fine Cast of Characters

While Maya makes the show, her school friends and other complete oddballs truly make the show compelling. In fact, our time traveler is almost obscenely normal – a necessary feature for this show, frankly.

We have a Total Occult Otaku schoolgirl, a Tomboy Best Friend schoolgirl, an overweight dousing rod specialist (whose rods actually work), a mechanic whose wrenches large and small provide him with some weaponry (serving as a supporting cast character through some of the craziness), and well, the rest would get into spoiler territory quickly.

Point is, the work may be fiction, but the characters are “real” inasmuch they have a ton of genuine emotional content.

This is a Good Thing.

Saving The World From Destruction

See, the point of the show is finding the so-called Nostradamus’ Key, the prophesied bringer of doom that will lead the world to destruction when the year 2000 comes around. In the future, aliens invade and well… think Terminator, without the cyborgs coming back in time (or having to, as the “local” trouble is very considerable).

So this becomes a quest to find the Key and save the world, traveling down a winding path full of hoaxes and “real occult” stuff with a lot of mad twists to it.

But seriously, watch this show for Maya.

I didn’t regret it.

Disclaimer

None of the occult stuff portrayed in the show is real whatsoever… unless you believe it to be.

(Stolen from the show.)

Conclusion: Surprisingly Entertaining

There’s a lot in this show that you wouldn’t think would work out. Also, anyone desperate to find a strong male lead needs to look somewhere else; Bunmei is not it. We have Maya for that.

But, every character fulfills a fine role. If these were real-life actors, we’d be giving out Emmy’s for the acting performances. A character-driven show with characters up to the task can be a very fine thing to watch.

It’s not for everyone, but I rode the bumps and thoroughly enjoyed the high points so I strongly recommend the show. It has been a good ride, and like I keep saying, Maya makes it all worthwhile.

J Sensei

About J Sensei

Blogger, writer, linguist, former Japanese> English translator, rusty in French, experienced in Japanese, fluent English native. Writing for Technorati.com and various blogs. Skype: jeremiah.bourque (messages always welcome). E-mail: [email protected]
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