Supernatural Academy, a Peacock animated show, premiered earlier this week. The animated show is based on a book series of the same name written by Jaymin Eve. The show follows two magical twin sisters, Mischa (Gigi Saul Guerrero) and Jessa (Larissa Dias), separated at birth by their parents for protection. The two were born with a curse called the “dragon mark,” which is prophetized to bring about the return of the evil Dragon King. Jessa was born into the magical world raised by her father (Alessandro Juliani). She is one of the most popular people at the Supernatural Academy, a magical school that teaches magic users and creatures to harness their powers. Mischa, often lacking confidence, was kept in the human world to be raised by her mother (Barbara Kottmeier).
When Mischa and her mother are attacked, they reunite with Jessa and the girls’ father. Their parents decide that Mischa must attend the Supernatural Academy and for Jessa to watch over her sister. The two must learn to get to know each other while finding out why they were kept apart since birth. With the help of some friends, the twins embark on a journey full of danger and uncertainty to discover the truth about who they are. Meanwhile, Headmaster Kristov (Brian Drummond) shows special interest in the twins with evil intentions for the two of them.
The heart and soul of Supernatural Academy is the relationship between Mischa and Jessa. From the moment they meet, it’s clear that audiences will see how the two develop their relationship as the series progresses. They’re the complete opposite from one another, which quickly becomes the factor that makes their journey of getting to know one another interesting. But what makes their sisterhood blossom is how much they change as they get to know each other. Mischa begins to gain the confidence and freedom that she never knew, while Jessa loses confidence in herself. Constantly interacting with one another causes them to pick up mannerisms that affect them on a deep level. This constant element affects them throughout the season and brings about situations that the twins are forced to deal with.
While Supernatural Academy has great qualities that make it an enjoyable watch, it suffers from two significant flaws. The first is the overall pacing of the show. Part of it comes from the fact that there are 16 episodes in its first season with run times of about 24 minutes each. The episodes in the first season are all two-parters, with the second half of every episode picking up right where the last half ended. It would have been a much better choice had parts A and B of every episode been combined into one episode. The pacing between each episode transition would not have disrupted the show’s flow if the parts had been combined.
But regardless of whether the two-part episodes had been combined, Supernatural Academy has way too much happening in each episode to follow. The first two episodes do an incredible job setting up several aspects of the world they live in but then include too many storylines that should have been split into separate seasons. The second half of the season sees a dramatic change in tone, story arcs, and overall themes that weren’t covered in the first 8 episodes. It also chooses to tackle social issues within the magical world that didn’t come up too often during the show’s start. There’s also the fact that once all this set-up is out of the way, there’s a sudden rush to have the twins get to a place where they can save the world. Taking time to develop arcs, characters, and the social issues the series chooses to tackle would have made a bigger impact on the show.
Aside from its pacing, Supernatural Academy suffers from its questionable choices in animation. At the start of the series, I didn’t mind the 3D animation, especially when it came to the character designs. However, I was rather disappointed when the school itself was introduced. It looked like other schools set in magical YA shows and films, which isn’t a bad thing, but the way it was designed made it look rather bland. I immediately thought of shows like Trollhunters regarding how the scenes and locations are animated and the feelings they can evoke. The fight scenes and whenever the students use magic are either hit or miss when it comes to the animation. There are times when certain fights look like they’re held back due to limits on the animation.
Ultimately, Supernatural Academy offers an enjoyable story, but it packs in too much. The relationship between Mischa and Jessa is fleshed out well and becomes the center of the show. Their group of friends are all interesting to watch, and some are given major arcs that have a big impact on the overall plot. However, the pacing and animation keep the show from reaching great heights. While there are some truly entertaining and well-done moments throughout the show, I recommend adaptations based on books like Shadow and Bone before recommending Supernatural Academy.
All episodes of Supernatural Academy are streaming now on Peacock.
Ultimately, Supernatural Academy offers an enjoyable story, but it packs in too much.