While meeting with the “novelist”, Shinjurou somehow passes into an alternate world where there’s been no war, but he’s a cameraman on the set of a war movie. He acts naturally in this sudden new role, but has a persistent urge that there’s a mystery there to be solved. Indeed, when the hostile film director is found murdered, he determines himself the prime suspect. But there’s a strong possibility he’s being toyed with, as Inga and Kazamori aren’t able to get to him back at the prison.
This Un-Go is a mystery within a mystery, as Shinjurou attempts to solve a mystery on a movie set while an overarching mystery festers throughout: where is he, and what the heck is going on? A lot of the details and dialogue suggest a dream sequence. The novelist and his funkily-dressed girl companion behind him to whom we haven’t been introduced yet; they’re definitely behind this, but how far does it go?
If this novelist can do what he claims he can do, probably quite far. Shinjurou, Rie, Kazamori, and the others merely literary concoctions of this dude made flesh; puppets with which he weaves mysteries for them to solve? Has he authored all the mysteries we’ve seen so far? Have we been inside his little world all along? Is his presence in the prison cell simply another artifice, and the prisoner merely his avatar in that plane of reality? We’ve gotten a fair share of hints, but that doesn’t mean we’ve figured out exactly what’s going on.
Hakuru Shimada, a powerful politician, is dedicating a new memorial hall with a statue honoring three soldiers who sacrificed their lives to save others, including himself. When the bodies of two members of a rival party are found in the base of the statue, Shinjurou suspects Hakuru is the culprit. But after Inga asks Shimada’s son, he’s proven wrong, shaking his confidence. He eventually works out that Youko, the artist who built the statue, is the murderer, by looking past the illusion she created to throw him off.
For anyone thinking Shinjurou has it too easy with Inga by his side, here was a mystery that initially stumped him, even with Inga’s help. For the record, we also learn a little more about Inga – that he has a deal with her in which he supplies her with truthy souls to eat, and she doesn’t murder anyone. For all of Shinjurou’s hobbesian philosophizing, he is, as Kazamori postulates, sacrificing his life for others. We like how in her first episode as one of the gang, the AI doll makes herself useful by laying things out from a different perspective.
Perhaps her mere presence as the artificial illusion of a human, got him to thinking that maybe his preconceptions of the case were illusory – and indeed they were. There is certainly truth in Hobbes’ notion that humans are by nature brutal and short. The ultimate culprit is beautiful and talented, but she wants that gold, too. He plan for getting it was simple in its aims – distract everyone and get Hakuru to point out the gold’s location – while the execution, involving a trojan horse and lots of deception, was anything but. The story moved fast and confidently, and it was challenging to keep up, but also extremely rewarding.
Kaishou Rie summons Shinjurou and Inga to the Sasa household, where its heir Kazamori met a most unusual demise on the seventh anniversary of the death of his adoptive father, Komamori, previously the foremost authority on AI before his research was shut down by the government. When Kaishou determines it was murder and not suicide, the other members of Sasa become suspects. Inga asks the widow who Kazamori is, she tells her there was never a human Kazamori, but an android; a creation of her late husband. Kazamori’s program is still integrated into the house.
Wow, what amazing twists befall this show! Unveiled at just the right moment after careful and intricate build-up, we had our suspicions that the masked Kazamori could be anyone or anything and that the manner in which he burned up suggested something not human. And yet, for seven years after a wing of Komamori’s house blew up – with him in it – his “adopted son” essentially ran the family business, without ever revealing his face. The widow found out quite by accident, but even as she was suspected in his murder, she stayed tight-lipped about it – until Inga, of course.
Once we dive into the engrossing Sasa story, it’s east to forget the first act, in which Shinjurou is helping an…ahem…companion, restore her iPhone contact list, in the ruins of Shinjuku. Terrorists bombings claim the NTT Docomo Building and Takashimaya Times Square, and the station is a mess. It’s great how this series continues to build the very strange, possibly insane world in which Shinjurou, Inga, and the other detectives operate. They represent the enduring human spirit in their own way. The series also continues to maintain fantastic production values, and the ending sequence is the best of the season.