Monday, 26 July 2010

Occult Academy - Episode 4

With the search for a so-called "Tengu" getting Maya into trouble by the end of the last episode, this latest instalment of Occult Academy sees both herself and Kozue missing; of course, it's Fumiaki who is tasked with looking for them both by the disturbingly (and hilariously) infatuated Chihiro.

As luck would have it, Mikaze just happens to be part of the town's committee which is helping with the search for Kozue, and before he knows it Fumiyaki is whisked off at break-neck speed in her Porsche to look for the missing persons. This eventual leads them both to a shrine which unexpectedly gives up its secrets, revealing a maze of underground passages which lead into the mountain which folklore suggests is actually a pyramid.

Some more slapstick comedy later Fumiaki is separated from Mikaze but instead finds himself in the ever-friendly company of one decidedly lost Maya, who of course is simply thrilled to see him. Now that they're both lost, an attempt to find the exit leads them into even more trouble, revealing the true identity of this "Tengu" while also explaining what happened to Fumiaki's predecessor. Then there's Fumiaki himself, who is left with no choice but to reveal himself to Maya as a fraud who couldn't bend his way out of a paper spoon. Or something. In the end it's left to JK and Smile to save the day with a giant spanner and a keytar (really, I'm not making this up), while Chihiro's goons appear responsible for sealing the pyramid/mountain to close off this particular story arc.

I'm not normally much of a fan of outright slapstick in anime, but somehow Occult Academy manages to pull off daft and completely old hat jokes whilst still leaving them looking fresh - As a fall guy, Fumiaki is the perfect blend of idiot and... well, lovable idiot, while Maya's never-ending stream of violence and abuse still hasn't gotten old either. There's probably some important plot points in the midst of all this (not least my continued belief that Mikaze is clearly more than some waitress with a flashy car), but to be honest I find it hard to care, as I'm still quite happy watching the main characters romp around and getting involved in daft tales of the occult. Thankfully, I get the feeling that the writers of Occult Academy feel the same way, so I don't think we'll be getting too caught up with worrying about the forthcoming end of the world as we know it any time soon. Why would we when we can watch Fumiaki getting bounced about in that shiny new Porsche a bit more?


Rob said...

Well, 'The Brothers Karamazov' it ain't, but I'm having a great time watching it too.

I'm normally put off by slapstick as well, but there's something weirdly charming and funny about the way it's done in this show.

f0calizer said...

Comic timing was the highlight of this ep for me. The scene where Smile & JK consecutively missed Maya & Fumiaka & then Mothra running about behind them was straight of a classic slapstick comedy routine.

Dop said...

I'm totally in agreement with f0calizer, that bit had me in stitches.

With the appearance of mothman (mothmen, even) it has finally occurred to me what this show is. It's "Fortean Times: The Anime Series"