Monday, 9 August 2010

Occult Academy - Episode 6

After her carefully manufactured Near Death Experience last episode, it's fair to say that Kozue seems to be enjoyed both the ups and downs of its results. On the one hand, her previously terrible eyesight is now not far from perfect, but on the other she's now lost all of her previous enthusiasm and belief in the occult.

Unsurprisingly, this huge change in Kozue's personality is worrying her friends, and so they set out with various plans to bring back the "old" Kozue. Most of these involve proving (or at least pretending to prove) that the occult exists to revert her back to her usual self - This is attempted via a number of comical means, all of which naturally fail miserably. In the end, Maya even calls in Fumiaki to fake his spoon-bending tricks of old, but even this falls flat - Is this really the same Kozue at all? Eventually, Maya surmises that she has simply left her heart behind following that near-death experience.

Ergo, the only way to restore normality is for Kozue to have another near-death experience, alongside somebody else who can rescue her "heart" - let's not get into the plot holes of how two near-death experiences encountered by different people could somehow merge into a single reality, this is a show about the occult and an alien invasion after all. Anyhow, Maya volunteers to perform this rescue operation, only to find Fumiaki turning up and taking her place. This switch around allows all of those present to witness was a difficult life the child celebrity Bunmei led, and how that celebrity status was little more than a vanity project for his mother, before Maya and company also get to see the horrors of the alien invasion which Fumiaki has been sent back in time to stop. However, there's still enough time for Fumiaki to save Kozue's "heart", in what turns out to be a hilariously simple fix to her particular problem. Mission complete on this occasion, and witnessing Fumiaki's childhood and its parallels to her own seems to have fostered a new sense of understanding towards him from Maya. Well, kind of...

While I wasn't entirely sure why this particular story had been pushed out into a second episode, it all makes sense now, and in the end this proved to be another top-notch instalment of Occult Academy. As has been the case throughout this series, the sense of fun and humour which the show holds within all of its dealings is nigh-on perfect, from Maya's attempts to create fake occult goings-on through to Fumiaki's usual bumbling slapstick - throw in some amusing camera pans (seriously, this show even knows how to make camera movements funny) and an ending to Kozue's problem which was so ridiculous it's sublime, and you have a lot to enjoy from the off. Perhaps the real genius is how this is tied in so simply to the relationship between Maya and Fumiaki, with the former realising how they have both had to endure the hardships of a parental figure who is so caught up in their own self-interest that they have little time for their child - it's a realisation which is both obvious and subtle in terms of the way it's presented here, making it hard to miss yet still subtle enough not to feel condescending. We now appear to be headed back towards worrying about impending alien invasion in terms of the main story, but if it can continue to tell its tale as it has thus far then there's nothing for this show to worry about in entertainment terms.

1 comment:

Rob said...

It was a relief to see fumiaki finally man up as well! It looks like they picked the mid-point of the series to add some apocalyptic counterpoint to the lighthearted goings-on, like they did to great effect in Soranowoto.