Un-Go – 06

A professor recently released from prison tasks Shinjurou with solving the mystery of a note written on his personal manuscipt paper hidden in a book belonging to Rinroku Kaishou. While it initially looks like the professor’s blind wife was having an affair with Rinroku, the notes were actually communiques from her “missing” children, who were actually victims of abuse by their mother, and subsequently put into a protective home by the police. They’re still alive. Shinjurou meets the prisonmate who gave the professor the book, hoping it would lead to him murdering his wife. Indeed, this “reality novelist” may be responsible for setting up many murder mysteries Shinjurou has solved.

Un-Go shakes a few things up this week. Firstly, Rinroku is portrayed not merely as another investigator, but someone potentially involved in the crime. Secondly, Inga doesn’t transform or ask anyone a question; Shinjurou unravels much of the mystery with his own gifts of deduction – though kudos to Kazamori for the tech support; she’s proving quite the valuable colleague. If we may be so bold, we find her the most interesting character so far in a show that’s propelled mostly by the story, not its players. That’s not meant as a slight in the least; after all, one of the best characters in the Star Trek universe is Data, a yellow-eyed android just like Sasa…though he couldn’t transfer his being into a little plush doll.

And finally, rather than solving a case of Murder Moste Foul, Shinjurou arrives earlier in the mystery, before it has escalated. Indeed, the revelations he uncovers almost lead to the professor killing his wife, but that doesn’t happen this week. What is very interesting indeed is that blue-haired “novelist” inmate who seems to be crafting real murder mysteries for the sole purpose of being solved by Sinjurou and Inga. Is this meant to be the meta manifestation of Ango, the author? And who’s the redeyed beauty beside him? They would seem to know more about the Defeated Detective than the rest of the cast. With each week and mystery, another piece of the underarching mystery – that of Shinjurou himself – falls into place.

Rating: 4

Un-Go – 04

Kazamori is revealed as an AI, and Shinjurou and Inga sneak him out of the Sasa house to get more answers. Inga’s power won’t work on a program, so they have to earn its trust. He eventually leads him to his creator, Komamori, who has beeen alive all along. He faked his death in order to escape the oppression of the government, which had publically deemed GAI robots immoral and illegal for their use as fighters and sex slaves, but secretly wanted a monopoly on them for military use. They finally got a spy into the Sasa household, and he was burned by Kazamori. After Komamori surrenders, he destroys the doll Kazamori was in, but not before his program was transferred to a new female robot body.

We’re really glad this story lasted two episodes; even though the first part felt like a complete mystery, the second part dove even further into it, revealing even more twists and turns and surprising tidbits. Never mind also presenting with possibly the first case ever of a fridge being cuffed and taken in for questioning, which was gut-busting. Also, because the suspect in question wasn’t human, Inga can’t work her magic. But due to the GAI’s personality, the answers come anyway, and they come fast and furious. And so now we know who the yellow-eyed girl in the opening and ending is – Kazamori. We suspect she’ll show up again, much like Rinroku, Rie, Koyama and the like.

In addition to totally solving the case, this episode also opened up an entirely new can-o-worms in this postwar world: the now-outlawed GAI industry. Komamori felt it was better for society to take out its baser urges for sex and violence with GAIs, rather than war, which is why he disappeared himself. The fact that such a groundbreaking industry not only took place, it was all shut down before the events of Un-Go even started, really adds depth and richness to this world where everyone is “just living and falling”…and bureaucratic turf wars still run rampant.

Rating: 4

Un-Go – 03

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.

Rating: 4