Un-Go Ep. 3: Too easy

The problem with this week’s episode is that everything tangential to the actual mystery is actually more puzzling than the case itself. Once the episode revealed that the late Sasa Komamori was into advanced AI and robotics, it couldn’t have been more obvious that Kazamori was a robot himself. The case was just unremarkable and uninteresting; in the end, the apparently inconsequential clues are what I remember when I review the content of the episode.

For instance, why did Fumihiko seem so depressed and morose-looking? Did he also know that Kazamori was a robot? Was the mother too domineering? Also, was the live-in “doctor” also in on the ruse? Oh well, I guess the answers to these questions don’t really matter in the grander scheme of things.

In any case, I hope this weak episode is just an outlier and not a sign of things to come. I want to talk about it, but I’m just at a loss of words. The case-of-the-week was just so straightforward unless someone can convince me otherwise. Did I overlook something profound? Did I fail to see a larger point being made?

Of course, you could argue that it’s the overarching mystery — the one involving Inga — in Un-Go that’s really of interest. You could then say that the cases-of-the-week are just vehicles to deliver that story. Still, it would be nice if everything in the show — from top to bottom — was executed well. Of course, we want to know who or what Inga is, but it’s no fun when everything else is so predictable.

Anyway, it seems that with every new episode, we get a closer and closer look at Inga’s transformation process. Usually, anime will make a big deal out of a transformation sequence the first time and abbreviate each subsequent showings. Un-Go opts to go in the opposite direction, but for what reason? We also got to see child Inga display some inhuman traits. Obviously, transforming into a well-endowed woman is superhuman, but child Inga is apparently Stretch Armstrong as well.

Finally, how does the 9/11-esque setting tie into the bigger picture? We saw shots of a skyscraper collapsing, government in an uproar, Ground Zero-esque environments, etc. Some commenters call this show a dystopia, but I think that’s too broad and simple of a label. Sure, there are the familiar tropes of the ubiquitous police state and the burgeoning presence of Big Brother, but I get a very 21st century “War on Terrorism” vibe in Un-Go that wouldn’t have made sense twenty years ago.

To thus call the anime a dystopia just doesn’t quite do it justice, but the more important question is why? Why take stories from the Meiji era and add 21st century terrorism to it? Unfortunately, we are no closer to the answer and that’s a shame. Combined with an ineffectual case-of-the-week, this show sure felt like it was spinning its wheel in this third episode.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of updates. Hectic life and all.

P.S. What was with the animal brutality, i.e. Shinjuro throwing a rock at a dog?

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12 Replies to “Un-Go Ep. 3: Too easy”

  1. All the parallels between Japan and th US just got even more parallel. We all know what the falling building and the subsequent parliamentary action was aboot. That Information Whatever Protection Act is very much like the Patriot Act and then some.

    Anyway this case is clearly not over, so we should not burry it after one episode.

    The dog I think was aboot to attack the girl.

  2. Just to be clear: you did see this is part 1 of a a 2-parter? There’s no “to be continued” at the end of the normal content — just an abrupt cut-off — but the preview after the credits makes it clear this is part 1 of a multi-episode sequence.

    This show in general — and this episode in particular — always feels like it’s on the cusp of some big revelation but somehow that sensation never quite materializes.

    That said: if there was some profound depth to this episode I didn’t see it either. The existence of AIs and passable androids like Kazamori could have some potentially significant implications for the kind of information control we’ve seen in the world of Un-Go, but at this point they’re only potential implications.

    In re: the dog, I don’t get it either. The dog followed Rie all the way through the closed-off zone and so there’s a chance it’s some sort of spy dog, but at this time that seems like a stretch.

    Good luck with real life stuff.

    1. Just to be clear: you did see this is part 1 of a a 2-parter?

      Yes, but this doesn’t change the fact that this episode was flat and predictable. For all intents and purposes, this episode’s case (is there a curse on the family?) was solved so even if the next episode extends the story, I see the two episodes as self contained in a way.

      This show in general — and this episode in particular — always feels like it’s on the cusp of some big revelation but somehow that sensation never quite materializes.

      I was thinking… maybe it’d do the anime better just to focus on the bigger, overarching story regarding Inga and the Chairman.

      1. Inga’s weird for me: I don’t actually know what it is, but I feel like I do, and so resolving that mystery isn’t a big draw for me.

        But yeah, hopefully next episode brings out more of the story with the Chairman.

        The other loose end for me is whether or not there are explicit answers to all the dangling questions we’ve seen so far, things like “who invited our duo to the banquet? Who hired our duo to stand in line for the contraband song release? Why was our duo poking around in the disaster ruins?”

        1. I thought about the cellphone scene for a bit, but I’m not sure if it’s just me being dense or the translation making things seem rather unclear. So I guess I’m not exactly clear why they wanted to get the phone online so badly and if it was remotely related to anything else in the overall story.

        2. I think the cellphone thing is just left open-ended, like the other dangling questions. Hopefully there’s something to all these dangling questions.

  3. >the cellphone scene
    From what I gathered, the lady was a prostitute(?) who had her iphone stopped. I think the scene was supposed to (a) show us what kind of cases Shinjuro generally deals with on a daily basis (mundane simple stuff), (b) tell us more about Shinjuro (he hangs out in a “forbidden zone” and his clients include anti-establishment folk, and (c) do some world-building (the site of the terrorist attack is off-limits but used (amongst other things) as some sort of internet cafe by people who looked semi-homeless – what is going on in this Japan?).

    >P.S. What was with the animal brutality
    I think the dog was meant to be dangerous (rabid?) although the animation didn’t look particular scary apart from some growling… Therefore I figure the scene was either part of the world-building – to show that it’s a cruel world where pragmatic violence is the norm, or it’s simply a left-over from the original novel which was written back when violence against animals wasn’t considered a bad thing.

    I honestly think the best mystery of this show is the setting. I have so many questions that I hope the show will answer in due course!

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