Everyone loves a good mystery! Who’s the killer? What are the clues? What’s the motive? Our innate curiosity makes us need to know the answers to these kinds of questions. The same goes for the supernatural: Do ghosts really exist? Where do we go after we die? Both mysteries and the supernatural pique our interest and our desire to know more. That’s why, when you combine them into an anime show like Occultic;Nine, they bound to turn the series into a really interesting ride!
Occultic;Nine delves on the supernatural and tries to explain it in a scientific way. It focuses on nine main characters who mostly seem unconnected in the beginning, but are all eventually linked together by the blog ‘Supernatural Science Kirikiri Basara.’ Unknown to them, a large and highly mind-blowing event is in the works, one that they’ll soon become a part of.
One of the things that make this show unique is the Incredibly. Fast. Pacing. Sometimes it is the story, but most of the time it is the dialogue and explanations. Given that this is a mystery and you’ll need every single piece of information to solve it, having fast-paced dialogue is a huge let down. But then somehow, the show manages to turn this into one of its charms. It can’t be helped that a lot of people were displeased by this, of course, especially if they often got lost along the way. However, for those who still decided to stick around to find out the truth, well, we can always just rewind and pause!
Another unique aspect of Occultic;Nine is how they manage to relate different supernatural phenomenon to logical, scientific explanations. What a broad imagination and incredible knowledge of science you must have to be able to come up with stuff like that! There are times that when you try to put the unknown in a logical sense, it sounds even more far-fetched and disconnected from reality. But here, it’s obvious that the writer has done a lot of research on what could be plausible, backing up the theories with elaborate explanations. It’s just amazing!
Then we have the plot twists and foreshadowing; what would a mystery be without them, right? While a lot of shows do make use of these elements, Occultic;Nine is one of the best I’ve seen! I would just scream in shock every time there’s a new revelation! It was always a treat to say ‘No wonder that was there! No wonder that happened!’ because the setup of the plot elements was just that good! Plus, the hints and clues they left all over the place were well placed: they were subtle enough so that they didn’t give anything away on purpose, but once you know that you have to look for them, they were easy to spot.
Lastly, we have the characters, who all have lovely character designs matching their unique personalities. Unfortunately, because the show has a lot of things happening in only twelve episodes, trying to focus on all nine main characters’ individual stories was hard. They did all have their parts in order for the story to move, but somehow some of them, after they’ve contributed their part, just end up being in the sidelines. The one-minute long epilogue wasn’t enough to bring closure for some of the characters’ stories. I just guess it can’t be helped for a one-cour anime, especially with one that focuses more on the plot than the characters. They just don’t have time to segue on character arcs. But yeah, the characters were enjoyable to see, and they all played their part. Some had character development while some remained an enigma. Maybe that was good enough.
Art & Music
Moving on to one of the best things about this show: the art! As expected from most of A-1 Pictures’ works, everything was just so lovely to watch from start to finish! They didn’t let me down once! I barely noticed any inconsistencies with the drawings in all of the episodes! I could get lost trying to study the characters’ movements! Don’t even get me started on the acting! The reactions of the characters to shocking moments, to drama, to anger, they just draw you into the moment!
The scene directions are just amazing too! In almost every episode we get a different one: an episode that focuses on the backgrounds, an episode where everything is topsy-turvy, an episode where it’s like a game! Plus, because the story leaves behind clues, it’s imperative that the shots hide the clues well. I didn’t even know you could use shadows and reflections as hints! It’s pure genius!
And of course, a marvelous show wouldn’t be marvelous without top-notch voice acting! As expected from the notable seiyuu that brought life to the characters, they carried the atmosphere of the scenes and matched their actingwell with the characters’ animations. Add in the background music that complemented the story well, the catchy opening and ending songs (where their respective sequences even gave away clear hints to the story), and you’ve got an anime with extraordinary aesthetic!
Themes & Trivia
Light Novel Adaptation: A lot of light novels have been turned into anime series; Occultic;Nine is now one of them! It was written by Chiyomaru Shikura (who also lead the Steins;Gate project) and illustrated by pako.
Occult: As mentioned, and given the title, the show dabbles into the supernatural, as well as abilities like fortune telling, foreseeing the future, and psychometry. The show does also explain them scientifically, as mentioned earlier.
Knowledge – Most of the characters are incredibly well-versed in different things! From science to paranormal, from codes to news, it’s just an array of intellectual talk!
Love – This isn’t the main focus of the story, but it’s definitely the driving force for many of the characters! Gamon, Aveline, and Sarai loved their fathers and vice-versa. Aria and her brother loved each other, which extended to Kusakabe. Myu was deeply concerned for her best friend, Chi-chan. Asuna wanted to avenge Moritsuka. You get the picture!
Greed – This can be just as powerful a driving force as love, but mainly for our antagonists. The members of MMG were greedy for power and eternal life. Izumin was also greedy, but for money. It’s a battle between love and greed!
I have a lot of praise for his anime, and I can safely say that it’s definitely an unforgettable series! Sure, the fast-pacing and abrupt epilogue were big let-downs, but the fact that everything else was amazing just balanced it all out! I would definitely recommend this to anyone who’s hungry for a good brainteaser, but can also tolerate the rushed parts. I’d actually love to get my hands on the rest of the light novels, and even the upcoming visual novel game!
The plot twists and foreshadowing
The art, animation, and scene direction
Great voice-acting and music
Connected and unconnected characters and events
The fast paced dialogue makes it hard to understand some things
Rushed epilogue and lack of proper closure
What about you guys? What do you think of Occultic;Nine? Please share your thoughts below, and if you liked the show, tell your friends about it too, so you can scream together! Maybe you can even share our episodic reviews about it here on MANG.TOKYO! Keep checking them out because it’s the end of the year and we will post all our full series reviews for Fall 2016!