I’m probably in deep trouble.
I’ve made friends with someone locally who has a weekly gathering to watch anime, and last night I went over to their house.
And I came home with a LIST of must-watch/must-reads.
One of them was this one: Mauyonaka no Occult Koumuin / Midnight Occult Civil Servants.
Since there is currently only one chapter of the manga (10 volumes in Japan; NONE HERE!!!) my comments will reflect the anime, which is also new enough that Crunchyroll has episode five still behind the ‘premium’ pay wall. Alas.
The story follows our hapless hero, Arata Miyako, who has started a new job doing something he thinks is community relations. Turns out, that description of his job is not ‘wrong,’ so much as incomplete. The community that the Nighttime Regional Relations Department serves are the “Another” population, a.k.a. the supernatural world. It’s kind of like “X-Files,” but with more caution tape.
Things get interesting right away when the reader/audience discovers that Arata is the only person in the entire division who can understand the languages of the supernatural creatures they encounter. This, of course, marks him as quite special. Interesting, in the anime, we get a throwaway line that implies that maybe the civil servants test was actually supposed to weed out people like Arata, who have what they call “Ears of Sand.”
I also kind of love that the anime wastes no time explaining Arata’s special abilities. Turns out, there’s a family legend that Arata’s are distant relatives of Abe no Seimei, a true historical character (he was a onmyōdō, basically a court magician, during the Heian period,) but who has been folded into myth and legend into a kind of Merlin character.
You would think a person could get really tired of the “oh! the hero can see things the rest of the world can’t!’ stories, but I keep finding iterations of this that amuse me. I can’t even entirely tell you WHY I like this? Maybe the magical caution tape? Maybe the legitimate sense of the paperwork involved in running an occult civil service job?
I will admit that I do have my eye on a side-character, the leader of Arata’s three person team, who was introduced in the anime-only as a “former host.” I can SMELL the fan fic possibilities on that guy already, especially since he’s already entangled with his male coworker in a fascinating way, but we’ll have to see if he gets full backstory treatment or not.
At any rate, I highly recommend both the anime and the manga, despite the fact that there isn’t a lot out there to consume yet.