UN-GO – 01 Review
Geez, just wait will you? I am getting to that.
Reviews by Saranaufogus and M0rg0th
One thing the audience can bank on with a BONES production is that their animation has style.
Their stories on the other hand either ends up being something one likes or dislikes, there is rarely a shade of gray. So how does this new BONES production fair?
Super Short Intro Summary
“Meiji-era story about a detective named Yuki Shinjuro, who solves various incidents that happen in his circle of friends. The adaptation will utilize an original story set in the near future, revolving around the detective and a boy named Inga, who continually encounter mysterious cases. “ – My Anime List
The first episode introduces us to Shinjuro who is known as the “Defeated Detective” for having lost cases against Kaishou. He is accompanied by his sidekick who has a supernatural power that is thus far unexplained.
Shinjurou gets invited to an event which (surprise, surprise) turns out to be a murder case. He then proceeds to solve the case alongside Kaishou’s daughter who does not think much of him.
Through the process of the episode:
- We get to see Kaishou’s skills as a detective and the fact that he has political motives behind his action
- Shinjurou’s deduction skills is also shown
- The mysterious Inga who seems to be like a supernatural being with her purple eyes and super pale skin is introduced
The first thing that popped up in my mind were the different character designs. Most of the characters have a certain design quirk to them in their desaturated skin tones and elongated faces with sharp angles. However, we also have the few main characters that seem to have a more polished and more typically accepted look that will appeal to a larger crowd. I am not sure if this difference in character design was intentional or not, but I merely found that to be quite interesting.
This UN-GO series is actually meant to be followed by a movie prequel which will explain the back story of the encounter between the main character Shinjuro and his “sidekick” Inga. It is a tad odd that the movie is meant to be a prequel but will only be out in the cinema after the series has started its broadcast. I am hoping that this won’t mean that the series plans on refraining themselves from giving the audience a background story about the main duo as they expect us to watch the movie for more information. (Movie is meant to be out in Jap cinemas in November)
The plot of this series is like a typical detective story with a small back story twist that would probably tie our main character Shinjuro, his mysterious and supernatural “sidekick/boss” Inga, the great detective Kaishou and his daughter. The story reminds me of Majin Tantei Nogami Neuro with the whole supernatural element being thrown into the mix of a detective story except this series has more style in its execution.
The original novel is meant to be set in the Meji-era and BONES has adapted this story to be set in the near future instead. I did like the fact that they decided to make the first story a costume event where the characters had to dress up in Meji-era costumes and the case about being a Hero of War looks like this first episode is most likely from the novel despite BONES’ change in its adaptation of the series. I am not sure what BONES’ intention behind adapting the story into modern times is but I am hoping that it would be something worth the risk.
The first episode felt pretty rushed as the show seem to want to wrap up the introduction of the characters as well as the dynamics between the characters in the story all in its first episode with Shinjuro solving the case and proving his deductive skills. We also get to see the corruption and untrue front behind Kaishou’s popularity as well as the weird powers of Inga. But despite the fact that it was rushed and the mystery did not manage to buildup as much suspense as I would have liked it to have, the episode was entertaining to watch and is one of the better first episodes of the season.
Now onto the characters of this series. All the main characters of this series have a distinct personality and that is plus for me since I tend to like shows that have nice visuals and interesting characters (but don’t we all?).
Shinjuro gives off an aloof feel which I think balances his sidekick’s hyperactive nature quite nicely. Although, I have to say that Shinjuro’s aloofness does seem to be justified by a back story (which we probably won’t know until a later time or until the movie comes out) and this is better than him having some random unjustified personality. Inga on the other hand provided some contrast and “energy” to the series which had seemed rather flat due to its dialogue heavy style. I found his character to be somewhat comical and it would have been funnier if the guy was a plain nut as oppose to having some supernatural link of sorts. Then we have Kaishou who is portrayed as this computer geek like character that is very popular and is on the same level as Shinjuro with his detective skills but decides to be political and release false revelations that seem diplomatic in their nature instead of the truth. (I guess it is a case of the truth being overrated) Of course what modern show would this be without its main female lead that seem to lack a brain and loves to annoy the hell out of me. In the case of UN-GO, this particular female is Rie [girl in blue below].
I mean, what is wrong with this girl? She is naive and worships her father, gets drunk off a single sip of alcohol (granted she was most likely and quite obviously drugged) and then does this odd confession of how naive she had been and how Shinjuro was better than her dad. Perhaps her character would have worked fine in a Meji-setting where females were being constricted by everything and given little freedom, but as a modern character, she merely comes across as stupid and annoying to me. I mean seriously, she stands on the stage and gives off this crazy deduction without much proof and acts all high and mighty. Then again, the other characters also lacked physical evidence and this brings me to the case.
The truth behind the case was revealed base on the “convincing” nature of Inga (as a woman) who has the convenient power of forcing a person to tell them the truth. (If you had that power what would you do?) Sure, they had other evidence like the fact that the wife was wearing pants, but how is that anything more than circumstantial evidence anyway? If the wife had not broken down I am sure that the case probably wouldn’t be anything too solid. It is not against the law to wear pants afterall (unless perhaps you are in the meji-era where I assume woman don’t wear pants at all). In this day and age, even girls at school wear shorts under their skirts. As for the shoes… Hey, if I could get away with having not to wear heels at an event, I would do so too. Then there is the case of if there were security cameras in the event hall (that Kaishou had utilised), shouldn’t there be some in the hallway as well that would be able to tell/show us who did it anyway? Sure, that could be written off as Kaishou purposely eluding to that fact despite knowing, but whilst the Kaishou and Shinjuro had motive to omit some facts why didn’t the detective on scene realize that fact?
But with most mystery series, there are usually plenty of issues with them anyway so it is better to turn a blind eye and just enjoy it without thinking too much. There are no real major plot holes (since I was probably nitpicking) with this anyway except for the fact that the case was uninteresting and quite obvious.
Overall, it was a fun first episode that satisfied my craving for a mystery series. Although this first episode is not as exciting as the first episode of No. 6 it does show some promise in turning out to be an interesting detective series. I would really love to see some dynamic action scenes thrown into the mix as well as we all know that BONES is good at animating those type of scenes and perhaps that would provide this series with a much needed dimension as the series felt kinda lackluster to me at times, with all the heavy dialogue and what not. Unlike Detective Conan that plays up the dramatic moments with crazy characters and shadowy figures as well as fun gadgets and dramatic music, this series takes on a more serious approach with the political theme and the odd supernatural theme and I am liking it.
Now that we have gotten the introductions out of the way, perhaps the next episode would have time to build up the suspense and introduce a decent mystery. =)
Episode Rating: 7.5/10 – I enjoy detective/mystery series and am thankful that this had not turned out to be a Slice-of-life show like Kamisama no Memo-chou. Plus this is BONES and I have a soft spot for their stuff.
Note: For me, it was from the minute Rie fainted where I was certain the wife was up to no good. What about you?
Like the truth and stuff, you know, but I guess as long as it’s bad it simply must be ‘groundless’, right?
Un-Go is finally a mystery-series that doesn’t try to hide behind silliness and goes back to the ‘whodunit’-format all mystery-series should have had, I think. It does seem strange that the series doesn’t seem to have just one genius detective but two. Naturally the main-character is the younger of the two and he has also some wacky mojo up his sleeve with Inga.
The first thing I noticed was the rushed pacing, I mean, before I even could think about what kind of opinion I should form about the whole thing – it was already over. I also grumbled a bit in the beginning when the story put me under siege with all these characters that got introduced without me knowing which of them would be important to the mystery and which were just the standard-cast that got nothing to do with the case at hand. But I managed, I could follow the story but it was frustrating, I have to admit. There was no need for some insignificant characters to be made known with their names at this point (like the maid). It’s generally kinda stupid of mystery series to assign everyone this name-note on-screen as I think these are only important for the suspects of a case and witnesses. The main-cast I can remember just fine without this whole name-note-stuff.
Well, they just try to make the best out of it, you know…
As for the story, I have to say, it was decent enough but nothing special. It was presented very nice with twists and revelations (even though very rushed) and the characters got all their respective roles contributing their part either as the ones who asked the ‘detective’-character for explanation or as the ‘detective’-character explaining the case. What I really didn’t like was the simplicity of the murder, everyone with eyes in his head could’ve known who the culprit was (the victim was easy to spot too if you know the genre). Not only became it blatantly obvious with the drinking and its effect on Rie but it was ridiculous how Kaishou Rinroku didn’t reveal the murderer right away and instead let the characters run around until Inga started using her cheap magic-trick. Rinroku who had the video-footage of the room the whole time got practically all the evidence he needed to declare Kanou Atsuko the murderer. While Rie left for the toilet together with the SP-woman and Atsuko, the murder took place. What Rinroku would’ve seen on his video-footage would’ve been the SP-woman and Atsuko leaving the room and as the light went out the SP-woman came back and stabbed Kanou Nobuzane from behind. After that the SP-woman leaves the room again in a hurry. That’s when we see next in the episode that Atsuko tells Rie that her husband was murdered. But seeing as who left the room and who went back in while Rie was on the toilet only Atsuko could’ve been the SP-woman since that’s the only way how she could’ve known who got murdered. Like that, one can say that Atsuko made even more mistakes than got mentioned in the episode which, one hast to admit, makes this a rather idiotic mystery. And because it was that easy, I don’t really understand why there’s a need for a supernatural element in this series. If all the stories are like this, I think, the supernatural part may be misplaced.
Because Yuuki and Inga are the kind of detectives you really don’t want to have near you. Being with them you get dragged into all sorts of ridiculous adventures involving death, blood and human cruelty… These guys are the bane of every happy party.
The characters who are sort-of are the ‘main-cast’ got naturally only vaguely characterized. There was nothing deep about it but I guess it’s enough for an average first episode. Especially since the characterization despite that was good enough to make it distinct but not really noteworthy. It was difficult to feel like cheering for the cast as they seemingly just rushed through the story before the audience could react emotionally. As much as the supernatural elements rather bugged me the presence of Inga in general bugged me. I mean, if that such a weird kid is running around, why’s nobody calling for someone to get this kid the hell away from this party? Only the main-cast seems to really notice the weirdness of Inga, the no-name-characters seem to sorta ignore her which isn’t such a good integration of her person. There’s only one little scene in the beginning where everyone’s like ‘Who the hell is that kid?!’ but after that… no reaction. But the atmosphere of the anime was generally very plot-convenient as it ignored consequences larger than the impact on the ‘main-cast’ completely with the no-name-characters being just puppets standing around and the political background just being the grounds for one simple message. Although I have to admit it was quite good and I guess that’s the part where the original work shines through best with good lines and background for the murder-cases that goes beyond ‘Why someone kills someone else…’ and I think, the episode presented quite nicely that this murder-case was as much about the victim’s wife killing him for believing him to still be a hero as the victim who was a hero in the past falling from grace and doing something terrible. But due to the rushed nature it never got beyond stating this fact.
Un-Go starts with a decent mystery-episode that introduces the ‘main-cast’ and shows that this will be a good ol’ ‘whodunit’-show. While the mystery of this episode was a bit too simple to be as engaging as I would’ve liked, the interesting background-related implications of the murder made it entertaining enough to watch it without yawning. I hope Un-Go continues to be a series that doesn’t only care about the complexity of the murder but also about what one can say about the human nature using murder as a plot-device. And naturally I assume this is the last time where a murder-case is told with such a rushed pacing and the next few cases get multiple episodes to develop nicely.