comes out with another fun and charming
series: Occult Academy.
This show, about a time traveler who arrives
at a school for the occult in order to prevent an imminent alien
the right mix of adventure, mystery, and comedy for a short but sweet
show. In addition to the 13-episode
anime, NIS America
includes a nice hardcover
art book in a slipcase with the two Blu-ray discs making quite an
package. I've really enjoyed all of the
NIS America releases I've seen so far, and this one is no exception.
Maya Kumashiro arrives at the Waldstein
Academy, commonly referred to
as the Occult
on the day of her estranged father's funeral.
Junichirou Kumashiro was the headmaster, owner, and the person
established the school to teach young people about the occult and to
teachings of the mystic the school was named after, but his devotion to
founding and running the school left him no time for his family. That's caused Maya to resent her father and
the academy and she's returned, as his sole heir to take over as
run it into the ground.
Things take an unexpected turn when she sees a young man
float down from the sky on her first evening there.
What's more astounding is when the man shows
up at her office the next morning claiming to be the new history
bearing the name of a famous spoon-bending psychic who's been on TV
is only a little kid, Fumiaki Uchida.
Fumiaki explains that he IS that child, but that he's come
from 13 years in the future. He knows
that on September 21st aliens will invade the Earth and
out humanity as predicted by Nostradamus centuries ago.
There's a small group of resistance fighters
in the future battling the near invincible invaders and they manage to
upon some alien technology that allows them to send someone back in
time. Fumiaki is the sixth person to be
(the other five having been killed) and he has less than a month to
the Nostradamus Key, the single item that allows the aliens access to
and destroy it.
Maya isn't so sure that she believes his story of time
travel and other-worldly invasion. She's
grown to hate the occult and Fumiaki sounds like a full-blown fanatic. Still, when she discovers that her father
didn't die from natural causes but was murdered, she vows to track down
killer and if Fumiaki's goals and hers are similar, she's willing to
This is a really fun show.
Running only 13 episodes, the story is pretty straight forward
recap episodes or meaningless subplots that primarily serve to increase
episode count. That's nice, and though I
can really get into long, extended series, it nice to watch a short and
show every now and again. That doesn't
mean that it's dumbed down or feeble.
There's some nice character development, and Maya changes over
course of the show, not only in her attitude towards Fumiaki but in how
remembers her father and his perceives his legacy.
The program grows as it continues to, getting
better as to progresses and filling in histories and motivation more
I was expecting.
The animation is solid, and even a notch or two better than
I was expecting. No, it doesn't push any
new ground, but it does look nicer than most TV series, even recent
ones. The character designs were nice,
Maya and Ami as children.
Since this isn't based on a manga or series of light novels,
the creators were able to take the show in whatever direction they
it's subsequently just a little bit different from your typical anime. It jumps from a standard 'battle a monster'
episode to a heart-touching story about a young ghost, to a mystery
even throws in a comic episode or two.
It all wraps up with a huge battle show, but then there's even
episode after that. My point is that the
program seems fresh, even for a jade long-time anime fan like myself. And that's definitely a good thing.
I really like the way NIS America handles their Premium
Edition releases. This 13-episode series
arrives on two discs, each in its own thinpak case.
The pair is house, not on top of each other,
but side by side, in a beautiful sturdy board case that's nearly 8 in X
11 in. The case is attractively
characters from the show. In a nice
touch that shows a fine attention to detail, the UPC code in hidden
inconspicuously on the side of the case so that the artwork isn't
marred. Included with the two DVDs is a
hardcover art book. Scroll down to the
extras section for more details on that.
This release arrives with the original Japanese soundtrack
in lossless LPCM stereo. It sounded very
good, with full range and some nice separation.
There are optional English subtitles, but there is not a dub
which is fine with me. I prefer watching
anime in Japanese since that was the way it was created to be seen.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic image looks very good. The
colors are strong and solid and they're
accurately reproduced and come through clearly.
The level of detail is very good and the lines are tight. Digitally it also looked very good with
aliasing, which often plagues anime, being nonexistent.
The discs themselves include a clean opening and closing,
something I really enjoy seeing, and a set of four min-episodes. These take place when Maya and Ami were young
and still in grade school. The two, very
interested in the occult, stumble upon a snake-like creature that was
supposed exist in legend. They capture
it and keep the venomous reptile as a pet.
It's funny and cute and a nice coda to the show.
There is also a series of trailers for other
NIS America releases.
In addition there's also a very nice hardcover book included
with the set. Reading right-to-left the
way it's done in Japan, this attractive full-color book includes large
along with a synopsis from each episode, story board sketches a
terms used in the show and more. It's
printed on high quality glossy paper, and is really very striking.
I really had fun watching Occult Academy.
It ended up being much better than I was
expecting. Running only 13 episodes in
length, the show manages to put a lot of story into that time frame and
result is a program that is full with characters that are nicely
out. With a nice mix of adventure,
humor, and mystery as well as a conclusion that doesn't leave things
this is a show that's worth seeking out.
It gets a very strong recommendation.