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.