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「海勝麟六の葬送」 (Kaishō Rinroku no Sōsō)
“Rinroku Kaisho’s Funeral”

It’s a shame more people aren’t watching UN-GO, because it’s delivering some of the smartest and most interesting non-commercial anime in ages.

I wasn’t wild about this series for the first couple of weeks, but to say it’s grown on me would be an understatement. If this turns out to be the last hurrah for NoitaminA as a showcase for anime that would otherwise never be produced, so be it – while it’s not perfect this series has improved steadily to the point where it now works both as an intellectual exercise and an involving character drama. And this last mystery has proved to be the most interesting and puzzling one of the bunch.

I don’t know if this has been confirmed before, but apparently the show is set in 2011. Obviously it’s a very different one than the 2011 we know (though perhaps not as different as we’d like to believe) but that doesn’t stop Kaishou from making reference to the 9/11 bombings in New York and even the Tohoku Earthquake as it relates to tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories. Given that we’ve also just learned – courtesy of Inga’s questioning of Koyama – that Kaishou commissioned software for government use that could falsely quantify the existence of criminal activity, his words obviously need to be taken with a pound of salt. But I can’t help but thinking all the signs pointing towards his obvious guilt (and death) are a red herring.

It’s not as if we have any shortage of suspicious characters to choose from. For starters, the Diet member Kuramitsu is proving herself to be a publicity hound and a demagogue at the very least, trying to use Kaishou (and Shinjuro) to make a name for herself by stirring up conspiracy theories about microwaves being used as weapons. We also know that she met with Inga, as he had the handkerchief that Shinjuro had earlier given to her. There’s also the odd and erratic behavior of Hayami, who appears to be playing both sides but seems to be working against Kaishou to me. His motives might be more involved than just what was suggested here last week, as he seems to have a romantic interest in Koyama and can’t have been thrilled by the pictures released by Full Circle – and he seemed especially shocked to see Kaishou’s invitation in Shinjuro’s hand as the ep closed. We also know that Kaishou’s security chief Mizuno knew about the Yajima incident when he shouldn’t have – and he apparently died in the blown-up car with Kaishou. If that was faked, his involvement in the conspiracy isn’t far-fetched.

Obviously, Bettenou is at the heart of all this, but I wonder if we’ve been missing the heart of all this by focusing too much on who might be pulling her strings. What if Bettenou is doing all this of her own volition? Admittedly I can’t say what her motivation might be, but Inga could be argued to be using Shinjuro more than the reverse, so why not her? She’s certainly having contact with Inga, who seems to be doing her bidding – it was Bettenou who told Inga to ask Koyama the question about Kaishou. That question leads me to believe that Kaishou isn’t behind Bettenou, and just because he knows she exists doesn’t mean he’s using her to his own ends. My sense is that Kaishou is hoping Shinjuro gets to the truth, perhaps even trying to push him towards it – though again, his motives aren’t clear. He’s no innocent, but I don’t think Kaishou is the guilty party here.

And then there’s Inga, who’s clearly not the same being he was a couple of weeks ago. He even tells Shinjuro he’s sick of limiting himself to souls with no killing and disappears with a puff of butterflies. The relationship between Inga and Bettenou is at the heart of this mystery, surely, and I don’t believe he’s acting out of his own free will. At the very least I think he has more regard for Shinjuro than what he showed us here. As for Kazamori, she’s proving itself to be an extraordinarily useful RAI – and a damn entertaining one at that. Her in-character reading of Mizuno’s last words to Shinjuro was one of the most stylish and funniest moments of the episode. It’s immunity to Bettenou’s influence is surely a tool that Shinjuro will find a way to use to his advantage in next week’s final episode.

I’ll be sad to see UN-GO end, because it’s been getting better and better and there surely won’t be a second season. While we likely won’t see real closure for the characters, at the very least the writing here has been so strong that I fully expect a satisfying conclusion to this excellent final puzzle.

 

Preview

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December 15, 2011 at 11:25 pm
20 comments »
  • December 15, 2011 at 11:58 pmHrmmmm

    Sad to see Un-Go finish. It’s become my most anticipated series in the season (yes even more so than fate/zero umad?)

    I was also pretty creeped out by Kazamori just cutting a slit into the Writers face… OH LOL you just cut a hole in my face. NO BIGGIE. I’ll now proceed to explain everything to you like nothing freaky just happened.

  • December 16, 2011 at 12:07 amZero

    Wait a minute we never even got to see the guy who wears a black trench coat who looks like Hei from darker than black and appears in both the opening and ending. Are they planning another season to add a back story or something or are they just gonna leave us in the dark about this.

    • December 16, 2011 at 12:12 amMifec

      Erm…that’s Shinjuro.

    • December 16, 2011 at 8:16 amYoyo

      I think thats a ref for the movie a.k.a ep 0.

  • December 16, 2011 at 12:10 amw_t

    It felt very minimum when the ending song, that’s how interesting it was. Looking forward to Episode 0 movie, anyone seen it?

  • December 16, 2011 at 12:48 amLitho

    This show does have it’s flaws, bit I’ll definitely be sad when it ends. Hope something just as entertaining (read: thought-provoking) will take up the noitaminA slot (one’s already wasted thanks to that Guilty Crap show, sadly).

    Hope I’ll get to see the Ep 0 movie soon.

  • December 16, 2011 at 12:56 amDarkWind

    Agreed that its a shame not more people watch this. Think its one of the few series as supernatural/mystery that manages to pull out the best from both genres. Will be quite sad to see UN-GO end.

    As for the mystery itself, it seems Rinroku was just as surprised to hear he was at home with her daughter so probably, Rinroku really was at the TV station when the explosion happened. Question is what Bettenou is saying to Inga and whether their abilities can affect each other.

  • December 16, 2011 at 4:34 amx

    Really good episode. Yeah, too bad it doesn’t look popular enough to get another season. This didn’t have enough episodes to give people an idea of what the show is about though. So it was not that surprising.

  • December 16, 2011 at 6:00 amGuest

    Maybe Inga really is jealous? I mean, I thought it was just Kazamori joking about how Shinjuro had a great time in the prison because of the ladies, but maybe Inga really has come to realize that Shinjuro will want human companionship, and got depressed enough to fall into Bettenou’s influence.

  • December 16, 2011 at 7:25 amTez

    I loved Mizuno’s Rewind face

  • December 16, 2011 at 8:58 amLuxorcist

    I haven’t mentioned this for the past few weeks, but you were right that Un-Go is becoming the politically charged drama under the guise of another mystery.

    I say again, from crime show to political drama. I think my expectations have been met. ^_^

  • December 16, 2011 at 9:13 amokitakarin

    AAAAAAAAAHHHHH, I will really miss this series when it ends ;____; I like it soooo much!!!

    Your review was awesome :D I agree with you whole-heartedly :) I also think Inga isn’t acting on his own free will…I think that maybe, just maybe, he was trying to help Shinjirou by placing the handherchief where he left it and was just provoking him when he said he was fed up with eating souls without killing >__w<)

  • December 16, 2011 at 9:14 amokitakarin

    (continue last post) maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I felt :O

    Also, does anybody else has the impression that Rie is in love with Shinjirou (or al least admires him)?

    Anyway, I would also like to watch the movie D: I want to know how Shinjirou and Inga met!!!

    Thank you very much for the review :D!! Looking forward to the last one from this series x3 (As well as the Mirai Nikki ones yay >w<)

  • December 16, 2011 at 10:29 amGuardian Enzo

    Indeed, Luxor, the politics have been ramping up with this one since the beginning. Just what is “truth” anyway?

    Okita, interesting idea about Inga “planting” that hankie to help Shinjuro – he just might have. And yes, I think Rie is in love with Shinjuro. Everything she dislikes about her father (who she does love anyway) she sees the opposite in Shinjuro. She’s a kid, and he’s an older guy who embodies her idealistic view of the world.

    • December 17, 2011 at 7:35 amTez

      I don’t think you can really say Shinjuro is a “kid”. She obviously has a great curiosity in human actions and why they do the things they do, and that makes her seam child-like, but she far too mature, pensive, and knowledgeable to be considered a child psychologically. Did’t she run a major company for like 5 years?

      I think she’s sorta like Data from Star Trek: TNG.

  • December 16, 2011 at 2:07 pmhoh

    Speaking of love, Koyama’s one-sided affection for Kaishou is pretty interesting.

  • December 16, 2011 at 3:24 pmGuest 2

    Love this show and it is sad that not enough people watch it. Love the summary very well done. I honestly do believe that Rinroku is trying to guide Shinjuurou and they each play to two different view points and reveal different truths. I believe that Hayami and Mine have something to do with Bettenou since Mine called the next witness which was Inga and when Koyama was answering the question Hayami stopped her and he and Mine exchanged a glare. Also I think Rie has been affected by Bettenou something baout how she’s been acting seems to me as not in her character. Also there was that scene where Rie was crying ont he balcony and a tear drop landed on Shinjuurou a few eps back if i remember he touched his face and tehre was nothing and looked up to see no Rie.

    any way UN-Go is good stuffs =]

  • December 17, 2011 at 2:19 amOrinX

    best ep so far

  • December 17, 2011 at 4:26 amSeishun Otoko

    I too am surprised at how much I’ve come to like this series. It’s certainly one of a kind and one of the best detective series we’ve seen in quite some time.

  • December 23, 2011 at 7:27 amoutcast

    I always liked the screen caps. Now that it had a decent number of episodes i started to watch it. And it’s a really nice show, though it feels like they just started.