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A Kiss to Build a Cult On

September 13, 2010

 

This is what Occult Academy’s been working up to? A Wicker Man-like small town cult led by an evil magical girl?

Seriously?

This might be the best anime ending ever.

Yes, I’m serious about that. This is better than almost anything I would have imagined.

I’m sure peeps’ll complain about this ending coming out of nowhere, but that seems to be the point. All this time, Pod Girl’s been trying to distract Fumiaki from his intended mission, working her literal and metaphorical magic on him to make sure he fails in finding the Nostradamus Key. She’s been playing into the audience’s expectations, playing off of their assumptions that she’s just a cute little local girl. Even cynical bastards like myself would eventually doubt her nefarious nature after we go so many episodes with little more than shy glances and quaint dinners directed towards Fumiaki. “If she’s really a Pod Girl,” I asked myself, “wouldn’t they have tossed in some real foreshadowing by now?”

Most of my suspicions were based on the whole “too good to be true” bit, since there’s no way in hell that she’d nail all of Fumiaki’s fetishes purely by coincidence. But after a while I started to doubt that. But it stayed at that level up until episode 11. For the first ten episodes she was pretty consistent in her level of pandering. She cooked him his favorite slop, played the shy role without really upping the stakes significantly, and basically acted like a girl who really wanted in Fumiaki’s pants but didn’t have the guts to say it. Then episode 11 happened. Yeah, it played into what I wanted to see from the get-go, but it still came out of fucking nowhere. No slow boil, no teasing,– it all came out with the subtlety of an alien invasion.

This is all playing into Occult Academy’s style. The series scoffs at subtlety and the teasing out of plot points. If it wants to do something, it smacks you upside the head with a chupacabra or flips the glasses off the top of your head that were always there (And which you didn’t know were there because you were as stupid, moronic Japanese wannabe Velma.). The series has been pretty damn awesome about hiding everything out in plain sight, and in doing so has managed to be far more unpredictable than most series that try to shadow everything in a predictable haze of vagueness and foreshadowing.

Gah. This post sucks. It’s just me geeking out over something. How shallow. We’ll stop this now and reserve the rest of the geeking once this damn series is over.

Wait. Nevermind. Let’s geek some more. Really? Anime characters actually kissing? And not in some sort of cute, nostalgic, d’aw sort of way? Do they even do that in hardcore hentai? It’s like anime goes straight from coyish blushing to down and out anal tentacle sex. Do not pass Go, do not collect 200 make-out scenes. Loved the way they cut from Pod Girl asking Fumiaki if he’s busy while cooking him dinner in his apartment to them in the middle of a Wicker Man meets Eyes Wide Shut cult fuck fest. It’s like some oldschool Looney Tune scene wipe or something, but with evil magical girl rape and murder plotting.

This totally makes up for those lame-ass ghost girl episodes. Except I can’t help but think that those episodes made this episode all the more unexpected and awesome. The suck before the awesome.

Also: Seeing bun-hair Vice Principal Chick ending up as a good guy was something of a genuine twist, but it totally makes sense in retrospect. Nuking moth caves and flamethrowering chupacabra dens? That isn’t covering up evidence, that’s making sure Maya doesn’t get screwed over when all this bad shit gets out in the open. OK, it’s still covering up evidence, but it’s for the greater good. And her crush on Fumiaki’s not only cast in an innocent light, but it’s also something of a way to get him away from that nasty Pod Girl.

It’s a big fucking mess, but it’s all coming together in its own way. Anyone that thinks this series doesn’t have any real purpose or intentions sucks at paying attention.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Hogart permalink
    September 13, 2010 8:39 PM

    Honestly, if that’s how it’ll end then I will also be happy with it. To me, the series is about parodying the horror and occult genres, and for it to have an actual plot is just icing on the cake in the first place. I’m here to laugh, and it’s made me laugh more than anything else airing this season by far.

    There’s actually something awesome about seeing magical girl elements thrown in that are about white and black magic, because it ties a lot of anime genres into a series that’s frankly been hilarious when it comes to homage and parody. It’s just a shame the middle of the series has been so uneven, but as long as it goes out with a bang I’ll be satisfied.

    • Landon permalink*
      September 14, 2010 6:58 PM

      Yep. Pretty much the best anime comedy of the year, even with the lame ghost girl storyline. I’d love to say that was a gag too, but even I’d have to admit that’s just desperate grasping.

  2. Taka permalink
    September 13, 2010 10:01 PM

    I suppose that costume change scene was a bit of a parody of magical girl elements as well. For me it is hard to take it as a parody as I feel like the scene would have worked better without the crazy transformations of the two mages. Even though, like you said, it is totally Occult Academy’s style. To me it makes the idea of the occult a little less approachable when they start visibly flinging around magic and doing their little transformations. Occult Academy so far has made the idea of the occult very approachable and while not exactly logical, at least somewhat scientific. It’s treats the occult as being not all about ghost stories and primal fears (though there is some of that too) but actual knowledge of specific events. Magic looking like energy balls and auras ala DBZ just came off a little too goofy for me.

    Up until that point this was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    Also they totally kiss like that in the hentai. I think the trend of graphically showing kissing has been on the upswing in the past few years. Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, and sometimes (in this case) for awesome.

    • Landon permalink*
      September 14, 2010 7:02 PM

      I’d say the magical girl thing’s about on par with Charlie/Chupababrzilla and Mothraman. Both were played up like serious “real world” occult/mythological issues, but the truth was silly anime shit. Could be that the magical girl thing was a little more overt, but in the scope of things it all meshes together.

      And yeah, the kiss bit was more of a dig on the puritanical stuff you usually see in anime. It’s hilarious how you go from stuff that finds panty shots to be super-risque and adulterous to the hardcore stuff you see in anime. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.

  3. September 14, 2010 10:26 AM

    After watching Occult Academy for 10 episodes, I was wondering where it was going. The first episode was great, but then all the following episodes seemed like “filler” without any progress with the main plot of finding the Key. Then in this recent episode 11, where Mikaze is suddenly shown to be an evil mage and Kawashima is a good mage who’s actually Maya’s protector because she’s the Key…after all these totally unexpected twists in this one episode, I was totally like, WTF!? I guess I’ll have to wait until the series ends to say whether these out-of-nowhere twists were good or bad. Hopefully they end up tying together nicely and weren’t just a cop out because the creators didn’t know how to end it.

    • Landon permalink*
      September 14, 2010 7:04 PM

      I’d argue that the whole Nostradamus Key thing isn’t the main plot. It’s kinda like Cowboy Bebop. Is Spike’s past with Julia and Vicious really the series’ main plot? Are all of the other episodes just “filler” that you have to get through to see the main story? I think Occult Academy’s the same way. The series isn’t about “stopping the alien invasion,” it’s about “weird stuff that happens to a bunch of people at a school for the occult.” The alien storyline is just Occult Academy’s equivalent to Spike’s backstory: the thing that gets the most episodes but is just another piece of the bigger picture.

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