Occult Academy episode 8: It’s Clobbering Time!

Pfft, they obviously weren’t holding that spanner, those dowsing rods, that nail gun and, er, that spanner…

A bit of a strange epi this week. Highly entertaining, with some of the best comedy and dramatic moments yet, but strange nonetheless. One the one hand, we have frosty silences, shower scenes, pouting, cattle mutilation, potential duelling, kidnapping and little green monsters galore. Yet, on the other hand, we have people who have time to smile while their daughters have been abducted by big fat bitey monsters, people who should be dead (or at least badly wounded) remaining stubbornly alive, randomly disappearing pieces of clothing and lots of weird laughter when there shouldn’t be any weird laughter. And still no nearer to finding the Nostradamus Key. Unless I’m missing the whole point of this epi? Hmm…


Episode Summary:

After a quick recap of the slapfest that was at the end of last week’s epi, this week begins with Maya and Ami in school practicing awkward silences in Homeroom, during PE and then in the showers, until Ami tells Maya to meet her at the local shrine after school. Maya then overhears some of the other girls talking about the fake UFO and the large numbers of cattle that have recently been found dead and drained of blood in the nearby pastures. Maya promptly finds Uchida after school and they head over to check out the heard of dead cows, which have suspicious puncture wounds on their bodies. Meanwhile, Ami and Kozue are waiting at the shrine, with various levels of patience, for Maya to turn up. When Maya eventually remembers to turn up, Kozue rushes in between them, thinking they are about to duel to the death, then offers to buy them all a drink instead and rushes off to do so. Cue more awkward silences between the former best friends, until Kozue rushes back. With a little green bitey thing on her shoulder and loads more in pursuit. Cue some impromptu monster fighting, before the boss bitey thing turns up and grabs and bites into Ami, before running off with the poor girl. Maya and Kozue then rush off to find Ami’s dad and to kick-start the rescue mission.

At Ami’s dad’s place, Smile and JK are also there, breaking apart the fake UFO, working under dad’s orders, until all three are soon brought up to speed on the kidnapping, which they work out (with a bit of help from our favourite tsundere walking occult 101 handbook) was the work of Chupacabra(s?), a.k.a. the little and not so little green bitey things. After some quick training and levelling up with anti-Chuba ammo, the Scooby gang go off to kill some green things and rescue the damsel in distress, picking up JK (who seemed to have gone off somewhere in between for some reason?!) and a post-curry Uchida along the way. Soon, with a little help from our favourite keytar and piano-playing dowser, they find the Chupa lair and the boys hold off the green army while Maya goes into the main building to get Ami (no one knows or seems to care where Kozue has lost herself at this point). Soon, the best friends’ reunion is threatened by the boss Chupa, until daddy saves the day, with a little help from his custom-built nail gun. As all the members of the Scooby gang are reunited once more, we get a shot of the Vice Principal and her shady goon looking on from a nearby hilltop as they discuss how they’ve managed to deal with the monster corpses and the lives ones still inside the building where Ami was heald (which is now on fire). Finally, after Maya asks Ami’s daddy to finish the scary story he started to tell her at the beginning of last week’s epi, the gang are seen winding down at Ami’s place and the scene ends with laughter pretty much all around.


Thoughts:

Well, as if there was any doubt, we see Maya and Ami kiss and make up by the end of this epi. Occult Academy style. For those of us who were wondering if we were going to be seeing any more occultish beasties anytime soon, we certainly got our quota in this epi. Green skin, red eyes, friggin enormous fangs. Tick, tick and tick. They were certainly creepy, if not particularly scary, but then again nothing in this show seems to be genuinely frightening and nor does it care to be so, at least not when there’re comedy moments to be had. Such moments, thankfully, were in abundance and, as mentioned in the intro, I felt that the epi was spot on in terms of comedy and drama. There were a few inconsistencies, however, that let the epi down a little in the grand scheme of 13-epi-series things, which I’d also like to mention…

First up, my biggest peeves about the epi were those bloody inconsistencies. Now, I know I’ve used words like inconsistent/ inconsistencies before, however, I found it baffling (to say the least) why, after all those great big ruddy cows were apparently so swiftly slaughtered, that Ami was so very much alive at the end of this epi. And why her dad took so long to go and rescue her, even smiling at Maya’s lengthy Chupa lecture and managing to lose one of his part-timers in the middle of all this. And why he didn’t charge in to get his daughter himself. And, after Maya eventually found Ami, why she was wearing her shirt in one shot and then just her vest in the next. Hmm. Bit sloppy of whichever director it was this time, methinks.

Hmm, Maya also seems embarrased about all these inconsistencies… and no doubt about the fact that she’s also having to give a lengthy explaination of the history of the Chupawatsits while her best friend is probably being eaten by one… Hrrmm…

On the flip side, it was a pleasure seeing Smile and JK put their spanners/ dowsing rods on again, as well as seeing Ami’s dad in Awesome mode again (and even opening his eyes again, no less!). It was even pretty amusing watching Uchida too, first as he blatantly lied to Mikaze again about his protectorish prowess, and then as he tried to act tough in front of Maya before it looked like he almost wet his pants at her observation that those were probably the clichéd words of a possibly dying man. (Kozue, the VP and her goon seem to have been reduced to walking clichés, so probably the less said about them the better.)

The inconsistencies and the better moments aside, the overall feeling that I was left with, though, is that the epi just didn’t advance the main plot very much at all. I mean, sure, there was a lot of snapping on the future phone going on, but they really don’t seem anywhere nearer to finding the Key, let alone the identity of Maya’s dad’s murderer(s) anytime since several epis ago. In this sense, this epi – or rather two-parter – seemed purely a character development one. Again. that is, at least I think they tried to develop Kozue’s character in the previous two-parter, ‘cause quite frankly, judging by her caricaturish behaviour in these last two epis, I’m beginning to think that I might have imagined Kozue’s whole losing and finding the other half of her heart thing…

One of the many better moments in this epi. JK, a.k.a. the best Goth ever – we salute you!

Anyway, don’t get me wrong, it was a very enjoyable epi overall. I just hope that they can sort out the overall pacing and plot development, so that the remaining five epis can deliver regarding the answered questions and issues…

[BTW: just to let you lovely people know, my summer hol is over and I'm back at work again from tomorrow, so apologies in advance for any erratic scheduling of future blog posts on my part *sigh*.]

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17 Comments

  1. Posted August 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I once said Smile had the best weapon in this series. I stand corrected. I don’t know what can beat a modified nail machine gun. Shoot, just think of the force/cm^2 it has to push out to take something’s HEAD off…

    • Posted August 25, 2010 at 1:46 am | Permalink

      I dunno, those dowsing rods seem to be pretty versatile… However, given the fact that Smile’s the only person who can probably wield that thing (well, and maybe Shizuo from Drrr!!), I think you might be right. Though, those beasties seemed a little too easy to behead, methinks. Either way, Smile in spanner action mode definitely wins on the cool factor though, and even without it – let’s not forget those well-timed bareknuckled punches! :)

  2. ReddyRedWolf
    Posted August 25, 2010 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    It’s spelled Chupacabra meaning goat sucker. Though no goats were harmed this episode.

    It does bring to question why are cryptids from the Americas are popping up in the middle of rural Japan.

    What are these imports? VP and her organization has been covering up the incidences there. Must has a high rate of missing persons with these critters having them as food for their young.

    Yeah Maya was right those lines is where usually supporting characters die or at least horribly beaten up.

    Fumiyaki is surprisingly reliable even if he was shanghaied for the rescue operation.

    Kozue even if Ami was the first kidnap victim she gets still kidnapped. Does she have something on her that attracts cryptids and lamies?

    JK and Smile awesome as always.

    With Ami in the mix are they the Scoobies or Sunnydale Scoobies? Cause the town where they’re is starting to look like a mini-hell mouth with all the weirdness.

    • Posted August 25, 2010 at 3:15 am | Permalink

      Lol, would you believe me if I said I spelt it with a p, then saw that Scamp had spelt it with a b, then changed them all?! LOL! I shall never doubt myself ever again! :P Will change em back in a minute…

      I quite like the fact that all these random beasties are popping up in Japan, clearly their immigration policies are not as stringent when it comes to the occult! That or that VP and her goon are more powerful than we can possibly imagine, though I can’t think why they’d import them/ be involved in cover-ups of them only just to kill em all in such spectacular ways later.

      I guess Maya’s line was just another example of the show never taking itself too seriously; Uchida, not least of all, certainly never seems to take himself too seriously either, unless he’s just incredibly deluded in himself and his capabilities (i.e. his convos with Ms moe waitress, man I still hate her voice!), though I agree on the ‘surprisingly reliable’ comment, I assume his still atoning for the Mothmen Cave debacle. In contrast, Kozue is certainly as unreliable as ever. And yep, agree about Smile and JK!

      Mini Hell-mouth? More like a full-blown major one, at least it’s set to soon become one… I like the proposed name-change, though – I might just take it up in future posts, lol!

      • Posted August 25, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        My spelling knowledge of South American mythical creatures isn’t up to scratch it appears

  3. Posted August 25, 2010 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Advancing the plot? In Occult Academy? Does this thing even have a plot anymore? I vaguely remember something about an immenent alien invasion, but the start of Detective Conan also had something resembling a plot before it went into random episodic adventures

    • ReddyRedWolf
      Posted August 25, 2010 at 2:42 am | Permalink

      Its still the halfway point. If we take Sora no Woto’s pattern things get real around episode 12 and 13.

    • Posted August 25, 2010 at 3:24 am | Permalink

      Short answer: probably not. Longer answer: the plot seems more of an, extremely anorexic, skeleton on which to hang the occult flavoured comedic exploits of x, y and z. I agree that we probably won’t see any actual aliens until epi 12, which’ll of course be another two-parter.

    • Posted August 25, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      The inclusion of Maya, and Smile negate any possible need for a plot. :P
      I can’t help but worry about how they will transition from this “yeah the occult exists, but let’s chill-ax instead” mood into a “Holy Schnitzel the occult is after us, humanity is doomed, let’s do something, now!” mood.
      Following in the footsteps of the great Scamp, I am gonna throw my own theory out there.
      Uchida desperate for some attention, calls Mikaze, and invites her over for dinner, little does he know that in his nervousness, he entered one digit too many, and made a long distance call to the Alien headquarters. The Aliens, thinking that humans are asking to be eaten, graciously accept the invite, and come over to eat dinner. The phone booth is Nostradamus’s key?
      Problem solved!
      Plot-developed.
      Humor-retained.

  4. Jo
    Posted August 25, 2010 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    Did anyone find it interesting how when the giant monster’s head got taken off, it looked a bit hollow inside. Or is it just me? Unless the insides are supposed to be solid dark green?

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Hmm, I don’t remember seeing any blood either. Then again, as someone might’ve mentioned before, they don’t seem the most realistic (er, as opposed to a bit cartoonish/ caricaturish) of monsters…

  5. ahelo
    Posted August 25, 2010 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    sounds like negima. the crappier, weirder shaft version i mean.
    CHUPACABRA!!

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Lol, what is it with these double explanation marked titles anyway? I must say, I feel that it devalues the noble exclamation mark, which thus loses its effectivenes…!!!

  6. Posted August 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    This was a great episode, I’m glad the drama wasn’t dragged on for too long. Up until this point all of the occult creatures (other than the mention of aliens) were alien to me (since I am not familiar with Japanese folklore), but in this episode I actually knew what a Chupacabra was. Yay, me!

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      I didn’t know much about most of the hitherto mentioned beasties either, but I heartily approve of the inclusive, multicultural attitude this show has towards all manner of ocult beasties, irregardless of what part of the world they are from.

      They should all have the equal right to be hit in the face with a giant spanner.

  7. Posted September 1, 2010 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Great episode but Kozou has completely ruined the show for me. I despise her character design (hair lip / cat mouth) and her glasses girl cliché. Bunmei’s scaredy-cat embarrassed love antics are distracting enough. I really wish she wasn’t in this show…

    • Posted September 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      I must say I really hated Kozue’s character design at first, but I quite like her character now, which I guess compensates for things, for me. Except for the cliched/ overused jokes, always dangerous (not to mention it just looks damn lazy) when they start relying on those, I agree. At least Bunmei/ Uchida recently is a lot more entertaining now – when he’s not around Ms annoying waitress, of course!

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