(Lol late again, but I have an excuse. I was in the middle of writing when Funeral found out that Black Swan was finally playing in our city, so we immediately rushed out and saw it. I highly recommend you do the same if you can.)
Occult Academy was easily the most disappointing TV anime that I finished in 2010. I got a bit excited for it because the A-1 Pictures “Anime no Chikara” project had turned out the amazing Sora no Woto earlier this year (I didn’t see Senkou no Nigth Raid until later, but it was still better than Occult Academy), and because the character design and animation directing were being handled by Chiba Takahiro, who was also responsible for Kamichu and worked on Read or Die. (The team from those 2 shows seems to work together a lot, and I’m a big fan).
Much in the vein of Futakoi Alternative or Angel Beats, Occult Academy sought to blend together utter silliness and bouts of seriousness together at random to create an unpredictable experience. Whereas those other two series did this to great success, Occult Academy utterly fucking failed, and wound up as terribly boring trite for most of the show.
The series’ only saving graces were the occasional hilariously over-the-top episode and one of my favorite Hanazawa Kana performances. I was actually considering dropping it 10 episodes in, but I thought I may as well finish.
I’m glad I did, because the last three episodes were so brick-shitting amazing that they made up for the rest of the show sucking dick.
Strike Witches 2 is a perfect sequel. It takes what the first season did and improves on it from front to back, with better writing, more emphasis on the characters being awesome (as opposed to just sort of being there as they were sometimes in S1), and a whole lot more memorable events. I can’t remember much about the first season—I enjoyed the characters (mostly for their designs) and the general premise, but there hadn’t been anything in the show that really stuck with me, which is why even though I felt myself being instinctively defensive of it, I could never say that much good about it.
2 cures that entirely. Almost every single episode is memorable for one reason or another, and the series is riddled with moments of ultimate badassery. Being as “moments of ultimate badassery” are always my favorite part of anime, this meant a lot to love for me. Besides that, it got rid of other things I didn’t like about the first series, like all the in-fighting that came from Perrine (this time, she’s as much of a lovable character as the rest), and general lack of presence from others (everyone gets their moment in S2, and none of those moments are throw-away.)
There’s definitely more than one moment of awesome worth highlighting here, so I’ll just pull all the biggest ones.