by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 10 of
How would you rate episode 11 of
Following a week-long absence, I'm back with a double-episode writeup of the season's hottest mess, Occultic;Nine. Forgive me for the delay – I was ill. Fortunately for my catch-up work, these two episodes go pretty well together as they're both pretty much exposition dumps for the show's latest big twist regarding Ryoka's identity. Without further ado, let's dive back into this conspiratorial gumbo...
The big revelation over these last two weeks surrounded Ryoka's true role in the story. It turns out that she was more than Yuta's ditzy assistant – Ryoka is a descendant of Nikola Tesla (of incomplete-theorem-regarding-the-astral-plane fame) via his secret half-Japanese daughter, Aveline. That daughter made progress on his theorem and then abandoned the flesh to go live on the astral plane. Since then, she's been interacting with this world through her descendants, the Narusawa family, who are a bloodline of spirit channelers. Ryoka is the latest in this tradition, and now Aveline has arrived through her to confront Yuta in person. Of course, they've been in contact before – Aveline is Zonko-chan, that voice that orders Yuta around from his special radio. That radio is called the Sky Sensor and was built by his dad to hear ghosts, which means Aveline has been a guiding force throughout this story.
As it happens, the real Ryoka is an ignorant party in this situation. Aveline has been possessing her on a permanent basis for at least a few years now in order to stop the big bad cultists. The cult leader is Ryoka's granddad, and (for some reason) he entrusted his teenage granddaughter with an important leadership role and even the only key to his Big Dumb Stupid Plan. It's the missing trigger to whatever the hell they're up to, and its absence is the only thing preventing the apocalypse. A while ago, Ryoka/Aveline gave the key to Professor Hashigami for safekeeping, and he hid it in his tooth. So when Hashigami was unexpectedly murdered, Aveline sent Yuta to go fetch it. Speaking of Yuta, she became his assistant in order to use him in her counter-plan. You see, it turns out that Yuta is a chosen one. (Yes, the show uses those words.) His body reacts to scandium in a weird way. This is a big deal to the cultists, although we don't know why yet. It seems to give Yuta's ghost super-strength and the ability to interact with the physical world. In order to fuel that, he constantly needs to be zapped by that ray gun that Ryoka owns. The show explains the technobabble behind this in-depth, but it's too dumb and pointless for me to repeat here.
By this point, Asuna and the cops have figured a bunch of this out and book it to Blue Moon Café. (I've got to say, it wasn't much fun watching two different groups of people solve the same crime in parallel. They keep discovering the same information in different ways, but the show treats it like a revelation every time.) Asuna's especially suspicious of barkeep Izumi, whose mysterious business doesn't seem to exist outside of giving a teenage blogger a place to hang out. At the café, she tricks him into revealing that he can see ghosts, and realizing that the jig is up, he attacks.
That's right, Izumi's also evil. Yuta's okama friend is the leading member of the Society of the Eight Gods of Fortune, as well as the mysterious masked man who's been looming over this show from the beginning. What a shock. With his purification rod, he can easily kill our ghostified heroes, who are otherwise immortal. Before that however, he's kind enough to exposit his entire backstory and relationship with Yuta's father. He's the one who got Yuta's dad into the cult and killed him when he wasn't down with their evilness. He also offed Professor Hashigami. And he would have gotten Yuta and Sarai too, if Ryoka and Asuna hadn't been there to stop him.
In the end, our heroes also need the key in order to stop this evil plan. The problem is that it went missing again some time around when Yuta died. In lieu of that, Aveline is going to need to sacrifice herself or something. That concludes these two episodes. At least, it concludes the parts that are related to the main plot at all. Aria and Kiryuu are still in this story, even though it's become evident that their bits are a tangent that his little to nothing to do with anything.
To recap, Kiryuu isn't really dead, he's just a dude who gained the ability to astral-project following an accident. In this state, he decided to pretend to be a devil for Aria. (Somehow his abilities involve time travel. I can't understand Shuu's explanation behind this at all.) Recently, Kiryuu has been recovering strange memories of Aria as a child, which is weird since he didn't know her back then. Detective Shuu, who is helping them out for some reason, pops up with an explanation. So when Aria's beloved brother died, his organs were harvested and implanted in another person – Kiryuu. He's receiving those memories through the organ transplant because occultic stuff exists in this universe and that sort of stuff is occult. That's it, I guess. This all might mean something if I knew anything about Kiryuu as a person and his relationship with Aria, but as it stands, this all just lands like a lazy shrug. It's also weird how this reveal has seemingly nothing to with the main plot in the slightest. My bet is that Shuu will somehow use Kiryuu's time travel powers to bring everyone back to life in the end. It'd be deus ex machina, but at least it'd make them relevant. Whatever.
(These same criticisms are also true for the plotline about Ririka and the albino kid. There's only one episode left and I can't even begin to imagine how that works itself into the finale. It's implied that the key opens a kotoribako, so the immortality blackmailing scam may also involves tons of human jelly somehow. Honestly, anything can happen at this point.)
These two episodes amount to what I expected for Occultic;Nine going into its finale. The twists were predictable and the technobabble was ludicrous. The presentation continues to be way too good for this writing, as well as the only thing keeping this show watchable. In the meantime, I'm both amused and irritated by Occultic;Nine's continued insistence on providing long-winded pseudo-scientific explanations for how its MacGuffins work. At least a solid episode's worth – if not more – of this show's runtime must be taken up with the characters sitting in circles and reciting instruction manual dialogue about radio wives or translating the I Ching into code. It's pure time-wasting. As it enters its conclusion, let's hope that Occultic;Nine stops dawdling and just let its characters do things. The show gets real pretty when it's not just people standing around and saying the word “scandium” for minutes on end.
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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