The mystery anime series Un-Go is only coming up on its seventh TV episode, but an extra-long episode 0 opened in Japanese theaters November 19th for a two week engagement. All I knew going in was that Inga Ron (you could call it "On Inga" in English) promised to relate how Detective Shinjūrō and the mysterious boy, Inga, met and began working together. In 45 minutes that got done, but some new questions were definitely left in those answers' wake.
If you've been watching the TV episodes, you know that Inga is able to force anyone to answer a question honestly by eating their soul—a pretty useful skill for Shinjūrō to have access to, as a detective. However, the details of Shinjūrō's deal with the boy—well, creature, really, since Inga somehow transforms into a full-grown, sultry female when using his/her powers—have been unclear, aside from the fact that it would keep him/her from killing people.
Of course I can't give everything away, since it's really worth watching to understand Shinjūrō's backstory. For instance, that isn't even his given name. That said, one of the main themes of the episode (and, one could argue, the show) is figuring out what your purpose is, how you can help or affect others. While on a trip trying to figure this out for himself, Shinjūrō, along with some travelers from a non-profit organization, are attacked while driving, and end up crashing deep in a cave. Shinjūrō actually dies (this is revealed in the trailer—see below) but manages to revive. The how and why are best left to your viewing pleasure.
The movie takes place across a couple different periods of time, with flashbacks to Shinjūrō's younger self, as well as the time spent with his NPO friends, and the accident, but the main thread seems to be closer to the start of the TV show. Shinjūrō and Inga are teamed up and investigating a cult—you could call it their first mystery. Who the leader of this cult is, and how his sidekick girl is related to Inga both fall into the spoiler zone. The biggest question left open at the end is what happens to that girl. One can only hope we'll meet her again later in the TV show given the dramatic close of Inga Ron, or maybe they'll make another theatrical episode, book-end style?
In general, Un-Go's theatrical prequel episode ups the violent and supernatural elements significantly for a more intense experience than the TV show has been so far. Sure, we've seen plenty of blood as well as soul eating in the episodes that have aired, but Inga Ron seems to take things a couple notches darker, or maybe it just seems that way because it affects our protagonist directly.
The animation is handled by Studio Bones, same as the show, and the main voice actors reprise their roles as expected.
Since Sentai Filmworks recenty licensed the Un-Go TV show, there seems to be at least a hope that someone will also grab this for a North American release. If you get the chance, I probably wouldn't recommend it as a stand-alone experience, but for Un-Go fans it's a no-brainer, and if you're not an Un-Go fan yet, what are you waiting for?
Bonus! Sorry for the low quality shots, but if you're curious about the party favors, check out the postcards we received at the screening: