I watched an anime: Occultic;Nine

The often dubious and always cryptic semicolon themed anime shows return, except this time I have to admit, Occultic;Nine is pretty rad.

Originally a light novel written by Chiyomaru Shikura, the creator of Steins;Gate, this supernatural/alternate reality themed thriller genuinely feels like it was written by someone that knows what they’re doing. I say this because like Steins;Gate, there are so many moving parts at play here that it often feels like a symphony of  cool ideas dancing around each other just waiting for the right moment step in and play their part in the well organized and well scripted choreography. 

In all it feels like a Tarantino movie; it’s like a series of smaller short stories that eventually merges into a larger and more interesting narrative that is greater than the sum of its parts.

First off the bat however I have to say this – this is definitely not a series for the first time anime watcher. Not because the themes are difficult to understand or that the content is off putting for new viewers, but more so because the dialogue hits you in such rapid fire succession that if you’re watching this subtitled you will LITERALLY blink and miss entire blocks of text.

The characters are so animated and there’s so much exposition to fit into such a small series that characters seem more like fully automatic Uzi’s than people whenever they deliver their dialogue.

It’s like the script writer for Space Dandy knocked back a gram of speed and said to themselves, “Let’s see how many words I can fit into a sentence. C’MON”.

So what’s it about? Well without giving away too much away we initially follow the exploits of NEET teenager Yuta Gamon, who operates a semi-popular discussion website that revolves around the occult and unexplained paranormal phenomena. 

Soon Gamon’s stories become more than just wild accusations and pop-culture-esque theories as a number of strange occult like news articles begin to play themselves out in real life with deadly consequences.

Via a series of seemingly idiosyncratic events, Gamon and his website aide find themselves over their heads dealing with murder and unknown conspiracies alongside seven other teenagers caught up unwittingly in the same weird events.

While it certainly lacks the emotional narrative elements of Steins;Gate, the storyline is definitely enough to keep you watching. Like an episode of Lost you’re constantly confronting new and bizarre events that deepen the mystery behind the strange paranormal events plaguing the city, and mid way through the series you’re presented with a plot twist that makes you rethink everything you learned in the first half of the season.

If you loved the mind-bending elements of Chaos;Head or Steins;Gate you’ll definitely love Occultic;Nine. It certainly won’t top your list 2017 best of anime lists, but it’s absolutely worth your time and energy.

- Andrew Archer