The world is a truly mysterious place. Though we have come to understand it more and more across the decades, there remains a multitude of unanswered questions. I’m not merely talking of undiscovered sub-species or which types of food keep your body in tip-top shape; no, I’m talking of grander things, of more powerful things…creepy things. I speak of what lies beyond, of what lies hidden in the realm of spiritualism and magic, of ghosts and demons. You know, all that fun stuff that makes for a quick scare and everlasting debate regarding the permanence of the soul and the continuation of self after death. Real keep-you-up-at-night kind of stuff.
Who would believe in the occult? Seriously, it’s a bunch of childish nonsense that simpler folk use to explain what they do not understand. Such is the opinion of Yuta Gamon, the ironic creator of an occult focused blog known as Kiri Kiri Basara. To debunk those who relish in the supernatural, to tear their arguments apart with science and fact, that is the aim. Well, that and earning some cold hard cash…it’s mostly about the cash. Honestly, Yuta is not the most moral kid around; his interest in the occult only began in order to garner the most views for his blog. Still, he knows what he wants and he’ll do whatever he can to make it happen, so long as his loyal friend and co-worker can do it for him. Luckily for plot progression, Ryoka (the aforementioned friend, nicknamed Ryo-tas) is forceful and energetic enough to spurn Yuta into action occasionally. This is mainly accomplished by her unexplained stun/ray gun, which she fires with reckless abandon at our protagonist. Sure, it sounds weird, but I haven’t even gotten started…
This series is bananas. With pacing akin to a cheetah on an all-sugar diet, it can take a while to adjust to the rapidity of proceedings. Scenes cut back and forth and back again, throwing in a few establishing shots for good measure, all whilst characters prattle on about a mixture of metaphysics, mundanity and inanity. It’s…it’s a lot to take in. This is especially true as the plot is spooling itself up, as there is little to grasp in the way of understanding just what the heck is going on. There are blogs, psychic, curses, science, disbelief, a ghost, psychosis, murders, scalpings, more murders, different types of psychosis and a cafe that somehow manages to stay in business despite only having two patrons who never actually pay for anything. Combine this with a number of characters who seem just as confused as the audience and you have yourself a recipe for nonsense, one that rarely crosses the line into comprehensible. Granted, this is merely the first half of the series proper; but still, it’d be nice to have solid footing at any point during our trek through this world. Unless pointlessly flailing between a plethora of characters and settings is a commentary on the incomprehensible nature of both the real and spiritual realms. In which case, good job.
Okay look, the series is not a complete mess of chaos and overly energetic editing. There are scenes that fall into a solid rhythm and present themselves in a charmingly convoluted manner. The one that particularly stands out is the meeting of Ririka and Moritsuka. Though just as strange as anything that has come before, one simple fact sets this sequence apart from the others: both characters can keep up with each other. When one throws a curveball, the other strikes it back. When one drops a plot bomb, the other disarms it. It may not sound like a revolutionary sequence, but after dealing with a protagonist so far behind the eight-ball, it is supremely refreshing to witness mental equals. Said scene also shows the true potential of the series, wherein quick and disjointed conversations create an intriguing world. Unfortunately, as I have mentioned, sequences like this are few and far between, with most excursions into social interaction resulting in a deluge of information comprehensible only to the intensely focused. To say it bluntly, the entire series thus far feels as if a simple plot has been obfuscated by insanity and philosophy for the simple reason of stretching it out. Like we have turned right three times with the intent of going left. And I haven’t even gotten into the specifics of the psychic manga artist, actually psychic fortune teller or the voice on the radio who knows the future. Come to think of it, damn near everybody can see the future in some way…this series is weird.
Like, really weird. And Occultic;Nine relishes that fact. I mean, there is a scene involving post-mortem dental work and then there’s that other part with the mass suicide. Heck, the suicide is the cold open for the whole damn series. So, at the very least, you know what extent the story is willing to go in the pursuit of unravelling the world beyond death right from the beginning. That being said, these truly horrific moments are offset by ridiculous attempts at comedy, mostly focused on Ryo-tas, her gun that fires lighting and her bust size. It’s…an odd juxtaposition, but one that fits this series to a tee. Nothing is a half measure. Everything is either full-speed or stagnant, crazy or mundane, completely boring or intrinsically interesting. Thus, in the moments where the disjointed pieces of this series mesh, it is definitely worth watching; however, when those pieces clash and create a flaming ball of chaos, the desire to simply walk away from it all burns strong. Just be careful not to run into any creepy pale children if you do decide to leave…it won’t end well.