English Dub Review: Midnight Occult Civil Servants “Devil and Sense of Loss” ; “Sense of Loss and Proof of Despair”

A mass kidnapping case.

Overview:

An oddly familiar case rears its head once again.

Our Take:

This is a two-parter episode, which focuses on Sakaki and his missing sister. This has been hinted before in the Pandora episode, where Sakaki’s grief was enough to trigger Pandora’s elevator. His sister has been lost for decades, taken by an Another, and that has mostly fueled his desire to work in this particular division.

Recently, similar disappearances have started up again, but most importantly, some of the victims have been returned. One girl that has been returned hasn’t aged, and she has lost her ability to sing. Through Miyako and Sakaki working together, they realize that this case has connotations to the case that resulted in his sister’s kidnapping, and their attempt to find the victims.

The culprit behind all of this is the demon Azazel, who is trying to make a Frankenstein’s monster out of the girl he used to love. He has been taking body parts from the girls that he’d kidnapped so he can perfectly reconstruct her body. However, upon her revival, she is emotionally distraught, because she is now a monster, not a human as she once was. Since she doesn’t instantly shower Azazel with happiness, he thinks that his attempt to revive her has gone wrong, and kills her instead. There’s a lot of consent issues that goes unaddressed.

The final scene where Sakaki’s sister gets her sight returned is mildly horrifying, and I’m not sure if this was intentional- but all the glowing orbs are parts from the revived corpse. There are hundreds of orbs, which means that hundreds of girls over the decades have been kidnapped and returned with several of their body parts unable to function. Why hasn’t this been a national crisis already? How has the government managed to suppress a mass kidnapping, even if it’s a case that’s decades old? Makes you wonder.

One thing I’ve noticed from this is that there really don’t seem to be any positive notions of Anothers so far. The first episode resulted in something positive, and the second one introduced Miyako’s old cat that was actually an Another, but that’s it. All of the other Anothers usually tend to inspire fear first, and it’s only about dealing with them as a potential threat instead of a potential ally. Even Kohaku, who is ultimately on Miyako’s side, is more morally gray than anything else. Each Another is either neutral, a potential threat, or a threat, so Miyako hasn’t had any positive experiences.

This makes it very different from a Natsume’s Book of Friends or a Mushishi because Miyako isn’t really sympathetic to the Anothers at all. He is a translator, but he doesn’t have any desire to interact with them, and seems to view his abilities as more of a nuisance than anything positive. It may be a bridge, but it’s not a bridge that has any positives for Miyako. That puts the morality of this show in a bit of a vacuum, because it doesn’t seem to be dedicating much time to Miyako’s growth in dealing with the Anothers at all. Most of the time he’s a mouthpiece, not a person that takes an active role. There could be so much more, but they’re not utilizing it. For example, Miyako could attempt to reason with the Anothers, try to make them understand a human perspective, or connect with them emotionally. Instead, the show seems content to keep him on the sidelines, despite being the main character. They could actually try to bridge a gap between the two cultures, or they could just launch a rescue mission instead. Shame.

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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