UN-GO – 00 Inga-ron – Movie Review
The show definitely knows how to start off with a bang (or a stab in this case. =p)
UN-GO Movie – Episode 00
It was only a couple of seasons ago when UN-GO had graced our screens with it’s take on political agendas and military doubt. Finally, the story behind Shinjurou’s past is revealed in this 45 minutes long “movie”.
This short movie is nice break from the usual simplistic plot nature present in much of the newer series out there, and whilst the plot may have covered pretty much the same themes as seen in the UN-GO series, one can still appreciate the slightly deeper and more thought provoking style in this show.
The movie in essence covers the meeting between Shinjurou, Inga, Bettenou, Kaishou and other key players from the UN-GO series whilst introducing some minor new characters to help with building the knowledge behind Shinjurou’s past.
As expected, Shinjurou’s narrative voice is constant in providing an insight to his thoughts as well as a strong character presence as the story unfolded. Although 45 minutes was definitely not enough for the plot to build up a proper emotional impact on the audience, it had still managed to get it’s points across in the most succinct manner possible without appearing rushed.
In all honesty, the 45 mins running time baffles me seeing as to how this was marketed as a movie and thus more freedom can be given to the time spent on the show. The only reason that I can think of is a monetary one, and it doesn’t shock me that this series is not a mainstream hit.
To counter that short time frame, the series had opted for a flashback/time-skip story-telling style in order to incorporate all the material that it had whilst keeping up with the mystery/tension aspect of the series. We are constantly thrown back and forth between the past and present as the different pieces of the plot slowly falls into place before the big conclusion at the end of the episode. If you are worried you’ll end up getting lost along the way, do not fret, the jumping back and forth between the different timelines is not going to give anyone motion sickness due to the nicely timed execution of those time-skips.
The movie starts off by introducing a different side to Shinjurou’s personality. We are shown how his need to help others had grown due to his orphaned childhood, but at the same time, the usual “can’t be bothered” attitude that Shinjurou eludes hasn’t changed.
As he grows and give up on things that he deems as having no future, he ends up traveling with his reels of film to areas that have never seen such entertainment in hopes of bringing some laughter through the movies.
It is at this point during his travels where he ends up meeting the ‘Singing on the Battlefield’ group of people who believe in spreading joy to the war stricken areas (similar to himself but with a different attitude).
Things gets interesting as the group is thrown into the midst of an attack and Shinjurou ends up meeting Inga who in turn saves his life but uses his body to kill everyone. The topic of the inner Truth that human’s keep at bay comes onto the front-line when Inga devours the souls of the ‘SONB’ group.
Back in the “present”, Shinjurou’s help is enlisted by Kaishou (who takes more of a backburner seat in this story) to help with the Bettenou cult situation (which was touched upon in the series during the Bettenou arc). Whilst this section of the story had endless possibilities to build on layers upon layers of deception, the movie had taken a slightly simpler route and had placed it’s focus on Shinjurou and his character development as everything revolved around the concept of Truth.
The Soul’s Truth
The whole “movie” was one big ‘Truth or Lie’ show where everyone is consumed in their needs and wants whilst putting forth a misleading front.
Inga finally explains to us that the soul of a human is in actual fact the scream of a person. I can only assume that Inga treats the “truth” that the person releases as the appetizer whilst the actual screams of the person is meant to be the main course. Afterall, Inga is getting satisfied in some way despite having not consumed the souls.
During the whole cave scene, the show takes on it’s usual flare by proving to us that nothing is as innocent as it seems in this world and that everyone has a hidden agenda. Of course, the show does try to counter it’s “glass half-empty” attitude with a hint of “I’m not telling you/There is no one truth” through Yuuko’s suicide.
Then we have Bettenou and her ability to make words a reality. The whole warping of truth and the power of words comes into play in the same way it did when she had first appeared during the series’ arc. Although the topic may seem like a repeated topic, the nonlinear way of touching on the concept of the power of words and that “words can kill” makes it just as fresh as when we had first seen it.
It makes one question what the truth is as everything that we see and hear can be considered partial and thus never the whole story.
There is just something odd (or perhaps it’s ingenuity) about Shinjurou’s personality. I can’t call him emotionless as he has obviously shown us that he has emotions, but his hardened and cynical attitude clashes with his idea of wanting to helping others. He lacks conviction in his action and he does everything with a dead-pan tone.
Whilst that tone of voice really allows the show to build up a certain atmosphere, it is slightly unnerving how dismissive it is at the same time. The story touches on topics that are neither light nor simple and yet the tone of the series ends up appearing straightforward and plain due to Shinjurou’s narrative style.
Perhaps the ingenuity of it all lies in the contrast in Shinjurou’s cynical attitude providing that constant need to question if everything is as it seems. From him questioning his actions of helping others to him projecting that idea onto the actions of the ‘Singing on the Battlefield’ group, we are able to experience a whole different scope of situations without Shinjurou’s personality compromising everything with a bias emotion.
One of the major contrasts in this series was between the character of Inga and Bettenou. Where Inga introduces the dark and deceiving side of humans, Bettenou shows us the salvation that human’s seek as they try to run away from that darkness. From the whole God VS Demon, to the way in which Shinjurou had chosen Inga over a God merely made out of words, we are provoked into questioning which side we believed to be real.
In the end, Shinjurou had ultimately chosen the path of deciding for himself what’s real and what’s not.
I wouldn’t say that the movie was anywhere near amazing, but it’s worth the watch if you liked the series.
The animation and soundtrack is great as can be expected out of a BONES Studio work. But if you are expecting some sort of obvious difference in the animation between the series and the movie, you will be disappointed. The movie was more like a double episode rather than it being something on a bigger and grander scale when pit up against the series.
However, the revisiting of familiar characters and themes does bring in a sense of nostalgia that makes one want to re-watch the TV series.
More time could have definitely been spent on developing the plot and the new characters in order to help us understand the impact of what had transpired instead of leaving it up to our brains to connect the dots. But since this has been the approach taken throughout most of the series, I can’t argue too much with it.
Although there is a lack of new themes and a proper detective storyline, it is hardly an issue as this episode was marketed as a character back-story. The movie had definitely done well in incorporating as much as possible of the series themes from the TV-series, and this movie has left me wishing for a second season.
Sadly, unless BONES has another huge success that would enable them the freedom to experiment with their series, I highly doubt there will be a second season. After all, BONES rarely makes a second season of anything. I’m thankful that they had even made a movie for this series. =)
Rating: 7.5/10 - It’s a smart and unique movie that can come across as being dull if one is not in the right mindset. It is definitely not a light watch.
Maybe it’s because I wasn’t paying attention due to me already knowing Shinjurou’s name… But if I am not wrong, we were never told what Shinjurou’s real name was before it got changed into Yuuki Shinjurou by Kaishou.
Did anyone notice if Shinjurou’s real name was mentioned?