“People are beings where a love of what’s right goes hand in hand with a desire to do all manner of evil acts.” – Yuuki Shinjuurou
Genre: Mystery, Supernatural
This anime…watching un-go was probably one of the most surprising experiences I have had in a while. Again, this was an anime introduced to me by my good friend Jojo. What’s funny is that I actually finished watching this whole series before Jojo even started it. So what exactly is Un-Go? Well, Un-Go is a very unique short eleven episode anime series created by BONES. The story follows the detective duo Shinjuurou Yuuki and his interesting partner/assistant Inga, solving cases in Japan. Un-Go takes place in the near future as Japan has a post war recovery atmosphere throughout the anime which helps push forward the plot even though the war itself is barely explained. Now on paper Un-Go could have been disappointing on so many levels but in all actuality, it is a hidden gem I am happy I watched.
First, let me get this right off the top. UN-GO isn’t one of the greatest anime you will ever see. It rides the thin line of being a show that when finished, can lead you to smile and be satisfied. As stated earlier, UN-GO is a detective’s tale. Looking at the show from that aspect, UN-GO is good but conventional. It never tries to move past simple concepts that have been done before in other detective type shows. I’m not saying that they are all predictable but, barely any of the cases go beyond the ideas that have already been explored in other sherlock holmes’ styled cases. So with that information, I am sure you are trying to figure out why I still like this show. It’s pretty simple. The main theme.
blissful lies or brutal truth
This is where UN-GO takes a step forward to show its own identity. The main antagonist of the show Rinroku Kaishou is an intelligent man with power. Due to circumstances, Kaishou has been able to build a power base as a result of the post war relief efforts in Japan. Because of this, he has gained the power to manipulate and control the flow of information throughout Japan. This is key to the plot of UN-GO as you can feel the rivalry between Kaishou and the main character Shinjurou is familiar to that of Light and L from Death Note. Even the supernatural aspect of UN-GO can be compared to that of Death Note as well. The main difference is that the two know each other and the beliefs they stand for from the start. Shinjurou believes in finding the truth in all mysteries as Inga also thirst for the inner truth in people. This is the main reason they teamed up as Kaishou is the opposite. With his power base, Kaishou is able to manipulate the media and public opinion on current events due to his control of information. In many of the cases, you will find the resolution be Shinjurou discovering the dark brutal truth only to have Kaishou beating Shinjurou to the punch and distorting the truth with a more comfortable lie. This cat and mouse game is hard to notice early on but as time goes on and you close in on the last 4 episodes, it becomes more apparent with the usage of the supernatural. I won’t go into that because it enters spoiler territory but, I will say the result of it and the ending of Un-Go is quite satisfying.
Un-Go is decently animated. Nothing will knock your socks off but in some important scenes you can be able to feel the tension of the situation more than others. The soundtrack isn’t anything special either but, I will say the outro song for this show is one of my favorite songs from anime of all time. Ultimately, UN-GO is an anime that doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. It plays it safe for the most part and at some parts throws a curveball or two. If you like mystery or detective shows like Death Note, I’m sure you will enjoy watching UN-GO. It is a compelling story of a detective seeking the truth surrounded by deception and lies. If you are remotely curious in this anime, give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Check out the prequel movie after finishing the first season