Review of Beautiful Bones

beautifulbones

Beautiful Bones is a light novel adaptation that is presumably titled after its protagonist Sakurako Kujo, who happens to be an attractive osteologist. Either that, or the title is referencing Shotaro Tatewaki’s reaction to her. When the aforementioned teen first spotted the “beautiful” lady he must have gotten a “boner.” Shotaro was so smitten with Sakurako that he started stalking her. Trailing the gorgeous Sakurako eventually culminated in the pair meeting and Shotaro becoming her unofficial assistant. Often, when the duo ventures outside in search of animal carcasses, they stumble across human remains. It then falls on Sakurako to use her expertize to solve the murder they have just uncovered.

OVERVIEW

This 2015 anime, based on Shiori Ota’s books, is worth watching for the eccentric lead alone. Sakurako is a genius in her field, but not much of a people person. Her blunt remarks often cause offence and her skeleton obsession sometimes sees her squabble with the police. She just cannot understand why the authorities won’t allow her to keep the bodies she discovers! Those seeking an action packed series better look elsewhere, as the show is mainly made up of scenes where people chatter. I can’t imagine that the artists at studio Troyca were overly challenged by this project. The cartoon’s most visually impressive moments occur whenever Sakurako dons latex gloves, in anticipation of inspecting a crime scene. Said sequence features CG undead critters.

Sakurako is a captivating character, but the support cast are far less interesting. Her right hand man Shotaro is your typical anime male. A nice guy who is rather plain. For the most part he’s there to diffuse tensions, whenever Sakurako’s barbs cause umbrage. About the only person that Sakurako listens to is her elderly maid Ume Sawa. Just like a strict grandmother, Ume scolds Sakurako on the occasions when she ruins her appetite by overindulging in sweets. The show’s mascot is a pooch named Hector, that Sakurako procures later on in the series. Hector’s past owners had a habit of meeting an untimely demise. Frequent exposure to the dead has given the mutt a sixth sense for sniffing out corpses.

VERDICT

My rating for Beautiful Bones is four stars. It’s a show that I can recommend to viewers who dig a good whodunit. The cases that Sakurako tackles aren’t mysteries you are likely to solve yourself, but they do a good job of highlighting what a powerful tool forensic science is. It would be unrealistic for someone to come across so many murders (although that never stopped Murder She Wrote from becoming popular) so not all of the storylines revolve around killings. Episode three for example has Sakurako investigating an alleged suicide, whilst a two-part tale titled The Entrusted Bones sees the sweet-toothed osteologist track the origin of human bones stored within a school’s science department.

The only issue I have with Beautiful Bones is with its conclusion. Although the series is mainly comprised of standalone adventures, its finale wraps up by setting up a villain named Hanabusa. He is a devious painter who collects skull fragments. Rather than get his hands dirty, Hanabusa preys on the emotionally fragile and convinces them to take their own lives. He can then harvest the remains to claim his trophy. Hanabusa is still at large, when episode twelve closes, and an after credits clip hints that he has set his sights on Sakurako. How things will play out remain up in the air, because a second season is unlikely to ever get made. If you are hoping for an animated resolution I am afraid to say that you are “boned.”

31 thoughts on “Review of Beautiful Bones

  1. Glob, Sakurako sounds like the people I studied Biomed with. They were always a little too over excited to dissect things. They were a scary bunch 🙂
    This anime does sound really good 🙂 I must keep a wee eye out for it 😀

    • Good thing that I never had aspirations to pursue a career in biology. I am too squeamish to cut up animals. Beautiful Bones is a good show, aside from its non-ending. Open ended finales are however a common thing in anime.

      • Yeah it was really gross. Not something I enjoyed (Unlike my possibly psychopathic class mates. They enjoyed it a little too much) 🙂

        Completely agree, open ended finales do seem to be common in anime. It’s rather sad, because it really puts you off starting a new series. That’s why I lean more towards watching anime film than series.
        But when a shows good, sometimes you can forgive an open ended finale 😀

    • Wow. I am surprised to hear that you have yet to finish Beautiful Bones, given how it won your recent tournament. The show’s performance in Crunchyroll of the Dice is what convinced me to give it a watch.

      • I’ve just been short on time of late is all. I may yet run through it all tomorrow evening, or most of it if nothing else. As it stands, I’m yet to finish any of the top four finishers, which sucks as I had planned to finish them all before new year.

  2. I love this show, watched it twice. Liked the “boner” remark, shoutarou gets one, kind of jealous he gets a bit jiggy with her. Yeah a shame really, troyca hinted they wanted to make another season, but alas it won’t come to pass.

    • Troyca have only made a handful of shows so they need to be selective with the projects they take. Anime renewals seem to value marketing (DVD sales, music, merchandise etc) which isn’t something Beautiful Bones would excel at. Shame. I hear there is a live action show based on the books. Maybe that program goes further than the cartoon.

    • Beautiful Bones is certainly very different to your typical anime. I’ve always been fascinated by characters who use their smarts to decipher clues. Maybe that’s why I love Danganronpa so much.

    • Good point. Sakurako/Shotaro is a bit like Holmes/Watson. I didn’t pick up on that, but I am sure the relationship’s similarities is intentional. Personality wise Sakurako isn’t too much like Kurisu, but the box art does look like Kurisu with dark hair.

  3. I’d forgotten that I had seen this one, probably as I didn’t know the English title or that it had been licensed. :/

    I suspect MVM would pick it up if it ever came to Old Blighty…

      • Maybe it’s considered too niche for UK markets but then again, they’ve pulled some obscure stuff out of their butts for UK release before so who knows?

    • Are we talking about the original Hellsing or Hellsing Ultimate? I haven’t seen the latter. The ending to Beautiful Bones isn’t terrible, but hyping up the villain at the eleventh hour feels like a big tease. Sadly this tends to happen with most shows based on books/manga that have not finished yet.

      • I mean the original hellsing, although ultimate can kind of apply too. I’m definitely going to have to make sure that any anime I watch from now on, the manga was finished before it started.

  4. I think it might have been the second episode? The one with the little girl, they find her home, her murdered mother, they race to find her baby sibling still alive, and the deranged father returns and that was such a gripping few minutes. I was hooked after that, but then I found that several of the characters were generally overreacting to everything and thing started feeling rather forced after that. So, I liked the first couple of episodes, but the rest was just kind of, “meh.”

    • If you have a low tolerance for overreactions I would caution against romance anime or any series set in a high school. Those type of shows are full of people who make mountains out of a molehill.

      • Heh, true! What I mean, however, is… hmmm, perhaps it would be more accurate to say, “overreactions without any actual basis for them.” Like, “This woman must be contemplating suicide!” I was just like, “Really? How does that note even remotely indicate suicidal intent?” Does that make sense?

  5. I always advocate ending with a big cliffhanger like that, but I can definitely see how its annoying when a 2nd season will never show up. It’s certainly a big risk for sure. The series sounds pretty fun. I’m not sure about the animal bodies part from the beginning, but beyond that I’m always up for a mystery/detective esque series. I get that the forensics part is more investigation than the typical looking for clues detective work, but I’d still lump it in that genre. I’ve never heard of this series before so it’s cool to find out about it. I’ll check out the trailer you attached at the bottom pretty soon

    • In this age were everything gets cancelled I would avoid cliffhangers or teasers unless you have a cast iron guarantee that a second season will be produced. For me a show’s replay value suffers if it ends unfinished.

      The animal body part thing isn’t as sinister as it sounds. Her profession involves assembling skeletons. Sometimes she will go to the beach to dig for bones or go into a forest to find animals that recently died, of natural causes, for “parts.”

      • I can definitely understand that. Knowing that the plot will never be resolved can be annoying. The skeletons definitely don’t sound so bad then and it’s not as if that’s too central to the story based on the review although it does help the title make sense in a more literal way. Sounds like a tough job, I wonder how long it’d take to create a skeleton in the city since you basically never see dead animals

  6. I’m not a fan of those dumb sequel hooks. It’s fine to set something up to lead into it, but when you ruin your denouement in doing so, it just ruins everything human society has developed about good writing. Not a good thing to do.

    And then it’s the worst when a sequel just doesn’t get made. Then that’s a work forever out there that just never gets any emotional resolution for the people actually interested in it. That practice has turned me off of manga in general, after having run into unresolved stories one too many times.

    • A lot of anime is based off manga/books that have yet to finish. They adapt what they can, leaving the finale open ended. Unless the series sells gangbusters and there is more material to adapt you don’t usually get an animated continuation, which really sucks.

      Beautiful Bones finds a good point to end on, but I could have done without the after credits teaser. The best I can hope for is that the books get translated some day.

  7. I hate it when we are boned😂 Ugh…it happens so much these days that series end on a cliffhanger that never gets resolved, or even doesn’t finish at all and leaves pretty much every thread that was established up in the air. I really hate that 😢
    Still this series does sound awesome. I really like the character that you are describing here. If there is one thing that I love in a series is cool characters or very unusual ones. This seems to serve up both 😀 Hope to check this one out, but as my flu really set me back even more on everything that I already was…it might be a while before I get to it😢 Great review! 😊

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