I combined the post for the last three episodes of Occult Academy for artistic and narrative purposes, not because of laziness. I swear.
The last three episodes of Occult Academy were basically a microcosm of the whole series: part nonsensical, part silly, part compelling with an occasional flash of brilliance. The show ends on a great note with a fantastic finale, but it’s as frustrating as enjoyable, because it just reminded me of the potential that the show blew with unnecessary fillers and randomness.
Case in point, in episode 11, we see that Mikaze is the big bad (ooh, big surprise), but in a twist of ridiculousness, it turns out both she and the Vice Principal are mahou shoujos. We also learn that the VP wasn’t a conniving backstabber but was actually working behind the scenes with Maya’s dad (who also faked his death and turned out to be leading the back-to-the-future brigade) to protect Maya. Ultimately, her loyalty costs her her life. The death scene should’ve packed a little more punch than it did, but I suppose that’s what happens when you turn characters into jokes.
Bunmei and Maya team up to defeat Mikaze, but are stunned to learn that she’s not the Nostradamus Key, Bunmei is. Actually in what was a nice twist, it’s not necessarily Bunmei who’s the Key, but the event in which Bunmei meets his younger self that serves as the catalyst for the key. The smart route would’ve been to say goodbye and head back into the future, but both Bunmei and Maya work to keep him around for an extra day or two, so he can at least meet the mother he remembers so fondly, even though she treated him so coldly.
Obviously, he does end up meeting himself and the aliens invade. But in a stunning show of courage, Bunmei fights back with his there-is-no-spoon spoon.
The fight scene while utterly preposterous (what turn of events gave him the super spoon powers except that the writers decided to power him up?) was intense and Bunmei’s sacrifice was pretty heart wrenching.
So we end on an optimistic but semi-bittersweet note. Future Bunmei may have sacrificed himself, but because his child self still exists, it’s not as if he’s been completely killed. The world is saved, Maya reunited with her dad and Bunmei forges himself a better future.
In the end, I rated Occult Academy a 6. Although fun and enjoyable, there was too much fluff and emptiness for my tastes. I never looked to OA as a really, heavy series, but they just didn’t balance the tone well at all. What could’ve been a fun but substantive show actually not unlike The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, ended up just feeling like a b-movie. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I will never trust A-1’s pulling off a great original ever again.