UN-GO could potentially be one of the best new anime series to come out of this season, with an opener this strong. This was an episode in which everything went right. Characters, concepts and setting are all introduced and constructed superbly. There was no low point of this episode.
“Murder at the Ball” not only gives us a taste of what is to come with this series but it also is a great story in and of itself. When a series can pull off an episode that not only works as an episode of the show itself but also as a great piece of television in general. This episode is one of those very special episodes that encompasses the spirit of the show whilst working brilliantly as it’s own story and from the looks of things, this is how UN-GO will be continuing.
There was an episode of Bleach filler during the Bount arc that as a viewer resonated more with me than the majority of the canon material. The reason for that is that it was one of those episodes in which a perfect story was told. It was episode 72, an episode that almost existed outside of the realm of the rest of the series, an episode in which we got a version of the series that actually is what I feel the entire series should’ve been, straight up horror and suspense. It was a great episode with an incredibly unique concept with real stakes. That is exactly what UN-GO has done here from the get go.
With it’s first episode, UN-GO told a complex, engaging and involving story that most series never achieve in their entire runs. The central plot of episode focusing on the mysterious murder is both meticulously constructed and paced perfectly. There was not a single bland moment. Not to mention the final reveal regarding the truth of the murder was both touching and disturbing, a mix that is nearly impossible to capture.
I was left in awe at the way things twisted and turned until it reached it’s natural conclusion with The Defeated Detective solving the mystery. It is uncommon for anime series to feature writing of this quality, it’s honestly refreshing to watch something so well plotted.
Character-wise UN-GO was a gold-mine of memorable characters, each with their own unique personality. The intrigueing thing about UN-GO is the way it handles it’s cast. We are given the bare essentials in terms of their personality, yet we are given so many hints of other sides of these characters that are still to become apparent, without giving too much away. It’s the sort of characterisation you should get in a first episode, enough to understand these people but not enough that you don’t want to know more.
The animation was brilliant as you’d expect from Bones and the art style is absolutely unique. The character designs are very angular, giving a very original look to the series. The world itself is shown briefly for the most part but what is shown is both emotive and quaint, begging the viewer to explore it, but not delivering just yet. That is still to come in future episodes.
The music like the animation was great and really helped to push the story to even greater heights, by setting the perfect mood and atmosphere for the proceedings.
All in all, UN-GO episode 1 was a brilliant episode of anime that not only is a good series opener but also a great story in itself. If the series continues down the path this episode has set for it, then we are in for one hell of a ride with UN-GO, a ride that I’ll definitely be taking.