Occultic;Nine is a horror-themed light novel that is read through the point-of-views of seemingly unrelated characters. It is through this disjointed method that the plot develops and the author is able to paint a whole world for the reader.
I feel obliged to warn you, dear reader, that unlike my previous article, this review does contain spoilers galore. Proceed at your own risk! If you do not want to read any spoilers here, I advise you to check out the second volume beforehand. It is worth the read!
**Due to the violent nature of the incidents that befall individuals in the story, Occultic;Nine may not be considered appropriate for younger readers.
Hallelujah! The light novel gods heard my prayers, and the individual storylines finally combined in the second volume. The pace was faster and there was more development in this volume versus its predecessor. This was all accomplished through the interactions of Yuta with the other characters—establishing him as the main protagonist. When compared to the previous light novel, I felt it was not evident that Yuta IS the main protagonist, despite the fact that he had a lot of chapters devoted to his point-of-view. I came to this conclusion because I did not feel as though the individual threads were able to come together where I could say that Yuta was truly the central character—ALL of the characters were. Thankfully, that is not the case in the sequel!
Yuta underwent some serious development, and the reader was pulled along for the ride. One of the pivotal storyline key points occurred when Sarai chased down Yuta because he saw Yuta exit the building that housed his father’s office around the time of his father’s death. It was this interaction between the two characters that sparked a series of events which greatly accelerated the short time frame that transpired within the novel. Their meeting was a catalyst that brought several other characters together. This was exemplified when Shun visited the Blue Moon Café to interrogate Yuta. Aria then dropped in on Yuta and the gang at the café shortly after Shun had left and told them about a cursed box at a local shrine that contained some interesting clues.
The unification of the characters greatly assisted in minimizing the overwhelming points-of-view. That was one of my chief complaints about the first volume, and I am wholeheartedly glad that that is not the case with the current light novel.
I can also appreciate the added bizarre/disturbing incidents that transpired to further move the novel along. The way that everything wove together made me want to break into a happy dance. I wanted to jump up and shout, “YES!” In fact, I may have shouted and fist pumped. That part is a bit foggy, and whatever slightly embarrassing act I may have committed in my excitement cannot be held against me.
I know the saying goes, “All roads lead to Rome,” but in this case, all roads lead back to Dr. Hashigami.
- The tooth that Yuta had extracted from Dr. Hashigami’s corpse being a key was interesting. It was definitely something out of left field. Even more tantalizing was the fact that Yuta had yet to figure out where the key would fit, and it did not fit in the more creative key holes–including a certain death box (keep reading).
- The dream that Toko did not remember she had and discussed with Dr. Hashigami directly related to the mass suicide at the lake. She specifically mentioned being surrounded by many people at the bottom of a body of water and looking up at moonlight.
- Dr. Hashigami’s bread trail led Yuta and Sarai to his home office where they found a strange code on the ceiling. The code revealed the names of the victims at the bottom of the lake.
- Even the mysterious MMG and their nefarious experiments were linked with Dr. Hashigami.
Tying everything up nicely was the event when Shun discovered that a Boy Love doujinshi contained clues to everything that has occurred thus far. Ririka published a BL doujin that depicted scenarios only the killer would know. Revealed in detail was the crime scene at the good doctor’s office, the mass grave site at the lake in Inokashira Park, and the shrine that led Yuta and Miyuu to discover the kotoribako box, also known as the child-taking box, (pictured in the middle of the light novel cover above).
The journey to the shrine to find the box and how it related to Chi, Miyuu’s friend who had mysteriously disappeared, was gripping. I experienced a little bit of anxiety, to be honest. The sense of suspense and the feeling that something horrific was about to happen built all the way up to when the box was finally opened and its contents were revealed. The box in this volume was based on the urban legend of cursed puzzle boxes children would play with—not too dissimilar to the Ouija board. Women and children were drawn to the box. Those who were near the box displayed horrifying symptoms, like coughing up blood and ultimately dying. In order for the curse to be active, there had to be human remains within the box. Needless to say, it did not work out too well for poor Chi. All that was left of her was her hair clip and brain matter.
One thing that eats at me, nearly as badly as Mary Sue characters and love triangles, are cliffhangers. While I can understand and appreciate it from the author’s point-of-view (to use it as a “hook” to entice the reader to continue reading the series), the timing of the cliffhanger transpires midway during a HUGE moment. For me, this took place at the end of the novel, when Yuta realized his name was on the list of lake victims and heard it on the news, and Zonko basically had an, “Oh crap. You found out,” moment. End scene. Yeah, not a fan. Nope.
While there are fewer POV to read through, I still feel that MMG could have been given a little more time to develop. MMG, the organization responsible for the mass suicide, is still a bit of a mystery. What is the correlation between inventor Nikola Telsa, the incident that happened at the Wardenclyffe Tower in 1932 (Tesla’s version of the Stark Expo, founded by Howard Stark and seen in Iron Man 2) and the Illuminati? Grrr! I want to know; no, I NEED to know! Nothing quite like adding a real-life organization that is shrouded in mystery to really pique this reader’s interest. While this is not a con in and of itself, I still feel like this organization could have received more read time that would not let the cat out of the bag.
One other con is the simple fact that there have been no other releases. The other thing that I dislike, other than Mary Sues and cliffhangers, are books that do not have a follow-up in the foreseeable future. Rumors surrounding the fate of Volume 3 have been making their rounds on the interwebs, and nothing concrete is out yet. According to a Reddit post, the next volume should be released sometime this summer. There is a little more than a month left before summer reaches its blistering conclusion, so we shall see. I have been known to wait for four years for a book in a series to come out, so I can be patient.
Overall, I feel that this is a proper sophomore follow-up to the previous volume. After reading this, I would definitely recommend it—provided that the reader does not mind the cons I listed above.
Once again, I would like to thank J-Novel for giving Yatta-Tachi the opportunity to read the second volume. If you have not read the first two volumes, why are you reading my reviews? Go forth, and check them out first-hand! You can read the first and second volume of Occultic;Nine on the J-Novel website!
- Story development picked up its pace.
- Fewer POV, so its more cohesive.
- Characters and individual story lines converge. (Praise Hojo!)
- More immersive. (I was at the edge of my seat for a while!)
- Cliffhanger at a really HUGE moment. (Grrr!)
- No forthcoming volume. (Settle in for a wait.)
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