First thing, do not let the tag of "animal abuse" turn you off from this anime. It almost turned me off becuase I thought "ew why would I want to watch animals get abused" but this anime has literally NOTHING to do with animal abuse. The first episode opens with a small kitten that had been hit by a car (you see it for maybe 5 seconds) and apparently that's enough to warrant an "animal abuse" tag on AP. Other than that, there are animal bones shown, as the main character is an osteologist and collects them and one other instance where a deceased animal is shown for, again, all of 5 seconds. *shrug*
Sakurako's Magical Girl Transformation
"Bones symbolize life and embody death." - Sakurako
Beautiful Bones centers around Sakurako, a rich and beautiful woman who spends her days surrounded by bones, and a high school student named Shotaro. Somehow, these two stumble upon each other and together solve some difficult crime scenes. Sakuroko uses her extensive knowledge of bones to decipher how a person died while Shotaro is there to ensure she doesn't run off with the body for her private collection.
I really was not expecting this anime to draw me in so much. Although dealing with bones obviously means dealing with death, I mistook that this would be a light-hearted anime somehow, but episodes 2 and 3 seriously drew me in and gave me chills. Learning about how the people lived and how they died creates a connection between the viewer and the character, even though when you meet the character they are already dead.
Throughout the anime, you never really learn a ton about the two main characters, especially Shotaro. It's really hard to describe him as anything other than "high schooler who follows Sakurako around". He offers some humane advice to the callous Sakurako at times, and she enjoys having him around because of how innocent he is, and also for other reasons that I will not spoil, but know that nothing about their relationship is romantic. It is 100% platonic. Some things are implied here and there, but you really only get to know them on a surface level. Though I don't think that takes away from enjoying the anime as a whole at all.
Besides the investigation taking place in episodes 2 and 3, one of the most bone chilling moments in the anime was the ending. And when I say the ending I mean literally the last 10 seconds in the last episode, after the credits are done rolling. I can't really go into detail without spoiling something but just know I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HYPE FOR A SECOND SEASON IN MY LIFE JESUS PLS ;-;
8.5/10 would recommend for anyone who enjoys a good mystery.
A main character who isn't actually a detective but gets involved in cases and solves them anyways and also happens to be a bit eccentric and antisocial + a "sidekick" main character who tags along, and isn't nearly as perceptive or intelligent as the fake detective + One is a male and one is a female + A story following various cases which all or most are related in some way that is revealed in the end + Several small injuries and multiple dead people + an occasional touch of romance + a side character who actually IS with law enforcement who gets involved in some of the cases + plus the reoccuring theme that the real police are gennerally idiots who jump to hasty conclusions + some special thing done with the animation + at least one school aged character that calls for a few school scenes at least = at least, probably more, than half the detective mystery animes ever......including this one. On top of that, this one isn't particularrly well done either.
I can give it this much at least, the solution to all the cases weren't as predictable and obvious as some other stories make them. I wouldn't say they were the most interesting though. It doesn't make use of some of the typical types of the cases like locked doors or ghosts either which could be seen as a good thing making it more unique but for me it left me somewhat unsattisfied.
The connection between the cases is very unclear until the end. Actually, the real issue/case/conflict whatever yyou want to call it barely even gets hinted at till the end leaving little time for it to develop and making the connection feel weaker. The characters aren't developed that well either. I realize we are working with the detective theme is only 12 episodes but that's not a good excuse. I went back several times thinking I must have looked away from the screen during an important moment because I feel like I must have missed something. Well it does sort of get explained at the end but the timing just felt so off, like the story would be better if that information was given earlier. The last two episodes didn't flow either. It felt like first they were going one way with the story which sort of fit the previous ten episodes but then the last episode totally switched directions, left a lot of questions, didn't feel like a conclusion, and left me wondering what the purpose of the story was in the first place. It didn't feel consistent at all! It felt completely pointless too like thanks for wasting my time.
The animation was inconsistent too. The first episode has some uniqueness to it. It may have been annoying if it did that for every episode for the entire episode though. Still the angles and clarity were different, at least that's how I would describe it, but after the first episode it basically disappeared. There were a lot of changes in scenes that were never explained very well too. The first few episodes also had a little fancy thing done when the main character is about to reveal the solution to a case as well as a phrase she would say but that didn't last through the whole anime either. The animation was about as consistent as the story...maybe less. I do give it props for some of the interesting stuff at the beginning, although it felt a bit like it was trying to hard to be unique.
Sound was whatever, nothing special to mention.
Like I said the characters weren't well developed, or rather, they didn't truly develop till the last episode which is a bit pointless. They weren't unique either. We never really get to hear their stories or at least not all of it. The extent of involvement between characters isn't even clarified till the end and isn't hinted at very well until well into the anime.
Overall, this was disappointing. I did give it a six at first but that last episode was enough to drop it to five and that might still be generous. Too much inconsistency. Also, the animes it's competeing with (animes with the same basic characters and stories) are easily better than this one. This just isn't worth it. The animal deaths are entirely unneccessary too.
Sherlock + Bones + xxxholic = Sakurako’s Investigations.
Inelegant, perhaps, but this is probably the most accurate way to review Sakurako. Because, I think, if you are a fan of any combination of those three shows, then you will almost certainly enjoy this one.
But, immediately, beware two major downsides to the series: filler and a cliffhanger finale (which was also kinda filler).
While no one episode ever feels especially extraneous, the show’s weakness is its…not infrequent inability to tell a particular story within the typical time constraints, with several mysteries being handled as two-parters more out of convenience than narrative necessity, often leaving us with an eye-rolling amount of pregnant pauses in conversation and wistful staring into tea cups.
Which is particularly surprising given how tight the rest of the writing is—for its single-episode mysteries, of course, but especially for its protagonists, where, no matter how many expository narrations or quick flashes of memory we, as the audience, are privy to, the most relevant information can be found within their stumbling inability (or unwillingness) to describe the exact nature of their association. It is top-notch character work, and, more often than not, the thing that pulls us through the series, seemingly as much the point of the story as solving mysteries.
Which is spectacularly emphasized when a season-long plot build-up finally bubbles to the surface near the end of the run, bringing forth a Moriarty for Sakurako’s Sherlock to overtly tangle with—and whose defeat, it is made quite clear, will come inextricably (somehow) from the strength of the bond between the protagonists. It’s a wonderful bit of narrative synergy.
…that goes nowhere because the finale is a (semi-)filler episode about how the protagonists met and ends on a massive cliffhanger and, no, there isn’t any indication that there’s a season two in the works. (Yet. (Fingers crossed.)) Which is something you need to keep in the back of your head. Because Sakurako is worth your time—but it may not be worth the ache of unfinished business.
After reading the synopsis I wasn't sure there was any reason why I should watch this, I was expecting to find it boring and clichèd. So it was a surprise when it actually turned out to be quite good. It's entertaining and mildly amusing, with really good animation and drawings. So if you like detective/mystery stories, you could give this a try.
Obviously there are some major flaws regarding the plot and character development - or lack thereof - which is why I rated it as I did, giving it a 5.5/10. The story is about Sakurako, a rather eccentric osteologist (FYI: Osteologists identify and provide information based on the scientific identification of bones, whether they are human or animal. Osteology can be employed in a wide range of research topics and is frequently used in forensic science) and Shoutarou, your typical high-school kid who tags along with her acting as the voice of what's fit and proper in society. The format is episodic for about half of the anime, whereby some bones or a body turn up somewhere in the vicinity of Sakurako and she starts investigating in order to solve the mystery as she is much more intelligent than any police officer could ever hope to be. Truth be told, the mysteries aren't that banal. At a certain point an overarching plot centrering on a psychopath called Hanabusa starts to emerge, but it happens way too late and the plotline is left hanging - this and another couple of things just hinted at during the episodes that don't get any explanation make it obvious that the creators developed it intentionally like this in view of a second season.
The other setback regards the lack of character development. Sakurako is one cool lady and her relationship with Shoutarou is fun to watch but also heart-warming at times. And that's basically all there is to it, Sakurako doesn't develop and Shoutarou is kind of lacking not only under the development perspective, but also as a character per se. We get a little bit more insight about him only in the last episode, but again: too late and too little.
As I value highly good character development and most of the time I am profoundly annoyed by episodic stories, I cannot bring myself to give this anime an average rating. Nonetheless, it isn't a bad watch, not at all.
Full review here:
Edit: Why is animal abuse a tag on this show? The closest this show gets to it is the main character's cat dies offscreen in a flashback. Simply put, that tag is spurrious. If it puts you off. Ignore it. Short version review time.
It's fun and engaging. Beautiful Bones has fantastic visuals and characters that drive the whole thing. Yes, I'm a sucker for the Odd Couple schtick, but our leads are fun to watch, and the supporting cast picks up the rest of the slack. I can think of a few nitpicks, like how Sakurako suffers a bit from Sherlock Holmes syndrome where she's always right. Theres a loose thread hanging at the end that I wish we knew a little more about. Oh, and there's 2 moments of unneeded fanservice. I get you're reminding us that one of our leads is a young boy who has to hang out with a pretty lady all day. You don't have to remind us of that.
But my complaints are small in the big picture and don't come close to spoiling the fun of this one. Check this one out. Sakurako's Investigation is a lot of fun.