First Look: Midnight Occult Civil Servants

Alternative title(s): Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin
Manga by LIDEN Films
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Arata Miyako is the new hire at the Shinjuku Ward’s office for maintaining mankind’s relationship with the supernatural, and the only employee capable of understanding their otherworldly speech. He also might be the reincarnation of the famed onmyogi, Abe no Seimei.

Iro’s verdict: Mundane

On paper, this premise sounds right up my alley, but just about everything related to the execution falls flat. It isn’t bad necessarily, but I was bored during pretty much the entire episode. The ending seems to point to some kind of metaplot about Abe no Seimei and a reincarnation romance, but even that holds little interest for me. You know how it’s harder to write about something that’s merely unimpressive rather than something that’s straight up bad? Honestly, I don’t want to shit on this show too hard, but if you’re this dull in a season that’s already boring, I just don’t want to spend my time watching any more.

Artemis’ verdict: Meh

If I had to describe this premiere in just one word, it would probably be ‘plain’. There are plenty of urban fantasy titles out there, and the synopses always sound like a lot of fun. However, they rarely actually manage to execute the story in such a way as to make it as captivating as it sounds on paper. Something about the OP and opening shots of Occult put me a bit in mind of Durarara (if of course it was set in Shinjuku rather than the much more down-at-heel Ikebukuro), yet the plot felt strangely basic and lackluster – almost a filler-like episode I would have expected somewhere around the midway mark as some kind of tension breaker. I didn’t hate it, but I did feel quite underwhelmed. Viewers who prefer their urban fantasies more relaxed and slower-paced might find this more enjoyable, but it’s a show I’ll personally be skipping over.

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