Blu-Ray Review: Occultic Nine – Part 1


We jump down the rabbit hole that is Manga Entertainment UK’s Blu-Ray release of Occultic Nine – Part 1 to explore what this series has to offer other than some large High Defintion assets.

Synopsis:

Yuta Gamon is a 2nd year in high school. He runs “Kiri Kiri Basara,” an affiliate blog that rounds up occult forum posts, for a shot at quick money, and challenges himself to the occult night and day to “hack and slash away!” the many supernatural phenomena existing in the world from a scientific standpoint. However, with that blog of his as a catalyst, a group of downright maniacal and insane comrades have gathered about.

Our View:

Adapted from the Japanese light novel of the same, which was written by Steins;Gate creator Chiyomaru Shikura, comes A-1 Pictures anime adaptation of Occultic Nine. Regardless of the credentials Occultic Nine offers a surreal experience that borderlines on the same mysterious vibe as Steins;Gate, Chaos;Head and Serial Experiments Lain but presented in a rather unconventional manner.

Regardless of the mysterious vibe given this first instalment by Manga Entertainment UK only features the first half of the series and ends on an insanely calculated cliff-hanger the borderlines criminal. Basically, the events within this first half of Occultic Nine constantly build-up to a big reveal, a truth surrounding a mystery that connects nine seemingly random people together, but just as this big reveal is about to happen we run out of episodes; but more importantly we arrive at where we began. It’s tactically clever and it makes waiting for the second half that more unbearable.

Confused? Well let me try to explain. The story of Occultic Nine focuses around self-proclaimed NEETGod Yuta Gamon who is the owner of an affiliate blog known as Kirikiri Basara. His ideal reality is to earn a living from affiliate links on his blog and as such posts about various activities in short readable form; with the hot topic being occult related items. Yuta, along with the highly energetic school friend Ryouka Narusawa, help run and maintain the website with new content; but when Ryoka suggests for Yuta to visit Professor Hashigami things take a more sinister turn.

This twist is that Professor Hashigami, a once famous researcher turned occult writer, has been murdered and now Yuta Gamon finds himself in the middle of a murder scene and a potential prime suspect for the police. To make matters even worse his radio, a device that his dad passed down to him, activates and suddenly begins barking orders for Yuta to remove items from within Hashigami’s office. Why exactly? It’s a mystery; but this is only just the beginning.

It’s here where Occultic Nine begins to spiral into a rather confusing presentation style with new characters, backstories and events being thrown to the viewer at every possible moment. It’s an interesting way of delivering a story to the viewer, as it quickly goes back and forth between different characters and Yuta; but while it may seem overwhelming at first it soon begins to make sense as each character soon begins to seek out guidiance from our very own Yuta Gamon.

For instance, Miyū Aikawa, a popular online fortune teller, soon seeks out Yuta Gamon to spread help her awareness within the occult universe, while Sarai Hashigami, the son of Professor Hashigami and who previously engaged with Miyu during her fortune teller broadcast, tracks down Yuta to find out what he knows about his fathers death. With the help of Yuta’s assistance, Ryoka, the group soon begin to dive into the mystery surrounding Professor Hashigami’s death; but upon doing so start to unveil a bigger mystery.

Elsewhere we have Tōko Sumikaze, a reporter for a local Occult magazine that connects with different personalities including both Miyu and Professor Hashigami, Aria Kurenaino, a black magic user who works alongside ‘the devil’ known as Kiryu and Ririka Nishizono a doujin author who can seemingly predict the future with her work. Finally linking all of these characters together is the child-like-otaku-detective Shun Moritsuka who is investigating the mysterious death of professor Hashigami for his own personal enjoyment.

These nine characters, regardless of background or origin, play an important role within Occultic Nine and while the spotlight may focus on Yuta Gamon and his own troubles it often shifts to one of these characters to portray their own background or origin – some of which are more disturbing than you might imagine.

In the end Occultic Nine – Part 1 ends where it begins, numerous bodies being discovered within a lake and hundreds of thousands of people clueless to what’s transpiring; but behind all of the secrets and deception is a plot waiting to burst out. It’s a cliff-hanger worthy of the name and its been setup nicely for the next part.

Extras:

Just like with Manga UK’s recent release of Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga – Part 1 the discs within this first instalment of Occultic Nine only feature the bare minimum of bonus content. In this case clean (textless) opening and closing songs for those used within the series and an English dubbed trailer created by Aniplex of America for use of promoting the entire series.

It’s simple and extremely bare; and the same can also be said for the disc menu as, once again similar to the Blu-Ray release of Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga – Part 1, the main menu features no background music while the opening animation for Occultic Nine plays in the background. It’s an odd design choice, as usually menus have some form of background noise, but alas this set does not.

Specs:

Media: BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 1:12:06 (Disc 1 & 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: LPCM 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Occultic Nine is an anime adaptation of the light novel of the same name and it is a mysterious story that focuses on nine, seemingly random, people who have a connection to Professor Hashigami. In reality the story focuses on Yuta Gamon, his website and the series of events that lead him to investigate Professor Hashigami’s murder and the secret he left behind; but around this we have the numerous character personalities introduced in preparation for the second act.

It seems a bigger story is waiting to appear within the remaining six episodes of Occultic Nine and while this events within this first half may be seemingly difficult to describe (especially without spoiling anything) it does succeed in creating an atmosphere and a new way to view a story. Occultic Nine is not something that should be watched in ‘episodic’ instalments; it should be binged watched and requires close attention; otherwise you may miss something important. It’s a different kind of anime for sure; but it is one grabs your attention and leaves you wanting more – well it did for me at least.

The pacing and presentation of Occultic Nine isn’t the only interesting aspect of this series either as the animation style by A-1 Pictures is also ‘outside the norm’ and offers something completely different. It’s a very unique animation style, almost similar to Fujiko Mine, but while initial impressions were that I hated it I eventually grew to love it.

Regardless of this animation style it is presented beautifully on this Blu-Ray release by Manga UK and just like the distributors recent release of Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga – Part 1 it seems Manga UK have opted to replicate Animplex’s presentation and release format.

In this case we have three episodes per Blu-Ray discs, each of which are presented in English and Japanese (with English subtitles) while the first discs has a small selection of supplementary content including an English dubbed trailer for the series. Its simple, clean and effective but while the audio format is only 2.0 stereo (for both audio tracks) it does more than enough to present the story cleanly to your ears. The English Dub has been exceptionally produced as well with notable voice actors, such as Christina Vee, lending their talents to bring characters to life.

Overall this Blu-Ray release of Occultic Nine – Part 1 is simplistic and barebones with its packaging and presentation; but the story contained within  is exceptional and – for me at least – was highly entertaining so it will be interesting to see where the story ends up going. In any event it is a well worth addition to your collection, especially for those who enjoyed Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head.

Score: review-stars-4

Occultic Nine – Part 1 will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 2nd April 2018 within the UK.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: