UN-GO – 04 Review
Episode 4 – House Unmasked
This episode wraps up the case of the Masked Mansion.
I am really enjoying this series so far. This is probably the only series airing this season (apart from Mawaru Penguindrum) with a coherent on-going plot that has depth and substance yet remains interesting to watch. I find that many of the other series airing this season end up being either a mindless watch, or the series is unable to produce a storyline that ventures out of the generic shounen/shoujo boundaries that the show is set in.
I am probably the first one who will admit that I do not fully understand where this show is trying to take us. There is no clear direction as to how the plot will build itself up or what the series is working towards as yet. All I can say after watching this episode is that we will be fed more and more information about the society of UN-GO as the series progresses and as cases get solved.
Originally, I had thought that the main focus of the show were the mysteries, but after 4 episodes, it has become quite apparent that the mysteries are simply a device to introduce the different facades of the UN-GO world and the war that led to this current society. The main plot is probably the on-going one between Kaishou, Shinjurou and their difference in their outlook towards things as it intertwines between the different aspects of that current governing system.
There were a few things that I had liked about this episode.
Firstly, the pacing of the show was really good and the manner in which the dialogue about the ‘New Privacy and Protection Act’ had intertwined with the murder mystery was executed really nicely and had made every moment interesting to watch. The whole deduction process was also a joy to watch and this is probably the first time in the show where I did not manage to exclaim “aha! I knew it!” when they had revealed the murderer. Then again, the whole episode seemed to be more about the UN-GO governing system, human nature and the RAI as oppose to the actual murder mystery.
It was interesting to see the RAIs being treated as tools yet they have more morals than some humans.
We are 4 episodes in and this series is meant to only have 11 episodes. As such, by normal standards most shows would have already formed a certain structure and we should be able to see the glimmer of the “light at the end of the tunnel” soon. I am hoping that the following episodes will follow this pacing structure and develop the rivalry between Shinjurou and Kaishou. I find that the two main characters of the series are very unique in the sense that they are intriguing due to their mysterious past and actions as oppose to the normal “interesting personality” characters that plague our screen. In order words, the characters have depth to them and a deeper reason seem to cloud their actions.
What is with Kaishou’s love for peanut butter? =P I love eating it on it’s own as well but I don’t think I would go to his extreme. =P Also, it was interesting to see him kick the refrigerator – dislike for AI technology perhaps?
All we know about Shinjurou thus far was that he was on a battlefield once, but then at the same time, if memory does not fail me, he said that he was out of the country for a long time (I am not sure if he mentioned if he was in the country during the war). As for Kaishou, I am unsure if he is good or bad and what his angle is. I find it hard to believe that a character like him would have not known that Kazamori was actually a RAI, despite the fact that he had claim ignorance. I mean, his character is all about deception and covering up the truth. For the last few epiosodes, I had thought that Kaishou was simply a character that was the face of the government in this series, but if he had known about the RAI and had kept silent about it, then this would elude to some alter agenda which might shake things up. Well, whatever the case, I guess only time will tell.
As usual, Rie never cease to annoy me, her character really doesn’t seem to bring much to the table. Unlike Kaishou, Shinjurou and Inga, whose characters have a certain depth to them, Rie’s character seems to be all about her personality and her ignorance as well as naivety really shines through her actions. Personally, I have no idea how her character will fit into the overall plot, but hopefully she is not merely there for us to use as a gauge of how “tainted” the society is. I really don’t like it when all the character is meant to be is to be tainted by every event that happens in the series (kinda like what happened with Shion in No.6), I find it hard to like such a character and also, I dislike seeing the character dramatize a situation with their reaction to their lost of “innocence” through knowledge. Thankfully, I am probably just ranting as Rie seems to have a stubborn personality that probably would change too easily (apart from her reaction in the first episode) nor bend to any new found truths about the society she lives in, the only issue is that her ignorance is about who her father really is.
Another plot development that I had liked was the introduction of the Military vs the Police Force and how it all ties back to the war. I love the hint that the war has returned, as to whether Inga had said it simply due to the collection of the RAIs and the fact that they being used as soldiers or if it was something else altogether, I don’t really want to over think it right now for all will be known in due time (or so I hope). What I want to know is what the previous war was about in the first place since it plays a major role in this series.
Then we have Inga’s power. It was fun to see a new side to Inga’s power, but did Inga kill off those guys in the alley way by consuming their souls? It can’t be safe for Inga to reveal her powers (since it is not a humanly possible feat) so they had to have gotten rid of those guys to keep the secret safe… right? As I had said, it was fun to see Inga’s power, but what I had liked was the fact that Inga had not transformed during that scene and was still able to use his powers. So what is the transformation about? Also, the way the scene had ended so abruptly and we were left to wonder what had happened next was an interesting way of not revealing whether the characters in the show are “good-guys” or “bad-guys”, it is similar to the ambiguous nature of Kaishou.
The twist with the fact that Sasa Komamori was still alive was something I had not expected as well. I had believed that he was dead all along and although hints were dropped through Kazamori having not admitted to being the murderer, I had merely thought it was someone else and not someone coming back from the dead. What I had liked about the whole revelation scene was the dialogue. I really liked the whole round-about-but-slightly-more-mature manner in which they had contrasted the nature/moral-values of Kazamori, an RAI, against the nature/desires/truth of humans and Sasa Komamori.
Episode Rating: 8/10
Overall, it was another entertaining episodes of UN-GO and this series has gotten consistently better with each passing episode. The complexity of the mysteries has also increased and I am hoping that it would continue on this way.What I really like is the effective manner in which the mysteries and the introduction to the UN-GO are blended together through the nicely executed production of this series. My issue with this show is that despite how good it is, I can’t seem to muster up the same excitement and energy that I feel when I watch Penguindrum or even some of the other series that are not as good. Perhaps what this show is lacking (just like it’s characters) is an interesting personality. =(