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UN-GO
Rossman + Santa
The Not So Mysterious
ROSSMAN

Other than Detective Conan, all anime mystery shows have left me feeling flat. Yes, there have actually been quite a few anime series that find themselves placed in the mystery genre (like Heat Guy J, Steam Detectives, Gosick, Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, and of course the classic Clamp School Detectives.... Yes, that last one was a joke), but for the most part they were at best average. Most of them weren't intelligent at all, and their mysteries were all weak and insulting to the legacy of the greatest detective ever, the timeless Sherlock Holmes.

Anime mysteries seem to forget that all of the murders or thefts in a whodunit storyline need to have interesting characters, motives, and brilliant executions of the crimes featured in order to work. Most have simple straight up "The butler did it, in the library, with a knife, because he.... Ummm, well, he was greedy and it was beyond obvious" answers for every puzzle the lead mystery solver comes across... All except the brilliant Detective Conan, and now Un-Go.

Un-Go takes place in a modern day Orwellian Japan that's under strict government control after a devastating war that we're only given some vague hints about almost brought down the island nation. It's all about one Shinjuurou Yuuki, a man who's known as "The Defeated Detective" at the start of the series. No, he's not an incompetent loser who can never solve a case without the help of a 10 year-old boy in glasses and a bow tie, but instead Yuuki's a genius investigator who always figures shit out in a quick and logical way, even when the mystery in question is superbly complex and mind-numbingly confusing. The only problem is that even though he is able to solve these crafty crimes, the police still need to cover up the real resolution, and they tend to use the made-up interpretation of events that super rich and powerful detective Rinroku Kaishou comes up with, thusly leaving Yuuki "defeated," as it were.

Now, even though the Defeated Detective is brilliant and all that, this isn't your mother's Agatha Christie series, and the criminals are typically reluctant to explain why they did what they did when confronted with their misdeeds. For that reason alone Yuuki has some help in getting them to expose themselves in the form of Inga, a demon/spirit who feasts on souls, but who has made a deal with Yuuki to only eat truths (or parts of the soul) instead of killing people outright.

Yes, I admit it, whenever supernatural elements are added to mystery shows it kind of defeats the entire purpose of having a mystery in the first place. Meaning, when the lead can see things beyond normal human abilities, or has a spirit or demon who either always knows the real answer or can force the truth out of a murderer or thief, then there's never any real drama to the thing... But Un-Go is different in that respect, for while Inga (who can either appear as a demented-looking little boy or a busty babe with panda-like markings on her face) is a spirit who can ask anybody one question (and one question ever) and get a true answer from it, she has to know precisely what to ask the individual to get them to confess to the final damning evidence that Yuuki needs to win. And Yuuki has to play his cards right and figure shit out ahead of time, since even though Inga's question cannot have a lie for an answer, if asked incorrectly the accused can still not incriminate him/herself.

What I loved the most about Un-Go though is the complexities of all the crimes. Nothing is ever a simple "They wanted money, so they killed their spouse and hid the knife in the maid's purse" storyline (like 99% of all anime mysteries tend to be). The final story alone is such a huge web of double-crosses, murders, doppelgangers, and trickery that easily could have been stretched out into a full season all its own, but was instead crammed into an almost headache-inducing 3 episode time frame.

Robot girls and masks, baby!Anyway, beyond Yuuki, Inga, and the snobby rival Kaishou, there are quite a few other players involved in everything in Un-Go. There's Kaishou's daughter, who is sick and tired of her famous father covering up all the crimes that the rich and powerful commit (that the Defeated Detective unmasks); the police detective and the prosecutor that always run to Kaishou for help when their jobs get hairy; and then there's Kazamori Sasa, the A.I. that Yuuki helps escape from its previous life after being involved in a crime that could never have been exposed (since A.I.s are illegal in new Nazi Japan). Kazamori usually resides in the body of a little stuffed panda robot toy that Inga loves, or in the super advanced robot form of a 10 year-old girl that one criminal created for some probably really disgusting reasons (see pic above).

Oh, and there is a spirit/demon on the other side of the law that Yuuki and Inga cross paths with a few times. While Inga can force one truth out of any person and then feast on that part of the person's soul, the demoness Bettenou lives to cause confusion, and she has the ability to create illusions to anybody that sees or hears her. This more than makes up for Inga's supernatural benefits to Yuuki and his trade, and Bettenou's involvement in certain mysteries makes the Defeated Detective's job almost impossible upon first (or second or third) glance. The cat and mouse games that the paranormal elements add to this show make it that much more interesting, and not wimpier because of them.

So, Un-Go has good characters (though the designs of which may take a while to get used to), a truly unique environment (a modern Japan on the verge of fascism), and brilliant mysteries. The only real problem with it (for the truly retarded) is that you reeeeeeeally need to pay strict attention to it from opening titles till the end credits. And possibly take notes. Some crimes are verily complex, and confusing for maroons.

So in the end, what did I think of the anime series known as Un-Go? It is a very interesting and smart detective show, and you will like it, unless you think that Glee is the greatest thing ever invented for the television by God's own gay, rainbow flag-waving hand. Wow, you need to get out more. Anyway, I give Un-Go Two Thumbs Up. Watch it, love it.


The MEGAPLAYBOY Who?

Yo, G, I's up for a mystery every once in a while. Yeah, mo'fo', sometimes even one that don't involve that awesome doggie dawg Scooby Doo and his Mystery, Inc. friends who love the weed. Once I even read a book that featured Sherlock Holmes!.. Wait... Maybe it was "Sherlock Horse." You know, that makes a lot more sense why he ate oats and sugar cubes and shit. And why they drew him as a horse in the pop-up pages. But whatever, holmes, it was still a mystery story, and I dug it.

So then the Rossman made me watch this Un-Go show with that weird demon girl who looked like Cable's main squeeze, Domino. It was a'ight and all that, but it like made my brain hurt too much to think about all the thinking that the main dude was doing. Yeah, he was smart and all, ya mo'fo', but that ain't no reason to rub all our faces in it. You don't see me braggin' about all the poon tang I get just to make you all fuckers feel bad. And I get me a LOOOOOOOT of poon tang, bitches. A whooooooooole lot. Like, combine Wilt Chamberlain and Sam Malone, and you maybe at a quarter of the tang I've pooned in my life. Yeah, boooooooy!

Anyway, what? What was I?........

Whatevs... I thought this show was too preachy about being smart and all, but I was like okay with it. I give it 3 out of 4 Ninja Stars in its back, beeeeeyatch!


MASTER HIROCHI

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Very honorable detective who solve crime, but still fail, but who no care, for he boink hot demon with very large titties at night. Most excerrent...

Hirochi is honored to give Un-Go an A Pruss-u!