You might say that I have been diving into shows, more recently, that have a bit more depth to them as opposed to simply action/adventure-type shows. You might also say that, given the fact that I recently reviewed One-Punch Man, that I have not. Obviously with this falls line-up feeling a little weak, I choose from what is available and, I guess, thus far the only shows that have piqued my interest are deeper shows. Take, for instance, The Perfect Insider, which I have recently reviewed, that is a murder-mystery show that dives heavily into the thoughts and minds of extremely intelligent people so that they may solve the mystery of certain murders happening around them. The show is both thought-provoking and artful and, on a downside, it is a bit of a slow starter as it has to introduce a lot of moving pieces and nuances right out of the gate before it can get started on the meat of the story.
While action/adventure shows, on the other hand, can, pun intended, roll with the punches and introduce easily digestible ideas and move on rather quickly. Neither approach is bad– but with heavier shows you might need be better off watching it after the entire season has released as it may enhance your viewing of it as well as doing so will allow you to get through everything after one or two sittings and you wouldn’t have to re-adjust your mindset every week. However, there are ways to strike a happy-ish balance between the two styles of shows and I think Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation finds that balance of heaviness while still giving you the feel and pace of an action/adventure show.
Shōtarō Tatewaki is a high school boy who is friends with a beautiful woman named Sakurako Kujō who has an odd and extreme obsession with bones of all kinds. She has had such a love since she was eleven years of age and, said love, has only grown with time. Sakurako has a hobby of collecting and reconstructions bones and skeletons but has a deeper obsession with human remains. Which, according to Shotaro, they come into contact with, seemingly by accident, quite often. With Sakurako being an Osteologist, one who studies bones, as well as having an uncle who is a local and prominent forensic scientist, she has developed unique skills in the forensic-arts and, along with Shotaro, she helps solve many unsolved murder cases with her abilities.
The first episode was a bit odd for me for a couple of reasons. One, the show quickly introduces you to the odd character of Sakurako Kujo who has a creepy obsession with bones and is, otherwise, reclusive. At one point the two main characters find a human skull on the beach that comes from a woman who was quite clearly murdered. Rather than wanting to call the police Sakurako, in the vein of a spoiled child, attempts to keep the skull for herself rather than do the humane thing of calling the proper authorities. However, this event proves to be just the writers of the show introducing us to her weird character quirks as this part of the story take a backseat to the events of another, more recent, double suicide that was found earlier that day. And that, of course, is when we get to see Sakurako show off her unique and implausible abilities of deduction and she deduces, or more likely induces, that the couple was murdered rather than it being a double suicide.
I know what you’re thinking, by the way, “This sounds like an anime version of the show Bones!” am I right? And you would be correct in an extremely vague sense. However, if you liked Bones, you might not like this show too much. For starters the television series recognizes that it is somewhat implausible that a person studying bones would be as versatile and helpful in solving murder cases practically on their own. The show is filled with supporting characters that are able to fill in the gaps of expertise. However, this anime, so far, seems like it is reliant on Sakurako’s intelligence alone, even painting the cops out to be bumbling idiots most of the time that need to have things spelled out for them in the simplest terms. Hell, even Shotaro seems unintelligent. I suspect he might only be there to counterbalance Sakurako’s inhuman persona and to make her more approachable.
The second episode, however, seems much better in tone and direction. We still have Sakurako as the main genius of the show, but she shows a bit more weakness in her reliance on Shotaro as well as revealing a possibly darker past. In essence, she seems more approachable and likable rather than some cold-hearted bitch. The second episode is also more intense as the two protagonists deal with immediate danger in the form of a crazed knife-weilding assailant that has killed one person already. This differs wildly from the first episode where she finds 100-year-old skull and merely point out the police officer’s incorrect assumptions. So, while I disliked the first episode, the second episode will keep me watching for at least a few more installments to see if it can keep up.
But I do like the pacing of the show as it doesn’t seem to have a problem with introducing concepts or characters on the fly and sort of giving you information as you go. In that way it combines overly thoughtful anime with faster paced anime. They introduce you to Sakurako as she is, with all of her weird character nuances and genius ability, as if you have known her for years. They assume the audience has a certain level of intelligence and the ability to either assume certain things or catch-up to the characters. In that way, the show can be a bit more dynamic and change flow when needed in the series. This is a sort of flexibility that you wouldn’t see in The Perfect Insider that quite clearly wants to spend far more time on explaining and dialogue rather than action itself. Again, this is not a judgment but an observation, take it for what you will.
What worries me about the show, outside of having an unapproachable and possibly unrealistic main character (which I would be able to get past– it IS anime after all right?), is that it might not carry an overarching story very well. I would hate to see a show just bounce around from subplot to subplot as they handle seemingly random cases left and right. That will eventually feel more like I am watching filler episodes rather than a complete show. But I have hopes with the fact that episode two revealed some things about the main protagonist’s past even if it was something that gave little-to-no context.