The story revolves around Maya, the daughter of the former Headmaster of Waldstein Academy, and a time traveling agent Fumiaki Uchida. In the year 2012, the world had been invaded by aliens and time travelers were sent back to the year 1999 in order to find and destroy the Nostradamus Key, which Nostradamus Prophecy foretold as what would bring about the apocalypse. The series then turns to the year 1999, where Maya returns to the Academy with the intention of destroying the Academy by superseding her late father's position as the principal. Her plan was interrupted when she meets Fumiaki and learns of the forthcoming destruction. Despite being distrusting towards Fumiaki, they form a pact to look for the Nostradamus Key.
In order to find the Nostradamus Key, time agents were provided with specially created cell phones. When a user finds an object of interest, by thinking of destroying it and taking a photo, and if the resulting image is that of a peaceful world, then the subject is the Nostradamus Key. Conversely, if the subject is not the Nostradamus Key, then the photo displays destruction. By using the phone, Maya and Fumiaki investigates occult occurrences as they occur in the town.
One of the biggest problems with anime is that all too often what you're watching just doesn't hit the mark. There are a number of shows that have been great conceptually, but when it comes to execution they simply do not fulfill their potential. This could be due to the oversimplification of the plot, an uninteresting storyline, dull or overly stereotypical characters, or even just pure laziness on the part of the writers (or something else entirely). Whatever the case may be, there are far too many anime out there that simply do not cut the mustard because they don't do enough with what they have.
And then there's the shows like Seikimatsu Occult Gakuen (End of Century Occult Academy).
Originally developed as part of Anime no Chikara, a project run by TV Tokyo's anime department in conjunction with Aniplex, Seikimatsu Occult Gakuen is the third release from that stable (the previous two being Sora no Woto and Senkou no Night Raid), and marks the full directorial debut of Itou Tomohiko.
Set in the fictional Waldstein Academy which sits atop Mount Minakami in Matsushiro, Nagano Prefecture, the story begins with Kumashiro Maya disembarking from the bullet train. She is the daughter of the academy's principal and founder Kumashiro Junichiro, and has returned to the city to attend the funeral of her estranged father. Along the way, her taxi driver tells her about some of the strange rumours surrounding the academy because of its focus on all things supernatural.
On the surface Sekimatsu Occult Academy has a fairly reasonable set up. The plot is, initially, pretty straight forward, and there even seems to be some signs of an intelligent story at certain points during the first episode. Unfortunately, all of that promise quickly goes out of the window during the rest of the series.
For some reason the writers thought there wouldn't be enough going on in an academy that focuses specifically on the supernatural, so they decided to add other things to it. In a sense, Occult Academy has pretty much everything in it that Suzumiya Haruhi wanted, from ghosts and witches, to time travellers and dimensional aliens.
The problem is, it's simply too much for the series to handle.
Occult Academy starts off reasonably well, but the rapid addition of so many threads to an already burgeoning plot ends up giving the series less focus, and it seems that this was simply too much for a rookie series director to handle. The numerous and disparate aspects of the story all begin to come together towards the end of the series though, but the story has an inherent predictability that seems to be an offshoot of adding too much.
In all honesty, if the series had added one or two more supernatural aspects, then it may very well have collapsed under its own weight. The plot has a certain fragility because of the amount of information in the anime, and this makes it difficult to take the story seriously (especially with those little comedy scenes thrown in for good measure). That said, some people may find the show enjoyable because of the oddness surrounding Maya and her crew.
Talking about odd, while the series looks pretty good overall, one can't help but wonder at some of the designs in the show. A-1 Pictures and Xebec have made Occult Academy look pretty good for the most part, but looks are only skin deep. The characters are designed reasonably well and have their own individual attributes, but there's a certain amount of stereotype at play in this department. The short haired girl is a jock, the glasses girl is a geek, etc, etc. It would be nice if the creators put more thought into the character design as personally I'd like to see some of those stereotypes finally put to rest. One other problem is the level of fanservice involved in the show as it really isn’t necessary, and it makes one wonder exactly who the target audience is supposed to be.
That said, the facial expressions are usually pretty well realised (althought it is sometimes difficult to tell if Maya is tense or constipated).
In addition to the design, the animation is of a pretty decent standard as well, except for certain occasions where the character movements seem ... odd. Thankfully these occasions are fairly few and far between, but they are noticeable when they occur. One also has to wonder if Maya likes the short dress she generally wears as she has one with exactly the same design during the flashbacks to her childhood.
Another aspect of the show that's odd is the acting. Hikasa Youko and Mizushima Takahiro are pretty good as Maya and Fumiaki (or Bunmei, whichever name you prefer to call him by), and the rest of the cast deliver some perfectly decent performances throughout. What's odd though, is that even with some decent acting the characters just don't seem to work. The audience is given nothing to sympathise or empathise with, and while some may believe this to be due to poor acting, in actuality its down to a poor script.
The sound quality is decent throughout the series, but one of the problems with Occult Academy is the music, or rather, the choreography. The tracks on offer are well chosen but there are several scenes where they just don't seem to mesh with the on screen action. In addition to this the OP, which is a fairly typical J-rock track called "Flying Humanoid" by Nakagawa Shouko, works well as an opening theme, but the opening sequence itself doesn't seem to work with the music. As for the ED, "Kimi ga Iru Basho" by Takagaki Ayahi is a decent enough song as well, but again the ending sequence makes no sense (unless images of a girl and boy lying in grass are your thing).
It's not that the music itself is bad, but rather its implementation is a bit strange.
As I mentioned before the acting is decent enough, but the characters lack any real depth for the entirety of the series. One of the biggest problems with Occult Academy is that there is simply too much going on at any one time, and because of this the characters seem like nothing more than by-products of the plot. The overly complicated storyline precludes any real growth or characterisation, especially for Maya and Fumiaki, and it's not until the final few episodes that they actually start to develop. Even then the storyline gets in the way, which is a shame as some of the characters, especially Fumiaki, had some very interesting histories which really warranted more of a look.
Sekimatsu Occult Gakuen is a decent enough series that toys with some interesting ideas, but doesn't really go any further than that. The problem is that the story is far too complicated for its own good, and because of this everything else in the show seems to have been thrown off course. It may have seemed like a good idea on paper, but like so many other things like that, the result is nothing more than a decent looking anime with no real substance.
That said, there are several interesting plot points that even I found distracting, but they're not enough to support the weight of an entire series and all its characters. Granted there may be viewers who don't mind that the plot seems to have been hammered together from one of Haruhi's delusions, but it just wasn't enough for me as there is little in the way of justification for anything that happens in Occult Academy.
It's a shame really, but the quality of releases from Anime no Chikara seems to be dropping by degrees, and Sora no Woto remains the best title from that stable so far.read more
You know when you have to find something and how it's the highest priority to do so? Well, Occult Academy for 13 episodes is looking for something, but it isn't the the highest priority. Time Traveler Fumiaki "Bunmei" and Prinicpal Kamashiro Maya are looking for the illusive "Nostradamus' Key" in order to prevent the world from ending in 1999.
Anime no Chikara is a project designed to create "original" anime series. Which, they have no problem in doing. The major fault of these series is that everything building up to the climax has little to nothing to do with the actual story. Taking example of Sora no Woto, in my opinion the best of Anime no Chikara's projects (not because it was K-ON! with guns). But it had this same ordeal, but the earlier episodes always had that looming threat of war just beyond the border. Most people we're too distracted by the cute. But Occult Academy suffers greatly from this problem.
The show isn't terrible, it's enjoyable. But other shows have done the occult idea better and have expanded upon what this show only touches. I know when people usually see my reviews the show is usually terrible. But this show also lacks some common sense in the way the story is played out.
Onto good points. The art of Occult Academy is something I love. It's this nice, crisp, refined style that is truly original. It truly matches every character's traits.
Which lead me into characters. The character traits are just kind of blasted at you the moment they come screen. Maya's character is the only character that truly jumps out at me when I think about Occult Academy, all the other characters are enjoyable, but I was kind of hoping for some more. Some characters are just kind of there for the ride and to fight things. Which is "all right", I suppose.
Music. Music is sometimes occult stuff and sometimes it's not. When it's not something chanting or something dark or spooky to get you into thinking "occult" you get this nice traditional folk to bring you away from everything occult. I couldn't handle this show if everything was occult. That's an overload.
There's some issues with how the story plays out though. There's that ten episodes of introduction and build-up and it's swiftly all explained in about five seconds? Oh. Kind of a bummer, I was hoping it had a greater purpose then just being an obstacle.
The biggest thing that will bother most is the search for the Key itself. Maya and Bunmei will purposefully hold off looking for it. Let's go over what the characters don't know. They don't know what the Key is. They don't know where the Key will be located. They don't know what will happen with the Key when they find it. They don't know any of this. Yet, they hold it off until a couple of weeks before the world ends. You can't just put that off to solve over things. I don't get it. They could've made this series one long adventure to finding the key. Instead you get this? It's kind of disappointing. The storytelling was alright, but it had so much potential.
Maya's spell book bothers me. In one episode, Bunmei says that she has her father's spell book on her person all the time. If that's the case, why doesn't she ever use it? It's a book full of spells and they use it twice. Her father left her the spell book to protect her from evil and to use against evil. The most she uses against evil is a crossbow and she doesn't use the spell book to figure anything out; or learn about her father. Just some important things that would've been better if used correctly. Maybe Maya was afraid of getting tongue tied in the middle of fighting. That would be embarrassing to the viewers.
Also, disregard for the fact that other humans might be in the same situation as Akari. They never look for anyone else that might've been captured. Just a "grab your friend and run" deal. It's sometimes obvious too, because there are bones and cocoons and stuff. Yeah, it's just something stupid, right?
If you like occult stuff, you should give this a try. It's a neat concept. It's just average.read more
This anime has only gotten better as the story progresses. Don't judge it by the first few episodes.
I love the plot. It's original, unpredictable, and always leaves me excited to see the next episode. This is the best anime of the season, in my opinion. Personally, I love to see the supernatural or occult in anime. This series shows the occult very well, and I really am enjoying it.
The art is outstanding, I think. The animation is very smooth, and the style is nice. I it's original, and can be very dark, but also can be very bright and cleansing. I found the art in this anime to generally be very visually pleasing.
The sound is great. The opening and ending are addicting. Although, the background music wasn't incredibly memorable or noticeable. The voices suit the characters nicely.
I fell in love with the characters by episode 3. I think their personalities are more original than not, and I feel that they really make the story. They fit in perfectly with the plot.
I really have enjoyed this anime. The plot is by far my favorite part. The only downside I've seen is maybe that there's only going to be 13 episodes. I've seen 11 out of 13 episodes, and I only hope that the story slows down a bit in the last episodes and gives a satisfying ending. Don't judge this anime by the first few episodes. You have to get into it.
Even though (at this point) only 5 episodes have been aired, I still think that Occult Academy is one of the best animes of the season.
I don't really know what to say here. We don't know that much yet but from what I've seen it's pretty good so far.
I love the animation in this series. It's very smooth and I can't spot many mistakes. Character designs are simple but I still like them a lot. I also really like the art style. The opening is very well animated is very nice to look at.
It's really hard for me to comment on the overall music of a series since I don't really notice the BGM until I listen to the OST. The reason I gave this an 8 though is because of the opening and ending themes. I have had both of them stuck in my head for days now and often catch myself singing them. The opening really gets you pumped for the episode. The singer really puts a lot of emotion into both of the songs and I can't wait until the full version of the opening is released.
Like the story, we don't know much about the characters yet but I still love them. I like the fact the Maya downplays the Tsudere trope and is a pretty likeable character. Uchieda is also pretty likeable but we don't know much about him. The side characters (Ami, Kouze, Chihiro, JK etc.) are also great and they're all very funny (especially Chihiro xD I burst out laughing at her scenes).
I love this series so far. It manages to make you laugh and scare you at the same time. At the end of each episode I always say "I don't wanna wait another week!" because I really want to know what happens next. The comedy is great and you'll find yourself laughing every episode.
So far Occult Academy is a great series. I really suggest that you give it a watch and hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.read more
Sifting through the dark, forgotten recesses of My Anime List like some sort of anime hipster, our writers have brought you 15 of what they consider to be the most underrated anime out there. Under appreciated masterpiece or stinker that got the reception it deserved; you decide.