Beautiful Bones – Season 1: Review

What do you get when you mix Sherlock Holmes and Fox’s crime-procedural Bones? If you responded with Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation, than you clearly read the title of this post. The first season (streaming on Crunchyroll) introduces the childish but brilliant Sakurako who is obsessed with skeletons and knows everything about anything and her companion, the everyman vanilla-archetype Shōtarō.

Beautiful Bones SkullSakurako is always the most brilliant person in the room; she is able to solve complex puzzles, pick up subtle context clues and possessing an encyclopedia level knowledge. This unnaturally high IQ makes her arrogant, she thinks everyone else is dumb and has no need for human interaction. The only thing she loves is skeletons…and sweets. If the brilliant but un-social personality sounds familiar, because it is – there are no twists in this series.

Through a mostly unexplained bond, Sakurako allows Shōtarō to accompany her on her travels. He ends up being the more social one; volunteering for cases, explaining Sakurako’s brilliance to the randoms they encounter and asking the necessary exposition questions to set Sakurako up to explain the current mystery they are solving.

The first season is 12 episodes and is mostly one-off cases with no connection to the next. There are a few side characters, which appear throughout episodes and offer the series true character growth moments but one episode is just as good as the next.

Unfortunately, the main characters don’t grow that much throughout their adventures and most of their personal mysteries remain unsolved. You are allowed glimpses and provided enough information to create your own theory but some of the major questions are left open ended.

Beautiful Bones TearsHowever, the true test of any mystery series is how many clues the show provides the audience to allow them to solve the case alongside the heroes. Beautiful Bones ends up implementing this approach about 50% of the time. Some of the cases the audience will be able to figure out what happened, but the ‘why’ will probably still elude them as it is overly complex. The other mysteries are impossible to resolve and are only revealed when Sakurako launches into a monologue – these cases are the least enjoyable to watch.

Perhaps the most interesting twist is the introduction of a Moriarty –like foe for Sakurako to thwart…however no thwarting occurs. This will most likely occur if there is ever a Season 2 of Beautiful Bones.

By this point hopefully you have caught the hidden clues within this post – Beautiful Bones contains potential, an interesting twist on the standard formula but ultimately doesn’t live up to the promise of its premise.

If you like quirky characters or ever wanted to see the anime version of Bones than Beautiful Bones is worth trying – if you like the first episode, you’ll enjoy the rest of the season. If you prefer a season to have a clearly defined arc and progression, than this is one mystery not worth solving.

Level Up, Friends!