Jun 23, 2019
a1samurai (All reviews)
It's shocking and disappointing that this anime is getting overlooked by so many people. Personally I blame the massive amount of coverage things with more money behind them are getting. Because this is a joint Funimation-Crunchyroll venture, thus it SHOULD have enough going for it to get as many views as possible. If they'd promote it.

So what is it and is it worth watching? I say absolutely. This show is basically what would happen if Men In Black and CLAMP's xxxHolic had a baby.

What it pulls off best is the art and sound most of all. It's VERY pretty to look at a lot of the time, the environments especially.
Most of the show takes place at night (go figure), and the people who animate and illustrate the world we're peaking into clearly knew how to work with that. The city looks amazing and there are a lot of gorgeous shots of the night sky from the Imperial Gardens.
The music is similar to Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, with a lot of jazz and jazz-adjacent pieces. As a matter of fact the aesthetic on a whole is comparable to that, even if the themes and characters are vastly different.

Writing is important to of course, and if you liked the curiosity and occult themes in xxxHolic (which is well worth watching as well) then you're sure to enjoy this.
It's hard to explain how good the overall narrative of the season is without spoiling things, but suffice to say there are some good twists and a surprising number of emotionally evocative moments.
This show is quite tonally diverse, with the first episode being moderately light and focusing on Miyako Arata (the protagonist)'s curiosity at what he's just gotten himself into, the second and third episodes continuing this but adding some darker turns before turning things on their head a bit for a more lighthearted fourth episode, which still has some pretty serious stakes.
That's a line Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin tends to balance on quite well. It keeps things relatively light but the stakes can be quite high or emotionally intense.
This ties in quite well with how Arata's demeanor is as well. There are numerous occasions where his dealings with Anothers (occult creatures derived from real world myth, they're what make this show like Men In Black, because the Midnight Occult Civil Service is dealing with supernaturals instead of aliens, but their relationship is similar) threaten his life and/or the lives of people he cares about.
In spite of often being present when his or other lives are being threatened, Arata tends to always keep a relatively level head, and errs on the diplomatic side, generally trying to find out what the Anothers want and how to give it to them without upsetting the social balance.
Thus we have a relatively light approach coupled with serious consequence and stakes. And balancing those things in a way that isn't jarring or cringe is quite a feat.

Characters! There's a dude who looks like a chick, they mention it once in the first episode with a joke and then move on, it's only a big deal if you make it a big deal, because the show and the people in the show certainly don't, and as a character his androgynous appearance barely even registers when you couple it with his voice. This guy's the resident occult expert/nerd/scientist for the Nocturnal Relations Division.
Arata's only other non-boss co-worker at the Shinjuku Ward Office is a former host for what I assume is a karaoke bar, he has his own arc which is kinda a B story wile the A story of each episode goes on, I think it gets enough attention to be interesting without detracting from the really interesting and mostly episodic plots. And it is itself a good arc, and it makes you see both Arata's colleagues as more than just meat sacks with voices.
The effeminate one doesn't get an arc or much character development at all, but that feeds into what they are as a character, which is a professional with an avid interest in the lore which relates to their job. If this character was also given an arc and pRoBlEms the show wouldn't feel as tightly written as it is.
Arata also has a best friend who probably wants to be more than that, but the show doesn't dwell on this very much, but it does involve her somewhat in the plot on occasion. Though once again not in such a way as to feel overbearing.
Some of the other characters would be spoilers but there are a couple of Anothers who hang out with Arata/live in his house.

Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin is an excellent anime.
It's compelling (I recommend watching the first 4 episodes in one sitting to get the full range of tone that the show has), expands on itself at a decent pace to not be overwhelming, pretentious or otherwise daunting, and if you like occult things from both Japanese and other cultures, you'll enjoy seeing who pops up over the season.
The finale especially I will say was great. It showed just how much mythology the writer/s of the source material are aware of, because the Another in that episode was O B S C U R E but amazingly well executed.

Absolutely give at least a few episodes of this a watch. Also the dub isn't bad. They mispronounce a couple of words but the quality of the voice acting overall is pretty good. As I said I watched 7 episodes with it, now 8, and I'll probably keep going with that just because it's cool to see how they spin things. I think I also prefer the Anothers voices in English, though it's hard to pin down why.