Adapted from a light novel series by Steins;Gate creator Chiyomaru Shikura, supernatural anime Occultic;Nine centres on Yuta Gamon, the teen proprietor of Kiri Kiri Basara – a blog rounding up forum posts on the occult. Motor-mouthed Yuta may just be in it for the clicks and ad money, but he’s about to personally encounter the uncanny in a major way!
While Yuta is our main focus, there are subplots for each of the nine characters referenced in the series title: Yuta’s über-buxom best buddy Ryoka; sceptical student Sarai; cute fortune teller Miyu; otaku detective Shun; occult reporter Toko; doujin manga author Ririka; black magic practitioner Aria and her mysterious companion Kiryu.
Told in a non-linear style like Pulp Fiction or Haruhi Suzumiya, the horror-tinged tale that unfolds revolves around a bizarre conspiracy encompassing the brutal murder of Sarai’s paranormal professor dad, the puzzling discovery of hundreds of corpses in Tokyo’s Inokashira Pond and a highly unpleasant box full of blood and other …bits.
Occultic;Nine has been a somewhat frustrating watch so far, because we can’t decide whether it’s an excellent show with some irritating moments or an irritating show with some excellent moments. In part that’s down to the fact that the six episodes of Volume 1 merely tease viewers with glimpses of where the plot is headed, leading up to a huge revelation at the end of the final episode that – don’t worry – we’re not going to spoil.
Why does this make Occultic;Nine tricky to critique? Well, having dropped our jaws at one doozey of a plot twist already, we’re on high alert for more. For example, Yuta’s friend Ryoka may seem incredibly annoying, with her absurdly top-heavy character design and daft moe antics, but maybe she’s more than the ditzy fan service chick she appears to be?
Whether Occultic;Nine’s latter half manages to pull its various plot strands together into a satisfying, coherent denouement remains to be seen, although we’re fairly hopeful – after all, it is from the creator of Steins;Gate. And the story that’s been revealed so far has certainly generated some wonderfully creepy moments, whether it’s corpse after corpse being fished from a Tokyo lake, a murderous kid with a very unsettling smile or Yuta frantically yanking a tooth from a dead man’s mouth at the behest of his shortwave radio.
One thing about A-1 Pictures’ anime adaptation of Occultic;Nine that’s bound to divide viewers is the breakneck pacing. Yuta and co. rip through their lines at a rate that puts even the wordy characters of the Monogatari series to shame, while the ‘camera’ leaps around like a chamois of the Alps after an extra-strong espresso. We found it a rather invigorating experience for the most part, but your mileage will most definitely vary.
Overall, Occultic;Nine’s first half dozen episodes contain enough intriguing, novel and stylishly nasty moments to just about shake the feeling that it’s all a bit of a frenetic mess. While no Steins;Gate – and not part of Shikura’s ‘Science Adventure’ series either, despite that semicolon – Occultic;Nine blood-spattered opening volume has still got us hooked enough to want to discover what on earth’s going on!
Release: Out Now
From: Manga UK
Format: DVD & Blu-ray
Age Rating: 15