Anime Best in Show

Review: Midnight Occult Civil Servants Episode 08 – Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Midnight occult civil servants episode 8, "Old Coyote and the Garden of Falling Stars," Kyouichi SakakiArata Miyako, and Arata's friend Izumi take Kyouichi's recently-rescued sister shopping. After all, her tastes are decades out of date. Though obviously overjoyed that his sister is returned and safe, Kyouichi seems to be troubled about his own future. Afterward, Kohaku gives Arata no time to rest and takes him, along with Yuki the Nekomata, on a night-time trek. What is Kohaku looking for? And how will the other Anothers react to the mere presence of a god of disasters?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious. 

Best Moment in the Show

The beauty of Abe no Seimei's garden amazed Arata. Yuki, too! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

We've seen before what a great job this show has done portraying the stark otherness of the Anothers. This episode gave us not only more great examples of that, but it touched on something that I haven't seen in many modern works. It's a sentiment that under-pinned a lot of ancient mythology.

What would you give up, what would you risk, for a glimpse of transcendent beauty?

Kohaku wanted to take Arata and Yuki for a walk. The Aztec god was cagey about exactly where they were going, and they marched through several precincts. I have to say it was funny in a foreboding way to see how the local Anothers reacted to such a powerful Another just walking through their midsts!

Kohaku had a specific goal in mind; He was looking for Abe no Seimei's garden. Guided by the three-legged giant crow named Kuro, the finally find it. It's completely invisible to regular humans, but guided by Kuro and Kohaku, they find it (17:10). 

And it's beautiful.

Arata stared, wide-eyed, at the sublime colors and floating cherry blossoms. The trees were an impossible mixture of spring (the Cherry trees) and autumn (the maples and maybe oaks?). Even Yuki was impressed! 

There was a lot going on in this scene, but what struck me about it was how Arata reacted. Was seeing something this beautiful worth the risks of interacting with Anothers? Would he put aside that risk if it meant never seeing Abe no Seimei's garden -- or other places or things of beauty? Was it worth the hassle of having to hire a taxi and not get enough sleep?

Arata didn't quit his job, did he? Looks like his answer is that it's absolutely worth the risk! 

It looks like this show's going to explore what those risks entail.

6 thoughts on “Review: Midnight Occult Civil Servants Episode 08 – Best in Show

  1. I pretty much agree with Karandi: the show isn’t the prettiest around. But they do know how to make the most of their limits; the contrast, the before/after image of the actual garden and the colour explosion really made you feel the otherworldliness of the place.

    I think my fave moment was the tanuki coming apart over the zoo; the timing there was just great. Lingering on the shot of the statue just for the right time.

    It’s a nice show; not biting off more than it can chew and as a result always delivering when the story needs it to. And Kohaku is an excellent character who can easily carry an epiosde.

    (I laughed at Kuro having a smart phone function: he’s a guide.)

    1. “I think my fave moment was the tanuki coming apart over the zoo; the timing there was just great. Lingering on the shot of the statue just for the right time.”

      I laughed out loud at that time. They looked so panicked!

      “And Kohaku is an excellent character who can easily carry an epiosde.”

      The writers have managed to portray Kohaku as the god of mayhem on one hand and an emotionally vulnerable companion on the other. I didn’t expect to like the character that much at the beginning, but now I agree with you — he’s an excellent character!

  2. I quite enjoyed watching this night time walk. Not just because it was some low-key time with Arata and Kohaku but because I recognised a lot of what they were walking past from my recent time in Japan and that just made it even more fun. The garden was definitely beautiful and as you said, watching the other yokai react to Kohaku’s presence was great. I just wished the episode had been visually stronger as they walked through Japan because a lot of the sights were pretty lacking in detail.

    1. “Not just because it was some low-key time with Arata and Kohaku but because I recognised a lot of what they were walking past from my recent time in Japan”

      That’s awesome! And I remain not jealous. Not even a little!

      “I just wished the episode had been visually stronger ”

      If I had to choose one thing I’d improve about this series, it’d be the time the artistic team had to animate it. It’s not ugly by any stretch of the imagination, but I wonder what they could do with even a couple of extra days per episode!

Please let me know what you think!

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