by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Last episode ended on Miyuu receiving a text from Chi's phone. Ever since her encounter with the kotoribako boy, Miyuu has been holed up in her room in a state of terror. A lot's happened since then (for one, the revelation that most of the main nine are currently ghosts), and this is the first thing that's managed to draw her out of her stupor. The text points her to a location – the shrine where they first met the kid – which she rushes to check out.
This is perhaps unwise, considering that her friend's phone has almost certainly been commandeered by an annoying child murderer, but whatever. A staircase opens up when she approaches the location (not strange at all), and she walks right down. It leads to kotoribako boy's murder playpen, which he's lined with other kotoribakos. He yells about card games for a little while (including a nice shoutout to Cardfight!! Vanguard) before revealing why he drew her here - apparently, he's come to the conclusion that all these other kotoribako failed because his victims weren't “special” enough. Miyuu, on the other hand, is a “visible ghost” (due to the scandium stuff), which means she'll probably make for a pretty neat Death Box. Also, Chi is dead, obviously. Of course, Miyuu is freaking out at this situation, no doubt because it includes the revelation that she's dead. She collapses in shock.
Her life is saved by Asuna's timely intervention. She and the cops show up to arrest the kid (although Asuna is almost murdered in the process). Unlike with Yuta, she can't see Miyuu, although she's able to suss out her presence from the creepy child's speech. Before she leaves, Asuna uses her psychometry powers on Chi's remains, allowing Miyuu to make peace with her friend. The kid is brought into custody, and our heroes disperse. Independently, both the cops and the Kiri Kiri Basara crew begin sussing out the truth behind scandium and the Eight Gods of Fortune cult. Miyuu also gets a nice emotional moment to come to terms with everything that's happened. She remains my favorite character, largely because she's the only person in this show who seems to have relatable human emotions.
This episode epitomizes what I want out of Occultic;Nine at this point: thrilling, well-directed individual scenes that obscure the narrative's overall incomprehensibility rather than making it impossible to ignore. On a story front, Occultic;Nine is pretty far gone. The characters exist primarily to decipher the plot, which is itself a grab bag of every occult idea and otaku fixation in the world. The show's saving grace is its visual execution, which remains excellent. The show is strongest in individual sequences, where the nonsense plotting is overwhelmed by the immediate emotional content and stakes. The scene where Miyuu confronts the albino boy was very well done – tense and entertaining in a way that this show hasn't been for a while – and I hope that it sets the standard for Occultic;Nine going into its endgame.
That's not to say that this episode didn't provide any new information – it was just intertwined with the action this time, rather than being sandwiched between long minutes of technobabble. This made the insights more palatable, and the episode as a whole was the most exciting that Occultic;Nine has managed to be since episode seven. They didn't even have to mention the sephiroth! I'll run through the info we got. First of all, there's the revelation that visible ghosts are still connected to their bodies somehow. When Miyuu realizes that her corpse's hair has been cut, the hair on her ghost body changes to match. This suggests that the link between body and soul hasn't been entirely severed, and that they may be able to get their bodies back.
Secondly, Ryoka isn't dead, but she can still see ghosts. This is evident from the fact that Asuna can see her but not Miyuu (with whom she was interacting at the moment) right after the arrest. So Ryoka is likely some sort of medium, as the barkeep, Izumi, might also be. Over the course of this episode, she discards her childish demeanor, murmuring that the world will end if Yuta doesn't shape up, and even putting on a serious face to confront him in the end. It looks like Ryoka is turning out to be a more significant character than anticipated. Also, why will the world end if Yuta keeps moping? Is he the chosen one or something?
Thirdly, Yuta's radio can make ghost voices audible. Asuna is currently carrying the radio around, while Yuta possesses a spiritual copy. This is setting up the revelation of Zonko-chan's identity. Fourthly, Kiryu's powers involve time travel?! This was revealed in a conversation with Shuu, so it was presented obtusely and I have no idea how it could manifest in the story up to this point. Even at its best, this show can't cut it out with the sudden plot points. Oh well, Occultic;Nine, you do what you want at this point – just have the decency to go out with a bang, not a whimper.
Occultic;Nine is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.
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