The Junkyard presents a review by Daz of the anime series Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation.
I’m not the type of person that can just enjoy any series. I have to be in the same mood as the show I’m about to watch which lately wasn’t happening. I tried to re-watch some shows and start some of the more popular ones but nothing connected with me. Then one day I saw a trailer for something called Beautiful Bones. I was immediately drawn to the art style and general aesthetic in just under a minute. It was calling out to me. Who was I to ignore it?
The show begins with some kids crossing a road on the way to school when someone notices a dead cat. Our main character Shotaro clears up the cat whilst shocked kids stand around not knowing what to do. He remarks on their attitude toward death and is saddened by their response but not surprised.
I didn’t know what was going to happen but I certainly didn’t expect to see a perfectly drawn dead cat. Where was this show going? What was the whole point? The tone had already been set and I was ready to meet our female protagonist.
As it turns out, the reason Shotaro is sympathetic towards death is because when he’s not at school he’s helping a young woman called Sakurako find bones. Sakurako is from a well known family and has a famous bone collecting uncle who taught her everything she knows as well as having a fascination for it.
What we never find out is why Shotaro helps her. It’s also mentioned that she has a fiancée but we never see him. My only explanation for this is to keep the two characters from falling into generic relationship nonsense. It’s good that this does not happen. It really would have ruined the partnership. Sakurako is your typical social recluse with no tact or desire to go along with society’s norms which is what you’d expect from a young woman who’s been way more interested in the dead than she ever has been in the living. She likes to collect bones too and is often trying to keep them for her own collection. Shotaro keeps her in check and is there to explain typical human behaviour to her. It’s a good pairing.
Whenever the two of them go out anywhere, they always seem to find bones or a random situation which calls for Sakurako to solve the problem. This is part of the show after all but whenever she is about to give her analysis of the situation, we get this strange CGI animation of a parade of skeletal creatures whilst she drops a catchphrase. I found this incredibly annoying. She isn’t magical nor has special powers. She just uses her extensive knowledge to come up with logical answers. By about ep 8 (of 12) they stopped doing the animation which was good but you still got the catchphrase. I don’t understand why it was there at all. It takes away from a show that is very firmly planted in the real world.
They carry on solving a multitude of problems, from a lost child with bloody handprint on her back to helping a girl find her dead grandmother. What I love about this is Sakurako’s very straightforward attitude toward people and death. The show never shies away from showing dead people or talking about the psychology of people’s intentions. There’s just a few things that are annoying though and their ability to just involve themselves with crime scenes is one of them. They hang around with a police officer and her uncle used to help the police sometimes but it’s still a very thin reason to let them get involved in actual crime scenes and sometimes her explanations are just accepted with no questioning. I like to see proof of their words and whilst this does happen, it’s not every time and we are left with her theory but because it’s her giving it, it’s accepted and everyone moves on…except me. I know she’s clever but I’m still gonna need proof every time.
I thought this series was going to be episodic but there’s a point toward the end that alludes back to one of the earlier episodes, so suddenly we have a serial. I did pick up on it and it was ever so subtle but it was definitely there. My curiosity was piqued but we were about two episodes from the end. How was this going to be wrapped up? Turns out that it wasn’t. Like so many others that came before it, this show was set up for a season 2 that never happened. Having been released in 2015 and no signs of anything in the works, it’s sadly never going to get one. This is a massive disappointment. They set us up for a serial killer arc and never delivered, quite an interesting killer too, who never actually did any killing but would go back to their graves and remove a certain bone from their skull. This is where the uncle part became relevant. It was somebody he was trying to catch but never did. The show actually ended with the killer saying “let the games begin” From this I was expecting a Sherlock and Moriarty type situation which would have been cool but sadly it doesn’t look like I ever will.
There’s some good character development. Sometimes it’s a little late but it’s there. The animation is great and the art style is what drew me in in the first place. Stunning is a word I would use to describe it but to be honest, you do expect a show called Beautiful Bones to be just that.
The soundtrack was nothing too special and the OP and ED were good in setting the tone. Overall I give this a 6/10.
I enjoyed my time with Beautiful Bones. It was exactly what I needed at that moment. I got really strong Erased vibes and I thought I’d maybe found something just as interesting but sadly I won’t get to join Sakurako and Shotaro in their quest to find the serial killer and that sucks. I like these guys. Maybe if I wish really hard, the anime gods might hear me and make it happen…
Anime Gods: LOL. DT