Browsing my XboxLive for something good to watch the other day, I came across an interesting anime series entitled, ‘Occult Academy’. The story revolves around Maya, the daughter of the former headmaster of a private Japanese academy dedicated to the study of the occult who died in 1999; and a time traveling agent Uchida, a mysterious young man who travels back in time from 2012. The synopsis was pretty interesting so I started watching this. I was amazed by the potential this show could bring in the first episode. One missing magical key could open the doors to many adventures, worlds, people etc. Inheriting a complete occult school, she has only the help from some schoolmates and an idiotic dude from the future – who can bend spoons, to sort the strange things happening there out.
Maya is initially doubtful about his claims as she doesn’t believe in the occult but as the series progresses various adventures lead her to change her opinion. The two of them are usually accompanied my a couple of Miya’s classmates, the school’s mechanic and an occult dowser. Fumiaki is frequently distracted from his search by the attractive woman who cooks at the local restaurant. I’m surprised that this series isn’t better known; the characters and story are interesting and the character design and backgrounds look great. The story had plenty of gripping moments, funny moments and some good twists. While the fan service is very tame compared to many series there is a seduction scene that is genuinely erotic… without being sleazy. When the penultimate episode arrived I thought we were going to get a long drawn out fight with heroes and villain shouting spells at each other; thankfully there was another good twist to be had before it ended.
Aside from the occult, the time travel, one of this series’ strong points is its comedy. However, the parts where the animation shines the most has to be the second arc (episodes 5 and 6), which has a dream sequence that is visually spectacular, utilizing many colors and being very creative. There’s a certain kind of detail and love in how they design things even in simple things such as a school hallway that gives it more of a life.
The incidental music, meaning the background audio that builds a mood for a specific scene or enhances the transition from one scene to another, did not stand out enough to distract me from what I was watching. That is half the job for incidental music, but because it did the first half so well, I didn’t notice if it did the second half and actually add to or improve the overall viewing experience. 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. All in all, Occult Academy presents a fresh, innovative take on supernatural fantasy with superb, nearly flawless production. Crackle on XboxLive is simu-casting Occult Academy, in which it will stream the episodes live right after its airing in Japan without a subscription fee (although you must have a gold account). I recommend any anime fan to give this a watch!