UN-GO – 01 Review

Geez, just wait will you? I am getting to that.

Episode 01

Reviews by Saranaufogus and M0rg0th

Saranaufogus:

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

Saranaufogus’ Review

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?

-ra

M0rg0th’s Review:

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.

Episode-Rating: 6,5/10

About Saranaufogus

An Anime fan who can't seem to keep her thoughts to herself. Find me on: Instagram | Twitter

Posted on October 13, 2011, in Anime, Reviews, UN-GO and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. I have the same problem as you two with the pacing, it’s a bit too fast, I barely had the time to register everything and it was finished.

    And, just like you, as soon as Rie fainted I knew the wife was the culprit and, strangely enough, it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. (Becaus figuring out the whole Hison business in KamiMemo really pissed me off)

    In the end, I think it’s, so far at least, a better mystery series than a lot I have seen and one of my favorte first episode of the season

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  2. I didn’t have a problem with the first episode. But then, I’ve been anticipating this for months (even more than HUNTER x HUNTER) so I’ll admit I do have a bias for it. That said, it was pretty obvious even from the trailer that the culprit was the wife. I think the real mysteries here are the characters themselves which is certainly unorthodox and I feel that a lot of people might have betrayed expectations.

    The hints of Kaishou contacting Yuki, the way Yuki is aware that a murder is about to happen means that Kaishou was probably aware as well. I think Kaishou knew his friend was going to be murdered but let it happen anyway because I saw it as a way to redeem Kanou’s fallen reputation. In the end if Kanou kept on living, he’d be arrested and if you consider that this was a retelling of Ango’s detective stories– during that period a man’s pride was worth dying for.

    As for Inga’s weirdness, isn’t it supposed to be something like a costume ball? I saw masked antendees, a Miku and Terminator. Even if he were weird he wouldn’t stand out so much.

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  3. @Mira:

    I think the real mysteries here are the characters themselves which is certainly unorthodox and I feel that a lot of people might have betrayed expectations.

    Certainly the motive of the wife and her husbands flaws was quite interesting as a background to the murder which shows that you’re probably right with your point. But I felt like the episode was too rushed to take really advantage of that intention.

    In the end if Kanou kept on living, he’d be arrested and if you consider that this was a retelling of Ango’s detective stories– during that period a man’s pride was worth dying for.

    Have you read the original work? Because it’d interesting to find out how the story was told in the original. As for the meaning of the whole thing, I’ve thought it was more about the fact that after the ‘Great Disaster’ things are different than during the ‘Great Disaster’ and not everyone remains a good person despite the changes of time.Actually, this short explanation doesn’t do this story justice as you can get really a lot out of it message-wise. With a more solid build-up this could’ve been a really intriguing story even if the mystery-aspect of it is more or less a farce since it’s that obvious.

    As for Inga’s weirdness, isn’t it supposed to be something like a costume ball? I saw masked antendees, a Miku and Terminator. Even if he were weird he wouldn’t stand out so much.

    You’re right, this could be an explanation… I guess, I just expected a more dynamic storytelling that also included the bystanders and didn’t treat them like air as far as the interactions of the main-cast were concerned. Especially since the mystery-aspect was a minor part of the story they could’ve concentrated more on telling the story of the victim and its implications.

    @Kuuki:

    In the end, I think it’s, so far at least, a better mystery series than a lot I have seen and one of my favorte first episode of the season

    Well, it’s not like there’s a any sort of challenging competition concerning the detective-genre in animes ^^ . I guess, the true test will come when the series spends more than one episode on solving a murder or it does indeed go the ‘human’-rout like Mira described and the stories will be about the people involved rather than the murder.

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  4. “I guess, the true test will come when the series spends more than one episode on solving a murder or it does indeed go the ‘human’-rout like Mira described and the stories will be about the people involved rather than the murder.”

    Oh dear god, I pray it does not focus on the humans. I really am craving a good detective mystery series. I don’t mind some backstory if it is good but I really don’t want some slice-of-life Kamisama no Memo-chou repeat.

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  5. “Hey, if I could get away with having not to wear heels at an event, I would do so too.” That’s so true for me too!!! Gott be careful of not being accused of murder if I don’t wear heels 😛

    As for Rie, I didn’t mind her character, but I found that she recognized Shinjuro as a detective too early in the story. I think it would’ve been better if she would’ve shown more pride in her father’s decision and that Shinjuro would earn her respect bit by bit, as more cases happen.

    And about the whole Inga supernatural element, I’m not too sure what the series is aiming to do with that character, so its too early to judge but, generally, I prefer to have no supernatural element in mystery type stories, since the supernatural element becomes too “convenient” to the case and “unfair” to the viewer. I usually really like shows about fantasy, sci-fi, supernatural, but only when the story is about them, and not used for convenience. But like I said, too early to judge.

    End result: Enjoyable first episode looking forward for the next ones 😉

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    • “I think it would’ve been better if she would’ve shown more pride in her father’s decision and that Shinjuro would earn her respect bit by bit, as more cases happen. ”

      I agree. I kind of wanted her to be the typical “you just got lucky and my father is still the best” kind of character, but then again, that sort of attitude also annoys me if it is not done well. I just thought that Rie’s smartass attitude (which proved how dumb she was) made me feel like I should dig a hole for her to hide in. lol

      “I prefer to have no supernatural element in mystery type stories,”
      True, it gets too convenient at times if it get used as an excuse for everything but I think this show was fine with the way they used it. We all figured out the mystery and it was not like it was dependent on the supernatural element since they are not going to even convict her anyway. =/ Thus it became a useless factor in my mind, at least for this episode.

      “End result: Enjoyable first episode looking forward for the next ones ;)”

      Well, its BONES + detective + mystery so I am definitely going to watch more too.

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  6. I really hate that liar detective and his stupid daughter =__=

    (( 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?)) I wonder ^__^

    in general good episode

    thank you Saranaufogus and M0rg0th for the Reviews

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    • You’re welcome =)

      “I really hate that liar detective and his stupid daughter =__=”

      I am curious about the detective father. I mean, the daughter looks way better than her dad and they don’t even look alike. Maybe they aren’t related? =P

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  7. 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.

    But doesn’t Rinroku want to cover up the murder?

    As for the meaning of the whole thing, I’ve thought it was more about the fact that after the ‘Great Disaster’ things are different than during the ‘Great Disaster’ and not everyone remains a good person despite the changes of time.

    “Even if it’s a lie, something so beautiful should be allowed to end while it’s still beautiful.”
    Shinjuro’s little exchange with Rie at the end sums it pretty well. The whole thing is to protect the man’s dignity.

    I do think that the series would put much more emphasis on the “why” rather than the “how”. Shinjuro’s rivalry with Rinroku seems to stem from the fact that as an information controller, Rinroku is always telling people what they want to hear. The culprit and the motive; how it is done is inconsequential. Shinjuro himself is on a personal quest to find the truth behind.

    It is interesting to find what exactly is the relationship between those two. Despite the bitterness, Shinjuro doesn’t seem to want to expose Rinroku. He remains the Defeated Detective anyway maybe because, yes, sometimes the lie is beautiful.

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  8. “It is interesting to find what exactly is the relationship between those two. Despite the bitterness, Shinjuro doesn’t seem to want to expose Rinroku. He remains the Defeated Detective anyway maybe because, yes, sometimes the lie is beautiful.”

    Actually, I am more curious about the whole moral system of that show since the first episode had established that that world is corrupted.

    As for the relationship between the two… the movie is meant to be a prequel that will cover Shinjuro and Inga’s meeting but I wonder if that also includes the backstory of Kaishou as well because that would be quite shit if we did not get to learn much more about their past and the story just progressed from here on out.

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  9. Un-Go, i never planned on watching another anime other than Penguindrum and HxH, I just tried watching this for the fact that i saw that it was under the detective genre.

    I agree with the both of you that the pacing was a little too fast. For a first episode, yeah sure it’s pretty decent they laid down the plot and the concept neatly. But i have to agree with morgoth, that those character names that keep on popping every now and then at the beginning of the episode just made me dizzy that i ended up not bothering to read them, which made the whole thing pointless. HAHA!

    It’s also annoying, i was like “Why won’t these character names stop popping out I’m trying to concentrate here…”. :p Well i understood the significance of those popping out but it’s just plain annoying. -__-”

    Anyways,.i’m kinda curious on how they will avoid ruining the whole mystery vibe with Inga’s power. I was also wondering, that if Inga’s power is to force someone to tell the truth why don’t they just ask each suspect if they killed the victim or not. HAHA 😛 Maybe her powers have limitations or whatever, i would like to know more about that.

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  10. hi, i think that there is some sort of promise between inga and shinjuru , she keeps saying that these world is only lies . it seems that she is from the dead world and would like shinjuru to go to hell with her and i think she loves him so a love triangle will appear as the events go , sorry for my bad language it is not my first language

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    • “it seems that she is from the dead world and would like shinjuru to go to hell with her and i think she loves him so a love triangle will appear as the events go ,”

      I never saw it from the angle of a love story. hmmm… Well, I am not sure if it might go down the lovers path but the show has definitely been fun to watch. 😉

      Like

  11. they have wrongly title this series, it should be Unko. because this series is like shit. no , seriously it is! really boring to watch, even some japanese gang bang porn is not as boring as this.

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  12. My Problem was that it really, really annoyed me when the real murderers aren’t given any consequence for killing someone, they’r let free while others who have Passed on have their name tarnished just because some woman(and in the next ePisode, some little girl) killed someone for PurPoses that either benefits them or someone else. It’s still murder and even though this is an anime, that SP was doing her job but to have her deceased self be Pinned with killing someone just because she’s not a toP dog is ridiculous.

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  13. Even though I agree with the fact that the pacing is kinda fast, I thought that the story was really interesting. I’ve watched a couple mystery anime series before and I think that Un-Go is one of the better ones. It lacks detail but the plot is really intriguing. Plus, if you like watching porn (why would you know how interesting porn is in the first place? That says something about your tastes) more than watching Un-Go, then do that instead. I’ve never watched porn before, but I have a hard time believing that it’s more interesting than a fast pace mystery anime. I’m not a huge mystery fan (I like the comedies more) but I fell in love with this anime. I hope that there’s a second season :3

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  1. Pingback: Anime Review: Un-Go Episode 1 | This Euphoria!

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