22 CommentsOccult Academy / By Scamp /

Occult Academy episode 13 (finale)

This anime is stupid.

However, since this is the last episode, I feel I should explain my reason why I’m declaring it so in more detail.

Look out Chihiro! There’s a giant magical flying panther behind you!

To say ‘where did it all go wrong’ is to overstate how good the show was at any point during its airing. The episode formats themselves rarely made much sense, but it used to have an extremely sharp sense of humour. Occult Academy was self-aware without pointing out that it was so. It had wit that seemed to entirely dissapear at the end because the ‘plot’ appeared once again, not that the wit was exactly in great shape in the earlier episodes. It had been steadily dropping as the series went on.

Oh Maya. Your endless array of facial expressions, from tsundere to shocked to repulsed to absolute angel, were the highlight of the anime. Beyond that, you weren’t really that interesting of a character but I’m more than willing to give you the benefit of the doubt with that face of yours. Oh, and your one-piece, figure hugging, zettai ryokai outfit that you modeled for the majority of the show.

Anyway, where Occult Academy went wrong was the total disconnect between episodes throughout the series. This last episode wasn’t actually that bad and had a quite cool twist to it that I probably should have seen coming, except I was too baffled and annoyed at how stupid the series had gotten. But the whole inter dimensional alien thing was one plot and the magical witches was something else entirely. It was as though the entire middle arc had nothing to do with the rest of the show. I can sorta forgive that though. In fact, it’s kinda cool the way they worked them together in the end. Argh what am I doing? I’m trying to meticulously critisize this show and I keep coming back to things it did well.

But again, each episode felt so disconnected from each other. One episode would have a certain tone, whether it be witty or self-aware humour, only for it to jump to totally serious flying magical panthers and the POWAH OF LOVE. It feels like the creators thought that the end would justify the means. That they could put in whatever nonsense in the middle so long as they stick in a few key points that connects the plot. It doesn’t work like that goddamit! That’s not how you construct a story! You don’t stick in a few key points and then fill the rest with whatever director you decided to hire today felt like filling the space with.

Some of the interim parts were good, mainly the parts where they flaunted their wit or had a barrage of Maya reaction faces. But for most of the rest of the series it was jarring. It was a mess. But most of all, it was stupid. Because of the lack of connections between these parts, stuff would happen that made no fucking sense whatsoever. You can’t just call everything the occult and leave it at that. You set your own universe rules and you live by those rules. Stuff happened here just for the hell of things. These two are actually magical girls all along. Oh, and her bodyguard is a flying magical panther. Or maybe Chihiro is going to summon a spirit and then have no idea why she did that, which may or may not have had any connection with her being a white mage or not. It was as though the writing staff didn’t talk to one another. I read here that the original concept to Occult Academy involved Maya being framed for something and being on the run. Not sure how much you can read into that but it gives yet another sign how little the show was able to stick to the same theme throughout.

And so the show ends off with Bumnei being able to fly and his psychic powers being powerful enough to destroy an inter-dimensional invading fleet, despite the fact all he’s done so far is bend friggen spoons. Whatever.

Disconnect is the buzz word for this series. Disconnect between episodes, between scenes and apparently between the writers too. There was a underlying plot. The anime was really all about Bumnei manning up. But the way it was done was a mess, so much so that any predicting you could have done throughout the series was an impossible task, as I tried to prove many times with my episodic posts. It was an absolute mess. Fun at times, I’ll certainly give it that. But my patience dissipated with this series at episode 12. If this had been a 24 episode-long production, I probably would have dropped it around now.

Anime no Chikara ends for now. Power of Anime? Surely these guys could have made a better effort to produce more solid series. I wonder if this is down to anime often being created by a commitee. One man’s story is what anime companies usually adapt, but are often left with no room to express themselves creatively, lest they draw the wrath of the original fans. But when you finally hand them the reigns, what anime producers throw up are total messes. Solid concepts at heart maybe. Sora no Woto was a damn fine series when you got to the heart of the anime. Senkou no Night Raid had an interesting concept. But when it comes to writing the actual series itself, you end up with commitee created messes.

This is all some guesswork on my part, but it looks to me that they’ve gone totally the wrong way about making these original anime productions. The greatest original productions you can generally place down to one mans dream and everything else stems from there. Become a committee and you get disconnects. It’s still a while before we see whether Anime no Chikara makes a comeback, but I don’t think any of the three series were well-received. If they do return, I hope they put their faith in one man to create the anime. But that’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get there. For now, it’s bu-bye to Occult Academy.

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  1. Someone Else
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    There’s an OAD too man, which I have no idea what could be. It could be some filler in the middle of nowhere though but anyways I at least enjoyed this show even if its just a bit with its randomness while laughing at its flaws haha

    So I got a question, even if you somehow hated all the chikara project, which one do you think was the best?

    • Someone Else
      Posted September 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      One of the 3 shows I mean (sorry, my english seems to suck lately)

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Sora no Woto was the best. Most organised (never thought I’d say that about the series) and created the world with the most detail. Most of all, it had the most ambition and love put into it. You could tell the creators really cared about their creation, even if it didn’t really succeed in the end.

      I didn’t hate the anime no chikara shows. Even Occult Academy I’d class a lot better than quite a number of anime I’ve seen. I gave it a 5/10 on MAL. Hate is a word I reserve for Princess Tutu =P

      But yeah, I did sometimes enjoy laughing along at the randomness. But when it was organised randomness that is. In the end it just got to me.

      Hope you enjoyed reading the posts =)

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Oh god, the time travel had me cheering. tbh, I usually fucking hate Time Travel plots. BUT FUCK YEAH BUNMEI, YOU KILL THOSE ALIENS!!

    • Scamp
      Posted September 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Fitting for the one with the Dr.Who avatar

      • luffyluffy
        Posted September 29, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Less Doctor Who, more Matt Smith being adorable.

  3. Posted September 28, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    I agree the second to last episode was a bit stupid but all in all ended rather well for me !

    • Scamp
      Posted September 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Lucky you

  4. Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    If I’m not mistaken, Shinbo is supposed to head up the new Anime no Chikara project.

    Take from that what you will…

    • Scamp
      Posted September 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like BS to me, although I would love to see what original anime productions Shinbo makes in that wacked out mind of his

      • Posted September 30, 2010 at 4:47 am | Permalink

        I was trying to find where I read it, but I double checked the Certain Anonymous Imageboard’s archive, and it’s just persistent 2ch rumors that won’t disappear. Reading over rumors from previous seasons shows that legitimate leaks show up in 2ch forums all the time, so I guess I was just being hopeful. It’s being described as an original mahou shoujo by Shinbo, which, considering Nanoha, presses all the right buttons for certain Anon which in turn explains the persistence of the rumors.

        So yeah. Huge grain of salt. My bad.

      • Scamp
        Posted September 30, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        2ch does have a tendency to get rumours right. However I tend to hear those rumours through the filter of twitter and I hadn’t heard tht one before.

        Not looking forward to more magical girl stuff though if it was true

  5. Samshel
    Posted September 29, 2010 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    And that’s how you break a time travel paradox!

    Those guys should check out Discovery or NatGeo, those channels teach some good stuff.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Break a time travel paradox by manning up? It also enables you to fly apparently

  6. Posted September 29, 2010 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    If Occult Academy’s stupid, then I’d throw it into the same category of stupid as Cobra the Animation.

    Are flying demon panthers really all that different from jet piranhas? I love them both equally, as if they were my own children

    At least that’s how I look at it.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 29, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      While not exactly the best example of a perfectly created anime or anything, Cobra made those worlds work. They created a world in which Jet Pirahnas make sense and girls always go around wearing a thong and sports bra. The tone fitted what happened and didn’t leap around

  7. Posted September 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree with a lot of what you said. I really do agree, I wish there was more fluidity and connection in the story. It really did seem like the middle was just… crap.

    Half the series Bunmei is being led on by the Witch and taken OUT of the action. Most of the series Maya is fighting monsters or some random thing.

    And then they act like it was a growing experience for Bunmei and that he had been growing the entire time? No, it didn’t make since.

    I agree with what you said, and I feel kinda sad, because with the right focus, this series would’ve been GREAT

    • Scamp
      Posted September 30, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      That’s a very good point about Bumnei. They totally ignored him in the middle and then acted like he was growing the whole time. Adds to the idea that those middle episodes were just thrown in, almost like filler, and had nothing to do really with the plot.

  8. Posted September 30, 2010 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    This was a show with disjointed pacing and inconsistent character development at best, though I do like what you said about it really about Bunmei manning up. I just wish he wasn’t such a total wuss in the beginning…he feels in many ways like a throwback to earlier in the 2000s when you had all these wimpy harem leads (something which is at last fading, perhaps after having reached its apotheosis/nadir with School Days‘ Makoto). The time travel stuff was an interesting twist and helped keep the show interesting for one more episode…but did it have to be the spoon? Really?

    Yes, this anime is stupid, at the end of the day. But still rather entertaining. And I second the observations about Sora no Woto: such love and care, and such promise unfulfilled!

    • Scamp
      Posted September 30, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      I’m strange in that I don’t mind wimpy male leads. At least they have some sort of discernable personality and not the blank slate on which you project yourself onto, as in stuff like Nogizaka Haruka. That sort of lead is much more grating IMO and they are most certainly still in vogue.

      Sora no Woto…it really should have ended up better than it did. Ah well

  9. Posted October 3, 2010 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    I’m just going to differ on the Sora no Woto comparisons. I think Occult Academy was the better of the two series, and I think SnW was an even bigger disaster because the occasional revelation of details about the world were mostly not followed up on, nor did the world, as a whole make any real sense.

    While Occult Academy had severe problems mid-series, I wasn’t as bothered by the mixing of various occult references (from chupacabra to mahou shojou) because the show was consistent in that it was a mixture of occult references. This was the case all the way through. I’m not saying it made a lot of sense, but I felt it made as much sense as a show about an Occult Academy is going to make.

  10. Posted October 4, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I think there should’ve been more nonsense in the middle, as I think the mish-mash of Scooby Doo/ Ghostbusters adventures with various X-files styles occultish things worked pretty well and provided some of the funniest moments of the series. Basically, as you mentioned, it was probably a case of too many cooks spoiling the plot, however it was certainly a very entertaining and somewhat moving romp through the world of the occult.

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