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

Un-Go – 07

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.

Rating: 4

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