Series Review – Occultic;Nine

Written by Bananaowns

Images courtesy of A-1 Pictures

The show that I am reviewing today epitomizes the importance of a watch rule.  Some series need a bit of time to establish themselves which can make early episodes a slog to get through.  One of the most common criticisms of Steins;Gate is that it takes too long for the story to really get going.  While nowhere near as good as Steins;Gate, the show I am reviewing this week took a long time to come together.  Of course, I am talking about Occultic;Nine.  I’m Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth anime review.

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Story and Characters

Early on, the story for this series is an absolute mess.  It took six episodes before everything began to fall in place.  This is caused by the multitude of differing storylines revolving around nine individuals.  There’s the main character Yuta Gamon that runs an aggregate news site about the occult.  He’s joined by his best friend, Ryo-tas who is sure to get everyone talking because of her…character design.  On top of all this, there’s a concurrent plot about a freaky girl who runs a business where she curses people, another one about a young detective as he attempts to solve a case, another one about a popular fortune teller, and another one about a dojin writer.  I haven’t even named all of the concurrent storylines in the first episode.

Ultimately, the story is very confusing for the first six episodes while all of this is going on.  It doesn’t help that the series is filled with long-winded monologues that give out loads and loads of exposition.  I had no idea what was really happening.  At the end of episode six, all of these concurrent storylines end up converging and the show becomes much better.  It’s still cheesy as hell, but it works.  It actually goes into some very dark places despite the mostly humorous tone.  There were some points in the story that really disturbed me.  On top of this, there’s a global conspiracy mixed with some science mumbo jumbo and most importantly, the audience can actually follow what is happening.  It just takes about half the season for it to get to this point, but once it does, the story is solid.  I don’t really want to talk more about it because it’s very easy to get into spoiler territory here.

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Animation and Sound

The animation of this series is actually pretty good.  The characters move with a certain degree of fluidity and I couldn’t find any noticeable moments of diminished quality.  Besides Ryo-tas, the characters were excellently designed in terms of look.  There are some striking outfits and design choices that really play into the plot.  Minute details with the animation also can give off story cues for audience members that pay close attention.  The backgrounds were solid and pretty interesting despite the series taking place within a city.  My favorite setting is the restaurant which Gamon frequents.  The wood paneling makes this such an interesting locale to revisit over and over again.  The animation also uses a lot of interesting camera work.  Dutch tilts are used with a high frequency and considering the occult tone of the story, it works.

As for the voice acting, I wasn’t impressed for the most part.  During the latter half of the season, the voice actors captured the more serious moments very well.  However, there was not anything that really differentiated the performances and I think this was largely due to the script.  The series had a tendency to used quick monologues to convey large amounts of information.  The performances during these scenes were rather bland.  It just seemed like the actor was trying to get everything out rather than just give a solid performance.  It’s a shame considering the anime is filled with scenes like these.  The strongest aspect of the sound design is the opening.  Despite my misgivings with the show, I believe the opening song is one of the best of the season.  Overall, the animation is great, but the sound design is lacking.

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Final Thoughts

Occultic;Nine is the prime example of a show that is a mixed bag.  Some moments were great, but were offset by the awful start.  It took half a season for the story to get rolling and things to fall into place.  It’s one thing for a double-cour show to do this, but this series only had 12 episodes.  It only got good after episode six.  For this reason, I cannot recommend this series, despite my enjoyment of it.  I give Occultic;Nine  my Don’t Watch rating.  It’s solid for those that will give it the time, but there are other anime out there that are better.  Thanks for checking this piece out and I’ll be back next week for another review.

Don't Watch