English Dub Review: Midnight Occult Civil Servants “Angels and Tengu Above the Shinjuku Skyline”

Shinjuku nightlife, with a twist.

Overview:

Miyako gets a new job, and it’s more than he ever expected.

Our Take:

Miyako is a run-of-the-mill government worker assigned to a new division, Nighttime Relations, which oversees the supernatural. The supernatural beings such as tengu and angels, fall under a category called ‘Anothers’ and live freely around the earth, specifically in Shinjuku. However, they can’t be normally perceived, but they can still be sensed. Anothers can cause structural damage, be heard, and influence the environment. While they’re hidden from sight, they don’t exist on another dimension, so they have to be handled and curbed to make sure that they don’t influence the human city around them.

The division is like animal control, for monsters.

Altogether, it’s nothing special. There seem to be fun hijinks around the division, with the members rowdy and while work together, still have a lot of banter. They are an official branch but have been relegated to almost a closet space. Most importantly, while they are experts on Anothers, they aren’t able to understand the Anothers’ language.

One of the tengu elders calls Miyako ‘Abe no Seimei’, which is something I hope they expand upon next episode. Abe no Seimei is a famous historical figure in Japanese history, as a court diviner and the founder of onmyodou, a practice which is similar to traditional witchcraft. While Seimei actually existed in real life, his exploits have seen been mythologized, as his connection with the spiritual had people believe he had the ability to commune with the spirits. He is supposedly kindly to those that simply want to exist and would banish those that threaten the capital and humanity. While Seimei usually specialized in youkai, the umbrella term for monsters this time is ‘Anothers’, so assumably Seimei was able to communicate with Anothers in this universe. Miyako is likely either housing the spirit or a reincarnation of Seimei, which makes his ability to speak and understand the Anothers something extremely rare.

The animation isn’t top-tier, it is pretty basic. At the same time, there’s a kind of charm to the show that makes it an enjoyable watch regardless. It’s a kind of schlocky fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I appreciate that. It’s dumb and campy, but also doesn’t pretend to be a high-brow anime. It’s a bunch of stereotypically pretty guys doing their usual government job, and there’s a bunch of spirits along for the ride. Is it quality? No. Am I enjoying it? As mindless entertainment, I am.

Noelle Ogawa

A writer, editor, and 4th generation New Yorker. An avid fan of comics and manga, particularly psychological thrillers, or featuring sports. Can't stay away from the horror genre. Long-time kaiju enthusiast.

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