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Out of all the series I'm currently following, Yugo certainly isn't the best--that prize would go to either Paranoia Agent or Gokusen--but it [i]is[/i] very, very good.

The title character, Yugo, is a professional negotiator. In episode 1, he's hired to arrange the release of a Japanese businessman who has been taken hostage by Pakistani rebels known as the Daku. Since much of the show takes place in Pakistan, its environment, backgrounds and overall atmosphere are quite different from those found in the majority of anime available today. If nothing else, Yugo makes for a fantastic change of pace. I absolutely love its character designs, which showcase the type of plain, dark artwork made popular by Serial Experiments Lain and Boogiepop Phantom.

I was initially unimpressed by Yugo's animation. It seemed solid but hardly noteworthy, especially when compared to the rich detail, consistency and fluidity seen in other recent offerings (such as Paranoia Agent). However, I soon realized that this simply isn't a flashy series. When smooth, sharp movements are required to maximize the emotional impact of a particular scene, Yugo rises to the occasion. Some of the most impressive sequences take place in episode 3, which is rather unusual; in my experience, a lot of directors focus on creating visually striking first episodes in order to capture the viewers' interest. Yugo is just a more subtle type of show, and I really appreciate that.

Some people may complain that its plot is far-fetched, but it's no less unrealistic than the storyline of an American show like Alias or CSI. As it features relaxed pacing, minimal action and characters with nuanced personalities, Yugo seems to be geared towards older teenagers and adults.

I'd love to know what you think about this show, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys serious anime.

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