UN-GO – 09 Review
Episode 09 – Rinroku Kaishou’s Crime
This really wasn’t the direction in which I had expected the show to go in, but it was nice to see Kaishou having been forced under the negative spotlight.
It is sad that the last episode was the end of The Novelist’s character, but thankfully, the episode had followed through with the setup from the previous episode on the character of Bettenou. It is starting to look like this Bettenou arc will last us through to the end of the season with some of the characters from prior episode having been brought together once again for this arc. I was really looking forward to Shinjurou having become a changed man after his voluntary soul-searching stint in prison but that along with the consequences of The Novelist had been pretty much dismissed in this episode.
The catalyst behind this episode was a hacker group called Full Circle and their “war” against Kaishou. Full Circle essentially hacks and release information about Kaishou’s private life and sensitive information. But along the way Kaishou ends up digging himself into more trouble and this is the first time we get to see Kaishou being on the opposite side of the fence with Shinjurou playing detective to solve the case.
In my mind, the episode can be split into 2 “parts – the first part can be seen as the “deception” segment whilst the second part can be seen as the “revelation” segment. However, I honestly believe that whilst the first part of the episode plays the role of deceiving Shinjurou into believing that Kaishou might be innocent, the second part is not really a revelation but rather a misdirection segment. I don’t believe that the one who has control of Bettenou is Kaishou but the police guy (Hayami Seigen) from the car in the last episode or perhaps even Shinjurou in some round-about manner.
One reason why I am calling it a misdirection segment instead of a revelation segment is due to the Kaishou having been home point. There have been enough statements/hints dropped throughout the series about Kaishou’s intelligence and it would have been stupid to for Kaishou to “destroy” his plan by revealing himself to his daughter whilst acting all shocked about the situation. (Not to mention to have done it on TV and cement himself as the prime suspect) This point should have been the first thing that had popped into Shinjurou’s mind, so I am unsure why he seems adamant that Kaishou is in fact in control over Bettenou.
Then we have Inga, her character’s behaviour in this episode was really interesting. This is the first time we get to see a more subdued and vulnerable side to Inga. My speculation about her unusual behaviour is that where Inga is all about the truth/obtaining the truth, Bettenou’s character is all about distorting reality and making things turn into the truth. Which essentially means that Inga is pretty much vulnerable to Bettenou’s actions. I am merely guessing that this might be the reason behind Inga’s fear of Bettenou, but the episode hints at a deeper connection between the two characters which I hope will be revealed by the end of the arc.
Since I have been talking about the characters, I might as well touch on Rie’s character. What is the use of her character? Her only purpose is to be this pretty female character that has an insignificant and unrealistic emotional connect to Shinjurou’s character that comes across as being forced and unnatural. Apart from that, her only real use is to be this motivational factor behind Shinjurou’s actions which then has a domino effect of it resulting in Shinjurou having solved the case. We really get to see little character development on her part and I am finding it hard to see the point of her personality. The upside to her presence is that she is the only character that has the ability to bring out the “darker”/more violent/human side of Shinjurou.
What I did like in the whole episode was the use of the speculation and gossip to create a certain reality/belief. When compared to Bettenou’s actual abilities, Bettenou’s existence is pretty much like a personification of the power of the media and it’s channels. This idea of the power of distorted information is nothing new and has been an strong on-going theme in this series, but it was nice to see them flashback to one of the prior episodes (episode 2) in order to help develop the plot of this arc.
Then we have the microwave and the military. I am not sure what they are meant to represent but it was quite obvious that the fear of a “stronger power” such as the development of the microwave weapon of mass destruction is another point that the show was trying to push forward with. I am not sure how this ties in with everything without trying to fluff my way around by saying that this whole idea of a “stronger power” might be a reflection on the vulnerability that everyone suffers through the impression given to them by that particular instance. I am not sure if what I had just said made any sense, but what I had meant was that it was never really showed that the technology exists and yet people were already fearing it through the impression they had gotten from the image conjured up in their mind and the consequences to that particular “impression”. But like I had said, it is a stretch and I am probably just blowing smoke so I wouldn’t take what I had just said as anything meaningful or serious.
The pacing of the episode was surprisingly nice. Despite having not expected the show to take a turn in this direction – where everyone is after the power to create their own reality (Bettenou), I have to say that I was entertained. I was worried that the episode was going to go into one of it’s deep rants about it’s core themes, and whilst the execution of the different series themes was heavy in this episode, the actual plot was interesting enough to keep me entertained and not as dry as it could have been. By the end of the episode, I was eager to see what would happen next.
There were a couple of odd things in the episode. One of it was how the writers had failed to integrate Kaishou’s appearance in his home nicely with the ongoing plot. At one point, it had left me baffled as to what had happened in that home scene when Rie hadn’t brought it up during her discussion about the case with Shinjurou. I was almost certain the writers had forgotten that scene until Rie had finally mentioned it later in the episode.
The second thing that had left me confused was Inga. Was Shinjurou implying that Inga was there all along and he had merely been unable to see her due to what Bettenou had done? If that was the case then this implies that someone knows that Inga is a crucial part of the team and is trying to destroy their teamwork. However, the fall out between Inga and Shinjurou had seem a tad sudden and forced – with Shinjurou throwing a tantrum and having lost his cool. What I did like was how the reason behind Shinjurou being unable to succeed, is due to his psychological instability as oppose to his personal capability. Hopefully the UN-GO movie would explain more about Shinjurou’s inner-psyche since I doubt the series would delve that deep into any of the characters since the movie is meant to play that role.
Overall, the episode is still riding on last episode’s buildup and momentum and I am glad that the series is starting to feel like it is coming together quite coherently with bits of the past episodes being used to solidify the plot development in the series. I can’t wait to see who is behind Bettenou and what Bettenou is actually meant to be. I just sincerely hope it is not going to turn out to be one of those “it was all in your mind/it was a dream” scenarios.
Episode Rating: 7/10