Ever since I watched Steins; Gate, I knew what potential Chiyomaru Shikura holds as a writer. Although its totally true not all his works are worth the time, most of his does. Steins; Gate has to be the prime example. Robotic; Nine wasn’t that bad (but Chaos; Head was genuinely bad.) As I watched his works, it came to me, slowly. None of his works makes sense at first, even the great ones. What this guy does is follow is a basic quote from the old Latins:
Ordo Ab; Chao
Which basically means, ‘Order from Chaos’. His works seems like a mess from the start with no definitive direction to where the story is going, but as time passes, all the chaos that is made slowly comes to an order, and that is where the beauty of his work lies. This little 12 episode show of ours, is no different.
Welcome to SulfurReviews folks, and today, we’re looking into A1 Pictures 2016 sci-fi/parapsychological anime, Occultic; Nine. A show that completely took me by surprise this year.
The story of Occultic; Nine revolves around 9 individuals, doing random things until one certain specific event ties them to something unchangeable. And that event, changes their lives forever. The story begins as a mess, but as time passes, just like Steins; Gate, it sets a specific path, a specific goal. And the story thus progresses forwards, with a pacing that is as fast as The Tatami Galaxy.
The storytelling of this anime is presented in a artistic fashion, with fast paced dialogues, and camera angles that makes head genuinely ache. Nevertheless, the artworks and the fantastic representation of characters makes the story really unique. It tries to tell a supernatural story, but then again, its says, there is no such thing as supernaturals. It tries to tell a scientific story, but then again, it goes back to relying heavily on supernatural elements. It takes the audience by confusion to be honest. Often times, I would have considered this a very bad habit of storytelling, not knowing which direction to go. But Occultic; Nine did its homework. It exactly knew where the story was going, where it was heading, and where to stop. What seemed like a real mess at the beginning soon becomes a specific quest for the characters to complete. All this show needs, is a bit of patience, that’s all.
The characters of this show makes the show surprisingly unique. I’ve seen multiple characters as main cast, but this might be the first anime where I’ve seen 9 mains casts thrown in to face. You might wonder, if the cast is that big, and if the anime is only 12 episode long, how in the earth the anime developed them in this short little time. Honestly, the show doesn’t. What it does though, it just progresses forwards, in which it is really good at. Although, to be completely fair, some of the characters do receive good developments, but no, not nine of them. The characters play significant role in the anime to achieve the goal they are seeking.
The overall plot of the story is good, I will admit that. But, the story is really big. In my opinion, twelve episode wasn’t enough to explain what actually was going on. But they tried, and thus they came up with the extreme fast paced story telling dialogues. The story is jampacked, compressed very hard in twelve episodes. So, if you ever get a bit careless or get distracted, you might miss out the core components of the story. The story blends in supernatural elements with scientific which is very rare in the anime industry.
The visuals of this anime was phenomenal, at least for me to be honest. I hated A1 Pictures for their bad crowd arts, but, for this anime, the studio did put a lot of work. The show is bright when it needed, the show is dark and atmospheric when it was time for it to be dark. And each frame of this show was uniquely crafted. Just look at the frame below, and look at the every single details that is put in the frame. That’s effort! And that deserves praise.
And that is just one frame, the core location of the anime, ‘the blue moon café’ was presented with such artsy style and different camera angles, seriously, it was really pleasing to look at. This is something that I was searching for.
The art is not abstractive though, it tries to be realistic, but then again it tried to be different like the Monogatari series. The characters are well designed (my special, favorite psychic detective Kisaki Asunya^). The series foreshadows a lot of things with its artistic arts, so if you’re a bit careful, you’ll catch a lot of important core story elements trust me.
The sound design of this show was great. The show is short, only 12 episodes. None of the OST’s made it to me as every ost I heard felt like a new one. But the charm of this one was with the OP and ED. The OP “SEISUU 3 NO NIJOU” was performed by none other than the legendary singer of Hacking to the Gate, Kanako Ito. If you remember her singing style, you know that she is awesome. But no matter how awesome she is, the OP couldn’t match the amazing ED of this anime.
The ED “Open Your Eyes” was performed by Asaka. The song is catchy as it can get! With disco beats flowing through after the main chorus by the singer. The heavy kicks of drums with synthesia rolling behind the vocals, holy shit wasn’t it good or something! Fantastic ED at that, gonna give it to that. Plus, the ED is not just great with the music, it’s really great with the visuals. The ED foreshadows many of the core plot points as the vocals rhyme the foreshadows with it’s over joyous voice;
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Nine!
The voice acting of this anime, well, as much as I really appreciate the extreme bullet paced dialogues and the efforts the actors made to deliver, it got annoying pretty soon. There was times where I could not follow up even though I remember surviving Tatami Galaxy and Monogatari Series without much effort. And that actually goes for all the characters. If I had to summarize the voice acting in a sentence, that would be, ‘The voice acting was really great, but only if you can keep up.’
The story features a lot of twists as it progresses. Any show with a significant plot twist is a good one; that was my motto. It still is, and the show didn’t fail me. The plot twists came out of nowhere, and was really entertaining to watch. And the best part of the twist was that, it was unpredictable, so hats off to Chiyomaru Shikura, for not letting me see the twists coming on face.
The plot at the end of the day is incomplete. It was bound to happen to be honest. Its not totally incomplete as the last episode does come to a conclusion, but not with a satisfactory one. Plus, the last scene of the anime, opens a entire door for season two. Don’t worry its not as bad as Tokyo Ghouls bait for season 2. Honestly, it wasn’t bad at all. It keeps you guessing, what happened, what happened to the one of the important cast, and that is a good thing. I’m gonna add up one point just for that.
The last episode was bit rushed and two of the casts (that I wont mention) could really have played better roles, but, what they played before for the story was really important, so I’ll let them pass, for now. The show doesn’t makes sense superficially, but then again, shows like Ergo Proxy or Serial Lain didn’t either at first. Is it worth rewatching to understand what actually was going on though, I would say, yes of course.
So, With all this mind, Occultic; Nine with its fast paced story, heavily worked on graphics, fantastic voice acting, fantastic op’s ed’s, and plot twists; earns itself a
With a recommendation to buy it on blu ray. Despite a few plot holes from here and there, and the amount of patience it requires to understand the plot, Occultic; Nine was extremely enjoyable for me. I would suggest anime’s like this one to anytime anyday if I have to. Its worth the time, trust me. All it needs, is a little bit patience.
With that said, thank you all for staying with the review. I will see you guys on my next review. Till then, I wish everyone a very early Happy New Year. Hope you all have a blast this year.