Posted by psgels on 22 December 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Un-Go



Ah, the Noitamina Timeslot. It’s been going solid for more than six years now. Making a Noitamina series is a tricky thing to do, especially with the way that timeslot has evolved during the past three years. Series in it need to be both ambitious, yet fit in a very limited time and space (with only a few exceptions). There have been quite a few who miscalculated on this, like what happened with No.6, Eden of the East or C. Or Library Wars, Jyu Oh Sei and Moyashimon for that matter.

Here comes a show that does this in a different way, though. Un-Go realizes that its time is very limited, and yet it tries to put a lot of stuff in each of its episodes. This is a formula that can screw up in so many different ways, and yet here the creators actually nailed that balance that gets everything right. This show is half-episodic and half-continuous story, and for each of its arcs, even the ones that just take place in one episode, it makes sure that their murder mystery stories deliver. It’s great at build-up, and the twists it delivers all kick ass. It’s fast, but never too fast or too rushed. It’s definitely something where you need to pay attention if you want to be able to get it, but that’s the great thing: it forces you to think and pay attention.

As for how this show managed to be able to do this? Well, it just has no space reserved to flesh out the characters. There are no scenes in this series where we can just see the characters take a bit of time, and show off their characters’ sides. Every scene and line of dialog has a meaning to the plot. This posed another challenge to the creators, because they had to find another way to make these characters interesting and make them carry the story. The result is that the characters are fleshed out through their actions, ways of speeches and their reactions. It’s all carefully intertwined with the dialogue. This doesn’t lead to the most memorable cast, but still to one that works. The characters in this series somehow end up being fun and nice to watch.

The mysteries in this series are also carefully intertwined with this series’ setting. It’s post apocalyptic, but it uses this really well to spice up its stories, and it does so in quite some imaginative ways. This series really loves to pull heel-turn twists, in which things turn out to be completely different from what they seem at first. You can definitely see that a lot of time was spent on the script of this series, and that makes it consistently enjoyable for those who are in for something with a very fast pacing. It may seem overwhelming at times, but it’s because of this that the creators were able to put so much in so little time and somehow make it work.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Some excellent mystery storytelling here. Very fast paced, though.
Characters: 8/10 – They’re not fleshed out in the usual ways, but they still have some nice details to them.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Very solid graphics, but in particular the music backs up the show really well.
Setting: 9/10 – Uses its setting really well in the backgrounds of each of its stories, with a great look at modern technology.

Suggestions:
Mononoke
Shigofumi
Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei

5 Responses

  1. CJay says:

    Aw I was kinda hoping for a 90 but this is good too. So many 87.5 scores this year your top 10 seems like it will be really hard to order these ones.

    Thanks for covering this show I loved every minute of it and Im really gonna miss it come next season

  2. Puran says:

    Weird to see Shinwa Taikei in the suggestions list. The only thing they have in common is the crazy pacing.

    But yeah, this was a good anime. They got a lot of things right and the scriptwriting was tight. Only problem is… I wanted more episodes. The OVA will be good I guess, but I also want the story to continue.

  3. SAKURA says:

    Un-Go succeeded in avoiding a rushed ending, by cutting one of the most important episodes, which shows how Shinjuro and Inga met and who is Inga, from the main story and making an independent film with the episode.

    Without seeing the film, you can still enjoy the anime, but if you see the film before the end of the anime, you could have enjoyed it more. You might know more about Shinjuro and like him more.

    I like the film but I hope that this approach is an exception.

  4. kero says:

    At the start I didn’t care much for him, and found Inga annoying, amazingly through the stories, they both grew on me as characters, despite the lack of episodes to show the different sides of the characters as Psgels says.

    I liked the ending a lot, in that Kaishou is still a dirty person. And yeah also the way Shinjuro sits the girl down and starts talking about himself with the music playing them out, and the images of reconstruction. It just worked for me.

    I’m now looking forward to the OVA and finding out more about Shinjuro.

  5. Arno says:

    I loved this anime, it was sparkling with intelligence and creativity throughout.

    My only gripe is that the illusion arc was a bit too long.

    The lack of development of characters was in fact intentional. It was a fully mastered art of non-said, just evoked narration. Much better than those prequels were everything is explained to death.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:35 AM)
    Damon I am more used to seeing in a drama or comedy role I reckon rather than an action hero.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:24 AM)
    Eric Bana is so underated =<
    I want to see more of the man on film.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:52 AM)
    The story would’ve been much more anchored and believable if the social imbalance wasn’t portrayed so heavy-handedly. It makes no sense for every house in Elysium to have a healing-bed that completely restores you and they dint bother to put a single one on Earth to keep the working class happy and healthy. I mean, c’mon now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:49 AM)
    Yeah the action sequences were the best parts of Elysium. I don’t k ow, I just don’t feel Matt Damon in these roles anymore and I hope they stayed with Eric Bana like the rumors were hinting; that probably would’ve made it a more personal story.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:55 AM)
    Its been too long since I saw district 9 to have an accurate opinion on it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:54 AM)
    I can remember giving higher points to elysium when I saw it first because I really needed/wanted to see an R rated action movie. But apart from Sharlto Copley as the villain it was in hindsight fairly miscast, the ending was quite poor and the script could have been improved on, I liked the robots/action scenes however.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:20 AM)
    I have a feeling that the movie’s gonna suck tho. District 9 was good, Elysium was a mess and Chappie looks like a Short Circuit ripoff with nothing new to add. I have respect for Blomkamp since he started as an animator and probably has respect for the medium and a good eye for aesthetics, by he’s doing progressively more conventional stuff as his career goes on.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 01:41 AM)
    Ha, so I wasn’t wrong when I came across that film Chappie and thinking that the robot resembled Briareos from appleseed, the director’s a fan of Masume Shirow’s work apparently.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 12:16 AM)
    @Brendan: That completely hinges on your personal taste, but Vagabond is one of the best Chanbara ones around, with superb art, fast pacing and entertaining storyline. Berserk should go without saying as it’s a codifier for many Seinen conventions, but Vinland Saga is another great series which is in similar vein. Biomega and Drifters are also worth a look.
  • ANIME CAMPUS
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 07:27 PM)
    Durarara!!x2 Shou Episode 8 | Anime Campus
    Watch English Subbed, Subbed, Sub.

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