The Mystery of the Individual | Beautiful Bones Sakurako-san’s Investigation

After a bit of unfortunate delay, the girls return for their third episode of the season. And this time it’s back into the depths of mystery with a Bone-loving Princess! Stay Toon’d!

All right, guys. Here’s a rare one for ya. Rila and me? Completely on the same page.

Yeah! 100 percent in agreement! For once. I know! Crazy, right?!

Eh. It’s happened before.

Yeah, but only when one of us doesn’t really care at all! This time we’re completely in sync! Like… well…


Yeah, that! If only, right?

I swear to god if you bring up that five minutes one more time…

So! Let’s get started! In case you didn’t look at the thumbnail, or read the title, today’s anime iiis…

-cricket. cricket. cricket-


Look, the Japanese title’s long and I don’t feel like it. Carry on.

So cooperative… It’s Beautiful Bones: Sakurako-san’s Investigation!

See, a couple episodes back we talked about how Moriarty the Patriot – at least for a few episodes of its first season – dealt in a weird style of reverse mystery. A situation where you already knew the outcome and the actual mystery, for the audience, is how that outcome will be reached.

But the thing about a reverse mystery is that it still more-or-less follows the same storytelling patterns as a normal one. Just backwards. The audience is given clues and has to figure out how they all connect before the episode tells you.

Not every mystery follows this pattern, however. There are other sub-types that play by their own rulebook almost entirely.

Today’s example is something we like to call a Personal Mystery.

This is a style that tends to come up when your lead investigator in the series is either an absolute genius or some sort of extreme specialist.

When you think about it, if a case requires a character like that to solve it, then it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for the audience to be able to piece together, themselves. Not unless the audience is full of geniuses or people who share the lead’s specialization.

And that’s never an assumption you want to make. You don’t want to assume your audience is stupid, of course, but taking them all to be as brilliant as the lead is just… unwise. It can lead to some serious problems when your story feels like it’s talking down to the person consuming it.

But one thing people do love is watching professionals at work. Just look at all the procedural dramas, out there.

Those are actually an apt example. Though they have their own… flavor. In a procedural drama, you’re watching for… well… the procedure. You’re interested in the actual process, be it forensics or whatever. Some of them do, however, have touches of this more personal style.

In this style, the actual case isn’t really what’s important. Not on the surface, anyway. It’s what the case reveals about the characters trying to solve it.

In other words, the real mystery is the investigator themselves. And, in this case, that would be Sakurako, herself.

Think about it. Most people just wouldn’t have the knowledge to be able to piece together these clues the way she does.



You know what you did. It was bad and you should feel bad. Moving on. There’s also the matter of simple formatting. With exactly one exception – in an episode that doesn’t even feature Sakurako – the show doesn’t linger on individual clues long enough for more savvy members of the audience to figure them out.

Right. The second she’s on the scene, it’s pretty much over. They lay out the evidence and she figures it out pretty quickly in her head.

Then there’s Shotaro. Let’s be real, here. He’s an audience surrogate. He’s “us.” He hardly ever figures anything out, on his own. Not about the cases, anyway. What he’s there to figure out is Sakurako – the actual mystery of the series.

It also helps that he, himself, is part of the key to understanding her in the first place. Her whole reason for avoiding his name is a major part of the character.

It’s a really simple, but effective way of setting it all up. The mystery of the individual. What happened in Sakurako’s past? The vague details are known to us. But we don’t know the specifics. Hell, we still don’t know the specifics. The series never got another season, so we’re left on a serious cliffhanger!

Hmm… I suppose we could all just read the books.

Rila, I’ve seen your watchlist. I don’t think for a second that your read-list is any better.

Define “better.”

How about “Not able to wrap around the Earth, a dozen times over?”

Heeey, that’s unfair. Don’t you think a dozen is a little high?

Fine. Eleven.


Anyway, the series does pepper in a few other types of mysteries, but figuring out Sakurako and what makes her tick is the big one.

And it makes sense that it’d be that way. After all, it can be really difficult to identify with these galaxy-brain types.

At the same time, the eccentric genius isn’t really the sort of fantasy people can easily turn to for escapism… because it requires… well… thinking. At least in order to be believable.

This is the problem Sherlock Holmes stories have had for years. Especially in the more modern stories. Well… the stories written in the modern age, not necessarily taking place in it.

Sherlock has always been an eccentric genius. But as storytelling tastes evolve, people have come to want more out of their characters. So a lot of the definitive Sherlock Holmes stories on the recent past have played up those aspects of his character more than they’ve played up the mysteries, themselves.

It’s actually something that Moriarty the Patriot even did! Really, really well, even!

And Sakurako-san follows that trend. She’s absolutely an eccentric genius. Or, at the very least, an eccentric specialist.

Sherlock isn’t always tied up in personal mysteries. Usually it’s more of a character study with how he approaches mysteries that’s the point. And they contrast that with how he interacts with society.

In Sakurako’s case, it’s… similar. But takes things a bit further. It is still a mystery series, after all. So the story decides to stick to those roots, by making her the mystery. A clever move that really works well for the series.

Nooot well enough to get it a second season, though… apparently.

Yeah, well… we can only hope, right?

So what do you guys think of Sakurako-san’s Investigation?

What type of mystery do you prefer? The personal type or the practical type? Let us know, down below, and give that like button a zap while you’re down there.

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This has been Bulletoon!

I’m Rila, signing off!

I’m Riley, bowin’ out!

Thanks for watching!

Keep up the Awesome! And…

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