Anime Review: Occultic;Nine Establishes Necessity of Five Episode Rule

Occultic;Nine had quite a few people hyped for its premier. Based on the light novel by Chiyomaru Shikura, Occultic;Nine isn’t quite the same as Robotic;Notes or Steins;Gate, but Shikura’s distinctive sci-fi plot line is still what the fans show up for.

However … it appears that there might have been a few directorial hiccups. In the big, wide, world of anime fans there is the ever so popular Three Episode Rule. Sometimes shows — all shows, not just anime — need a bit of set up to establish characters, plot lines, and sub plots. Occultic;Nine has established the necessity for a Five Episode Rule.

Synopsis

Yuta Gamon finds himself drawn into a mysterious string of events after snooping for stories for his occultic website, Kiri Kiri Basara. Yuta and his friends struggle to figure out murders, mass suicides, and maybe even paranormal happenings. With a synopsis like that, no wonder anime fans were excited. The only problem is … Occultic;Nine is a 24 episode anime tightly crammed into 12. To make matters even worse, the first two episodes were pulled from as many streaming sites as soon as possible at the request of A-1 Production with no real reason why, leaving fans to speculate if the production company was trying to fix the terrible pacing.

With all that said, if you like Shikura’s other works, then you should definitely ride through the weird pacing of the story. This is the directorial debut for the assistant director Miyuki Kuroki, so cut a little slack and get ready for an interesting sci-fi mystery that has one of the most ridiculously fun anime story lines.

Characters

With all that plot to get through, you’d think that maybe the characters might be lacking in development, but that is surprisingly not so! When the anime is going 90 miles a minute, character reactions and quick mental soliloquies let us quickly learn what type of person they are within the first character interactions. In the rare moments when things slow down, Occultic; also takes the time to build character history, and thought out backstories, which is to be expected from Shikura.

As a refreshing aside, this isn’t one of those anime where you have to wait for the characters to catch up mentally. There are a lot of problems that have to be addressed in the show, and it’s nice to have an anime that doesn’t repeat everything ten times. It’s an anime that respects your intelligence, and the same can be seen in the lack of terrible stereotypes and fan service (compared to most titles at least).  What other anime has an adorably otaku detective, a black magic dealing orphan, and fortune-telling high school idol?

Occultic;Nine
Screengrab: Karina Samudio via Crunchyroll

Animation

There are obvious problems with the pacing, like I’ve said. On the plus side though, Director Kyohei Ishiguro and Asst. Director Kuroki keep the anime a joy to look at. Backgrounds are always diverse and detailed, character models are constantly on point, and the anime is never afraid to find visually entertaining ways to get the point across. A good example of this would be one of the main characters uses psychic powers to read into a person’s past. Every time the power is used, it’s like an old-timey, black and white movie is starting, or when another character enters into a hidden underground tunnel and the faint outlines of what she can see are highlighted with red. The only gripe i can see with the animation is that there are one too many dutch/canted angles.

Well that and one of the main character’s ginormous boobs should have never been approved.

Occultic;Nine
Screengrab: Karina Samudio via Crunchyroll

Rating

Occultic;Nine is a good anime, not fantastic or great, but it is fun to watch and has a plot line so ludicrous that’s something only an anime fan could adore. If you like the premise, then give the show a good ol’ college try, but if you do, you have to commit to watching at least 5 episodes.Whether or not that’s worth it is up to you. I give it 3 out of 5 stars because of the bad pacing and some odd director decisions.