Anime Review: Occult Academy Episodes 10, 11, and 12

(Originally published on Livejournal on 10/29/10)

Anime Review:
Occult Academy Episodes 10, 11, and 12

About The Series: The head of the Waldstein Academy has suddenly passed away. His daughter, Maya, returns to the school with a singular purpose in mind: to close down the academy. With a reputation for studying strange and supernatural events, the school has a nickname of ‘The Occult Academy’ — something that Maya absolutely loathes. Out of nowhere, a strange man descends from the sky; he tells Maya that he’s actually from the future and was sent back to prevent the Nostradamus Prophecies from coming true. Together, the reluctant duo team up to find the Nostradamus Key.

ep.10 tl;dr review: Everyone throws Christmas party to calm Akari’s spirit; Maya has sudden guilty realization why the Academy was built.

Episode 10 Synopsis: Unwilling to give up, Maya continues to press Akari’s father as to the circumstances surrounding her death. After learning that Akari died alone in the snow, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive while her father stayed late at work, Maya rallies the troops to throw Akari a surprise Christmas party. During the party, Akari’s father unexpectedly shows up in a Santa suit, and makes peace with his daughter’s spirit. Maya returns to her home, which is being demolished, the Christmas party jogs loose a memory with her father and she suddenly realizes that the creation of the Occult Academy was due to an earlier Christmas wish. Wracked with guilt, she vows to redouble her efforts with Bunmei to find the Nostradamus Key.

ep.11 tl;dr review: In the Occult chessboard, Chihiro’s the White Queen, Mikaze’s the Black Queen, and Bunmei’s just a hapless pawn; If there was a flying shark in this episode they’d be jumping over that as well.

Episode 11 Synopsis: Mikaze gives it all she’s got to seduce Bunmei, finally revealing her true intentions to burn down the Academy and kill Maya. A hormonally-conflicted Bunmei confronts Maya, unwilling to believe that she may be the Nostradamus Key. That night, Maya is murdered in her office. As Bunmei is mourning that night, the vice-principal Chihiro shows up with the *real* Maya in tow. In order to prove it’s really her, Maya hands over her father’s special notebook to Bunmei. Without warning Mikaze flies in, freezes Bunmei, and destroys the notebook. With the protective power of the notebook gone, Mikaze reveals her real identity as a Black Mage intent on bringing about Hell on Earth, and her first target is Maya.

ep.12 tl;dr review: Evil Mikaze unleashes unholy Hell all over town; Maya and Bunmei team up to defeat the Nostradamus Key in a final showdown.

Episode 12 Synopsis: The Black Mage Mikaze and the White Mage Chihiro (who has really been protecting Maya this entire time) are locked in mortal combat as Maya flees for safety with Chihiro’s servant. Mikaze proves to be extremely powerful, defeating Chihiro, but not before she is able to visit Bunmei one last time, release him from Mikaze’s spell and give him critical information. Maya leads Mikaze on a chase through town ending at the top of the Occult Academy, where she reveals the notebook was not destroyed after all. Mikaze in her rage wrests the notebook away, but Bunmei is able to retrieve it. Feeding her words from a powerful spell inside the notebook, Bunmei provides the verbal weapon to Maya necessary to defeat Mikaze, who has been revealed to be the true Nostradamus Key. She is defeated and the town is saved…yet in the future nothing has changed.

My Thoughts: Wow, the show really went off the rails at the very end, and the whole scenario just got totally ridiculous. I knew that Mizake was up to no good, but to suddenly be unveiled as an all-powerful dark lord of magic bent on world destruction? That’s just silly. Rather than grippingly climactic, the big “reveal” was more of an eye-rolling event for me.

But wait…we are not done quite yet. After the big showdown and the evil villainess destroyed, I wonder if the crisis has really been averted. We have one more episode left, it has been heavily hinted that Maya’s father (not really dead!) has a role to play still, and that the future of the world is still at stake. Was Mikaze *really* the Nostradamus Key? Or perhaps, there are multiple Keys? I’m sure all will be settled with the “real” conclusion in the final episode.

A few quick hits:

– Ha! Told you Mizake was up to no good! I knew she was just using Bunmei to get closer to Maya and the Academy. But I never expected her to be the Big Baddie, all the while I still thought she was probably some sort of undercover government agent. Well, there you go.
– And it ends up that vice-principal Chihiro is the Good Guy, even though the hints dropped in the previous episodes kinda pointed in the opposite direction. I never picked up on her true role, always viewed her more as a comic relief sidekick.
– Poor Bunmei, the sad sack caught between it all, yet holding the key to everything. Soooooo tempted by his (purposely manufactured) dream girl and raging hormones (and I suspect a little black magic as well), even though his rational mind tells him Maya’s the way to go.
– Side characters remained sidelined. Was there really any point with Ami, Kozue, Smile and J.K. in that silly truck chase and the biting grandmas? Could have left them out completely and it would not have affected the main plot line one little whit.
– As for Maya’s father? I’m pretty sure he’s that half-seen 2012 commander, the one pulling all the strings. Despite all the occult happenings, the common thread throughout the entire show revolves around Maya’s broken relationship with him, and her frustrated inability to come to terms with it. I bet that’s going to be the focus of the final episode.

The Verdict: – Still good, although the preposterous climax battle was not what I would have hoped for; Blunt and heavy-handed rather than clever.

Up Next for Spring and Summer 2010 shows: Shiki (10-12), Legend of Legendary Heroes (10-12), Shukufuku no Campanella (3), Kuttsukiboshi (1), MonHun Diary: Felyne Village in Danger (1-3), Armored Trooper Votoms: Phantom Arc (1), Hen Zemi (1), ToHeart adNext (1)

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