Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin – 01 (First Impressions) – Believe What You See

MOK’s first episode takes place entirely at night, as Miyako Arata reports to his first shift at the Shinjuku Ward Office “Nocturnal Community Relations Division”, the exact nature of which is something Arata himself is a little fuzzy about.

He meets two of his new colleages, the bishounen scientist Himezuka Seo and their bespectacled shift leader, Sakaki Kyouichi. They’re both warm and friendly, and inform Arata most of his shifts will take place outside, which only compounds his confusion with what their division does.

Kyouichi and Seo take him to the entrance to Shinjuku Gyoen, unlock the gate, and head inside for a “rite of passage” that involves spraying a “helper spray” that makes fairies and other supernatural creatures visible to those who aren’t able to see them.

Arata meets a tiny (and somewhat surly) pixie, a giant, cuddly Cu Sith, and more, and learns that it’s the NCR Division’s job to maintain good relations with the various supernatural beings that inhabit the forests. It’s most comforting to learn that Tokyo’s ultra-urbanization over the decades hasn’t resulted in the destruction of these beings.

Rather, they exist much like conventional city animals—pigeons, crows, raccoons and squirrels—they’ve adapted to exist beside humans, albeit out of sight to most. Only occasionally, they can cause a disturbance, such as a fight breaking out between angels and tengu.

Arata discovers that an angel and a tengu are lovers who wish to elope, but neither the angel’s older sister nor the tengu’s father approve, and since the two races just naturally don’t get along, it isn’t long before their bickering spills outside of the park and into the city proper.

While Arata can tell the angels and tengu mean no harm, Kyouichi and Seo both seem to ignore them and present a defensive posture, ready to use gas grenades and the like to disperse them. However, Arata informs them that he can hear what they’re saying, and manages to defuse the situation by being the one person who can have a calm dialogue with everyone.

Arata’s colleagues are amazed that Arata can understand what the angels and tengu are saying—it’s a rare if not impossible gift for a mere human, and sure enough when an elder tengu appears and addresses Arata as Abe no Seimei, it’s all but confirmation Arata isn’t a mere human at all.

MOK follows a long tradition of night-oriented Tokyo-set shows like Tokyo Ghoul and Durarara!! in creating a rich and lived in animated version of the Eastern Capital. It also follows the latter of those two shows with a usually laid back, upbeat tone, helped in no small part by the jazzy score by Evan Call (previously of Violet Evergarden and currently of YU-NO). I found MOK—or Midnight Occult Civil Servants—clever, cozy, and cool.

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Author: magicalchurlsukui

Preston Yamazuka is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

6 thoughts on “Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin – 01 (First Impressions) – Believe What You See”

  1. In what has been a mostly lack-lustre opening week for the new season, I thought MOK stood out as one of the better shows I’ve seen this season. I thought the design of the angels a little clunky but I guess we won’t be seeing a lot of them in future episodes. Because I scored it higher than a lot of the dross this season, it stays on my watch list.

    1. I made the mistake of glimpsing the very early MAL score, which at under 7 is IMO underrated.

      It’s not the best-looking show but I dig the scenario and its optimistic outlook—centered on cordial relations, not conflict or carnage. We’ll see if Arata is some kind of part-youkai.

      The red eyes would be a dead giveaway if this weren’t an anime where unnatural eye colors are the norm…

      1. Abe no Seimei was an actual 10th Century historical figure who has entered Japanese folklore due to his reputed spiritual powers. He is sometimes referred to as the “The Japanese Merlin”.

        Oh and MOK is another Liden Films production… so maybe we should be expecting the unexpected…..

      2. Whoa! Remind me to always look up historical-sounding names that pop up in an anime.

        Nobunaga Oda? Well, that’s clearly a made-up name!—Me many years ago ;)

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