It’s been a while since a light novel managed to make me forget everything else around me while reading. Normally I’d just read a chapter if I feel like it, sometimes putting the book aside for days or even weeks, but with Occultic;Nine I really wanted to know what happens next and the ending left me longing for more! The English release of the second volume will probably not happen before February or March, though.
I’m not watching the currently airing anime adaption and don’t plan on doing so (for now) because the summary of the first two episodes plus the overall reaction scared me off. How the hell do you even fit a whole light novel into ONE episode!? Seems like it’s going back a little in the second episode, basically turning the order of events around but it still sounds like pacing issues, rushing through and making things more confusing. That means, there aren’t any comparison in this post, only some talk about the first light novel.
Yuta Gamon’s a 17-year old high school student, running an occult blog called Kirikiri Basara, where he summarizes and discusses urban legends and other stories from around the net. The hunt for new articles, in hope of giving his blog a popularity boost, gets him and his friends involved in something they would have better stayed away from…
…and some other people, all linked to the occult in one way or another, are dragged into it as well.
While Yuta’s clearly the protagonist of Occultic;Nine, the light novel switches the point of view fairly often, giving you a good look at some of the other characters. There are nine main characters, eight of them introduced in the first volume with the last one left completely unknown for now.
The following part’s about the main characters of Occultic;Nine vol. 1. Please only continue reading if you don’t mind minor spoiler!
The story begins with protagonist Yuta Gamon and his plans on becoming rich using affiliate links. This is actually the main reason he decided on opening a blog about the occult, so he can live a lazy life as a NEET. He usually chooses urban legends and occult stories from Kichijoji, the town he lives in and ask his readers, the ‘Basariters’, to rip them apart. You could say it’s more an anti-occult blog because he’s making fun of the stories he writes about and tries to prove them wrong.
Despite calling himself the NEET God, Yuta’s actually not as weird as some of the other characters. He’s attending high school every day, likes 3D girls (you can see him thinking about how cute Ryoka and Myuu are more than ones), doesn’t have a lot of self-confidence and seems a little shy around strangers. Most of his free time’s spend on running his blog Kirikiri Basara, while hanging out in a small café in town. Since he’s very confident about his plans for his future he often ends up arguing with people on the net who don’t share his opinion.
I’ve to say I’m not that fond of Yuta and even after finishing the light novel I still think of him as one of the less interesting characters. Well, I feel kind of sorry for him because of all the stuff that has happened and him not taking the occult seriously. It’s still not clear what he has gotten himself into and why there came a voice from his old radio, despite it being turned off. The current situation’s looking rather grim, though.
Usually at Yuta’s side is the big-breasted girl, Ryoka Narusawa. Yeah, she’s often reduced to her huge boobs with Yuta making comments about them on a regular basis. It leads to some funny scenes but sometimes it’s just too much. Ryoka comes off as very odd, acting all childish and is very difficult to understand. Making up her own words and phrases or thinking up weird nicknames is her speciality.
She basically invited herself to become Yuta’s friend and is part of Kirikiri Basara’s staff (despite being not of any help). Up until this point in the story, Ryoka’s shrouded in mystery and Yuta doesn’t even know where she comes from. It makes you wonder if there’s any greater meaning to her existence and the way she’s acting. I’m not sure if she does it on purpose but it’s partly her fault that Yuta ends up in ‘that’ kind of situation.
Myuu Aikawa, the next person Yuta’s getting involved with, is a celebrity fortune-teller. Only still in high school, her very accurate predictions and her cute looks gained her a lot of popularity. Dozen of people are following her livestreams in which she tells the future of her viewers, using her self-made tarot cards. The vision she sees isn’t always clear and she doesn’t know beforehand if the results will be bad or good, which scares her, but she’s doing her best.
The fortune-telling livestream and Kirikiri Basara are both things that set the ball rolling. Yuta discovers Myuu’s fortune-telling thanks to a random comment, resulting in him writing about it on his blog and trying to find a way to contact her. Myuu herself’s later drawn towards him out of a different reason.
Myuu’s one of the more prominent characters in the first light novel, having some of her background shown and later meeting up with protagonist Yuta to become part of the main team. It’s only hinted why she suddenly decides on working together with him and she’s questioning herself if it really was the right decision.
I’m not sure what to think about Myuu because she doesn’t stand out much and seems like a fragile girl so I’ll put her on the same level as Yuta and Ryoka for now. Let’s hope she gets more interesting in the second novel.
Sarai Hashigami‘s a serious, intelligent science student who thinks everything occult’s utterly nonsense. He’s a regular on Kirikiri Basara, writing long comments, explaining why the stories can’t possible be true. Sarai clashes with his father, a university professor, who tries to prove occult with scientific facts and became quite famous for his theories.
There’s not much more to say about Sarai other than the novel starts something with him, what’s still left open at the end of the book because that particular thing happens somewhere at the end. We’ll probably see him facing said situation and his reaction to it in volume 2.
I thought I’d hate this guy but he’s actually very impressive. He’d make a good detective with his talent of noticing every small detail and remembering even unimportant things. There’s a scene that stood out in particular, the one where a professor takes it out on Sarai just to face embarrassment in front of the whole class. It left me more than just speechless but helped me anticipating Sarai more.
Aria Kurenaino‘s a mysterious girl and the owner of a black magic shop in Kichijoji. If you want to curse a person, pay Aria a visit but make sure to bring a strand of the victim’s hair with you and have enough money on you for one of the three packages offered. Aria doesn’t care if the person she curses deserves it or not as long as she’s paid. She’s using self-made dolls for the ritual and there seem to be some greater power at work. A strange creature that’s working together with her, the one carrying out the curse.
Being a quiet and mysterious girl who only speaks if it’s necessary and prefers not to pry into a person’s private life, makes you think that the light novel wouldn’t show much about her early on. So it surprised me that a certain something was in fact about her and her past. Such a screwed up story in combination with getting a better look at her personality makes her quite an interesting character. There’s also the fact that she’s leading a weird partnership with something called a devil. It’s not said what this devil is but it’s a necessary part of the black magic shop.
Aria’s one of the characters I like so far. She’s a cute girl with a creepy side to her, which picked my interested. I’d probably think differently about her if they hadn’t revealed her past, though.
Currently looking into the urban legend about a man vanishing after playing One-Man Hide And Seek, detective Shun Moritsuka tries a different approach on finding a missing person – contacting his favorite fortune-teller. …resulting in a very strange vision.
Shun appears more than once in the course of the novel but there’s only one chapter written from his point of view. For that reason, there isn’t much to say about him other than he’s working for the police and shows a strong interest in anime and games. He’s a regular in a trading card game shop, playing Vanguard against middle schoolers. Since Shun actually looks like a kid himself, it doesn’t come across as strange and he can be quite immature and childish.
I’d like to call Shun my favorite character but let’s make that ‘the character I’m interested in the most’ for now because it’s too early to declare anything. I’m pretty sure there’s more to him than meets the eye and I’m looking forward to seeing him again in the second novel.
The last two characters are Ririka Nishizono and Toko Sumikaze. Like Shun, they have less screentime compared to the other characters so you don’t learn much about them.
Ririka’s a popular doujin manga author, drawing boy’s love stories with adult content. She seems very mysterious, somewhat dark and her thoughts about younger guys are pretty creepy but that’s all there’s for now. It’s difficult to form a good first impression of her because there simply not enough information at this point.
Toko’s a writer for an occult magazine, called MuMu, and working on an article about a girl who spent a year in a huge mansion with her dead brother. The novel tells a little about the situation regarding her work and her workplace but also gives you a first look at her personality. She takes her job seriously and seems more normal than most of the other characters. Same as with Ririka, I still don’t know what to think about her.
End of character talk
The first Occultic;Nine light novel’s focusing on introducing its characters and building up the story, with some foreshadowing here and there but still leaving most things in the dark. At the end, the point where the real thing starts, you are left with a lot of questions and wanting to know more. The author, Chiyomaru Shikura’s basically asking the reader if they have already figured something out after finishing the book, making you want to re-read some scenes, to see if there are any deeper meaning to them.
Unfortunately, some parts of Yuta’s chapters are quite childish, especially when he goes on about how huge Ryokas breast are, which’s okay as long as it’s only mentioned a few times but that’s not the case here. I don’t want to say, that Yuta’s thoughts about girls shouldn’t be in the novel, just turning it down a bit would help because it’s rather unfitting in some parts. I also don’t have anything against huge boobs but was it really necessary to make them as big as watermelons? It makes Ryoka look like a fanservice character. Then again, it could have been done on purpose to make the reader believe exactly that just to throw them off guard with some big reveal later on.
Occultic;Nine’s not officially part of the Science Adventure series like Chaos;Head or Steins;Gate but science’s still an important factor along with the occult. Professor Hashigami’s known for his work on paranormal phenomena, trying to prove supernatural things with science whereas his son Sarai, a logical thinker and science student, does the exact opposite thing. This is leading to some interesting theories.
Another thing I like about the novel are the parts about Yuta’s blog and the livestream fortune-telling because the comments and reactions are fun to read. You encounter typical nonsense posts, trolling and hating, lots of net-slang but also some more serious input. Yuta often has to deal with eggs flaming him on Twitter. Being a site admin isn’t an easy task after all especially if your blog mainly consists of affilate links.
Other than the color illustrations, most drawings feel somewhat disappointing because they are missing details or a background. There are some exceptions, like the one with Aria, sitting in her shop and the one showing a very important scene but that’s it. The artist, pako, could have put more work into it and focusing on more meaningful scenes instead.
While one of the characters never actually appears in this volume, he’s still drawn on the cover and on a color illustration, revealing his name and two-three words about him. I’d have prefered them to not show any pictures of him because it left me confused and thinking if I missed him somewhere, which wasn’t the case…oh well…
At the end’s a tip section, similar to the ones you can find in Visual Novels like Steins;Gate, describing some of the keywords. While the novel already does a good job at explaining specific terms and locations, it’s still nice to have something like this.
There’s only one downside to the English release…it’s digital only. It makes it less expensive but I prefer holding a book in my hands while reading, instead of looking at a screen or my phone’s display. J-Novel-Club, the publisher of Occultic;Nine, is a newly founded website, partnering with Japanese light novel publisher Hobby Japan and OVERLAP to translate their series into English for digital release. The site’s a membership service. For a monthly fee, you gain access to new chapters of their light novels every week and premium member even receive some benefits, like extras, in the final novel release. Everyone else can purchase their light novel volumes on sites like Amazon, once they are completely translated. That’s what I did with Occultic;Nine. It’s quite nice to see a company doing something like this but I’m still sad about not getting a printed release…
If you are interested in Occultic;Nine but still unsure if it’s something you’d enjoy, you can read the first two parts of the light novel on J-Novel-Club for free and without having to sign up. Of course, you could also take a look at the anime but from what I’ve heard the light novel’s the better choice.
Since I’m patiently waiting for the English release of the next book, I don’t want to know any of the events, reveals and character development that happens after the first volume. Please keep that in mind if you want to leave a comment.