UN-GO Review — A-

UN-GO follows Shinjuurou, a detective, and his partner Inga, as they solve crimes in an alternate-history dystopian Japan.

UN-GO was my second favorite series of the season, after Penguindrum. I’ve already ranted at length about why I love this show so much in my weekly posts, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

The biggest thing I love about UN-GO is how it executes its mysteries, and how it treats its viewers as intelligent beings. It gives you just enough tantalizing hints so that you can build up some idea of the mystery yourself. But it doesn’t show its entire hand, and keeps you waiting on the edge of your seat until the end of each episode.

Another thing that UN-GO does much better than any other mystery of the week series is that there is an overarching setting that the show builds up week after week. The mysteries in each arc are not independent: they are tightly woven together in one grand narrative tapestry. This gives the feeling that the events of each case matter, a sense that Dantalian, for example, sorely lacked.

Not only does UN-GO have some fascinating mysteries, but it presents some fascinating ideas as well. There are these underlying threads on the nature of intelligence and the question of “what is truth?” and whether the truth should be known.

The characters were some of the most fascinating of the year, particularly Shinjuurou and Kaishou and their relationship. The female characters are fabulous as well (especially Diet girl!).

There’s an episode 0 which was released as a movie in Japan, and I can’t wait to see it. All in all, this was a great series, one of the best of the year.

  • Plot / Script – A – Thought-provoking and engrossing.
  • Characters – A – Fascinating and original.
  • Production – A – Stylistically unique, I especially like the hair.
  • Overall – A-

RecommendationsDantalian no Shoka, Gosick, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo

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7 thoughts on “UN-GO Review — A-

  1. The initial episodes of Un go were disappointing but i think it was the 4th episode that totally clinched it for me … Here I was smiling like a smug bastard at the end of the 3rd episode thinking i had everything figured out and then the 4th episode hits me like a train … Absolutely brilliant stuff.

    1. Same, this show never ceased to surprise me. I wasn’t too enthusiastic after the first episode either… although I think that’s probably because I had just finished watching Dantalian.

  2. Draggle, thanks for covering this show! Your observations opened my eyes to many aspects I hadn’t noticed at first.

    This show has been over so quickly that it felt like a teaser to me. Now I’m slightly addicted and desperate for more of the same. Do you know if any of the source material (by Sakaguchi Ango, it seems) is available in English?

    1. It’s based on Meiji Kaika Ango Torimonochou, as far as I can tell it isn’t available in English, unfortunately. A few of his other works are though: I know his short story “In the Woods Beneath Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom” is available in English, it was adapted in the anime Aoi Bungaku. You can find it as part of some short story collections.

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