UN-GO – 02 Review

Shh! Listen to what she has to say…

Episode 02

Once again, this episode covers a case in its entirety and leaves me with this question…

Is this how the rest of the season will play out to be like?

Review

This series is slated to span across 11 episodes which was the same deal with BONES’ last series No.6. The difference between this and that was that unlike UN-GO, No.6 actually had an ongoing plot which meant that the series had a certain structure to it – buildup, climax, end. (Although the last part was basically clump into one big episode for No.6)

UN-GO on the other hand seems to be following the “episodic/arc” style of storytelling. The first couple of episodes were essentially episodic with unrelated plots and whilst we can’t actually say that it wouldn’t matter at all if you had seen the first episode before seeing the second, at the same time we somewhat can. This leaves me wondering what this series hopes to accomplish in such a limited time span with such a story structure. To me, this sort of structure works well for shows that span across a 2 season period as that gives the audience time to appreciate the show. Alternatively, it also works well for Slice-of-Life series due to the type of atmosphere those shows have and the focus being placed more on the characters than anything else.

Whatever the case, I shall cut my rant short by simply saying that whilst I do not see a real on-going plot currently being developed (apart from the mystery behind Rinroku and Shinjuro) the series seems to prove to be an entertaining watch that would not leave us in awe but at the very least leave us feeling like the 20mins of our lives spent watching this show were not wasted by rubbish.

Now onto the actual episode.

What we had learned today was that Rinroku is not actually a detective but an investigator and this fact makes his character appear less corrupted in my eyes and enlightens us as to how his actions may end up being justified later in this series. His character appears to be a contractor that people would hire to get their stuff done and he simply knows the right people and has enough power to pull off the things that he wants done. Either way, I am still curious as to who he really is and what the whole rivalry/uncaring attitude is behind the relationship between Rinroku and Shinjuro.

Despite the fact that Shinjuro’s past will be covered in a movie, that is meant to be out in November (which worries me that this series is meant to be a promotion of sorts), the show does drop little hints about Shinjuro’s past like how he had made a promise to Inga about feeding her truths and about how Shinjuro himself was not in Japan until recently. These little hints do enough to give us a rough idea of the situation but it also does tempt me to watch the movie to find out more, which is a smart move by BONES in my opinion. My conclusion over this fact is that we won’t be learning/given too much about any of the character’s past during the lifespan of this series. Hopefully I am wrong about this.

As for Inga, I really love his (her? o_O?) attitude she/he brings a nice comical element with his/her quirky personality and the bells that he (lazy to do the whole him/her thing) wears was a nice touch for me. I am however questioning the whole cat situation that he has going on there. Inga’s female self also does a nice job at bringing a creepy element to the show with her leaving bloodstains on Shinjuro’s face after touching it and her crazy thirst for the truth. Despite how the whole notion might sound lame, the execution made is less painful than what it could have turned out to be.

The series has proven with this episode that it focuses more on the motive and reasons behind the kill as oppose to who the actual killer really is and the mystery behind it. I am not sure I like this approach since it is a mystery series after all, but I guess I would have to commend it on being somewhat different from normal.

Heh, I know what’s going on. Do you?

The mystery structure is also pretty simple in this episode. You are pretty much given clues and forced to play detective (due to how obvious they made the hints) while watching the show. I could not help but guess along with Shinjuro and went “aha! I knew it!” or “it is her/him (shall not reveal it) dammit!”. This “interactive” aspect made it fun for me but at the same time I would rather a more difficult challenge just as long as it does not tread into the land of the impossible; with the use of crazy and over elaborate schemes that is fun to watch unravel, but one would never be able to guess the answer in their lifespan.

Yes, I am important because I am the main character.

What I had not liked at all was the philosophical part of the show. Why did they have to do the whole ‘it is normal for people to break down and everything breaks down in the end”. It was so random, odd and unnecessary since no one wanted that piece of insight into life. To top it off, Shinjuro for some odd reason thought that everyone at the scene of the revelation would actually care about what he was thinking and thus started to rant on about how even he would breakdown at some point and that then turns into a mini-monologue about why he is searching for something and what he is searching for. Sure, this information is probably important to the overall plot, but it felt as out of place and oh so very random. If this had happened in real life, I would have ask him to hold it in until a more appropriate time. I mean, come on, that killer was about to grieve and wallow in self-pity! Have some respect dude. =P

Then we have the end of the episode which suddenly felt like the scene was cut short with the ED song suddenly popping up. I have no clue what went on there or if the animators were aiming for a dramatic ending, but it just felt sudden and abrupt without really doing anything at all. I actually scanned to the preview to see if there was some short clip at the end or if there was some continuation in the next episode. However, it is looking like there’s none.

Are they trying to promote the fact that downloading is illegal and that you will get caught? Is this meant to reflect the fact that a bunch of illegal uploaders have been getting caught recently? =/

Overall, this series is developing a certain plot structure which is ‘Mystery of the Day’ -> Shinjuro solves it -> Rinroku covers it up. The series will probably be a solid 7 or might be pushed slightly above it depending on if there’s an actual backstory that is interesting in this series. The mysteries are engaging enough and despite it’s “low difficulty level” it does well in not coming across as being childish or retarded in nature (which Phi Brain seems to love to do). The characters are also intriguing and I am still undecided as to what sort of character Shinjuro is meant to be since he does not seem to fall perfectly into the mold of any stereotypes just yet, and that’s a good thing. =)

Episode Rating: 7/10

-ra
P.S.: I really like the art style in the OP and ED sequence. Do you?

About Saranaufogus

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

Posted on October 21, 2011, in Anime, Reviews, UN-GO and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. ‘it is normal for people to break down and everything breaks down in the end”. It was so random, odd and unnecessary since no one wanted that piece of insight into life.

    To be fair, this is in reference to Sakaguchi Ango’s works and his personal philosophy I guess. In an article by Roger Pulvers he says that the war was a the great leveler of Japan. When even the most powerful and righteous fall. You can read more about it here: http://www17.ocn.ne.jp/~h-uesugi/angoodyssey.htm

    Of course, I think the episodic format will do this series a lot better than taking on an ambitious plot. It’s too early to say what this series plans to do but I’m really enjoying it so far.

    Like

  2. “To be fair, this is in reference to Sakaguchi Ango’s works and his personal philosophy I guess. In an article by Roger Pulvers he says that the war was a the great leveler of Japan.”

    Thanks for the link Mira.
    Hmmm, I don’t have issue with the saying but more like the integration with the plot made it seem over the top for that story line? Perhaps it would have worked better if it was said in the first episode instead of this second one. =/

    “Of course, I think the episodic format will do this series a lot better than taking on an ambitious plot. ”

    I agree with you based on the fact that No.6 did end prematurely. However, I still have my doubts about the whole episodic thing for now. I guess if it stays this way it wouldn’t be too much issue. I would probably like it (if they go down that philosophical route instead of making mystery it primary focus) would be if every episode had some “philosophical theme” to the mystery and impart slight wisdom each week. After all, they are focusing a lot more on the characters anyway. =D

    “It’s too early to say what this series plans to do but I’m really enjoying it so far.”

    Same here, same here.

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  3. Whatever the case, I shall cut my rant short by simply saying that whilst I do not see a real on-going plot currently being developed

    The past two episodes’ main purpose, I think, is to construct a setting of a post-war society under censorship and information regulation (New Internet Privacy and Protection Act). I do see an on-going arc, however: Shinjuuro guerilla information warfare against Rinroku (the truth against the convenience).

    What we had learned today was that Rinroku is not actually a detective but an investigator
    Eh… Isn’t he actually an information broker and manipulator?

    Are they trying to promote the fact that downloading is illegal and that you will get caught?

    Weren’t the whole scenes merely depicting the attempt to spread An’s forbidden singing that, despide’s the government’s and Rinroku’s attempt to prevent, got through anyway? A small victory for Shinjuuro, surely.

    I find it interesting that in the first episode Shinjuuro chose to maintain silence and in this one he chose to fight back a little. So he’s doing it all not for the sake of truth but rather for the sake of, uh, the murderers?

    Like

  4. Whatever the case, I shall cut my rant short by simply saying that whilst I do not see a real on-going plot currently being developed

    The past two episodes’ main purpose, I think, is to construct a setting of a post-war society under censorship and information regulation (New Internet Privacy and Protection Act). I do see an on-going arc, however: Shinjuuro guerilla information warfare against Rinroku (the truth against the convenience).

    What we had learned today was that Rinroku is not actually a detective but an investigator

    Eh… Isn’t he actually an information broker and manipulator?

    Are they trying to promote the fact that downloading is illegal and that you will get caught?

    Weren’t the whole scenes merely depicting the attempt to spread An’s forbidden singing that, despide’s the government’s and Rinroku’s attempt to prevent, got through anyway? A small victory for Shinjuuro, surely.

    I find it interesting that in the first episode Shinjuuro chose to maintain silence and in this one he chose to fight back a little. So he’s doing it all not for the sake of truth but rather for the sake of, uh, the murderers?

    Like

    • “I do see an on-going arc, however: Shinjuuro guerilla information warfare against Rinroku (the truth against the convenience).”

      I am not sure if I would call that an arc, but it seemed more like a repetitive structure for me. =/

      “Eh… Isn’t he actually an information broker and manipulator?”

      I can’t believe I wrote investigator =_=” you are right.

      “Weren’t the whole scenes merely depicting the attempt to spread An’s forbidden singing that, despide’s the government’s and Rinroku’s attempt to prevent, got through anyway? A small victory for Shinjuuro, surely.”

      Yes, it is. But at the same time I am just wondering if there was something more to it.

      “find it interesting that in the first episode Shinjuuro chose to maintain silence and in this one he chose to fight back a little. So he’s doing it all not for the sake of truth but rather for the sake of, uh, the murderers?”

      Hmm, did not see it that way. He did choose to fight back this time ’round. But I think he is doing whatever pleases him. If he finds that the person has a good enough reason he is going to let the truth be known. With the first episode we didn’t really know if the guy was guilty. But with this episode we do know that the victim was a b*tch and guilty for her sins. I think he is merely letting the truth that he knows come to light. =/

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  5. I love this series so far, coz I am really curious on the story behind Inga – that in itself is all the mythology I need. I like this series so far for the “Defeated” concept against society. To be honest, even in the first one, they don’t show what happens to the ‘actual’ culprit. Maybe they all go free… question for all, is Un-Go based on a novel or a manga or some prior concept? I couldn’t find anything about it on the net…

    Like

    • UN-GO is based on the works of Ango Sakaguchi (Aoi Bungaku Series’ “In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom”), he is a post-WorldWarII Japanese novelist and essayist.

      The story that UN-GO is adapted from is called ‘Meiji Kaika Ango Torimono-chō’. However, the series is meant to have taken elements from the novel rather than it being a direct adaptation. One of the biggest changes is that the original is in a Meiji Era whereas this series takes place in modern society. =)

      “they don’t show what happens to the ‘actual’ culprit. ”

      I found that curious as well. It is left for us to assume at this stage that the actual culprit goes free since they are eradicated from their crime and there are no consequences apart from what is show. Can’t wait to see the next ep. ^^

      Like

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