Occultic;Nine is the next in a proud line of x-semicolon-y shows that gives my spellcheck a heart attack each time I write the title out. It’s also exactly what a 40-something adult thinks all anime is, being chockfull of titanic trembling tits, hyperactive pacing, a less than flattering depiction of effeminate bartenders, and a teenage male lead voiced by Yuki Kaji who talks like he’s mainlining speed. That’s not necessarily a knock against Occultic;Nine, it’s just the most anime anime to have animed in quite some time.
Perhaps thanks to its extremely noticeable manic streak, Occultic;Nine manages to establish enough in its first episode to, if not make me desperately clamor for more, at least intrigue me enough to give it a few more weeks. There’s little in the way of character, but the introductory episode is more or less successful at establishing a tone that balances levity and dread, the eccentricity of the cast complemented by fresh human scalps left in mailboxes and the oppressiveness of a near-constant rainstorm. It establishes enough that the occultish occurrences feel like a genuinely widespread phenomenon, experienced by a wide range of individuals, with the gloomy environment making their presence more pronounced.
However, doing right by the setting is more the norm than the exception for the x-semicolon-y series. Even Chaos;Head which was horribly paced, characterized, and written in general, managed to decently emphasize the stifling claustrophobia and paranoia of a large city in the dead of summer. But for what it’s worth, the characters are at least more memorable than the cast of Chaos;Head. Yuki Kaji trying to live off his website centered on debunking the supernatural is more immediately interesting than the Chaos;Head NEET living in a storage shed on a rooftop who may or may not be an illusion of himself. Same with the black magic practitioner who hugs a human scalp, and the fortune-telling idol. There is a nearly unbearable amount of screaming on the part of everyone, but it avoids the habit of screaming the obvious that would otherwise be a death knell for my interest.
As an episode, provided one is able to embrace the whiplash-inducing pacing, there’s plenty to be interested by in Occultic;Nine’s introduction. As always, hopefully it’ll keep that interest up, rather than crashing and burning like a full one half of the x-semicolon-y series has. But I think there’s reason to be optimistic, even if it’s only to guess what the evil organization is this time. Personally, my money’s on the Salvation Army or Mensa.