Review: UN-GO


Alex: Ouch. Be it one thing after another, I ended up accidently dropping coverage of UN-GO…and now that the final episode rolls around, i’ve got no less than 4 episodes to watch to catch up. Thankfully they’re all part of the climax, but still >>

If i’m honest, I stopped watching because Umineko was released lately. And now that I am watching it, I can’t help but compare the two. And it doesn’t come up favorably for UN-GO. Not to say that it’s a bad mystery, because in terms of mystery anime, it sets a dizzying high for anime to aspire to, with complex cases and well…everything is complex, yet not rushed and not overly complex.

However, some of it doesn’t work well.The detective’s “watson” is what i’m talking about here. Inga is a fascinating character with a very interesting power…the ability to make people answer just one question of hers honestly without hiding anything. What kind of person creates a fascinating chracter yet doesn’t develop them or do anything with them, just leave them in the background without taking the effort to develop them or anything.I’m well aware that there’s a movie called Inga-ron coming out, but that’s no excuse for not developing her at all. Yet her power breaks the first rule of classic detectives…that supernatural methods must not be used as a detective method. They thankfully don’t abuse this god-moded power, but still…

So, what does this mean to the viewer? This means that UN-GO isn’t your classic mystery. And as such, that doesn’t mean it abides by the rules of a classic mystery. The cases doesn’t have to be solveable and the cases don’t have to make logical sense until the detective reasons it out. That does take away part of the fun of trying to solve the cases before our “Defeated Detective” solves them. Ultimatly, this means that UN-GO is just fun and not a proper mystery. However, that doesn’t change the fact that UN-GO tries it’s best to make it solveable and accessable to the average viewer.

UN-GO also makes it fun and enjoyable. It’s built on a complex scenario, with a complex set of cases and some complex characters, but that doesn’t stop anything from becoming fun. No, infact it makes it works in a rather surprising way. Because it’s complex and can be hard to understand, the way that it’s layed out and presented to everyone makes it easy to understand whilst being hard to understand. You get the impression that in the short 11 episodes, you’ve jumped into a perfectly complex scenario and that UN-GO has gone on for longer than it really has. It’s engaging, it’s fascinating and it’s charming in it’s own way.

But it’s not a proper mystery. So don’t go in expecting a proper mystery; go in expecting something enjoyable and complex. You won’t be disappointed.

Alex’s Score: 8.5 Meeps out of 10 (Very Good)

Dusk’s Score: 8.5 Meeps out of 10 (Very Good)

UN-GO Episodes 6 & 7

The Simple Code

Alex: I probably don’t give this show enough credit. I should have watched these two episodes sooner, because, well…the episodes are really well done. Creative, well thought out and pretty interesting. The Simple Code was a really interesting story with loads of unique tones and stuff like that.  And Daydream…well, that was amazing.

Not only was it creative, it was a really well written story which threw the male lead into a completly unique scenario. Everything was a reference and a vital clue to solving the mystery, and the fact that our detective thinks he commited the crime…is a well designed snide comment towards other detective/crime novels i’ve read lately. Not to mention any in particular, but there was one which really blew my mind with how well it handled the “Main character = culprit” scenario…i’m actually really excited to see how they’re gonna end this unique escapade.

UN-GO Episode 5

The Phantom Statue

Alex: A typical detective case. The kind you’d see on CSI or something like that…I dunno. It was well thought out, interesting yet the characters acted really off. If I didn’t know better, i’d label this as a filler episode, but one tiny detail was what saved it. The interaction between Shinjuro and Kaisho’s daughter. Ugh, I dunno…it just felt really wasted to me. It didn’t do anything the other episodes hadn’t managed to do, and it felt rather clunky and poorly put together. Couldn’t they have just saved that scene between the two for another time and gone with the next part of the story?

UN-GO Episode 3 & 4

Masked Mansion
House, Unmasked 

Alex: The scenes with the terrorists at the start were pretty dark. I had no idea that the Japan of yesterday was destroyed by a full out war against terrorism. Anyway, two parter case this time around.Typical rich family, yadda yadda. On the fifth year of the elder’s death where he burnt to death, the new elder burns to death in the same manner. So like a proper detective, he doesn’t examine the curse…he examines who would have caused the curse. However, the curse isn’t perfect…one death by burns was created from an explosion. One cause of death came from burns because he was set on fire.

A dead body, in other words, a corpse…whom nobody can identify because nobodies’s ever seen his face because it’s custom in the family. Oh, and the company he’s president of deals in android related stuff.Oh…and the kid was suddenly adopted be the father. I saw it coming way too early to warrent it being a two parter in an 11-episoded series. There were a few twists and turns that I didn’t expect in the second half, but it remains that the mystery side of UN-GO was a bit of a let down this time around. However…the rest of it was better than it had been, with sharper dialogue and a moderate sense of humour. Is it going to be a case of finding the middle ground?

And can I get an episode dedicated to Inga yet? She’s such an interesting character.

UN-GO Episode 2

Pitiless Song

Alex: At this point in time, UN-GO doesn’t have to sell itself as a powerful detective series that’s episodic and engaging. It has to prove that it’s different than the other detective series that have been heaped onto the anime world. Granted, UN-GO is a very good series and a strong detective franchise…and pretty unique as to be expected from the noitaminA time-slot. But that didn’t give me the confidence that it would make itself stand out from the other detective shows.

The case this time is pretty simple. Body stuffed in a suitcase, husband in hiding, no other suspects. So thankfully, we get some good detective work and a proper solution…something all the other series seemed to fail to manage.And there was no ghosts, no clues that weren’t presented, none of that stuff. How many of you know about the rules of Knox? Almost all detective novels and shows should aspire to meet these rules. And we finally get an anime which meets them.

UN-GO Episode 1

Murder at the Ball

Alex: Bah, first impressions are pointless when you’ve already decided to blog it. Where did all the other detective series such as Gosick go wrong? Why, they had no detective. They had a genius who figured everything out because she was overpowered. Here you’ve got a normal detective who actually does detective work to figure out the crimes. Yes, his companion may have a mystic power, but the way they’ve limited it is a nice twist. The setting is also a really good spin on the post-war scenario, already opening up a ton of political styled episodes and goodies for the series to dip into.

It may have been a first episode, but for some reason the characters jumped at me as being rather..flat. That’s certainly a problem which this series needs to work on, but apart from that, it could easily top all the other detective series. As to be expected from noitaminA~