Category Archives: UN-GO

UN-GO 05 — Shitting Gold Bricks

Out his tank.

You’re Shitting Me, General

The thing I love the most about UN-GO is how the mysteries are actually mysteries. It’s highly non-obvious how the cases will turn out.  I mean, take a look at this guy:

How can he not be evil? Any intelligent viewer will instantly think that this guy is the murderer. I decided he was the murderer before there was a murder. And these three heroes? Psshaw. How could this “bombing” possibly not be an inside job? Then the son reading the tragic story turns out to be an actor? Guilty as charged.

But the thing is, UN-GO assumes the viewer is intelligent, and takes advantage of that. We cycle through several other theories before arriving at my initial ideas. Then I thought, “Hey! That’s what I thought! These people aren’t idiots!” Only to immediately have my theory (and Shinjuuro’s) shattered by Inga’s question. But then at the end of the episode, after many more twists and turns, it turns out he was still guilty of a different crime.

There are so many layers to the mystery. As I mentioned before, it’s like an onion. And the characters and mysteries are actually intelligent. It’s not like Gosick where the mystery is completely obvious in the first five seconds and we spend twenty minutes watching the detective act like a moron.


I think there was supposed to be some heartbreaking scene about the defeated detective giving up on the truth and on humanity, when he was talking to Kaishou’s daughter and she was bawling. It didn’t really strike a cord with me emotionally though, because I was busy laughing hysterically at her horse. She overhears her father’s conversation and immediately goes bounding off on her horse. When she starts crying, she nearly tramples Shinjuuro to death. She definitely lied about why she uses the horse in that earlier episode.

The horse was funny, but a bit out of place. There were a few other scenes that stood out for being great though. I especially enjoyed Inga’s appearance as a female in this episode, as she snuck up on Izumi. Izumi beats Saber for girl in suit of the season, hands down.

I also appreciated seeing everyone’s reactions to the unveiling of the truck, at the beginning of the episode. I had already concluded that the terrorist attack was an inside job, and it was nice to see Shinjuuro share my opinion. His sigh here was more expressive than any words could have been. The contrast is even more pronounced when we have the audience applauding, Inga oohing and ahhing, and Kazamori just staring blankly ahead.


A.K.A. my own random thoughts, which are actually utterly brilliant, but I had to continue the theme in titles.

  • What a dumb place to hide gold bricks. He should go dig a hole somewhere instead of hiding them in plain sight in a museum.
  • I love having the stereotypically evil guy who loves war preaching to the main character about the beauty of humanity. The best part is he actually means it.
  • Great idea with the red marks on the face being the big hint! I thought it was strange when I first saw it, but didn’t think much of it, and it ended up being so critical.
  • Overall, a great episode. This has managed to become my favorite show that’s currently airing, next to Penguindrum.

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UN-GO 04 — Seductive Stuffed Animals

A great episode. This show keeps getting better and better. Although I did feel parts of it were a bit fast.

Internal Discord

I loved the direction they took by involving another faction within the government. In many of these kinds of dystopian stories, the government is some tightly unified force. There’s no dissension within the ranks: everyone is a faceless citizen-soldier. For example, consider No. 6. The government there is a faceless beast. It’s evil because it dumps corpses in a heap for no apparent reason.

As I mentioned before when writing about No. 6, a faceless boogeyman is a cop-out. It is a concept that is at fault and bears the blame, not the people that choose to implement that concept (or choose to look the other way). Government is a human institution, formed and maintained by individuals. To condemn the government is to condemn humanity, or a portion thereof. Defacing the villains serves to absolve the society’s members of their complicity and guilt.

UN-GO, thankfully, avoids this. The government isn’t one monolithic entity. It’s composed of competing factions, with different goals, which often come into conflict. It is a decidedly human institution. This simultaneously serves to make the organization both more believable and more fascinating.

Surprisingly Well-executed Action Sequences

I didn’t expect this show to have any fighting, but color me impressed. The short action segments were tense, exciting and solid. First we have the chase by the Public Security Force. There’s a panic as the people evacuate the tent city. Inga defeats them with his powers. I didn’t know he had other powers as well.

But the part I really liked was when they got to the house. The Public Security Force, when their ruse is uncovered, pulls their guns on the detective and doctor. Kaishou’s daughter blocks the way, but they shoot anyway. Nice save, Mr. Detective. The doctor is shot, but is revealed to be a robot and goes on a rampage. Then Izumi makes the save. Inga’s right. She was pretty cool here. She is way cooler than Saber in a suit. Although she looks even cooler with her cape. I demand more capes.

Questions of Justice

I’m not entirely sure at what they were trying to get at by saying that the AI creator lacked a love of what’s right. I mean, look at everything he went though to prevent his robots from being used in war! Doesn’t that suggest a love of what’s right to you?

I’m not trying to imply that what he did was right. But it seems to me that it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying to do what’s right: perhaps it was an excessive love of what’s right. Let’s compare with Kaishou: he also hides the truth for the sake of the “greater good.” Is what he does wrong? Sure. But does he do it for lack of a sense of justice? Not at all. I’m certain that he does it because of his sense of justice. His idea of righteousness simply values the welfare of the entire society over fairness to individuals.

Really, the reason we know that the scientist is evil is because he’s fat. As everyone knows, all fat people have no self-control. This is why they need to sexually abuse robots to find fulfillment. Hence, they have no sense of justice.

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UN-GO 03 — Do not Pass GO, Do not Collect $200

I had low expectations for this series, but it’s starting to get pretty good!

Paper Bags

Maybe it’s just me, but I found the opening segment with the family pretty creepy.

Do those paper bags remind you of anything?

What is it with these head coverings with giant eyes? This isn’t a rhetorical question; I have no idea where it comes from and am quite curious. It does have a great effect though— very disturbing.

A Rebellious Daughter

I’m starting to really like Rie Kaishou, the chairman’s daughter. She’s an interesting character: she clearly used to dote on her father, and I don’t doubt that she still does. But she also hates the way he lies and covers things up, and runs to the Defeated Detective for help in unearthing the truth. She still maintains the same naivety as before, except she believes that her father’s lying is always wrong.

But although she’s naive, she can be quite ingenuous, as demonstrated by her use of the horse. I admit that I’ve pulled that trick before, except with a Segway in “no skateboarding / rollerblading / biking” areas.

An Unexpected Twist

The best thing about UN-GO, though, is that it actually knows how to tell a mystery. Let’s compare with some recent shows of the same ilk. First, Gosick. The mysteries in UN-GO are non-obvious. If this were Gosick, they would have had the father make beeping noises like R2-D2. What a funny human. Ahahaha. The other recent mystery show is Dantalian no Shoka. The biggest differences with UN-GO are that a) Inga is a dog in heat, Dalian is a girl with frilly dresses and a sweet tooth, and b) the detectives in UN-GO actually matter.

That brings up an interesting point, actually: do the detectives in UN-GO matter? The government always hides the truth which the Defeated Detective unearths, so in one sense his sleuthing doesn’t matter. But the Defeated Detective has an opponent who defeats him, so his actions are not pointless, even if they are ineffectual. For Huey and Dalian, no one cares what they do, so they remain undefeated. Their actions aren’t even worth covering up.

I’m quite pleased that the creators are going with a multi-episode arc, as well. A single episode is just too short for most stories. They keep revealing more tantalizing hints about the setting as they go along as well: hopefully this will begin to play a bigger role.

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UN-GO 02 — The Cutthroat World of Vocaloid

I said last week that I wasn’t going to blog this. I lied. This episode was pretty good, and since I’ve blogged every other noitaminA series since I started this blog…

A Bitch in Heat

I complained last week that Inga bothered me. Well, he / she has already started to grow on me. The whole transformation sequence this week was great.

First, you see Inga with this big grin and his eyes rolled up to the top of his head, eyeing his prey, as the two women make what seems to be an obvious lie. Then he tries to provoke the two women, claiming the murderer could be the ghost of their friend. He laughs uproariously and keeps pointing at the girl’s picture when they don’t take the bait, clearly impatient. One of the women runs away, and he literally leaps after her, chasing the woman down a long corridor, giggling while the woman pants.

The detective grabs Inga’s shoulder, and his face is plastered with a goofy grin. Inga shakes back and forth and shouts that he can’t hold it in anymore, as the lights begin to flicker. He grasps the detective and transforms.

My point is, this sequence did a great job at portraying Inga’s excitement. He is more beast than human, and his excitement is sexual in nature.

The Mystery Itself

Shrek: Uh… ogres are like onions!
[holds up an onion, which Donkey sniffs]
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes… No!
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry?
Shrek: No!
Donkey: Oh, you leave ’em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin’ little white hairs…
Shrek: [peels an onion] NO! Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.

It was interesting how they pulled off the mystery of this episode. They set up the problem quite quickly. And before we had much time to even think about what had happened, Kaishou presents his solution. This solution is not obvious at all from the setup— the taxi driver is a cross-dresser. This seems suspect, but the show doesn’t stop to give us time to think about it. Immediately we jump to the Defeated Detective’s meeting with his client.

One idea comes out on top, that the two members of the singing group precipitated the murder. But it turns out that this isn’t the truth either: the woman the detective met with originally is the killer. Then, we discover that behind this is a deeper myster. The idol group itself was created as a government conspiracy. So we have an enigma (the government coverup) behind an enigma (the Defeated Detective’s explanation) behind an enigma (the murderer’s explanation) behind an enigma (Kaishou’s explanation) behind an enigma (the original mystery).

UN-GO is like an onion.

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