Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin, episode 4: Finding Maya

Maya’s back with a vengeance. It finally occurred to me, Maya reminds me of a mix between Scully, Mulder and pre-tsundere-era tsuntsun. She’s got the Mulder paranormal chops, the Scully "don’t give me this shittu again" sense of disbelief, and more tsuntsun than you can shake a large wrench at.

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Bunmei is what you’d call a survivor. Bunmei has the opportunity to participate in a town hunt for the missing Maya and Kozue. He has the chance to search for the two with a lovely escort. Along the way, certain "this and that" could happen, you know? And even though VP Kawashima is seemingly an evil woman, she’s got a pretty face with a nice dango hairstyle, and a nice body. Some men would be envious. But Bunmei has standards. And above all, an overwhelming desire to stay alive. So much so that it even trumps his libido. There’s something a bit admirable about that, no?

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On the downside, Bunmei has no control over his fight or flight instinct. And more often than not (or like always), it’s the flight instinct that kicks in. So when he and Mikaze are trudging along the dank insides of a pyramid mountain, and he feels the tingling sensation of a water drop on his back, the flight instinct kicks in. And instead of playing mister valiant, he ends up leaving Mikaze in the dust, running for dear life to the tune of a hilarious love poem written by his not-so-secret admirer Vice Principal.

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Fortunately for Bunmei (or not so fortunate if you don’t like looking up to a crossbow shining in your face), he finds Maya, who seems like she safely escaped from the mothman cliffhanger attack from last episode. It’s funny how quickly Bunmei forgets about Mikaze. It’s only at Maya’s wondering about how she was doing that Bunmei even seems to bother thinking about her. Something tells me that relationship is not headed for a happy ending (I still think she’s a succubus).

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The two wander around before coming across a wonder: what looks like the World Tree, the source of the mountain’s mystical power. Clearly, it’s the Nostradamus Key. But a snap from Bunmei’s phone reveals that it’s not. In fact, the whole mountain is blown up during 2012. However, just when it looked like they had hit another dead end, Bunmei falls into a large pile of tengu poop, and in the process finds his predecessor’s phone amongst the poo.

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And thus begins the hilarious and frantic chase. As Maya yells at the stankified Bunmei to keep at least a 3-meter distance, a Tengu catches sight of them and pursues the two. This leads to probably the best scene of the episode where Maya yells at Bunmei "3 meters" while the two zip in and out of one cave to the next, right behind Smile and JK, who’re searching for Maya using JK’s divining rods. Like the random Smile punch out, it was one of those scenes where the gag just zips by and they don’t hang on it very long, but it just makes it that much funnier.

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As they shake off the Tengu, Maya calls out Bunmei’s cowardice, asking why he doesn’t use his telekinetic powers, why a supposed savior of humanity is so useless. And then, Bunmei finally ‘fesses up. And we learn about the true Bunmei. Having lost his psychic powers, Bunmei devolved into a homeless swindler on the streets. Until, for whatever reason, a random man in black pulls him into this project and this strange task force sends him kicking, screaming and crying back into the past to find the key. Let’s just say Bunmei’s not a enthusiastic employee of this operation. So it starts to make sense why he never actually seems to take pictures of anything.

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Bunmei’s uselessness confirmed, Maya trudges forward looking for an exit, when the two of them stumble into a graveyard of sorts. And then Maya finds Kozue all wrapped up in a Spinal Tap-like pod. As Maya uses Bunmei as a stepping stone to pry out Kozue, the pod next to her opens up revealing another Tengu. And then suddenly all the pods are opening up revealing Tengus. As you might’ve guessed by now, Bunmei’s fight or flight instinct kicks back in and he literally puts Maya on her ass as he races out the cave. It seems like he was just running in a straight line, but he manages to find the exit.

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You’re either going to be infuriated by Bunmei’s cowardice, or you’re going to be amused by the depths that it reaches. Myself? I thought it was hilarious that Bunmei is so overjoyed with his survival that again, he doesn’t snifter a thought for Maya, Kozue or Mikaze’s (remember her?) safety.

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Meanwhile, back in the cave, Maya looks like she’s in dire straights as she’s woefully outnumbered and also trying to protect the unconscious Kozue. But fate intervenes, and Smile and JK (I keep writing TK) arrive to save the day with Smile pulling off his best Graham Specter impression and JK showing off the surprisingly deadly edge of his divining rods, before finishing with an explosive keytar encore.

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The gang escape, manage to plant some explosives that seal the Tengu in (and probably blew a bunch of them up), and also nearly kill Bunmei in the process. While Bunmei wants an apology for his near-death experience, Maya simply gives him a look of utter disdain and the gang head back to the academy.

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However, Bunmei’s a special guy. In a way he’s a bit shameless. He happens to meet Mikaze and tells a baldfaced lie about how we got rid of the Tengu. Mikaze buys this story, even though she witnessed Bunmei’s cowardice firsthand. Personally, I think she’s faking it, just playing that succubus charm, but we’ll see.

But like I mentioned, Bunmei’s a special guy. And maybe he’s earned this shamelessness. When he was young, he had fame, groupies, everyone’s attention. And then when he lost his powers he was forgotten, homeless, a beggar. I can see him being resentful. I can see how he’d only care about himself. In a lot of ways it makes sense. I love Maya, I think this show’s sharp as a tack, it never fails to be interesting. But I think where Bunmei’s character goes could be one of the interesting subplots as the show progresses.

6 Replies to “Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin, episode 4: Finding Maya”

  1. Bunmei is interesting because he goes both ways. When he was famous, he wanted people to treat him like he was normal, but no one saw past his high status. Then when he ended up on the streets, no one treated him like a person, this time because of his low status. He could indeed be resentful at humanity because of his “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” life, but from how he talked in episode three, I think he’s more disappointed.

    1. I’d say there’s probably a healthy bit of resentment mixed in (his apathy towards his job of saving the world feels sort of like a big middle finger to everyone). But “disappointed” is probably a good way to describe Bunmei. He just needs a little motherly love.

  2. …and more tsuntsun than you can shake a large wrench at.

    And now I’m wondering what Maya’s like in deredere mode. I mean, apart from when she cried in front of her dad/the lamia and when she briefly smiled at Ami in class, I don’t think we’ve seen that side of her at all. And I’m guessing we won’t anytime soon, at least not when she’s around her favourite punching bag.

    But Bunmei has standards. And above all, an overwhelming desire to stay alive. So much so that it even trumps his libido. There’s something a bit admirable about that, no?

    I’m afraid many would say that you just answered your own question. Personally, I’m not sure if I find him that funny (except when he’s around Maya) or that annoying, as opposed to intriguing, due to his past and his almost schizophrenic two-facedness. Either way, I’m certainly looking forward to the development of his role too.

    1. And now I’m wondering what Maya’s like in deredere mode.

      It’s hard to picture. But I think if I could, I’d die from one of those typical anime nosebleeds. Has she even blushed during the series yet?

      Personally, I’m not sure if I find him that funny (except when he’s around Maya) or that annoying, as opposed to intriguing, due to his past and his almost schizophrenic two-facedness.

      That’s interesting. I feel sort of the same way. Rarely do I laugh at him outright (although some of the chibi faces are nice), but on the flip side his cowardliness doesn’t bother me as much as it bothers a lot of others. I guess I take him sort of how Maya takes him – not very seriously.

      1. Hmm, she might have been blushing during that episode preview commentary when she says something like ‘…the occult is so embarrasing!‘. Of course we can’t see her face to check. There’s no way she’d let us. 😛

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