Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation
by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation ?
We uncovered the endings to a variety of mysteries this week, truths that ended up layering over themselves in a surprisingly graceful sequence of revelations. Having established the mystery of Sasaki-sensei's human bones last week, the show was able to unveil the truth behind them at its own pace. This was a slow episode, and it didn't really demand viewer attention for much of its runtime, but it was a more competently constructed mystery on both a narrative and character front than the majority of Beautiful Bones' stories.
We opened this episode with Shoutarou and Sakurako heading to return Sasaki-sensei's effects to his one living relative, his sister Haruma Sayuki. Sakurako briefly bonded with Sayuki over her unusual “celtic feet,” and then they got down to business, looking over Sasaki's books and pictures as Sayuki explained the context of his life. It turned out Sone Natsuko was the woman whose bones they'd found - an old caretaker of the wheelchair-bound Sayuki, who both she and her brother were close with. After asking the pair if they'd also discovered a baby's bones, Sayuki revealed that Natsuko had conceived a child out of wedlock from a man other than Sasaki. The child had been stillborn, and the incident created a permanent rift between Natsuko and Sasaki.
Upon hearing this story, Sakurako and Shoutarou decided to track down the missing bones, and used the clues left in Sasaki's effects to discover the baby's final resting place. But uncovering those bones led to another revelation - it turned out the child had actually been Sayuki's, and that Natsuko had claimed the child was her own in order to make sure Sayuki could still be married. But Sasaki never learned this truth, and so from his own perspective, the familial nature of the child's bones would have led him to believe Natsuko was actually his own half-sister, the illegitimate child of his wealthy father. Separated from his love by a series of shifting truths, Sasaki was only able to rejoin her after her death, when he was at least able to regain her bones.
At the beginning of this week's episode, Shoutarou mentioned that if he “understood Sasaki-sensei better, I'd understand Sakurako better too.” The end of this episode proved the truth of that, as a combination of Shoutarou's powers of observation and coming to understand the value Sasaki placed even in the bones of his love made him realize that the cat bones Sakurako had stolen actually did belong to her. It turned out Sasaki was her old teacher, and that the cat in that science lab had been one of a matched set with the one in her office.
This episode wasn't exactly thrilling, and Sasaki's drama ran into the regular problem of the viewer not being particularly invested in these episodic stories for their own sake, but it was a reasonably assembled series of twists that actually made sense given the information presented. It also tied the specific issues of Sasaki and his sister into the relationship between Sakurako and Shoutarou, which was a welcome change of pace. The show is still not particularly impressive, but as far as mystery narratives go, this one was at least coherently constructed.
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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