UN-GO is one of the few shows of the season I have finished up. It is a very odd mystery show kind of in the vein of Demon Detective Neuro where the answers come from both deduction and supernatural means making them rather impossible beyond just guessing. It also has a bizarre sense of humor, too. The cases keep getting stranger as the show goes on bringing future technology like AIs into the mix as well further complicating any and all cases. The detective team of Shinjuro and Inga and later Kazamori combine with the tag along Rie make for an eclectic mix of talents and personalities. Shinjuro is a good lead detective that I came to really like, he has the observation skills but does use Inga a bit too much though the reasoning for that is more obvious later on. I like the last two cases a lot but truly they are more about experiencing the atmosphere. In fact, I am incredibly interested in the world surrounding these things like the seemingly militaristic Japan, there is a lot of world to explore but sadly there isn’t much time to do so before the end. Sadly there probably won’t be anymore either with the exception of the 0 episode (which I think will give us Shinjiro’s backstory) since only incredibly popular Noitamina shows get sequels. UN-GO is based on a novel but again sadly I won’t be able to read it either.
I finished UN-GO and I still don’t have a firm grasp on if I liked it or not. I will say that I do not regret watching it. It was unusual enough that it made the experience worthwhile. Sort of like the latest BBC Sherlock the series takes the post WWII mysteries of Ango Sakaguchi and puts them in a future setting. This odd juxtaposition gives the show a unique vibe of old and new. At the same time as I mentioned in my last look at the show it is also a clear example of why Knox wrote his rules of mysteries in the first place. Inga’s powers always make the mysteries feel unusual and sometimes the solutions feel unearned. The episode with the movie set was undoubtedly the most surreal episodes of the series. At times the show felt a bit strange but these episodes take that feeling to an entirely new level. The last three episodes distinctly feel like the end of a season but not the end of a story. There is the movie I have yet to see but that is just a prequel. I have to wonder if they hoped that this would do well enough to get a second season or did they just not want to put a cap on Ango Sakaguchi’s stories even if it is a heavily modified version of those stories. I can’t say everyone will like this show. It can be a very easy show to dislike. But it is worth checking out just to see if you like it as there is little else out there like UN-GO.
I went to see Ocean Waves at the Ghibli Retrospective here in NYC. Seeing these films on the big screen is something special, but this had the added bonus of being one of the lesser seen movies and one of the few I’ve never seen myself. It is more in line with the slow character stories of Whisper of the Heart and Only Yesterday than the adventurous fare we are more used to seeing from Ghibli. We follow the fairly easygoing Taku who gets wrapped up in the life of new transfer student Rikako after lending her some money. Rikako is self-centered and reeling from family from drama pushing Taku to exasperation at her flippant attitude with him and others. Believe me you’ll want to give her a good smack at some point, but luckily even that gets taken care of. What is best about the path of these characters is that it doesn’t really follow a romanticized ideal or go in any set direction realizing the wide possibilities and mistakes of youth. While it does have a neat ending, you still feel like acceptance is the big part as opposed to changing a person.
The fact that I easily finished Shinryaku!? Ika Musume this season is a testament to how easy it is to watch. Due to me marathoning Mass Effect and been busy with work and other projects I fell behind on several shows I had been watching. But I watched Squid Girl every week because it is so light and charming that I could effortlessly watch an episode a week without breaking a sweat. It is much the same as the first season. The jokes don’t change too much. This means that Squid Girl, Eiko, and Chizuru dynamic stays strong but that Sanae sort of remains a one trick pony that can be somewhat bland. I never found her super annoying but I easily could see how you could find her grating after a while. Unlike the last season they don’t really try to go out with a finale. The last episode is more of the same for better or for worse. If they made a third season I would watch it as the episodes as they go down smoothly but if it ends here I would hardly feel cheated. I would like to know the story of the Octopus Girl but I am hardly dying to know what her deal is.
I started back up on watching Ashita no Nadja with episodes 5-6. I am now not so sure that the phantom thief and the noble knight are the same person! We learn quite a bit more about Nadja’s mother in these episodes as she leaves England and heads of France. The diary talks of an artist in Paris so she beings looking for him in hopes of more answers. I was a little annoyed that somehow Nadja hadn’t asked any of the troupe if the could read the entries until this episode, but it is worth overlooking. It continues to be a fun fantasy adventure.
Today I got a horrible bit of news. Apparently starting next year the manga of Hayate the Combat Butler is going on a two month break. I look forward to a new chapter of Hayate every week so this is a depressing bit of news. But considering the life of a weekly manga-ka an occasional rest from time to time is surely a much-needed balm to an otherwise overworked soul. I am sure it is one of the few ways a manga author is able to travel and just relax when they are not in-between series. I look forward to seeing what Kenjiro Hata does when he comes back hopefully a bit rested and renewed.