Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation
by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation ?
Beautiful Bones headed into another multi-part series this time, “The Entrusted Bones.” I say multi-part instead of two-part because at this point, it's somewhat unclear whether this will be a two-parter, three-parter, or even the arc that consumes the second half of the series. We're finally getting into some of Sakurako's personal issues, but perhaps even more telling than that, this story doesn't seem to be in any real hurry to go places. I watched a twenty minute episode, but twenty minutes worth of stuff definitely did not happen.
This week's episode opened with Shoutarou and Sakurako paying a visit to Shoutarou's school festival. Shoutarou was tasked with acting as a butler at his class's surprisingly non-maid cafe, but he and Sakurako slipped out pretty much immediately. Instead, Sakurako spent the episode doing what she does best; investigating bones, first in the display cases of the science room, and then (upon Isozaki's urging) in the scattered boxes left by a former teacher named Sasaki. This was about as close as Sakurako and Shoutarou might ever get to a date, but when Shoutarou brought up his misgivings about coldly analyzing the remains of former pets, the two of them end up having a minor fight. And when Sasaki's treasures turn out to include some human remains as well (surprise surprise), Shoutarou was robbed of a chance to make up with his strange acquaintance.
So, Sakurako and Shoutarou go to his festival, they find bones, drama ensues. Even on a base narrative level, there wasn't all that much that happened this week, and the execution was pretty (forgive me) bare-bones compared to last week's strong mood and colors. The setting of a murky science lab left little room for beautiful shots, and the minor argument between Shoutarou and Sakurako felt pretty artificial. Shoutarou actually came off the worse in that exchange - given all the events of every episode so far, he really shouldn't continue to be surprised when Sakurako acts unusually clinical when talking about bones. The same pattern repeats every week; Sakurako acts initially distant, Shoutarou is put off by her not agreeing with his own sentimentality, and then the resolution to the mystery reveals Sakurako is actually a big softy after all. It's a cliche trick the first time, but the combination of repeating this character beat and having Shoutarou fail to actually learn from it made the drama here fall very flat. It really just plays into the way this show often has to make every character except Sakurako seem like an absolute buffoon in order for her to come off as intelligent or at least unusual by comparison.
That said, it's nice to see that the show is finally moving into consequential drama. The last scenes this week pointed to potential changes for Sakurako, with a visit to her uncle resulting in her revisiting an old, never-closed case file. It also looked like Sasaki's sister was the same woman who appears in the last shots of the opening, meaning it's likely this will be the arc that ties together all of the show's threads so far. I still don't buy the relationship between Shoutarou and Sakurako in any way, shape, or form, but it'll be nice to move into a story that might have actual consequences for the characters.
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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