Winter 2020 Anime: Official Info, Airdates & Trailers
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We’re back with even more supernatural shenanigans in this week’s episode of Midnight Occult Civil Servants! Episode 4, ‘Fixed-Point Observation in Kabukicho’, offers an intimate look at even more unique supernatural beings, some of which you may not have known even existed!
Original Japanese Title: 歌舞伎町の定点観測
The Nocturnal Department take a trip to Kabukicho to check up on six of its permanent Another residents. But when a long since absent god, Kio Gongen, spirits away a local police officer, the team must figure out a way to save him from a hundred years of binge drinking… Things take a turn for the worst when Arata accidentally challenges Gongen. Thankfully, Kohaku shows up with an alternative solution to their problems.
Morning Storytime: Kohaku is still hanging around after the events of last week’s episode, so Arata decides to pick their brain a bit asking them questions about Seimei and their relationship. This leads to a flashback in which Kohaku tells Seimei about the world outside of Japan and the stars…
Anothers from around the world: Each week we meet a new set of Anothers. However, unlike most supernatural series, Midnight Occult Civil Servants introduces us to beings from all over the world. A majority of them are from Japanese and Chinese folklore, but even more are from the western world as well.
Challenging a Kami: In order to save a kidnapped police officer, the team must challenge a local kami. So far each new episode pits the team against a different type of Another; some are friendly, while others… not so much. It’s kind of like a monster-of-the-week kind of setup.
Heian Period: Seimei lived during the Heian Period which ran from 794 to 1185, so named after the capital city, Heian-kyo (modern day Kyoto). Known as the Golden Age, the Heian period saw a rise in the influence of the aristocracy and the Imperial court as well as Buddhism, Taoism, and other Chinese influences.
The World Was Round: Arata remarks that Kohaku (aka Huehuecóyotl) told someone from the Heian period that the world was round. This is a reference to the belief by ancient peoples that the Earth was in fact flat and that one simply fell off the edge when they traveled too far. This belief has since been disproven. However, there are still some people that believe in the concept of a Flat Earth.
Kabukichō: The members of the team visit Kabukicho, an entertainment/red-light district in Shinjuku. Kabukichō is known as the ‘sleepless town’ due to the abundance of host and hostess clubs, love hotels, shops, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Shojo: Seo explains that Shojo are ancient Chinese monkey spirits. However, there are references to them in Japanese mythos as well. Shojo are water spirits, usually depicted as apes with red faces and long hair and have a fondness for alcohol. The kanji for their name can either mean heavy drinker (猩々) or orangutan (猩猩).
Minerva’s Owl: This Another comes from Greek myth. Minerva’s Owl or Athena’s Owl is a representation of the goddess Athena and is said to be a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, perspicacity, and erudition.
Dryad: This is another being from Greek myth. Dryads are tree nymphs/forest spirits they are typically very shy and elusive, except around the goddess Artemis (Greek goddess of the hunt/wilderness). Dryads are specifically nymphs of Oak trees, as the word ‘Drys’ is associated with Oak trees.
Mezu: One of the two guardians of the underworld from Chinese myth. While both have the bodies of a man, Gozu has the head of an Ox and Mezu, the head of a horse. They are the first beings the souls of the dead encounter in the underworld and serve as their escorts.
Bultungin: Were-hyenas, these Anothers originate from North African folklore, in the Kanuri language Bultungin literally means ‘I transform into a hyena’. Like werewolves, bultungins have the ability to shift between human and animal form. However, unlike similar lycanthrope mythology, bultungins don’t always have human origins. Some are hyenas in disguise.
Azukiarai: A spirit from Japanese folklore. The name comes from the sound it makes, 小豆洗い (azuki bean washing). Individuals will often hear sounds in abandoned buildings that sound like someone washing or grinding azuki beans, only to be met with this ghostly apparition.
Kamikakushi: Literally means ‘hidden by kami’, it’s a phrase that is used when someone disappears without warning, also known as being ‘spirited away’.
Huehuecóyotl: Is an ancient Aztec trickster god whose name roughly translates to ‘very old coyote’. He is said to preside over music, dance, song, and mischief. He is depicted as a dancing coyote with human hands and feet and despite being referred to as male, can change gender. He is known for pulling pranks that more often than not backfire and cause him more trouble than his intended victims, but, he is generally harmless.
Abe no Seimei: One of the older tengu addresses Miyako as Abe no Seimei at the end of the episode, much to his confusion. Abe no Seimei (安倍 晴明) was one of Japan’s leading onmyōji during the Heian Period (794 – 1185).While Abe no Seimei was a prominent Japanese historical figure, after his death in 1005, he became a common figure in Japanese folklore as well. Legend says that he wasn’t entirely human, having a human father and a kitsune mother and because of this was able to control minor oni and commune with supernatural beings.
First before I say anything, I HAVE to talk about the English-speaking tourists midway through the episode…. As a native English speaker and an American, I am always fascinated by the way people in other countries view us and Midnight Occult Civil Servants opened that door when they introduced some American tourists. They are exactly what I’ve come to expect from anime: large noses, super pale skin, and of course…. ENGRISH!! This wasn’t the worst English I’ve heard, but, I always find it funny that when English-speaking characters appear in anime, they almost always sound super upbeat and cheerful. Just an observation, not a judgement.
Moving on… this week’s episode introduced us to a non-member of the team with the ability to see Anothers. A helpful police officer, Haguro-san can also see Anothers, though unlike Arata, he can’t converse with them. This was a nice addition, since it shows that people outside of the Nocturnal Division have interactions with Anothers, it kind of reminds me a bit of the relationship between Mushi and people in another occult/supernatural anime, Mushi-shi (which I highly recommend).
This episode was a lot of fun, the stakes weren’t terribly high, but I love seeing the Nocturnal Division exploring more of the supernatural world. Midnight Occult Civil Servants has the entirety of the world’s folklore at its disposal and each week they pick unique supernatural beings from across the globe to spotlight. I am excited to see what new things the series has in store for us in the future.
I’ll be back next week with another Midnight Occult Civil Servants review, but in the meantime, be sure to check out MANGA.TOKYO’s other amazing Spring 2019 reviews!!
NEXT TIME: ‘The Parallel World Elevator of the City Hall Observation Deck’ (都庁展望室の異世界エレベーター)
Keep warm this winter season with the latest anime info at MANGA.TOKYO!