Considering how Maya is, it's sometimes very hard to really imagine her having friends.
What They Say
Maya meets with Ami's father, Shige. Shige tells scary stories, like the old days, but Maya isn't interested or scared. She used to listen to attentively... Shige is worried now that she's come to hate the occult. The next day Maya and Kozue head to Ami's house. Ami brings out a school diary from elementary school. Maya gets embarrassed over this as they read it. And then, news of a mystery circle in the outskirts of Matsushiro!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While we've had a fair number of adventures so far, and the last episode did a really good job of revealing to Maya exactly what's going on in the world, there is a need once in awhile to just have a little bit of fun. With Maya now fully aware that Abe has been telling the truth about a doomed future, one we got a brief but disturbing look at from his future-self back in time, she's made her commitment to him to do everything possible to find this mysterious Nostradamus Key to try and stave off what's coming. With the Academy being considered a focal point for everything, and with the things that have happened so far, she probably doesn't have to really look too far.
But with the serious two part story we had, there is a need to release the pressure a bit with something a little lighter. Maya's spending some time with her fried Ami whose father, a somewhat portly man named Shige, spent a fair bit of time telling her scary stories that are anything but. He's a very helpful sort, though she doesn't seem to want much of it, but it's the kind of thing that may turn out to be an advantage to her in the long run. Or it could all be preordained to bringing about the end times on humanity, though she hasn't quite thought that route through yet I don't think. So when she heads out to check out a mysterious crop circle, Shige helps her there along with a couple of her friends.
A night time investigation of the issue leads a small group of people with Maya to learn about cattle mutilation happening, UFO's flying around and a generally eerie atmosphere. Like a lot of things, and a lot of what Maya has exposed since coming to the Academy, is that there's either some trickery involved, a hoax or just plan natural phenomenon that's misinterpreted by people. With the need to check out anything that comes down the road now on the off chance it's related to their real mystery, it gives Occult Academy the feeling that it could go so horribly wrong if it was a lengthy series. With it being a short series, and with the reason behind the crop circle, the mutilations seeming like a reasonable thing considering the people involved, it's easy to give this a pass for a one-off storyline. Especially since it features a pint-sized child Maya that's far, far too adorable.
The seventh episode of Occult Academy has its redeeming moments and it doesn't slide for the most part when it comes to the animation or overall pacing. It's just not a story that works well since it has what you could call filler material in that it doesn't really mean a hill of beans. If you got a full series release of the show and this episode wasn't included, you'd never realize it or miss anything. There is a bit of fun to be had here of course as seeing Maya with a friend from childhood has its endearing moments, as is seeing a young Maya, but by and large it's all a bit of fluff that's expected after a pair of very serious episodes that changes the way Maya looks what's happening, which is the thrust of this storyline. That she'll actually investigate such things now. Hopefully the show will get back on track more in the next episode.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.