Un-Go – 11 (Fin)

Everyone is invited back to the damaged TV studio and given weapons. But Shinjurou insists everyone stay calm as he works through the mystery. Kaishou reveals himself after a staged gunfight, but Shinjurou exposes him as a double created by Bettenou. He names Hayami as the culprit, working with Kuramitsu to eliminate the threat of Kaishou, and in Hayami’s case, to be acknowledged by Izumi. Inga chases down and devours Bettenou, who is not a true god. Even with this mystery solved, Shinjurou still has questions for Rinroku. He finally sits down with Rie and tells her about how a woman who became Inga saved his life.

Kudos to Bones for giving this relatively brief 11-episode series a stirring, mind-twisting send-off. We enjoyed every episode thoroughly, and as a result has earned the highest rating of the Fall shows (not including Penguindrum). We’re not sure if this final mystery was our very favorite (the Kazamori arc was awfully good), but it can claim the most twists and turns, and put Bettenou’s reality-warping powers to more clever, subtler use than her introduction. Our experience watching taught us to suspect the characters who either appear the most innocent or the most underused, and the revelation of Hayami and Kuramitsu as the culprits proved us correct.

The overarching theme of this mystery, and perhaps all those before it, is that we are driven by those we perceive to be gods, whether they truly are or not. Hayami’s God was Izumi’s acceptance; Kuramitsu’s was the power of the government; Inga’s was Bettenou; Rinroku’s was the dream of a world without borders. And Shinjurou? The Truth is his god. For him, it isn’t enough for him to better himself. He wants to expose everyone’s souls until that final truth is uncovered. It may only be another impossible goal, but working towards it gives his existence purpose, while repaying the woman who saved his life and became Inga.

Rating: 4

Un-Go – 10

A hearing is held, run by Diet Member Kuramitsu, to investigate the studio bombing. Rinroku and Rie attend via sattelite, and Shinjurou is among those questioning him. He harbors a consistent suspicion that he’s hiding something, and that he’s using Bettenou to bend reality. Bettenou is at work, but her loyalties are ambiguous. She does have contact with Inga, who has grown distant from Shinjurou and extracts vital state secrets from Izumi. Upon being discharged from hospital, Rinroku’s van explodes with him and his bodyguard Mizuno inside, but Shinjurou is convinced he faked his death. The truth continues to elude him.

This was a tough episode to follow, but by gum were we entertained. It frankly blew our minds with possibilities. As Rinroku says, there are as many truths as there are people. Indeed, every day, every moment we cultivate our own truths, which may change from one moment to the next. Those like Shinjurou live to find the truth, something infinitely elusive, and even though they may even know what he seeks is an impossibility, he still tries. No matter how much he uncovers, there’s always more. No single human lifetime is long enough; the search for truth is eternal.

Is truth an enemy? A foe to be defeated? Why is it he knows Bettenou is at work in the proceedings that surround him, but no one else does, save Rinroku? Throughout this episode, we were fed a lot of information, but like the Defeated Detective, we feel like we haven’t crafted a satisfactory explanation for wtf is going on. Things are getting very weird; abstract; conceptual. The episode where the author trapped Shinjurou in a fantasy world was only the warm-up; the real mind gymnastics begin here- and next week, end. This is one 11-episode series we wish wasn’t ending.

Rating: 4

Un-Go – 09

Renroku Kaishou agrees to make a rare public appearence on a panel TV show debating the nationalization of the energy industry. Kaishou ducks out for a commercial break, and the entire studio explodes in an apparent act of terrorism. All the other panelists, many at odds with Renroku’s politics, are killed. His daughter Rie, who was watching him on live TV, is startled to see him at home, unharmed – a practical impossibility. Shinjurou determines that Bettenou’s reality-bending powers are at work, making lies true and vice versa, underlining how dangerous she can be if unfettered.

Good detective stories have enough twists and turns in them as they run their course from a crime being committed to that crime being solved. But introducing supernatural elements like a girl who can make anyone’s senses show them anything she wants add even more depth and complexity. Watching episodes of such complex and dynamic mystery can be unnerving, even exasperating, because you’re simply not sure who’s telling the truth and who’s after what. But it’s also why we’re so hooked on this show: sometimes its nice to not have everything spelled out.

And nothing is this week. Renroku Kaishou is an exceedingly enigmatic man; he’s pretty damn good at what he does, but it’s inferred or implied that he may have a dark side to him. He keeps his cards close, never revealing to anyone what he’s really about, even his daughter. Similarly, while we pretty much knew the ‘novelist’ wanted – to make awesome reality novels – we’re way more in the dark about what Bettenou wants. Does she just want chaos? Conflict? A resumption of the war that proceeded this series? We just don’t know. With two episodes remaining, we may well never know. But with Un-Go, not all questions need firm answers. Just enjoy the ride.

Rating: 3.5

Un-Go – 08

When Shinjurou doesn’t show up for a while, Inga and Rie have Kazamori go into cyberspace to attempt to locate him in the prison. Izumi and Rie go in armed with handcuffs designed by Kazamori to shock him back into reality. He has been the victim of an elaborate illusiory world created by the power of a kami called Bettenou, who is an associate of the novelist. The three women actresses are actually convicts, and he determines through deduction in both the real and fake worlds that one of them, Izawa Sayo, a terrorist, murdered the director with a security barrier.

First of all, Kazamori flying around in the Matrix? Righteously awesome. If it weren’t for a little help from his friends, especially her, Shinjurou would have been forever trapped in the novelist’s fantasy world, filming a film he knows not what. He did get assistance though, and the handcuffs were a nice touch to bring him back, as was the scene when Izumi and Rie forget why they were there and start acting in the roles the novelist wrote for them, until he shocks them back too.

This mystery wasn’t as crazily meta as we had proposed last week, but it was still very very good, throwing all kinds of levels of reality at us, and making us and the detectives try to sort it all out. It even overlapped with the couple instances last week where Shinjurou interacted with Kazamori, Izumi and Rie. We thought they were just more projections in his dream, but they were the real deal. And at episode’s end, when Inga finally gets ahold of this punk novelist, he tells her what we know already. and now we know what that shrine maiden-looking girl’s all about, and that she’s very dangerous in the wrong hands.

Rating: 4