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UN-GO – 04 »« UN-GO – 02

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「覆面屋敷」 (Fukumen Yashiki)
“Masked Mansion”

I’m still not sure what to make of UN-GO after three episodes, but’s it’s carving out a place as a show that’s genuinely interesting for its creativity and unapologetic weirdness.

Based on the last two cases, in terms of pure mysteries I’m beginning to suspect that UN-GO is a cut above the likes of Gosick, Kami-Memo and Dantalian. I can’t find enough info on the source novel to know just how much of these plots are directly adapted from Sakaguchi Ango’s work – obviously a lot of details would have needed to be changed – but there’s a complexity and cleverness behind the last two mysteries that seems to transcend what we normally see in anime.

I found this most recent case put me in mind of Ghost Hunt quite a bit (and that’s a compliment) even though Inga seems to be the only supernatural element in this show. Of course sometimes there was a mundane explanation for events in Ghost Hunt, and indeed there seems to be a scientific rationale at heart of the story of mysterious and powerful A.I. guru Komamori Sasa – so secretive he never publicly showed his face – and his adopted “son”, Kazamori. I was immediately caught up in this tale of the scientist who died in an explosion, the stepson he left the company to and whose face his family never saw, and the tragedy that befell the son seven years later.

When Komamori’s daughter Mitsuko asks Rie for help, it’s fascinating that rather than turn to her father, Rie turns to Shinjuro. This is our first concrete evidence that as well as fancying herself an amateur detective she’s not only aware than her father is more a propaganda tool than a true detective, but that she bristles at this – leaving her in a unique position among all the characters in this series. With Komamori having died while under attack by the government for his artificial intelligence work, Rie recognizes that there might be much more to this case than meets the eye. She’s a clever one too, using her wits to get around a “No transport by vehicle or on foot” decree by entering a restricted area on horseback.

While it wasn’t hard to figure out that Kazamori was an A.I. himself (who even went to the extent of “growing up” for appearances sake) given the premise, this cliffhanger still has the makings of an interesting arc. Who was behind Komamori’s death, and why did Kazamori fake “his”? As with many mysteries it’s largely a question of who knew what and when, but there’s an obvious tie-in with the dystopia – in fact, I wouldn’t be shocked to discover that Komamori faked his own death seven years earlier. The problem I’m having is mainly in seeing how Shinjuro and Inga fit into the bigger picture. Izumi and Seigen don’t seem important in that they fulfill very predictable “government dog” roles, but at least we know who they are and what that predictable role is. Shinjuro and Inga are still very much an enigma.

In fact, at this point I think it’s valid to question whether Shinjuro is even a good detective. After all, in each of the first three episodes it’s Inga – who Shinjuro interestingly refers to as “my boss” – whose question proved the key to unraveling the mystery. Shinjuro is obviously smart, but is he exceptional? Not knowing exactly who he is or even why he continues to chase mysteries only to be defeated by Rinroku at every turn makes it harder to connect with him as a character and, by extension, the show itself. The answers are tied up with Inga, obviously, and about the only thing we know about Inga is that – he or she – Inga isn’t human.

 

Preview

UN GO   03   Preview 01 UN GO   03   Preview 02 UN GO   03   Preview 03
October 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm
31 comments »
  • October 27, 2011 at 2:30 pmGuest

    All these pointy faces look a bit the same, but now that you put up so many screenshots doesn’t the prostitute from the start look like android head on the table? Just a new haircut and some makeup?

    • October 27, 2011 at 2:37 pmGuardian Enzo

      Yeah, but not to the point where I think it’s a clue – I think it’s just a common look to the character designs.

      • October 27, 2011 at 2:52 pmGuest

        The head might turn out to be someone, but when everyone has a face like a trowel it could be almost anyone. Pretty sure it’s not Inga.

    • October 27, 2011 at 10:43 pmThe Story You Don’t Know

      The plot for this serieas is intereseting but really HATE THE CHARACTER DESIGNS! They really really suck! I swear, even OnePiece is soooooo much better! Im dropping this show, whos with me?!

      • October 29, 2011 at 4:03 pmGh

        You can’t drop an anime just because of the character designs! It would make you seem like a brat.

  • October 27, 2011 at 2:43 pmJin

    “After all, in each of the first three episodes it’s Inga – who Shinjuro interestingly refers to as “my boss” – whose question proved the key to unraveling the mystery.”

    Inga always asks Shinjuro for the question.

    • October 27, 2011 at 2:48 pmGuardian Enzo

      I know, but how good a real-world detective are you if you can’t solve a case without a magic bullet?

      • October 27, 2011 at 3:02 pmzafen

        I get the feeling that he uses Ingas questions more for evidence or conformation. He always seems to know what they will answer.

      • October 27, 2011 at 3:56 pmxcswmboy

        Yea, it’s not like Shinjuro is ever surprised by the answer to the question. After the answer, he would immediately follow up with how it is relevant and explains the case.

      • October 27, 2011 at 5:42 pminfinite

        Has there been a case where Shinjuro didnt solve it because Inga wasnt there? Or is that just you assuming he hasn’t?

      • October 27, 2011 at 6:05 pmAex

        The way Inga always transforms gives me the feeling he doesn’t really have a choice in using her. When he tried not to in episode 2 she almost got violent. Makes me think she has a hold on him and he has to give her “truths” and such. So he doesn’t need her for the case, he just has to use her to satisfy her cravings. It really seems more for her than him.

  • October 27, 2011 at 3:19 pmomeganx

    It seems to me that in some way, he HAS to do these cases one way or another because 1) I wish they would detail if he’s actually employed to solve these mysteries and 2)The little episode he and Inga had (her bruising his face) gives me suspicion that she is forcing him to find out these mysteries due to some past promise he made to her.
    All i need to is his motivation for being a defeated detective, so i can actually like this character.

    • October 27, 2011 at 8:03 pmSnuckerpooks

      It was sort of hinted at in the very first episode with the accident, where the person that revived Shinjurou was named Inga. Then in the second episode quoting him with “I’ll show you a human truth” or something along those lines. We can speculate there is some sort of relation / contract to him surviving the accident and a purpose Inga wants him to fulfill. Whether it be her own greed or some larger scheme, THATS ZE FUN PART… NOONE KNOWS

  • October 27, 2011 at 3:24 pmx

    The source material may be a cut above the rest, but this anime doesn’t seem that compelling for me. It’s not too bad, but I’m not finding it exceptional in any way. Still, it’s worth watching for me personally. Always like a mystery series. It would take a lot more to make me hate one ;)

  • October 27, 2011 at 3:25 pmmoridin84

    Shinjuro being constantly defeated by Rinroku is an not actually true though, Rinroku after all is only looking a reasonable ‘answer’ which satisfies the government.

    Also since it’s a mystery show and one of the mysteries is Shinjuro, I don’t think being able relate to him is, at least at moment, particularly important.

  • October 27, 2011 at 3:53 pmxcswmboy

    I really don’t like Izumi’s character. She definitely knows that Rinroku is a hack, but is still arrogant enough to denounce Shinjuro.

    I think Shinjuro is a good detective. Yes, Inga’s questions are useful, but she needs to ask Shinjuro everytime who and what to ask. It’s a gimmick for speeding up the show really, and Shinjuro has mostly already solved the case by the time Inga asks the question.

    I agree that this show is above Gosick, but definitely not better than Conan.

  • October 27, 2011 at 4:02 pmFlappy

    I really liked how Kazamori appeared at the end as (^^;; somehow I am getting pretty excited about this series more and more, maybe BONES finally nailed a detective series after such a long time.

  • October 27, 2011 at 6:00 pmAex

    Aside from this being frustrating as hell with Shinjuro never getting any respect, I love this show. Hope we get an explanation soon as to why Izumi and Rinroku are such tools, especially Izumi. I hate that woman. At least Rie sees through them now.

    Definite “Ghost in the Shell” vibes this time, especially at the end! I like it!!

  • October 27, 2011 at 9:50 pmokitakarin

    Inga is so awesome x//) I just love him!! He makes this show really interesting!!!

  • October 27, 2011 at 10:11 pmDrew

    I see Shinjuro’s purpose as being the tool Rie uses to break open the Skull and Crossbones old boy’s club her father and the government are operating as. This is assuming they actually have a real overarching plot in mind. Which, they might not. :D

    Shinjuro seems to be in a pact with Inga in exchange for his life. We saw what was…blood? appear on Shinjuro’s body when Inga didn’t think he was upholding his end of the bargain, so maybe Shinjuro will die if he doesn’t keep finding people that can satisfy Inga’s hunger for the “truth”.

    Inga, himself, seems like a lot of smoke and mirrors, considering his reflection in his victim’s eyes is of a horribly dessicated corpse, and it’s that same horribly dessicated corpse that is shooting butterflies into those victim’s eyes. Meaning, both the voluptuous woman and cute little boy are likely illusions.

    In fact, if Inga is all smoke and mirrors, perhaps Shinjuro is as well, and it is only Inga’s power that makes him appear as a living human being, hence Shinjuro’s body seeming to break out the way it did in Episode Two.

  • October 27, 2011 at 10:57 pmHistoryman

    Honestly, this show is not impressing me. GOSICK was better as a mystery show than this. Mysteries here are just too easy to solve and it relies on a lot of copouts. For example, the whole “war” that is alluded to is never given a proper explanation and is used as the motive behind all of the mysteries so far. It’s assumed that a war is the cause of the current situation in Japan, but why is it so vaguely explored that it seems to be referred to only as a primary factor of a case? What was the trigger in the embezzlement accusations and murder in episode 1? The war. What was the reason for the culprit to do what she did? The war. This is lazy writing in my view.

    I can see the sequential pattern in the narrative: Shinjurou and Inga comes across a case, the culprit is introduced as a pseudo-suspect, interrogations occur, Inga uses her truth spell, the culprit is revealed, and the premises for the case is revealed (i.e. the war). I don’t think I’m missing anything by not watching the series anymore IMHO… although I’m curious to know why the hell is Shinjurou working for Inga in the first place.

    One last thing to opine before I end my little post: BONES has REALLY lost its groove with making good anime, so I don’t know why people gush over them anymore. I cannot remember a single good title since FMA:B that BONES has produced, and I know people are going to tell me GOSICK was good, but that’s only because it managed to save itself with an intricate plot in the second half. Other than that, it’s very difficult to remember a recent BONES anime that was genuinely good. Also I’m not a huge fan of their latest animations style; I don’t know why, but the best reason I can give is that everything looks too polished. That is to say, everyone in the anime have the same general design and look (e.g. Shinjurou looks like Dominic from Eureka Seven and Hei from Darker than Black), and hell even the OP looks like a DtB reject. If anything, the only good thing synonymous with BONES is production values, for which I can see in this show.

    tl;dr: show’s boring, no plot, mysteries are hackneyed. Not following this.

    • November 2, 2011 at 10:29 amDivine

      It’s interesting how you acknowledge that GOSICK got better in the second half when the various subplots started tying together, but aren’t willing to stick around with UN-GO to give it a chance to do the same. GOSICK was rather formulaic in its progression as well with Victorique solving all cases with her “wellspring of wisdom”. The notable difference is, GOSICK could afford to have the cases span multiple episodes because the series was slated for 2-cour. Anyway, this is just an observation of mine from reading your comment. If you feel so strongly against UN-GO, I agree you should drop it.

      • November 4, 2011 at 4:25 pmHistoryman

        The difference is UN-GO is not a 2-cour show. It’s slated for only 11 episodes unlike GOSICK which had 24, so UN-GO cannot afford to fool around like this. UN-GO is terrible at what all detective stories should be good at: narrative/storytelling. For one, the show gives away a lot of clues before the revelation itself (i.e. Inga bewitching someone into telling the truth), and in this case, it’s the whole AI intelligence and robotics involved.

        In the grander scheme of things, this episode introduced something which I think should have been done right in the first episode: the introduction of the current state of Japan. In the first episode, the all-important question of why the main suspect did what he did was half-assedly justified by the messed-up state of the country, and that really pissed me off. Wouldn’t it be the more natural course of narrative to introduce the setting rather than use it as a mean to justify an event only at the end of it?

        GOSICK had a better sense of narrative and didn’t wait around to introduce the setting and conditions for us. It said it right at the beginning, while UN-GO is pussyfooting around with it. I’m not going to waste my time for this show to explain what the hell is going on, and that’s why I’m dropping. You’re free to disagree with my reasoning but that’s my decision and I stand by it.

  • October 28, 2011 at 12:55 amlilu

    The way in the preview doll Panda is moving I suspect that Kazamori is inside it.
    The reason why A.I. is a banned technology is most likely, because Kaisho was the first who took control over the world(he controls all cameras, net, information and as we saw Kazamori can do the same thing, but it is doing on a smaller manner). Kazamori is a big threat to Kaisho unlike the defaeted detective who has no power over such things.

    • October 28, 2011 at 2:18 amJester

      Yeah I was thinking the same thing. Would make things a bit more interesting because so far I’m not a huge fan of the anime’s story progression. Let’s hope our theory is correct ;)

  • October 30, 2011 at 6:48 pmsealouse

    It kind of doesn’t make sense though because no matter how much Kazamori burned up wouldn’t they be able tell it wasn’t a human from the corpse? Other than that little plot hole it was a good episode.

    • October 31, 2011 at 6:18 pmYuumei

      Well some of them already knew he was a robot… The mother, obviously, and probably the doctor and uncle too. I don’t think it makes much of a difference.

  • October 31, 2011 at 6:17 pmYuumei

    It’s only been 3 episodes and mysteries tend to take a while to get going. I didn’t even like Gosick until episode 7 or so. That considered, I really enjoyed this episode and I’m glad it’s a longer one rather than a 1 episode story.

  • November 1, 2011 at 7:20 amZwei

    my analysis of the episode, not entirely though.

    so basically, Kazamori’s secret is already known to Itoji and especially Kagihiko to begin with(you can see him interact w/ Kazamori, possibly the A.I. during the start of the ep), and Kigihiko’s line “We didn’t kill Kazamori. There’s no way we could have killed him” caught our MC’s eye on the way he said it not because it implies that there is no reason for them to kill Kazamori but they utterly have NO MEANS to kill him. Kagihiko is also telling Itoji that “they should tell him, otherwise they’ll be..” accused of the crime, and that’s were the surveillance cameras came into rescue that halt they’re revelation about Kazamori.

    those also lead to our MC having Inga asked the question “Who is Sasa Kazamori? Whose face is under the mask?”

    one question is, what are the consequences for having Kagihiko and Itoji revealing the truth about Kazamori that they so hesitant to do so even after “the supposed to be Kazamori being burned alive”

    and one other thing is, WHO DID GET BURNED?

  • November 7, 2011 at 5:03 pmFumoffu

    Watching the dog get hit on the head with a rock was far more shocking for me than that Caster summoning scene in Fate/zero… poor dog.

  • November 10, 2011 at 9:17 amOznerolu

    No one noticed the TwoPiece manga inga found?