I have to say that once again moe continues to remain at the manageable levels. There are still pure moe shows and moe has crept into most shows but the levels are heading towards acceptable again. And considering the market I can accept that. I can’t say that I was super excited to watch anything this season. There are some good shows this season but nothing grabbed me in a way that I had to watch it. But I found several series to watch and hopefully enjoy. As always with any of our seasonal anime guides there are a few exceptions to the shows we write up. We don’t talk about sequels and we avoid anything that looks utterly dire unless we decide to bet on a dark horse despite a somewhat questionable premise.
From zombies to spirits to the all encompassing occult, the theme for this anime season, if a pattern can be found, seems to be supernatural. This is not exactly my favorite genre and even beyond those shows I can’t say I was extremely excited for anything. But this may also have to do with coming off a very strong spring season. Anywho, remember that these impressions are based on first episodes only!
Seikimatsu Occult Academy
This was probably the best show I watched this season. It is a consistent blend of comedy and supernatural action. At first the series seems like it is going to be a serious business supernatural horror show but as soon a Maya Kumashiro meets the assistant principle you realize that there is a distinctly humorous element to the show. So while we have a decapitation with ax we also have a janitor cold-cocking a glasses girl. Maya seems to be a mixture of Mulder and Scully. She is knowledgeable about a wide array of supernatural lore but seems mostly interested in destroying it or disproving it’s existence. The first episode was solid so I hope that keeps up the momentum with both the action and the comedy and makes sure neither of them trips over the other. I did notice that we have not been formally introduced to the other main character of this series so I have to wonder if he will add or detract from my interest in this series.
The right amount of attitude and humor collide in Occult Academy as Maya is summoned to what I can only assume is to take over the position of principal of the school in her father’s absence. Things go a bit awry upon Maya’s arrival pushing her into action showing us she has both physical skill and a huge capacity for knowledge about the occult. This first episode sets a nice pace which gives us enough tidbits to whet our appetites for the mysteries surrounding the school, murder, and all things supernatural ending on a curious note as well. I also found the characterization of Maya succinctly laid out making her a well-realized character in under 30-minutes. This especially comes through when she is remembering some bits of her childhood. We are mildly introduced to the rest of the cast including an old friend of Maya’s and a bad-ass janitor named Smiley. The scary and the comedy are balanced nicely even jumping into one another at points which can be a real challenge. This show easily stood out and makes it a no-brainer to check out more.
High School of the Dead
Well that was exactly what I expected it to be. This means two very important things. The first is that if this does poorly I truly fear for the anime industry. This has a combination of fan service and zombies that should guarantee it sales and downloads. The second thing I have no urge to ever watch another episode. Why? Because I really don’t like zombie movies but I am apparently in the minority as every convention you go to has a “How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse” that is always jam packed. For everyone who eats those panels up this show delivers in spades. We start with zombie killing and fan service right out of the gate. Then there is a quick attempt to show us some insight into the main characters in a flash back then story jumps right to zombie attack. It is an orgy of girls being eaten in a rather sexual fashion, people freaking out, and zombies get their heads whacked off. I thought it seemed really predictable but I think most zombie films that are not Shaun of the Dead are like that. I don’t care for the show one bit but I’m thankful it will surely pull some cash into the industry.
This is a tough show to go into without some opinion of what it is going to be and whether or not you will like it. I went in thinking I don’t care about this and that I won’t like it, I was right. The story is fairly simple as the school is attacked and most of the people who survive are the hottest girls, though I wonder what, if any, explanation for the zombies arriving there will be. Sex and violence, a common package, but the combining of the two into one moment was nothing less than disgusting at parts in this show. Overly detailed panty shots as zombies ate their flesh, no thanks. There was a lot of implied violence too, almost trying to trick you, for example you must bust heads in order to kill zombies but every time it happens there is a cut away to just a blood spatter. As someone who enjoys a good violent anime, I wasn’t that impressed with High School of the Dead where the actual fighting came second to the fan-service. But even if that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t watch this show because zombies are about the least interesting villains ever. All that being said, I think Section 23 is brilliant for getting this right away.