Midnight Occult Civil Servants Review Episodes 3 + 4

Ugly visuals but interesting premise.

This is a very trustworthy face.

Episode 3

Just going to point out that Midnight Occult Civil Servants is making a good run for ugliest visuals of the season. While I get night scenes need to be dark, the lack of contrast or distinction in the visuals makes this a murky and unpleasant viewing experience even if I’m inherently interested in the story.

Midnight Occult Civil Servants Episode 3
For example, this could have been an interesting scene but instead I’m stuck tilting my head and squinting at it trying to figure out just what I’m looking at.

With that said, the story isn’t exactly running along. This episode focused entirely on fighting off the corpses woken at the end of the last episode and while we learned that the Another that was responsible for waking them was a friend of Arata’s ancestor, little else was gained from the episode in terms of greater narrative. Then again, we are still establishing the world and the relationships between the different wards and the police involvement in cases involving the Another’s so maybe that is enough for a third episode.

Despite wanting to like this anime, and for the most part enjoying it, even I have to roll my eyes at the solution though. Drawing the Another’s name from a memory of a story his grandfather told him, Arata is fast becoming a protagonist that just has whatever information or skill is needed to solve the problem at any given time but doesn’t know until it is needed. That essentially means he can pull any fact from some childhood story at any time to solve any future problems and that sets a dangerous precedent and makes it difficult to take any dangers seriously when he overcomes them as easily as thinking really hard about a childhood memory.

Still, I am enjoying this supernatural story so far. The range of yokai involved seems quite extensive and it seems that some of them at least are going to pose actual threats. It also seems like there’s going to be a focus on the way different groups respond to the yokai. I guess we’ll wait and see what is ultimately delivered but for all the flaws this series has shown in its first couple of episodes, Midnight Occult Civil Servants works well enough and as someone who is a fan of the genre being delivered it is doing enough to keep me interested.

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Episode 4

I finally figured out what was bothering me about character designs in Midnight Occult Civil Servants. All of the characters look like they suffer from sleep deprivation due to the way their eyes are drawn. At first I thought it was just Arata and they were trying to show the fatigue of his situation but then I realised all the characters have the same basic feature and it is what has been throwing me off so far.

Arata Episode 2 - Midnight Occult Civil Servants

Anyway, this week is a more stand alone story with Arata learning to deal with his new yokai housemates and then work taking a tour of a district and checking in on the yokai in the area. A problem arises when a police officer is kidnapped by a yokai who turns out to be the god of a shrine and the group need to get him back.

I’m not entirely sure the characters meandering about and meeting weird yokai really counts as much of a plot and it eats up a lot of episode time. While the encounter with the monkey spirits turns out to be a necessary development for the resolution, the random naked guy and other spiritual encounters are really just filler for an episode, that while interesting in some ways, lacks substance in a lot of others.

Yeah, random naked guy is random. Does not appear again.

The drinking challenge solution to the kidnapped officer is also a little weird because it seems bizarre they’d accept that challenge or not try to think of an alternative. The other issue I am having is their continued statements that the Anothers are like natural disasters. So far each Another that we’ve encountered has had clear reasons for their actions even if they aren’t reasonable by human standards. It seems bizarre an organisation that is meant to monitor them hadn’t found more information or ways to deal with them over the years.

Outside of that, this is pretty easy viewing and while it isn’t amazing by any stretch it is still keeping me entertained. Hopefully it continues to do so until the end of the season.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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3 thoughts on “Midnight Occult Civil Servants Review Episodes 3 + 4

  1. I am really enjoying this show too! I hope I’ll have my post about it up by Sunday evening! Anyway, I agree that it’s strange how Sakaki and Theo keep saying Anothers make no sense. I think it might be more the fault of the Anothers, though. It’s hard to communicate without words, and it will only ever work if both sides make that effort to find common symbols to use between them. Anothers so far haven’t seemed interested in this at all. They seem to either not care or think they’re superior and don’t need to talk. Except for that one Tengu dude I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, it just seems like the organisation would probably do better to get linguists and anthropology students in to work for them and then they might make some headway in figuring out what the Anothers actually want given randomly hiring people without telling them what they are signing up for (though apparently there’s a test) doesn’t seem like the best strategy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. Another part of the issue could be the civil servants just being stubborn or lazy and refusing to realize/ admit that Anothers are operating using reason comparable to that of a human. But you know how there still people out there who say animals have no emotions? (Yes, there are.) Well, it’s probably even worse trying to convince people that Anothers are sentient. Humans don’t want to recognize other beings as sentient. xp

        Liked by 1 person

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