28 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Un-Go episode 1

I watched the first episode on Anime on Demand because legal streaming is awesome and AoD has their streams available in the UK, but that means I didn’t have a video file to take screenshots with. You’ll live without them for now.

Remind me why I look forward to Bones anime again? They did Full Metal Alchemist and…err, the other Full Metal Alchemist. Eureka Seven and Darker than Black were pretty cool. Other than that, the past few years of Bones anime have been everything from Gosick to Heroman to No.6 to Daughter of 20 Faces to Towa no Quon to Soul Eater to Xam’d to Star Driver to Tokyo Magnitude to etc. I don’t think any of these anime are that bad, but in every case my personal response has been a resounding ‘meh’. Un-Go looks to be continuing that proud Bones tradition.

Un-Go is about a detective who perpetually loses his cases to another great detective but doesn’t actually (spoiler). He is helped by a combination of his incredibly pointy face and his sidekick, a little boy dressed as a panda. This panda boy can transform into a sexy older lady who breaths butterflies into peoples eyes to make them tell the truth, a feat nobody seems to be particularly perturbed by. OK, maybe the butterfly breathing was a visual metaphor for her piercing gaze, but surely somebody would at least question why a character, who had been previously established as a little boy, to have suddenly grown 2 feet taller and a massive pair of breasts. We’re in a fairly normal world, albeit set in the future in a post war scenario. There have been no previous established magical capabilities in this world. The entire mystery of the episode relied on the fact one person was impersonating another. I was waiting for one of the characters to leap up and proclaim “wait, characters can change their appearance? That changes everything!

The animation is strangely bland for Bones. Being a mystery anime, most of the screentime is taken up with talking heads. Without action scenes to animate, Bones seem to be at a loss what to fill in the screen with. Liven up those talking head shots somehow, otherwise it’s just dull. It’s at times like this that I really appreciate Shaft and their approach to artwork. It’s hardly new on Shaft’s part. I’ve been watching anime by the old master Osamu Dezaki lately, and he loves his crazy dramatic faces and slightly trippy shots. If anything comes out of the popularity of Bakemonogatari and Madoka Magica for anime as a whole, I hope it’s the Shaft approach to animation being copied by other studios. Bones attempt to livening up the shots is making the character designs slightly CLAMP-esque, but all that happened is it made them look pointy and not animate well.

If it sounds like I’ve been dancing around doing a proper review, it’s because I am. Un-Go didn’t leave much of an impression on me at all. The mystery was solved all within the one episode, not giving us time to garner what was at stake, who was who or make our own guesses at what the culprit or their motives were. Even the characters themselves seemed totally detached from proceedings, the murder causing surprisingly little distress amongst the visitors, who had apparently all gone there to see that very man cleared of all charges against him. It was hard for me to care about the mystery when I didn’t even know who the character that died was. Yes, they explained it, but he died within 10 minutes and with all the names thrown at me in that time, I didn’t know which one had died and which of the previous exposition we had been given were related to him.

Oh well, so much for Noitamina part 1. Now time to watch Noitamina part 2 not be absolutely perfect and for everyone to declare it a massive failure.

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  1. Blargh
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    BONES typically shits the bed on the 2nd half of every show they do. It’s pretty much a given that the first half will be full of awesome, and then rage worthy as the show wraps up. I don’t know how they do it, but it’s amazing. I’m still bitter about Xam’d… so so bitter.

    Whoever does the music/soundtrack/etc for them though is a pretty amazing fellow(s).

    Didn’t read the rest of the blogpost yet cause I’ve not watched the show yet.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      I feel you man. I’m still bitter about Xam’d too

  2. mcm38
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    I still liked this first episode. It was one of the best I could even say. Leaving aside everything else, the story was the thing that pulled me in. Prety interesting if you ask me.

    ‘The entire mys­tery of the epis­ode relied on the fact one per­son was imper­son­at­ing another.’

    Yes it did. But it was all nicely put together with lots of clever stuff. For example the dresses. Normaly you would question how the hell a woman could easily change dresses from a balldress to a suit. But they introduce us very casualy to a special dress you can wear in one go before the ball starts with the maid and the misses.
    It may seem unimportant, but these kind of sophisticated stuff isnt usualy used properly.

    I have to admit tough. The moment I saw the old man I knew he was gonna be the victim. And the moment I saw the misses in the toilet with the misses, I knew immediatly the wife was the murderer. So it was still a very obvious and cliché’d plot. But nevertheless, a good introduction of the series Scamp. Don’t go ranting to its poor animation.>.< You make it seem like there was nothing worth watching in the whole episode because of it.

    • mcm38
      Posted October 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      ‘the moment I saw the wife in the toilet with the misses’*

    • mcm38
      Posted October 13, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Also I just watched Guilty Crown and spoiler spoiler spoiler. I liked the song I’ll say only. A beatifull voice.

  3. Karry
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Un-ko ?

    • mcm38
      Posted October 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      8D ikr. I tought of that pun immediatly when I heard the name.

      • HomuHomu
        Posted October 18, 2011 at 2:16 am | Permalink

        lol, same with me

  4. Nebulous
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    The reason this show failed is because it could not answer a fundamental problem. Why do I care? Detective shows are only interesting when you can care about the characters involved. See House, Monk, etc.

  5. Marow
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    The opening and ending were cool, stylish stuff.

    Otherwise, it felt rushed, I didn’t understand much at all. I don’t have much faith in Bones and Noitamina (at least, half of it) nowadays, but I’ll stick around.
    Meanwhile, I will continue to re-watch Eureka Seven and enjoy Bones <3

  6. luffyluffy
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    In case you guys didn’t know, I fucking love detectives and detective stories.

    Best first episode so far.

    • ペーパー先生
      Posted October 17, 2011 at 4:49 am | Permalink


  7. Posted October 14, 2011 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    You just know that it’s a bad mystery-series when you can spot the culprit before even the murder happens. And it was really strange how both of the genius-detectives hinted at how they already knew who the culprit was but the main-character just remarked that he wanted to know ‘why’ the victim was killed and didn’t say anything about the culprit. I can understand that but why were there scenes after that feeling like a sort of investigation. They actually could’ve skipped from the murder to the scene of Inga doing her wacky mojo right away with the protagonist explaining who the murderer (obviously) is. There was no need to run around and pretend to gather clues.

    • luffyluffy
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 12:25 am | Permalink

      Oh yeah, I knew it was the wife too. It generally is.

      It’s not because of the clues really, more of the fact that it’s a pretty obvious cliche.

      I still was fascinated by her motive however.

      • mcm38
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        She indeed had at least have a more original motive.

    • Posted October 14, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      I agree with that, there was an interesting background behind this story. But sadly I felt like it got sort-of buried by the rushed way the story was told. It wasn’t really made clear in which way it was supposed to matter to the audience.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      When it comes to people complaining mysteries are ‘too obvious’ I’m pretty sceptical. I’ve seen people claiming otherwise and I remember the two opposing reactions to Gosick’s opening mystery too

      • Posted October 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        I guess, as long as we don’t get a mystery where the culprit introduces himself by saying ‘Hello, my name is Steve and I’m about to kill someone.’, there will be always opposing opinions regarding how a mystery should look like to be considered good. The first episode was obvious – but was it bad? That’s the part everyone has to decide for themselves, I think.

      • DrSgtPepper
        Posted October 17, 2011 at 4:28 am | Permalink

        If you’ve ever read Sherlock Holmes, then you know that often times, the culprit is not the question, rather why and how. Yuki (I hope I’m saying it right) Fucking said that within 30 fucking seconds of the murder! Sure you knew who did it, but if anyone guessed why, then stop watching anime and become a detective!

  8. Posted October 14, 2011 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    I actually enjoyed this episode, and I personally thought the animation was nice, but then again, I don’t have much of an eye for fancy animation, shiny things are enough to trick me.

    I wasn’t really watching this episode for the murder mystery itself, I doubt it’s important, but what I was watching it for was the interesting back story to the main character.

    I am looking forward to seeming more of this “Fail-Detective”, he seems like a fun character.

  9. Posted October 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this. I’ve been a fan even before it started airing so I guess that I’m being a bit biased when I say that I think it has a lot of offer than most shows this season.

  10. Posted October 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was a decent episode. I’m in the camp that hates the early Gosick-style of mystery where the audience has no chance to solve it because the detective pulls the solution out of his or her ass (this might have changed in the second half; I dunno, I dropped the show). It’s at least nice to be able to piece together a solution, even if it is sort of obvious.

    • Marow
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      The second half is more adventure than mystery actually, but it still pulls solutions out of its ass. Oh, and the ending is a train wreck.

      • Posted October 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        If by train wreck you mean an awesome train wreck.

  11. Mr. Anon
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    My favorite Bones productions are Scrapped Princess, the FMA series (both of them), Darker than Black (excluding the OVA miniseries and emphatically excluding season 2), the Cowboy Bebop movie and Sword of the Stranger.

    Bones is a bit hit-and-miss, but they try a good premise most of the time, and sometimes it results in something awesome. I don’t think I’ve seen any Bones show that wasn’t interesting in some way, even if it turned out bad. In comparison, at least 90% of anime is bad cookie-cutter shit.

  12. Dude
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    What did the big room have anything to do with anything in the episode?
    Why was the SP in the elevator?

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