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Chupacabra: The Sucking

August 24, 2010

For a series that takes place in Japan and is about the occult, there’s a significant lack of Japanese mythology/occult stuff in Occult Academy. Kinda weird when you get down to it, and I gotta wonder if it’s deliberate.

Sure, there was talk of tengu a few episodes back, and we even got a short little lesson on tengu mythology, but what did that tengu end up being? He ended up being a mothman, a creature whose primary renown comes from American urban legends. With the tengu proven to be something fairly non-Japanese in nature, what little connection we’ve had with asian mysticism is all but lost. The first episode mentioned some made-up lost civilization that tied into ancient Egyptian history while tossing out a monster that may or may not be a Lamia from Greek myth. All of the UFO-related stuff plays like your typical alien invasion scenario we’ve seen since War of the Worlds, and the fact that the alien crafts being tripods harkening back to that very novel. All of the magic and supernatural phenomenon we’ve seen in the series allude to things that have more in common with “western” occult imagery, such as Fumiaki’s bending of spoons and the incantation we here in Maya’s father’s recording in the first episode.

It finally dawned on me that the series is seemingly avoiding traditional Japanese occult stuff when they pulled those chupacabras on us in the latest episode. Considering how many yokai and similar monsters that are “native” to Japan that do similar kidnappings and the like, they could have easily used one of those creatures in this episode and it’d fit right into Occult Academy’s “mythos.” Instead they go with a creature that has its roots in the Caribbean and has since been “sighted” in North and South America. Hell, down here in south Texas we get chupacabra sightings all the time.

I gotta ask: Is the fact that all of the legit monster/magic stuff we’ve seen in the series of “western” origins a deliberate decision? Is this some sort of Evangelion-like situation where the creators are plucking out this imagery because it’s “foreign” and not as familiar to Japanese viewers as the traditional Japanese mythology stuff they’ve seen in anime hundreds of times before? Or is there some underlining connection?

Nah, I don’t think so. Considering how anticlimactic and banal Occult Academy likes to resolve things, I doubt there’s some underlining meaning behind the fact that we’re not seeing any asian occult symbolism. But I’d love to see someone point that out at some point, much like Maya pointing out that Fumiaki and the others spouted lines said by peeps about ready to die in an action movie.

Also: I could go on and on and on about how awesome the fight scene was between the crew and the chupacabra horde. I loved how even Ami was more badass than Fumiaki when it came to killing stuff, although it was nice to see him get a couple of hits in to show that he isn’t completely pathetic. Still pathetic, but not utterly.

Also Also: New Crazy Conspiracy Theory: The chick that wants to bang Fumiaki with the bun hair-do? Know how she’s always standing ominously and watching everyone when monsters attack? That story’ll never get resolved. A lot of foreshadowing, but it’ll be brushed off like it was no big deal. Like everything else in Occult Academy. Hell, at this point I’m expecting the finale to be thoroughly anticlimactic and obvious. I’m hoping that’s the fact, since it’d fit what’s been going on thus far in the series. A genuinely dramatic ending with a lot of buildup just won’t mesh with the flow of the series.

Yeah, Occult Academy! Don’t you go and try to sluff a real ending off of us! We don’t want none of that shit!

Sorry about taking a week off. I actually wrote a few posts, I just didn’t get around to posting them. Bad Landon, no biscuit!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2010 1:42 AM

    Tell me some fansub group subbed Chupacabra as “Charlie.”

    • Landon permalink*
      August 24, 2010 2:12 AM

      Dammit, now I want to go and download every single sub of that episode to find out, even though I doubt any fansubbers are cool enough to do that.

  2. August 24, 2010 3:00 AM

    I don’t think Japan has a paranormal sphere in the same way that the US does. Tengu are myths, and nobody’s believed in them since the Edo period. Certainly not the way that some Americans believe in aliens or the Mothman. So when the Japanese say “the occult” in their heavy katakana-ized way, they’re referring to a transplanted western concept, not what we westerners see in their own traditions (which to them, for the most part, are just traditions).

  3. A guy from /m/ permalink
    August 24, 2010 6:40 AM

    Occult Academy is handling the supernatural scenerios a bit too casually, which is something I dislike. There needs to be a sense of tension that I’m missing.

  4. August 24, 2010 12:06 PM

    Although to be fair, when someone mentions occult, I tend to think American style occult. Like Mothmen and Wiccans and UFOs. The only non-American occult that I can think about are the O-Parts, which seems to be a Japanese thing.

    Stuff like gods, local spirits and so forth, have more of a religious or traditional feel. When one thinks occult, one usually thinks more along the lines of early seasons X-Files.

    Heck, I consider the playing of Children’s Card Games to be more occultish than local mysticism.

    • Taka permalink
      August 24, 2010 4:55 PM

      Not even OOPArt is a Japanese thing. It was a term coined by an American cryptozoologist for “Out of Place Artifacts”. That is any artifact that seems impossible to have existed in the time period in which it was created. Some, like the Iron pillar at Delphi mentioned a few episodes ago, have been completely debunked. (the cause of the Iron pillar never rusting is that a number of anti-corrosive chemicals are present in the iron of the pillar) Others, such as the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism truly are a marvel for the time in which they were believed to be created.

      Really, the only Japanese occult stuff I have heard in the show is the tengu and the tsuchinoko.

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