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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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

Star Crossed Anime Blog

9 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Mononoke -3 [Sea Bishop Part 1] – Throwback Thursday

Ah, another week, another terrifying horror arc from Mononoke. This week we meet a character who is both new and old, get to take a ride on a ship, and see some of the Medicine Seller’s hidden personality. Let’s jump in! Starting off, lets go over the setup and premise for this arc. Instead of […]

Vinland Saga – 7 [Normanni]

Welcome to the true start of Vinland Saga, as this week adapts what was originally the 1st Chapter of the manga. This week Thorfinn hits puberty, Askeladd makes bank and the French get laughed at. Lets jump in! Starting off, this week was a series of highs and lows for Vinland’s production. I said it […]

DanMachi2 – 6 [City of Lust (Ishtar Familia)]

DanMachi, as an anime, grew up this week. From the show that brought you the cosplaying mechanic of the “Hestia ribbon” comes an episode dealing with largest taboo in hero anime, and in some ways, Japanese conservative culture as a whole. Watching DanMachi this week is like this: you have a friend who you hang […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 20 [Pretend Family]

After last week’s episode, I had high hopes for Kimetsu no Yaiba this week. Sadly, I think I came away from it with more criticisms than complements. Perhaps natural, since living up to last week was nigh impossible. But I wasn’t prepared for Yaiba to undercut its best episode either. Welcome to Yaiba, episode 20, […]

Dr.STONE – 7 [Where Two Million Years Have Gone]

Ah today is a good day. The day where Dr.STONE reinforces what I loved about it when I first read it. You see this week Science takes center stage, we meet the ancient sorcerer Chrome, and the legendary Kinro gets his fabled weapon. Enough with the preamble though, welcome to this weeks Dr.STONE and lets […]

Mononoke – 2 [Zashikiwarashi – Part 2] – Throwback Thursday

There really isn’t a good way to introduce this episode. Nothing is really going to soften the madness of what I just watched. As this week Mononoke has given us one of the darkest/creepiest yet most endearing episodes I have seen in a long time. So let’s just get on with it. Starting off, a […]

Cop Craft – 06 [Need For Speed]

Cop Craft mixes up many unusual elements such as porno magazines, gay policeman, car chases and even romance into its trip this week. The result is that while it’s light in content, it proves to be more entertaining than when it deals with serious plot. While at this point I still prefer the relationship between […]

Kanata no Astra – 08 [Past]

There sure is a lot to unpack in Kanata no Astra this week. Kanata no Astra loves to give clues, and with every reveal it opens up more questions and make it think how all these puzzles fit in a big narrative frame. I must say that I am enjoying the ride so far, it’s […]

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note – 6 [A Girl, a Department Store, and a Gift ]

It turns out that next week will be the beginning of the adaption of the source material of volume four and five and this episode marks the end of original anime content. I rather like this episode as it breaks away from Waver solving cases and has a fun little shopping adventure with the three […]

Latest Reviews

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – II Lost Butterfly Anime Review – 91/100

Long time no see and strap in cause this is going to be a long one. I will preface this review with the assumption that you have seen the first movie of this trilogy and this movie as well as the assumption that whomever is reading this knows what a command spell is. So basically […]

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]

[Star Crossed Anime Exclusive] Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection Review – 80/100

I was lucky enough to be at Sakura-con in Seattle on 20 April 2019 for the Funimation’s movie premiere of Code Geass’ third movie with the Director himself, Gorō Taniguchi, along with his senior staff in attendance inside a room full of raving fans. Was it was worth the decade-long wait to have a worthy […]

Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]