A Japanese businessman has been taken hostage in Pakistan. Held by a militant organization, his first negotiator met his maker when the militant group’s leader killed the negotiator, deeming him a pawn of the military industry. With hope fading, the businessman’s daughter, Mayuko Iwasu, pays a visit to Yugo Beppo, a mercenary negotiator famed having never lost a hostage.
Such is the premise for “Yugo The Negotiator,” the latest title released by ADV Films, the largest distributor of anime titles in North America.
Yugo is a series unlike most modern releases. It is a slow, sometimes plodding series that is never in a hurry to rush to a climax. Instead, it prefers to deluge us in an intricately conceived, hyper-realistic world. Here we’re shown Hollywood’s Pakistan; a 21st century oasis trapped in the 13th century. This is a world where Indiana Jones could conceivably be spotted running through the marketplace, dodging Nazis and shooting sword-wielding militants.
“Yugo The Negotiator” is a series interested in defining its characters and prolonging the inevitable. Action is virtually non-existent here. While we do get glimpses of the things to come, we are treated to infinite monologues on negotiating and how it relates to everyday life. While the bad negotiation one-liners do get a little old, the dialogue here is better than average. The series, however, doesn’t bode as well. While it does present some fascinating character based scenes, the show is unevenly written and, presented throughout the three episodes presented on the first volume, nothing really happens. There are hints of greatness here, and the show cannot be fully judged until the story arc is wrapped up. For that we will have to wait until the release of volume two. Judged on its own, volume one is a slow, potentially good show with starkly defined characters, nice environments and extras. Hopefully volume two will kick it up a notch, and this seed will bloom into a mesmerizing flower.