Genre: Mystery, Supernatural
Summary: With the help of his strange assistant Inga, “defeated detective” Shinjūrō Yūki solves crimes in a near future Japan still suffering from the ravages of war. Problem is, the credit always ends up going to super detective Rinroku Kaishō.
Review: UN-GO is meant to be a supernatural mystery that combines wit of a detective with a twist. I’m not entirely sure if they showed that very well in the series, however. The series starts off with a rather obscure understanding of who the characters are and how they know each other. There is a short clip at the beginning showing what I can only assume is the past during the Great War. There is supposedly a prequel called Inga-ron which has already been released according to MAL. I’m looking forward to seeing that whenever I get a hold of it, but for now my judgments stands on the series itself. There were a few good things about UN-GO that kept me interested, but overall it wasn’t the best mystery anime I’ve seen. I found things to be a bit too choppy for my tastes.
The art for UN-GO was good and bad. There were a lot of great scenes like the transformation of Inga and a couple of the action moments. They also had a few good scene selections. The backdrops and settings for each arc made the series a lot more interesting, but that would only change per arc. Of course there isn’t much you can do when there is only one crime scene so I don’t blame them. I just found everything to be pretty standard and nothing truly stood out to me in terms of art. The character models were probably the best part because they stuck with rather normal looking clothing/hairstyles while making distinct characteristic changes. The only exception to the “normalized” look was Inga who isn’t normal to begin with. I wouldn’t suggest picking up UN-GO for the art because you wont find anything special; it just got the job done. The story was where most of the focus was, as for any mystery anime.
Although the story wasn’t bad, it didn’t captivate me the way I wanted it to. I didn’t care all that much about the mysteries because they weren’t very exciting. A couple of the arcs had merit. Take the cameraman arc for example; it not only utilized the supernatural element of UN-GO, it also brought about a rather fun plot twist. Unfortunately, I know for most viewers the fun of a mystery manga/anime is trying to figure out the culprit before the main character does. This anime doesn’t really let you do that because it leaves out a lot of key elements. Often times it is because of the supernatural portion, while others it is just too difficult to piece things together. It isn’t terribly done and does allow the user to make logical predictions on what is to happen next. In the end though, attempts to figure out the mystery are simply logical guesses rather than detective work. Alas, I push away from this because it was never my interest to solve the mysteries myself in the first place. However, the story still didn’t do much for me because the arcs seemed to spread out and disconnected. I found that having a overall plot device helps with mystery anime, and having mini-arcs in between fill in the gaps. UN-GO seemed more like a random event anime with the exception of the last two arcs. On top of that, you never get a feel for the characters. I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the characters with the exception of Kazamori. I find the problem probably arises from the fact that the anime doesn’t have many consistent characters and is short. The characters that did reoccur didn’t have anything that special about them. Rie, the daughter of the great detective Rinroku, wasn’t a very fun character to watch. She served as a split of romantic interest and comedic relief. Both roles she did half-assed and didn’t get any better as the series went on. The final arc she plays a vital role in the investigation; yet she never really did much more than say the same fact over and over again. Thankfully the series left a lot open for a second season and didn’t do horribly as a mystery anime. Considering I didn’t hesitate to watch the next episode I can’t say I regret watching it.
The soundtrack for UN-GO was pretty top notch. The opening and ending had a great sound. I particularly liked the ending and always looked forward to it. If you want to check it out it is called “Fantasy” by Lama. When the girl starts singing *drool*. I managed to get a hold of it as well and I can safely say that the full version is equally as good if not better. I did enjoy the opening, but it was more for the melody and beat than the lyrics. The BGM wasn’t phenomenal but it did its part to say the least. I was particularly fond of the one that played when Shinjuurou was explaining the details of the case called “Light”. Another one that caught my attention was “Truth” which increased the intensity of a situation.
Final statements: UN-GO isn’t a fantastic series and I can’t say I liked it as much as many others did. It lost its pizzazz early on and I probably enjoyed it more because of the other anime I was comparing it to at the time. Even though it is a low priority watch I wont say it is a bad anime because it did have a couple enjoyable moments. I was just looking for something else, something a little more engaging.