After muling around, deciding if I’ll do an actual wrap-up of the Fall 2016 shows, I decided to just do individual reviews. And I figured this would be a good place to start, since it’s probably a series that has completely left everyone’s minds. Not that I’d fault anyone for forgetting about this show, however.
If this show came out 15 years ago, then it would’ve been much more of a big deal to anime fans. Unfortunately, almost every detail about this series is out of date, somewhat intentionally, but not in any fun way. This series, put simply, is a confusing slog through technobabble, annoying characters, and vague conspiracies. In short, it’s everything I hate about Steins;Gate, just condensed into a throwback to shows like Ergo Proxy or Texhnolyze (which we definitely didn’t need more of).
Describing the plot of this show is not really easy. No, it isn’t because the actual plot is complicated, but it’s presentation is intentionally obscuring important details until the end, so any real indication of what is going on is hard to grasp. The plotting is similar to the anime adaptation of Durarara, which also focuses on a large ensemble of characters in an area of Tokyo dealing with supernatural phenomena and the more ground-level consequences of them. Until the cast comes together in the end, we’re following the various loosely connected threads of different characters moving in different directions coming together over a few shared events (with one in particular, the mass suicide in the park, being especially prominent). None of these events really connect until the end, though, so the majority of the series is spent in sheer confusion trying to follow along with the various breadcrumbs the show drops.
As I mentioned, the creator of the light novel this adapts also wrote Steins;Gate (a show beloved by many for it’s endearing characters and intriguing plot, and despised by me for it’s nails-on-chalkboard annoying characters and uninteresting plot), so there are several writing similarities between the two shows. The plotting is the biggest similarity, with both shows moving at about similar paces, with important information being dripped to the audience at about similar intervals. Both also involve shadowy conspiracies and organizations, a plot to avoid character’s deaths, and a delusional (and hatable-by-me) protagonist who is important because they are. If you liked Steins;Gate, then I’d say give this a shot, since you may find it interesting. However, even that doesn’t save it from it’s biggest flaw.
This show isn’t fun. Despite how ridiculous it can get, the tone here is almost constant bleak dread. Even the attempts at humor fails to help in this regard. While the show does try to create a colorful cast of characters, they are mostly the same boring stereotype that takes everything too seriously. The show’s bleakness becomes more of a problem as it keeps going, as the beginning is fairly tolerable in tone, but it wears on you, especially when you get to the serial killer child, or backstory of the fortune killer, or learning that (spoilers ahead)………..
MOST OF THE CAST ARE DEAD! Yes, you read that correctly. Most of the cast are dead, killed in the mass suicide in the park that is so pivotal to the show’s central narrative. And it also highlights how ridiculous the show’s story becomes.
The direction does not help this series. The director, unfortunately (to me, since I know many people have bad taste and like this guy), took cues from Akiyuki Shinbo (the guy behind most of the garbage from Studio Shaft), meaning that the show will suddenly shift to different visual styles and metaphors without much purpose. It wouldn’t be as distracting if the dialogue wasn’t mostly technobabble about urban legends and the occult, but it just adds to the confusing slog this series ultimately becomes. The show’s designs are also kind of outdated, looking like they came from 2006. If you liked that era of anime, then you’ll have no problem with the look of this show.
Ultimately, this is the worst type of bad: boring, confusing, ugly, and pretentious. I liked it better than Steins;Gate (mostly because it didn’t have a protagonist as immediately hatable to me like Okabe), but that is damning with faint praise. Don’t bother wasting your time with it.
FINAL GRADE: D-
PROS: …………..ridiculous ending
CONS: Dull, confusing plot, mismatched direction, uninteresting characters, draining to sit through
Occultic;Nine is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and has been licensed by Aniplex Of America.