That was pretty darn good filler. If only this were two cours, I would be thrilled for an episode like this one – funny, genuinely moving, with some excellent acting all around. It’s harder to be enthusiastic knowing we now have only three eps left to wrap up the main plot – but at least this episode was nicely tied in to some Maya exposition.
The Akari plot was wrapped up, of course – turns out she froze to death waiting for Santa, who her father – pissed about his wife walking out on him – told his daughter didn’t exist. In a rather nicely done final sequence, Dad dresses up as Santa and has the farewell with his daughter that he’d never had in her life.
But the real story here was Maya’s childhood, and the light Akari’s story shed on it. We knew her father’s house was about to be torn down, but what we didn’t know was that he’d build the Occult Academy to satisfy her childhood Christmas wish – a place where aliens(!), ghosts etc. could study and play together. I think it was also revealed beyond a shadow of a doubt – at least to my satisfaction – that Mikaze is intentionally trying to keep Abe-Sensei and Maya from getting too close. Her constant interruptions are just too perfectly timed for it to be coincidence. But the suspicion that she was in league with the Vice-Principal appears to be unfounded – the VP appears to view her as nothing more than a rival for Fumiaki’s affections. We still don’t know the full motivation driving either woman – even less so with Mikaze than the VP – but clearly, each have vested interests in the Nostradamus Key.
Among the many questions hanging over the story is this one – is Maya genuinely jealous of Mikaze because she liked Fumiaki, or is she simply irritated by Mikaze’s flouncing about after him? Either way, the Akari story seems to have left her with a renewed sense of purpose in working with Abe and finding the key – and he seems to be slowly winning her over with his genuine interest in and concern for her. It’s a clumsy, awkward relationship to watch unfold – but one of the most interesting and involving of the season.