Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation
- Genre : Crime drama, procedural, mystery
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Troyca
Sakurako Kujō is your average beautiful young woman in her twenties, with your average every day worries and pleasures. For instance, she worries that she will have to talk to other people since most of them are idiots and interacting with them is tedious. She takes pleasure in piecing together mysteries especially ones that start with the discovery of a corpse. She worries her young assistant, being one of the rare bearable people around will get injured, or leave or worse yet, grow to become insufferable like the rest. Most of all though, she takes great pleasure in examining, analyzing and reassembling the beautiful bones left behind once life is gone. I would basically be her if I found a young assistant, got younger, beautiful, super smart and obsessed with bones. Also I would need to get better at solving riddles. Ok the antisocial thing – we’re the same on that.
Have you ever seen the American procedural show Bones? It’s been on since a little after TV was invented. The one with Zooey Deschanel’s sister (is that mean? – she has a name, it’s Emily). Anyways this is the anime version of that but less FBIish and more in Japanese.
Beautiful Bones is trying to be a generally serious crime procedural show and you can clearly see this in the visuals. Still clearly traditional anime style, these have been dampened a little to not seem either overly cute or too stylized. In fact, everything is very naturalistic and care has been put into the designs of backgrounds and costumes to make sure that we a presented with perfectly realistic images. No flights of fancy or creative licenses were taken aside from the fact that Sakurako herself is just ridiculously beautiful. I am ok with that! Her voice actress did quite a good job, lending a lot more personality to the character than would have been made apparent from the script only.
I really wasn’t kidding when I said this was an anime version of that Bones show, the narrative structure is pretty much a carbon copy. Every episode centers on a different murder (in one case abuse) that Sakurako has to solve with her almost unnatural brilliance and deductive skills and her encyclopedic knowledge of bones structures (human and animal). The little ex-ray scenes of her analysing crime scenes are quite fun to watch. She also manages to alienate or offend everyone around her with her lack of social skills and disinterest in acquiring any and as such her only actual companion and confident is a high school boy who’s also suspiciously brave and good at tackling bad guys. Like ones with guns and everything. He’s the brawn…
Some threads of a vaguely established story arc are revealed through shreds of backstory but they are never really established in any tangible way (one more in a long list of shows that was clearly expecting to continue its storyline in a second season that never came). There is also an attempt at introducing a nemesis character but this also falls apart through lack of plot as this was obviously meant to be explored in later episodes.
The central relationship between Sakurako and Shōtarō (the actual protagonist) is an odd dissonance in the otherwise more or less realistic plot. Again I have a feeling that explanations were to come. However, in the 12 episodes we did get, it is never made quite clear why they would choose to keep each other’s company and how the odd almost codependent relationship they have developed. We do get a how they met episode but when you consider Sakurako’s personality, the likelihood that she would have tolerated Shotaro for any length of time seems slim. Occasional very murky hints of possibly romantic feelings made me super-duper uncomfortable so I’m just gonna ignore those.
Like most procedurals, once you start an episode you’re kind of compelled to finish it just to find out who did it. As such, I breezed through most of the season with mild interest but nothing really stood out much. There was some potential for the show to develop into something interesting – I haven’t seen that many procedural animes so there is that but the drama was a bit overbearing. I probably would have watched another season but I can’t say I’m sad it didn’t get renewed. Besides, if I want to see more, I can just watch Bones.
Favorite character: Hector
What this anime taught me: When you google Bones anime you do not get this show
I’ll drink responsibly when there is a brand of vodka named Responsibly.
Suggested drink: Baltic Murder Mystery
- Every time Sakurako acts aloof – take a drink
- Every time we see Hector – cheer
- Every time someone mentions Sakrako’s fiancé – say “who ?”
- Every time Shotaro serves as audience surrogate – take a drink
- Every time Sakurako gets way too happy about a bone – take a drink
- Every time Sakurako calls Shotaro “boy” – take a drink
- Every time Hiroki id super determined to help – take a drink
- Every time we see Isuki – be suspicious
- Every time Hanabusa is mentioned – take a drink
- Every time Sakurako says “Now, let us solve this mystery.” – pay attention
11 thoughts on “Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation or just Bones”
One of the best anime ever. Have started translating the light novel since there is no official English trans.
Love this show. The JPN VA for Sakurako is brilliant, she really brought out Sakurako’s sharp intelllect, wit and disdain. Shoutarou or “shounen” as he is called is more like Watson. Sakurako is an Osteologyist (one who studies bones). The issue I had is that, she practially solved the crime on her own. Even with her osteology w/ criminal studies background, she managed to solve an art crime. That isn’t her field. And yeah, they mention she has a fiance, never mentioned again. Most of them were episodic, and yeah they were building up to what is a main plot. Too bad they didn’t get a second season.
Oh yeah – her Seiyu was really fantastic. She was also Yayoi in Psycho Pass – another superbly stoic lady.
I was semi-interested in this. Gave it an episode and just haven’t gotten back to it. Not in a rush now. Also I wanted to make about Bones and religious undertones relating to this anime but I wasn’t clever enough :p
ohh I know next to nothing about religious undertones…Please write that post – I’m curious now. Besides, having rad your work, I know your plenty clever enough.
Oh really? Bones is hailed as a premier Christian program. My mom watched it after her church encouraged it I know that characters struggle with faith in the series as well. It’s a core theme of the show but from what I’ve seen felt more like an underlying idea in the background.
Any way, I’d have to actually watch Bones (and maybe this anime) to actually write that piece but I don’t have the time or it right now.
Thanks man, that’s nice of ya to say 🙂
I really wish I /could have ignored those creepy moments between whathherface and whatshisname, but I just couldn’t – especially since the camera seemed weirdly intent on focusing uncomfortably tightly on her breasts at seemingly random moments.
I must be getting completely desensitized because I didn’t really pick up on that part…
Possibly it was only during the first handful of episodes, as a way to draw some more (likely male) audience members in before the more serious stuff got underway. I wouldn’t know though, I just stopped watching after a certain point.
It’s a shame – there were a lot of elements that worked independently but you can’t just sexualize a show like this without being very careful about it.