>Anime streaming review: Fighting demons and living dangerously

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Most of the supernatural anime shows focus on the same characters and the same stories of destroying unwanted undead creatures and spirits. A new show on crunchyroll.com throws some clever twists to the tried-and-true formula.

“Occult Academy” is not just an anime comedy that pokes fun at Hollywood horror–it turns into an adrenaline-pumping show about the frightening dangers of paranormal phenomena.

The show opens as a parody of the horror anime, involving a school which specializes in teaching students about occult spirits and unexplainable spectacles such as UFOs. In a freakish scene that could have been taken out of an old horror film, the school superintendent rises from the dead during a school funeral.

Despite the initial shock, the superintendent’s daughter, Maya Kumashiro, insists that all these spiritual beings do not exist. Kumashiro is a ghost hunter who has a fascination for occult spirits, even though she was neglected by her father as a child. She is an unusually violent protagonist, on a mission to kill the zombies and ghouls who are haunting the Occult Academy.

The show manages to present a wide range of slapstick comedy. In fact, the first episode is a jovial parody of ghost mystery shows. Kumashiro’s friends assemble the classic team of “expert” spiritual mediums, consisting of a fat “dowser” medium with flimsy metal prongs and a janitor who was just invited because he knows how to kick peoples’ asses.

Yet, this show is not a comedy at all. It is a dark series where characters almost die, where the deadly secrets of Kumashiro’s father come to life. When Kumashiro was a child, her father became obsessed with his occult studies. He became so obsessed that he refused to speak to his family. Episode two reveals that her father was actually researching an artifact with incredible power, known as the key of Nostradamus. The key is the one thing that will save the world from destruction in 2012.

Despite the looming devastation of the future apocalypse, the show manages to pull off a pretty humorous sex comedy routine involving a time traveler named Fumiaki Uchida. He was apparently sent to find the key of Nostradamus. However, he doesn’t win any points with Kumashiro when he first appears in front of her, bare naked.

This anime series is an incredible mind trip, involving invisible ghost murderers, doppledangers and the end of the world. It works amazingly well as a blood-curdling thriller and a humorous, romantic school comedy. There’s something for everyone in this hair-raising comedy that pokes fun at the flaws of the horror anime and uncovers the most intriguing, hidden secrets of the undead.

Watch the series for free at crunchyroll.com.

Image courtesy of photobucket.com

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Filed under apocalyptic, comedy, horror, Occult Academy

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