Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin continues to be the best series of the summer so far, the only one to offer three winners in three episodes.
Make no mistake, there was a definite change of tone here – this was a sort of “occult slice of life” interlude. But that’s something this series is already proving itself good at. Our focus this week was definitely on Abe Minor/Bunmei/Fumiaki. We see that he lives in a rat-trap of an apartment with a frightening obaa-san for a landlay. We see, through flashbacks, that he loves curry and loved his mother even more (in a rather touching scene, he calls her but can’t bring himself to speak). In loneliness, he steps into the little Izakaya across the way, only to find it’s run by the landlady’s twin sister. The service is slow, but the help is adorable – in the person of Mikaze (Chihara Minori), a moe waitress who Fumiaki decides is “just his type”. As little Bunmei’s spoon-bending exploits are shown on TV, Mikaze shocks Fumiaki by referring to the little boy as “Fumiaki-chan” – a name he’d thought only his mother knew.
What follows is a hilarious romp around the sights of town, courtesy of Mikaze’s sports car. Her driving is as ugly as she is cute, but Fumiaki puts up with it and even gets an indirect kiss. All the while Maya is doing what Fumiaki was supposed to be doing – searching the town for a rumored tengu that is spiriting away the locals. Her path crosses theirs in an old bunker built at the close of WW II, and Mikaze gives us subtle hints that she may be a time-traveler herself.
So much worked well here – the subtle mystery surrounding Mikaze, which is left as a faint shading on the edge of the narrative. I could listen all day to Kobayashi Yuu hamming it up as the vice-principal – she’s obviously having fun here and it’s contagious. The art and animation continue to be wonderful, still putting me in mind of “Kamichu” in terms of the vivid color palette and gorgeous character designs. There’s something of that series in the larger-than-life personalities of the characters too – they’re outrageous, but in a likable way. And we’re starting to get little hints about the plot now – not enough to spoil the mystery, but just to remind us that no matter how much fun the characters are, there’s a larger story playing out, too.