Posted by psgels on 27 September 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin




The past summer really had its quantity problem, but there still were three series that really stood out to me as a breath of fresh air that may have significant flaws, but also have a delightful execution. These series are Shiki, Kuroshitsuji II and Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin. While Shiki had an incredibly solid execution and Kuroshitsuji got better and better as it went on, Occult Gakuin instead was just all over the place, which had both its advantages and disadvantages.

This series promised to be a fast-paced adventure series through the occult with its excellent and very witty first episode, but instead it turns out that it’s built around several two-episode arcs instead, focusing more on its characters while developing its plot only in the background. In Occult Academy, no episode really is like the other, with the result that you might be expecting a fast-paced action episode, only to get a bunch of episodes that focus more on the quiet type of storytelling.

On the bright side though, you’ll never know what this series will focus on next, and the episodes in which this series really goes all out were without a doubt the best episodes I watched during the entire summer season. The producers got some of the most amazing staff to write for some of the episodes, ranging from the director of Michiko e Hatchin, the director of Mouryou no Hako and Aoi Bungaku’s Hashire Melos to the writer of Noein and Birdy the Mighty Decode. There are thre episodes in this series that are so well written, portrayed and animated, that simply their presence makes this entire series worth watching.

Now, as for the rest of the series, it does have some balancing issues, and some other episodes fail to entice any excitement, and could have been cut from the series easily. The series itself spends a bit too much of its focus on developing Maya as a character, that it forgets about the other parts of the series. Because of this, some parts are rushed while others just take too long, on top of their lack of creativity compared to the better moments of the series.

Despite the balance issues, the plot does come together quite nicely in the end, though. All of the major questions get answers quite nicely and used to bring in some very interesting twists near the end. And really, amidst the countless of series that don’t seem to have any ambition, Occult Academy really tried to create something interesting, creative and diverse. It’s set up pretty much guarantees that you’ll be disappointed in one way or the other due to the lesser episodes, but for me it had enough to make up for it. I have quite a few issues with this series, but really: if those issues were fixed then this would have been a serious contender for the best series of the year and it will be awesome if more series would try to follow in this series’ footsteps.

Storytelling: 9/10 – The writing ranges from average at worst to absolutely fantastic at best. When it wants to, this series can be truly excellent at building up, but there are times in which it doesn’t have enough creativity in its script.
Characters: 8/10 – A very solid cast, but considering the premise of this series, the creators could have eliminated some overused cliches, and they could have done more with Maya’s character considering the amount of time that was put in her development.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Gorgeous and creative animation that really brings the characters to life.
Setting: 8/10 – Explores the occult from all over the world. Very interesting as a kaleidoscope throughout the supernatural, though never really goes in-depth.

Suggestions:
Baccano
Michiko e Hatchin
Kaiba

9 Responses

  1. skchai says:

    Not doubt anime should try to break out of the existing genres and try completely new concepts. Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin does does its best to do so while maintaining a strong focus on entertainment, as do the other series in the Anime no Chikara timeslot.

    Although the two are often conflated, their aim is in a way the opposite from Noitamina, which tries to adapt high-quality mainstream manga rather than otaku-oriented stuff in order to attract a wider audience.

    I loved the early episodes and the Maya character in general, who is interesting, funny, and sympathetic, as well as being impossible to place within any existing anime archetype.

    The plotholes are so numerous, however, that it frustrated the detail-obsessed otaku side of me to end. Not just the ending, but also . . . .

    Did Mikaze herself believe she was the Nostradamus key (it’s never made clear)? If so, why would she, especially if she is such a brilliant mage? Furthermore, if she was capable of opening up the time/space portal and she was not in fact the Nostradamus key, then she should have been able to do it any time, not just the appointed date.
    What’s with the classic-model aliens? Why should they, of all folks, exist on the other side of the portal? What would Mikaze gain by letting them in (assuming she thought etc. etc.) Were they her pals?
    Why were all the previous time travelers killed when they actually posed no real threat to Mikaze’s plans? Unless she knew Bunmei was the key, but then there very easy ways for her to bring about the apocalypse once he arrived.
    Shouldn’t did the Sumidagawa area of 2012 have appeared in a destroyed state when Maya’s father arrived after his time-forward travel?
    If they already knew about the Ramachandran-Fischer law, should the slight problems it could cause have been pretty evident Maya’s dad and the chief scientist from 2012 (BTW a rare current role for Futamata Issei = Godai Yuusuke from 1986’s Maison Ikkoku) before they sent in the time travelers.

    And hey, which Ramachandran and which Fischer’s name are they taking in vain? The various biologists? Or is Fischer a callout to Bobby? Did his mastery of the Ruy Lopez opening somehow reveal something about time-space portals? At least use some obvious imaginary names if you’re going to talk about fake laws, so that make otaku engage in useless, time-wasting, speculation.

    Sorry, rant over, but I think with a little bit more time they could have come up with a plot that had fewer holes, and in the process got more entertainment value from characters like the vice-principal/mage and the spoon-bending young Bunmei.

    The spoon thing at the end last episode was totally WTF, but it was sufficient over-the-top to be in the so-absurd-it-kind-of-makes-sense.

  2. Moonhawk says:

    @skchai:
    I don’t think Maya’s dad travelled forward in time when he was sent away by the magic spell.
    He was only transported someplace else in his time and started to look for the key there.
    Then on the appointed day he saw on television what had happened at Occult Academy and knew he had failed. From then on he started to develop a way to send timetravellers back to find the key that he himself had failed to find.

  3. hoiut says:

    Completely agree with psgel’s review. My goodness, even if I had the writing ability I honestly couldn’t have said it better myself. The last episode (13) review cinched it for me.

    What a ride this show has been! (Though for what it’s worth, I did like Sora no K-On-to a bit more than ya). Keep it up!

  4. skchai says:

    @Moonhawk: That’s possible. The Asahi Beer Hall with the strange golden-feces looking thing (it’s supposed to be the “Asahi Beer Flaming Heart”) was already built by 1990 (?) so it could be in 1999.

    But if they wanted to transfer him to Sumida 1999, why not just take the train, for God’s sake?

  5. yamapishy says:

    i love this anime, definitely one of the best this season! it’s short but has a concrete plot and unforgettable characters. I hope we get to encounter more animes like these.^_^

  6. Suu says:

    What amused me was that it somehow just evaded “the lame guy with three women fawning over him” cliche. Very crafty, Occult Gakuin. Nice idea to make one of the women as the focal point instead of the lame guy.

  7. Troyen says:

    You bring up a good point #6, I didn’t really think about that until now. (Though I guess it came close in some of the earlier episodes when Mikaze first showed up.)

    I have to say I really enjoyed the facial expressions in this show. Especially the eyes; every time someone was irritated or disgusted it just felt like there was more life in the facial region than in other shows.

  8. Mushyrulez says:

    #1: Yeah, Mikaze’s portal was to hell; but then the Nostradamus portal was to the alien land. If Mikaze was still alive, hell-aliens would come (and get destroyed by nukes and rockets shortly), but if she died and Fumiaki didn’t stop the portal, not even rockets will help.

    BECAUSE THE SPOON IS MIGHTIER THAN THE ROCKET

  9. Souther says:

    A worthwhile production, overall, but if you ask me…I would say they were trying a little too hard towards the end -some questions don’t always need to be answered when there isn’t enough time to expand on them- but Occult Academy still deserves credit for daring to try something relatively different from the usual anime crop.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:10 AM)
    well, this place changed a lot. Gotta say, I’m not a fan of how they adapted GATE into an anime. It feels too decompressed. Manga did a better job at keeping the tension taut
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:08 AM)
    Also I am not the blog, I’m just a poster… I really hope you have enough sense to tell the difference…
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:07 AM)
    @Emo: you’re saying all that like that doesn’t fit your description to a T. Kinda sad actually…
    Well I guess now at least I gave you one more thing to get angry about so your day seems just a bit more active than your last.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:03 AM)
    I don’t think people are really expected to read it from the start anymore. I mean that’s probably why it stays popular in Japan considering people would have to be in their 20s at least to keep up from the start without reading hundreds of chapters just to keep up.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:00 AM)
    Well admittly comics don’t seem to be that easy to follow (don’t actually read comics despite liking a lot of DC and marvel media), but anyway it’s not like the other long-running shounens in terms of continuity and more like the long-running comedies like say Kochikoma.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 12:56 AM)
    If you don’t like it, it’s cool.
    If you don’t feel like watching a thing that still airs weekly that’s also cool.
    If you leave it because it’s long or far from ending, you’re really missing out for little reason. One Piece is like western comics, the characters and setting has been around for years but each saga comes as a standalone story and for the most part is directed at both veterans and newcomers.
  • jerkocaust
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 12:35 AM)
    ;( tell me more about this world, oh anonymous anime fan on some minor anime blog who spends his days rotting at home watching anime, tell me more about this world you must know from the window of your computer monitor
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Jul 31. 2015 11:20 PM)
    ;(, It goes against my code. If I start something then I start at the start from the start otherwise I feel like I am missing something. I gave one pieces manga and anime a pretty fair shot. Made it up to that shark pirate guy and I can sort I see why people like it but I am really not keen on getting into something with no end in sight. Plus the art style really doesn’t work for me.
  • ;(
    (Friday, Jul 31. 2015 10:52 PM)
    If this world is so overcomplicated for you, you can just quit it. I won’t mind.
  • jerkocaust
    (Friday, Jul 31. 2015 10:36 PM)
    Lord Christ what an overcomplicated world i live in when someone like ;( needs an unnecessarily complicated reason for liking/hating a show. The explanation which, btw won’t change aidanak47’s opinion on the shonen garbage that is One Piece of Shit. We just dont like the show and forcing ourself to come at it from a different angle which is what you push is disingenuous and tiring.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 04

Not much to talk about this episode as it was mainly set up to the next. The army’s reputation looks to have risen after driving off a dragon and looks to have caught the attention of our new female character. I was about to sigh when I saw the old anime staple of a bath […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 03

Here it is, a flashback to the beginning of the outbreak. In a market as over saturated with zombie media as ours it’s rather hard to do this kind of story without treading on old ground. The start of the outbreak is the focal point of every beginning for a zombie movie. Rarely is it […]

Gangsta. – 04

I have said it before but these twilight characters rub me the wrong way. This group of superhuman individuals just sticks out like a sore thumb in a grounded setting such as this. They are a Shounen element in a otherwise Seinien show so when they come out and start leaping on rooftops this just […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 03

This episode introduces what looks to be the main trio of girls for the cast. A elf girl, a mage girl and a Goth lolita girl with a giant axe. The Goth lolita, otherwise know as the Apostle of a death god, Rory is so far the most interesting of the bunch. Though mainly because […]

Gangsta. – 03

I really don’t understand Mangalobe’s thinking on this changes, for you see this episode was an adaption of the second chapter in the manga. I don’t see the reason why they felt that they needed to mix around the order of these episodes but I suppose it’s no harm done. To be honest I found […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 02

  So despite saying I would cover Chaos Dragon in my summer preview, I have decided to cover this instead. The reasons for this is simple, the obvious one being that Chaos Dragon is a poorly written, badly animated and jarring mess of an anime. But the main reason is that after the second episode […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 02

This episode was certainly stronger than the first as Itami’s otaku tendencies were cut down and the focus was more on the conflict. The fight itself was brilliantly portrayed as we saw it mainly from the side of the other world. In the beginning when they were marching towards the army they were assured of […]

Gangsta. – 02

As this show continues the Black Lagoon vibes only get stronger but this episode did present an issue. Namely the supernaturally strong dog tag soldiers which can jump ten feet into the air and pull out road signs. In a series that at least started fairly set in reality these elements are somewhat odd though […]

Knights of Sidonia S2: Battle for Planet Nine review – 73/100

The second season of Sidonia makes a number of mistakes that a lot of second seasons do. That namely being that the anime slows down and introduces characters and conflicts that are often resolved in a undetermined to exist, third season. A new antagonist is introduced, whom does very little in the season and only […]

Latest Reviews

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]