It’s about time to trade in your time traveling microwave for some thing a bit more paranormal. Steins;Gate creator, Chiyomaru Shikura‘s latest work Occultic;Nine has finished it’s first episode and includes demons, and spirt mediums! This paranormal/science ride promises to be a strange one.
Telling the story of Occultic;Nine
Although the main focus of Occultic;Nine is on Yuuta Gamon, a high-school student who writes an occult summary blog, the story follows a Durarara style of storytelling. It jumps between its cast of characters to get a quick idea of who they are and their motives. First impressions of the characters is that they are a diverse bunch with their own very unique personalities and mysterious motives. It’s clear by the first episode there is already strings tying all the characters together.
From the 24-minute run time of the episode, you already get the impression that they each are well structured in both personality and design. Their strong personalities remind me quite a bit of the cast of a Persona game. They stand out well individually as well as meshing together well as a team.
Occultic;Nine‘s designs are lacking on the nose
There are some faults I am keenly aware of in the change of Tomoaki Takase’s character designs from Pako’s original work. First of all is the loss of their visual novel charm. This favour of a more generic style is very common and happens commonly with anime character designs, mostly so it’ll be easier on the key animators later on. Interestingly, they opted to keep the visual novel style for backgrounds, line work, and the opening sequence.
In concurrence with the loss of style is apparently, a loss of noses. I’m not sure if this is in connection with Takase’s personal art style or just a design choice by the art team, but clearly shown below, when the characters are shown in a facing towards the camera, they shed their noses in favour of a bubble or a small dot.
Visual novel art of Aria:
Anime art of Aria, note the nose:
Does the sound of Occultic;Nine hit the right notes?
One of the biggest down sides for the first episode of Occultic;Nine was the sound, though it was in noway bad or annoying. The sound was the one aspect I was looking forward to the most with Occultic;Nine, knowing that Jin Aketagawa was working as sound director. I really had faith that the soundtrack would stand out and set the mood for each of the scenes. He has such an amazing backlog of anime that were defined by their interesting and beautiful sound design. For me shows like Anohana, Toradora and Re;Zero, even from episode one, used sound to sway my emotions in favour of its characters and story.
Even the music failed to pick up where the sound fell down. Masaru Yokoyama is a brilliant composer doing music for shows like Your lie in April and Iron-Blooded Orphans. However his music also fell too short of what I expected. Like I stated before the sound was in no was bad, however it was not fantastic either. Most of the time I didn’t notice any other sound other than the voice acting. I really do hope the sound design and music composition pick up over the course of the show and this first episode can be seen as a starting point and not an average.
Although the first episode was a bit packed with information and fast paced, I hope that over the next couple of episodes the story and characters will have a completed introduction, giving this skilled team of staff room to shine where they work best.