Occult 3, Asobi 3

I’m still trying to get a grip on Occult Academy. Episode three feels so far removed from the splendid first episode that I wonder if they didn’t fire the first batch of writers and hire new ones.

There are rumors of some supernatural beast called a tengu lurking around, and some people have gone missing. Maya, she who would never give in to rumors, immediately gives in to this one and has Uchida investigate. And he doesn’t. The show decides to spend much of the episode showing him dithering around. It sort of makes sense. He’s away from his own time, he’s homesick. He even tries calling his youthful self. But he’s so unlike the cocky person who bravely went back in time that I can’t make the connection. It’s also not very interesting to watch. Bring on the tengu!

To waste more time, Uchida meets a nice girl named Mikaze. They hit if off immediately so we get plenty of scenes where he visits the restaurant she works on. We at home are thinking she’s somehow connected to the tengu, but if she is nothing in this episode lets on. She’s sweet, a little eccentric, and has a fancy car which she drives recklessly; that’s all we know. Soon she offers to give Uchida a tour of the town’s landmarks. Aha! This is where the tengu comes in, or so we think. Especially when one of the tourist stops is Zouzan Bunker, built during WII. People died building it, and she’s sad about it. Aha!

We do get our tengu, or two, and they are in the bunker, but Uchida and Mikaze are long gone by the time they show up and threaten Maya. I’m just not sure where this is all headed, which I suppose is a good sign. Again, this show feels different from its start. Not necessarily worse, though they spent way too much time on Uchida dithering around and acting like a schoolboy on his first date. Waldstein Sonata and Maya throwing things notwithstanding, it just doesn’t have the same feel as it did before.

Asobi ni Iku yo! slows down, too, but in this case it’s to let the characters settle in and start working on the next story arcs.

Diplomatic negotiations.

The Cathians waste no time trying to establish formal relations with Japan. While negotiations aren’t complete, they do managed to get permission to stay, and they make Kio’s house their embassy. This is very convenient, because Aoi and Manami are now pretty much cut off from the secret organizations they belong to and are afraid of being treated as traitors. In Kio’s house, they’re under Cathian protection. I must say Eris and her friends have a nice mix of innocence and diplomatic smarts. They calmly negotiate wearing school bathing suits because they read one of Kio’s magazines. As for Kio, congrats, boy! In three episodes you have accumulated a harem of seven girls, two of which are in love with you and a third who thinks nothing of hugging you while naked.

But there are other forces out there. One is this lady above, who apparently represents the Doggy Race, furious that the Cathians are moving in before they can finalize their own negotiations. In this scene we get a brief breakdown of all the characters who have appeared so far, and their affiliations, which is very helpful but two episodes too late. Besides, now they’re throwing us even more mysterious people. Anyway, we have a scene where one of the assist-aroids is kidnapped, and Aoi and Manami (naked, because they were in the tub when the alarm went off) run off to stop them.

Manami, embarrassed because she's naked, fires at the boy she likes.

The two girls have a couple of nice talks, partly about themselves but mainly about Kio. Manami says that Kio thinks of her as a guy, so Aoi ought to make a play for him. Kio is uncertain that he’ll accept her past (oh, she has telportation powers too, just for fun). Also, she sees that Manami still likes the boy and isn’t sure she should interfere. Manami is turning into a decent tsundere character and she knows how to use firearms, heh. Too early to tell what Aoi’s angle is.

In other words this show throws a lot of cliches and fanservice at you but it has an eccentric charm to it that I like. They add amusing bits like the assist-aroids trying to cheer up Kio or the Star Trek riffing at the beginning. And all the characters are interesting in one way or another, well, Kio is a bit bland, but he’s the male lead in a harem series … that’s also SF and a political thriller … and a comedy.

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