English Dub Review: Midnight Occult Civil Servants “The Ears of Sand and the Guts of a New Employee”

Let’s all work together.

Overview:

Miyako comes to save the day.

Our Take:

Miyako luckily arrives on the scene to stop the carnage, and manages to communicate with the silkworm princess. The cocoons that would emerge were actually going to be used as an offering to the gods in Izumo, and without them, her people would surely be cursed. Her rage is increasing, and if she loses herself, she could easily turn into a Tatari-gami. For context, a Tatari-gami is exactly what the kami in Mononoke-hime turned into, and we all know how that turned out. If she transforms, it would be an absolute disaster, and a threat to both human and Anothers alike.

One thing I appreciate is that how Kanoichi’s philosophy isn’t depicted as completely incorrect. There are points where his philosophy actually has merit, because the Anothers aren’t always benevolent. Most people don’t have the Ears of Sand, and therefore can’t communicate deeply with Anothers. There can be some surface-level understanding, but there’s also the awareness that Anothers don’t think and act the way humans do. That doesn’t mean that they’re all enemies, but it does mean that they can be dangerous. This is only able to succeed as a mission because Miyako is around and that Miyako is on the side of the humans, but if that were to change, things would return to the way they were previously. It’s not good to label all Anothers as threats ready for extermination, but it also doesn’t mean that there aren’t situations where disposing of violent Anothers will never arise. There is a time and place for everything, and balancing out whether to use negotiation or violence is part of what being an interpreter and keeper of the peace is about. Even if I still think that Kanoichi’s arc wasn’t handled the best, it’s important to show that Miyako’s philosophy isn’t inherently wrong, but it also isn’t inherently right all the time either.

Either way, this episode ends well, with hope for the future. A Tatari-gami doesn’t emerge, there’s enough silk to give to the gods at Izumo, and humans and Anothers end up working for the same cause. Since the show has very much been framed as trying to keep Anothers under control, having an episode where both parties need to work together for a mutual cause is a good one. The season is almost over, but I’m glad that this was included.

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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