It seems that no matter the year, you can never get away from proponents of doom foreseeing the end of the world - It's happening now with 2012 looming, and of course we all remember the big fuss some people were making about 1999 and its sense of "end of a century" foreboding.
It's 1999 that we visit for the latest offering in TV Tokyo's Anime no Chikara project, with A-1 Pictures once again doing the honours with Occult Academy, or Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin if you prefer. We're introduced to this particular world via Maya, a girl who is on a journey whose endpoint is Waldstein Academy, a place whose reputation precedes it, giving it the nickname "Occult Academy" due to the bizarre goings-on rumoured to occur there.
We soon learn that Maya is visiting the academy to attend the funeral of her father, an eccentric with an over-bearing interest in the occult that led to him founding and acting as principle of the aforementioned Academy himself. Of course, given his interests you just know this isn't going to be any old run-of-the-mill funeral, and before we know it a cassette recording of his voice (you'd have thought the guy would record it to MP3, this is 1999 not 1989) has summoned some kind of spirit into his body, causing all kinds of havoc and leaving his daughter to pick up the pieces, to her obvious irritation.
It's always tough to know what to make of a show such as this one from a single episode, but it certainly made for an interesting introduction to Occult Academy, mixing a large dollop of humour into its world of the bizarre and some human interest to make for an opener that channelled Ghostbusters somewhat with its irreverent treatment of its subject matter. I would imagine that this series can only hope that I'm still making Ghostbusters comparisons by the end of it all, but whether it can achieve anything close to that remains to be seen - It seems like we're still a little way off getting to grips with the true nature of Occult Academy and the direction its looking to head in, but for now it's proved to be a vaguely enjoyable (if not breath-taking) romp.