Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation
Episode 10

by Nick Creamer,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation ?

Beautiful Bones began another multi-part series this week, one that will very possibly consume the rest of the series. Bringing together Shoutarou, Sakurako, and nearly all of the major characters we've met so far, it promises to answer some questions about Sakurako's past, and maybe even feature a thrilling showdown with an evil painter. So far it's not presenting the most engaging narrative, but hey, this is Beautiful Bones we're talking about. “Failing to disappoint spectacularly” is roughly what I hope for from this series.

We opened with Shoutarou, Sakurako, and Isozaki all out on a mountain expedition, getting in one final bone hunt before the winter snows. Unfortunately, their expedition was cut short by a call to Isozaki, which led into a bunch of exposition about his old baggage. Two years ago, Isozaki had been the homeroom teacher for three close friends - Futaba, Hitoe, and Minami. In the girls' second year of high school, Futaba mysteriously disappeared, and her absence had created a rift between the two remaining girls. Now, Hitoe had followed in her absent friend's footsteps, and her parents wanted Isozaki's help in tracking her down.

This explanation led into Sakurako and her associates interviewing Hitoe's parents and casing her house, a process which featured a bunch of satisfying little pieces of deductive reasoning. None of Sakurako's individual solutions here were incredible stretches of reasoning, but they all also felt worthy of notice - from her condemning of Hitoe's parents to her hypotheses on Hitoe's journey, everything here felt pretty well-constructed.

An assist from Kougami led to the sleuthing trio finding Minami, who revealed a few more mystery variables. Apparently Minami and Hitoe had had a falling out over a man - “Hanasuba-sensei,” the same painter responsible for one of the paintings in the cursed man arc. This Hanasuba's obsession with the corpse butterflies apparently extended to corpses in general, as it looked like not only had he sentenced the cursed man's family to die, but he was now emotionally bullying a high school girl into some kind of bizarre and possibly fatal ritual. Never trust a guy in a fedora and a trenchcoat, kids.

There honestly wasn't that much to dig into in this episode outside of the bare mechanics of the plot. Unlike last week, the mystery elements here weren't particularly graceful in how they illustrated some thematic point - they mainly existed in a pure narrative sense, vaguely tying together the show's accumulated loose ends. If there was anything to dig into on a character level here, it was how Sakurako's pronounced investment in this case, and even her manipulation of Minami's feelings, demonstrated a growing understanding of how to actually interact with human beings. Aside from that, the only thing I found noteworthy was some of the animation for Minami; Beautiful Bones is normally a show whose only visual flair is an occasional nice background, but there were actually a couple nice cuts of character acting this time. That aside, this was basically just the mediocre introduction to the final act of a decidedly mediocre show. Beautiful Bones plods listlessly towards its conclusion.

Overall: C+

Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.

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