“I want to love people.”
You know what? Un-Go is fucking amazing. I’ve been holding back from uttering those words, quietly dreading the possibility of a clusterfuck ending worthy of dethroning No.6. Now that it’s over, I’m glad none of that happened.
The ending is reminiscent of Mouryou no Hako’s finale, the detective stands in a room and vocalizes his deductions. These revelations ultimately tear down the facades of those responsible for the crime committed and well, you know the drill.
What fascinates me about this ending is that even as Un-Go ends we’re reminded that even with Bettenou’s disappearance, the story doesn’t end here. The shadow of war will never completely dissipate and the world will continue to evolve haunted by it. Shinjurou will continue to reveal truths, the souls of human beings. He will go on, fueled by his desire to love his humanity.
Bettenou – A Soul of Mere Words
“Long ago, the statesmen of this country let loose the words ‘victory’ and ‘kamikaze’. They falsely heralded them as gods, and sent them to war. All for the purpose of feigning a nonexistent reality.”
Shinjurou describes Bettenou as a misbegotten soul. That she is indeed, a soul born out of man’s fantasy. An artificial god powered by the words of the people before Shinjurou and Kaishou. Bettenou is a false idol, only truly efficient when in the hands of a human being. News spreads feverishly among men, and this is what ushered Bettenou into the position of a deity.
We all knew what Shinjurou referred to as he uttered the words ‘victory’ and ‘kamikaze’. Bettenou’s tragedy was not her existence as a misbegotten soul, it’s the fact that her powers persisted and retained it’s potency after so many years. Her final battle with Inga shows Bettenou’s other form resembling a rabbit. After being violently consumed by INga herself, I assume Bettenou became part of Inga’s existence.
As Hayami attempts suicide, Inga rescues him and tells him Bettenou’s parting words. “Live. Fall.” It’s one message from one generation to another.
Viewers will point out that his motivation was weak because it focuses on his love for one woman. A love that wasn’t quite as well portrayed as some may have liked. While there’s no true reason for me to disagree with these sentiments, I found that it suit his character perfectly. He was never an overly complex person. He wasn’t like Shinjurou or Kaishou. The guy just wanted Izumi to recognize him the same way she did with Kaishou.
In the end, he was a bit of a lovesick fool but he was a refreshing antagonist who acted on his feelings in a bizarre, roundabout way.
From day one, no other relationship was as intriguing as Shinjurou’s and Inga’s. The dynamic between these two is constantly changing. It’s a dynamic that shifts from beneficial, tiresome, gentle and understanding. All things considered, Inga is seen as a monster. A frightening creature that tears the minds of men apart, however– Shinjurou still decides to free her from Bettenou’s control and with Inga by his side, he will continue to reveal the truth seen only in the human soul.
A soft facial expression, rather unusual of Inga.
To me, there’s symbolism occurring here. When Shinjurou ‘frees’ Inga of Bettenou’s control, it’s his way of finally proving that mere words cannot amount to ‘truth’. However, they can be used to form a false and fragile reality, one that cannot continue to exist once one’s eyes have been opened. This is something I believe is open for interpretation, but this is my personal take on what transpired regarding Inga’s freedom.
What’s scary here is that Inga does consume Bettenou. While Bettenou will never truly be equal to a human soul, the possibility that it’s ‘good enough’ as one remains.
Shinjurou and Kaishou have met halfway at times, but they are essentially rivals. It’s an amazing set up that I don’t think get’s lauded very often. Kaishou is a man who feels no guilt when it comes to covering up and manipulating the truth if it meant the fulfillment of a goal.
Kaishou’s dream is far too idealistic for the people around him, however I do believe that only strengthens his resolve. Undoubtedly, I see him as one of the most mysterious figures in Un-Go, alongside Inga. This is a character so well done that even the audience can’t visualize the scenery that Kaishou perceives. He’s the sort of man whose mind and soul exists elsewhere. It exists in a place far from where his family and Izumi are at.
It’s great to come across an ending I feel very satisfied with. Un-Go was a joy to watch and blog about. I’m glad Sentai Filmworks picked this up. I have to wonder how Sakaguchi Ango would’ve felt if he had seen Un-Go. While I’ve never read the source material, I feel that the people behind this series were able to rekindle interest in Sakaguchi Ango’s work. People say Noitamina is dead, but I hope that’s not the case. While we’ve had a number of flawed shows, a generic disappointment and one inevitable trainwreck– I did enjoy what it had to offer this year. In short, we need more shows like Un-Go. Shows that make use of their time, delve into thought provoking (and rather important) topics without feeling pretentious and aren’t afraid of poor sales.
So yes, thank you Un-Go. Thank you for improving and being one of the best shows this year.