Do you see that look on Maya’s face? That expression of disappointment and contempt, mixed with just a hint of anger? Yeah, that’s how I feel right now.
Look, I wanted to like Occult Academy, I really did. Back in the early days of the summer season, I called this show “messianic,” a gift from the heavens destined to drive back the forces of mediocrity and darkness. Here, at long last, was an anime that had a plot beyond “cute girls drinking tea,” characters with more depth and originality than tired archetypes like “twintailed tsundere,” and humor more sophisticated than “LOL BOOBIES.” In other words, this was exactly the kind of thoughtful, original show we needed to counter the ever-increasing tide of fanservice and moe garbage that’s been swamping the airwaves. Sadly, it was unable to live up to those high expectations.
As those of you who have been listening to the podcast know, my opinion of the recent Occult Academy episodes has been rather low. Episode 3 was just plain boring, and episode 4 completely derailed Fumiaki’s character, turning him into cowardly comic relief. Now, these two episodes weren’t BAD per se, but they also weren’t anywhere near as good as the first two. Seeing such a promising show fall from grace was painful, and I was starting to worry that Occult Academy would completely squander its potential just like So Ra No Wo To. Boy, am I glad to be wrong.
Episodes 5 and 6 were a complete turnaround. Thanks in large part to the strong writing, these episodes picked up the pace, un-derailed Fumiaki’s character, and rekindled my interest in the show. They even nailed the comedy, which was both hilarious and perfectly blended with the more serious aspects of the story. And, best of all, Mikaze got almost no screentime! Will wonders never cease?
After the first two episodes of Occult Academyblew me away, I was expecting big things from the third. In hindsight, perhaps this was foolish; many anime have great introductions, but falter a few episodes in. Was I setting my expectations too high? Or was I merely so confident in the creative talent behind Anime no Chikara that I thought they could do no wrong?
Perhaps I’m being a bit drastic; the third episode of Occult Academy certainly wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It rounded out Fumiaki’s character wonderfully, and delivered more laughs than Seitokai Yakuindomo will ever manage. However, it barely added anything to the series’ mythos or storyline, other than the rather bland new character Mikaze. In fact, this Mary Sue romantic interest and her date with Fumiaki took up far too much of this episode’s runtime, and slowed the pacing to a crawl. The end result was an episode that, while still enjoyable, was nowhere near as good as the previous two.
Like my fellow editors here at Project Haruhi, I have been pretty disappointed by the new summer anime thus far. In my humble opinion, this season’s shows are either overrated, subpar or just outright horrible. Of course, I’ve experienced this kind of thing before. I always take solace in the fact that, just when things are looking darkest, a single great anime emerges from the shadows. Like a brilliant beam of light from the heavens, this one show drives back the darkness and brings hope to all the downtrodden, world-weary otaku.
This season, that show is Occult Academy.
Think I’m being hyperbolic? Find out more after the break!
Earlier yesterday, ANN reported that Crunchyroll—the formerly illicit streaming anime site that went legit in January of 2009—broke even in May. This is huge news for advocates of on-demand and simulcasted anime like myself. It proves that Crunchyroll’s strategy can work, which hopefully means Japanese companies will be less hesitant to put their stuff online.
To put this in perspective, the enormously popular YouTube has yet to turn a profit, though this is likely because the service was largely ad-free for quite a while. Crunchyroll, on the other hand, supports itself by charging subscription fees for instant access to their newest shows and—for non-subscribers—including commercial breaks in their videos. It would be interesting to see what percentage of their revenue comes from each source, though it’s highly unlikely Crunchyroll will ever release that kind of information.
Whatever the monetary breakdown, Funimation and the Anime Network are probably feeling much better about the chances of their own streaming services. And if they succeed, us fans may finally get decent, legal alternatives to DVDs.
I-It's not that I like you or anything, MangaHelpers! Geez!
In recent weeks there have been numerous articles all over the interweb explaining the coming demise of manga aggregator websites. All the big hitters in manga publishing have formed a “multi-national manga anti-piracy coalition“, aiming to stem the flow of un-authorised content distribution through popular websites such as MangaHelpers, One Manga, Mangafox etc. These websites became popular with readers because of how easily they could tap into the scanlations available online, display them all together on one webpage, and as a bonus the owners could charge some ad revenue as well. Now, MangaHelpers is the latest of websites to take the cue and jump ship after threats from the anti piracy coalition to threaten offending websites with legal action. More after the jump.
Right on the heels of Bandai’s Haruhi-chan anime license announcement, Yen Press has revealed (via an unlisted YouTube video featuring the ASOS brigade) that they will be releasing the Haruhi-chan manga starting on October 26th.
Christina Vee and the ASOS Brigade have just announced a new Haruhi license by Bandai.
Wow, the acting in that was worse than usual. Could you tell they were reading from cue cards?
Anyhoo, it seems we’ll be getting Haruhi-chan and Churuya-san on DVD starting this summer, complete with a Bang Zoom dub using the same voice actors as the main Haruhi series. Of course, if you can’t wait that long for your next hit of Haruhi, you can always head on over to Crunchyroll and watch both shows for free.
Crunchyroll, the subscription-based anime streaming site, just announced that they’ve acquired the online streaming and digital distribution rights to all of the Haruhi series. This includes The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya seasons 1 and 2, as well as the webseries Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya and Nyoron Churuya-san. It does NOT, however, include the Disappearance film.These shows will soon be available for free to everybody in America, the British Isles, Scandanavia and the Middle East (but not Australia). However, in order to see the ad-free HD-quality streams, you have to subscribe to their Anime Membership service for $6.95 a month. Personally, I don’t think subscribing is worth it. Although I admire what Crunchyroll is trying to do, I’m also frustrated by the crappy quality of their video streams. For example, when I tried to watch Heroman, the HD stream looked so bad that the show was nigh-unwatchable. I think I’ll stick with my trusty Haruhi DVDs for the time being.