Occultic;Nine – Preview
Original Air Dates: October 8th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Yuta Gamon is a 2nd year high school student. He runs “Kiri Kiri Basara” a wannabe affiliate blog that rounds up occult forum posts all for a shot at quick and easy money. However, Yuta’s quest for an easy life and his blog acts as a catalyst that gathers a group of downright maniacal and insane comrades to hunt down the many supernatural phenomena existing in the world and analyze them from a scientific standpoint.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Occultic;Nine nearly drowns the audience in a whole feast of characters, throwing so many at you you’ll be lucky to come away remembering really anyone’s name. But unlike this year’s The Lost Village, Occultic succeeds at making the group memorable, even if their names ultimately escape you. Each of the characters is fresh in my mind, even if my understanding of them extends little beyond their immediate demeanor. from Yuta Gamon, the NEET struggling to become an affiliate blogger with a weakness for pretty girls. Sarai Hashigami, son of famed research professor who’s annoyed with his father, or the girl who works for a big time publishing company who believes in ghosts quite readily. Yuta himself is a bit erratic for my tastes, with a motor mouth that runs a mile a minute but says very little of substance. There’s also an unfortunate hammed up, over the top, ‘cross dressing’ bartender, which feels a tad unfortunate or perhaps even offensive in this day and age, although with the way he’s been used so far it doesn’t feel at all malicious, just, perhaps tone deaf.
Linny: Despite his somewhat grandiose and over the top behaviour, Gamon actually feels rather realistic thanks to his teenage obsession with pretty girls and his actual awkwardness around them. There is a minor issue one of his lines where he calls himself a NEET but goes on to add that he is in his second year of high school. For those who are unaware of the mistake in that line, the word NEET is used to describe people who are neither students nor employed. This is a minor issue, one that could either be chalked down to translation errors, the word NEET meaning more than what it used to, or even the fact that Gamon may be enrolled but could be avoiding actually going to classes regularly. My personal favourite of the cast is a young girl named Aria Kureinaino who runs a dark magic business because she seems mysterious and creepy in an intriguing manner. Besides the reveal that she might be in possession of actual dark powers, her reaction to being sent a real human scalp makes her seem all the more interesting.
Tom: Occultic;Nine has some solid animation that easily transitions between it’s more silly and animated characters and the more disturbing imagery seen both early on in its premiere and just before we cut away with a cliffhanger. That said, I don’t know that it’s character designs really appeal to me. Particularly in question are a couple female characters portrayed with exceedingly large breasts. No, I mean, gargantuan size, far larger than you might even normally expect in anime. It’s played for laughs rather than as some sexual fetish, but leaves the girls with awkward frames that perhaps draw too much attention away from more important aspects on screen. On the other hand, it is nice to see body types than extend beyond the stick figure or perfectly curvy and toned female forms anime is otherwise known for.
Linny: We cannot emphasize exactly how ridiculous the breasts on some of the women in this show are, not for sexual reasons but sheer insanity. One of them has her breasts as the source of jokes but it none the less feels crude. The animation of the show swings between good and bad, with the creepy parts of the episode looking well done but then we get a CGI ghost/demon that just looks terrible compared to its surroundings.
Tom: Occultic’s main draw however isn’t its characters, or it’s absurdly endowed women, but rather the intrigue and mystery surrounding its opening shots of a mass suicide, and the way in which all of these different characters will come together and somehow connect with one another. It’s that curiosity, that question, that really drives Occultic;Nine and keeps it feeling engaging throughout this absurdly fast paced episode. It’s a pity it’s not getting a dub as I think it’s blinding narrative speed would be assisted without the need to read subtitles.
Linny: The dark and ominous opening scenes of Occultic Nine are definitely one of its attractions and likely to have some viewers hooked and invested from the get go. The episode opens with scenes of a mass suicide drowning with a voice over but it quickly switches its tone before things start to feel too pretentious. While it does leave a lot of information still up in the air, it does a great job of introducing its huge cast, giving each enough airtime to establish their personalities or at least stand out from one another. However, if you find yourself struggling to follow the episode with its bloated cast and vague information, you might find this episode a trying experience.
Tom: Occultic;Nine is based off a Light Novel series, and despite a similar naming scheme with Steins;Gate and the rest of that loose series, it’s connections are far less pronounced. Occultic;Nine bears no narrative connection to any of the others, and it’s deepest tie is that the Light Novel’s author, Shikura, Chiyomaru worked on the others in varying capacities. Both Steins;gate and Chaos;Head anime are based off of visual novel games, both of which Shikura had involvement with as the planning supervisor, however the scripts were written by other writers entirely. He’s also credited as the original creator of Robotics;Notes, but again didn’t actually write any episodes. Also Occultic;Nine is three volumes and ongoing. With no end currently published it’s almost certain we won’t get a true ending and that’s definitely something to keep in mind when jumping in. I’m optimistic about Occultic;Nine, and while not nearly as enamored and hyped for it as some might be, I’m intrigued by what I’ve seen and hope the series delivers going forward.
Linny: The mysterious and enigmatic notes of Occultic;Nine’s premiere makes it clear that it could turn out to be the kind of story that might have an open ending or at worst, a disappointing end as it fails to deliver a satisfying conclusion to all the mysteries it sets up. It has some promising intrigue thanks to its theme and cast and should appeal to viewers who like dark and supernatural mystery anime, and are willing to stick around despite the somewhat mysterious and chaotic opening episode.