Occult Academy 8, Asobi 7

Occult Academy 8 fixes all the things that went wrong last episode. Maya and Ami are friends again, and Shigeru proves again that he’s a cool dad. Too bad they had to throw in a monster invasion to do it, except the girls weren’t all that mad after all, so what’s the point of the monsters? Okay, I know this show depends on monsters and aliens and things like that, but … bah.

Chupacabra have no sense of timing.

I mean, after the usual tense school scenes where the girls don’t talk but go humph a lot, right when Maya and Ami meet at the shrine to sort it out, Kozue (natch) runs back with a little monster on her back, and then there are more, then a really huge one who takes Maya away. Why it didn’t just suck all her blood then I don’t know. That’s what they do to the cows (I was hoping we’d come back to that). We learn later that they’re pretty easy to kill; maybe it was afraid.

Shigeru and Kohta would get along.

The following scene stretches my credulity but in a way that’s very satisfying. Maya and Kozue rush over to Shigeru’s place babbling a story about monsters kidnapping Ami, the day after Shigeru had gone to extremes to give the girls a UFO experience. He’s got to believe that this is some kind of revenge hoax, right? Nope. Not only does he forgive Maya on the spot for her outburst that night, but he believes the story, arms himself, and off they go!

The rest of it is tracking the monsters to an old hut, fighting off the little guys (Uchida actually contributes here, which is nice to see), rescuing Ami, a final big-guy threat ended by Shigeru with a handful of nails. Some monster. Head came right off. As for the girls it’s the usual breathless apologies while whacking monsters. Saw that coming. It’s fun to watch, this show usually is, but it felt forced, especially since we were conned into thinking the girls had no intention of making up until the monsters showed up. Turns out that’s why they were meeting at the shrine in the first place. So a normal make-up scene gets hijacked by monsters for, I assume, our benefit. Gotta have monsters, right? I was more interested in the Maya, Ami and Shigeru. I say it again: Bah.

Asobi ni Iko Yo is the sort of brainless show that conveniently forgets anything that stands in the way of silliness, fanservice, or both. I seem to recall that Manami and Aoi have quit their dangerous jobs and thus stand in danger of revenge plots, so they’ve been staying at Kio’s. In episode 8 not only are they back in school, but so is everyone else in the cast.

They do add one amusing moment, when Antnie and her bodyguards are introduced, all with toast in their mouths because they believe it’s the custom in Japan. Hmm, maybe by now it is. Anyway, Kio’s in the film club, so Eris joins, so Antnie joins, so Manami and Aoi … you get the idea. And where do they go for the field trip? The beach! As if we hadn’t seen enough skin in this show.

It’s half swimsuits and half girls talking about Kio. I keep waiting for them to talk about something else, and they never do. Each talk comes back to him. This show fails the Bechdel Test every which way … well, there was that early negotiation scene, but does it count if the girls are cat-aliens? After the swimsuits and requisite barbeque it’s back to Kio again, who asks Aoi if she’ll teach him to fight. This is a pretty useful talent to have in his situation; Aoi’s the perfect one to ask, but it’s not quite what she was expecting. This is our poignant moment before the inevitable attack begins.

The inevitable attack.

Of course, in this show it can’t just be a straightforward attack, if you can count attacking dog robots flinging old tires at assistaroids and gun-toting maids straightforward. They have to add fresh weirdness in the form of a girl named Ichika, who supplies Aoi with magic seals which give her superhuman abilities. So now we have another strange character in an already strange story. Okinawa gets more interesting every day.

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