I’m running out of superlatives, truth be told.
I can’t think of a series I’d rather be my first on the new site than Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, because it really is sublime – I love it both objectively and subjectively. In case any of you were thinking ol’ Enzo was exaggerating or going in heavy on the superlatives when I kept praising the manga, I hope you’re convinced now.
We’re getting into the place in the series now where it really is hard for me to talk too much about the plot, but at least I can talk about how stupendously good this show is, and how pleased I am that it’s totally and utterly captured the magic of the source material. Did you ever have a series where you racked your brain trying to find flaws, or even things you wished it were doing differently – and couldn’t? That, for me, it where Boku Dake is right now. It’s just doing everything right.
I think you understand from watching it better than I can communicate by talking about it, but the way Itou Tomohiko and Kanbe Sei are able to communicate what it’s like for Satoru to re-enter the life of a ten year-old again – the way he finds himself drawn into the emotions of that ten year-old – is remarkable. I think it’s easy for us to forget that a 29 year-old man is inside that little body – because I think Satoru slips up and forgets it himself sometimes. And because I think perhaps we’re not as different from the people we were as children as we’d like to believe.
I don’t think there’s a studio out there which sees as wide a range in production values between its series as A-1 pictures, but we’ve seen what they can do when they aim for the stars – shows like Hourou Musuko and AnoHana are ethereally beautiful, and Boku Dake has very much that same quality. The expressiveness of the characters, the background details, the music, the way Ito frames the camera – this is anime as art. It’s both timeless and old-school, because there’s no trickery, no CGI, no gimmicks or pandering – it’s just lovely artwork and animation, a great story with incredibly complex character interaction, and a superb cast top to bottom.
And boy, does that work for me.
So, I’ve managed to get through four paragraphs without really talking about what happened during the episode itself, which would be a lot harder with a show that weren’t this great. Lots of stuff did happen, of course, but – you know the problem. I can say I loved the focus on honesty in this episode – with one’s self, and others. I like the uncertainty about Satoru and Kayo – that is to say, has this “revival” forced him to spend time with her and in the process discover new feelings, or were those feelings there all along and sublimated?
I think it must be said, too, that Tsuchiya Tao and Yuuki Aoi are doing a stunning job here. This is not easy material in any way for an actor, and it demands something other than the kind of self-insertion performance that’s more or less than norm in anime. Every scene Satoru and Kayo share is heartbreaking and beautiful (usually both), from the truly devastating glimpses of her home life to the utterly magical dance of the foxes in the snow. If you see a more lovely scene in anime this year than the latter – or more gut-wrenching than the former – it will have been a very good year indeed.
I’ll leave it there for now, I think, as I can’t really go on about how much I love this show without lapsing into outright fawning (and of course I can’t talk specifics about the plot). I’ll close by once again thanking all of you for reading and for participating in the LiA community, and ask your forbearance as I slowly transition six years of my life onto the new site. There will be glitches and it’ll take a while to get everything where I want it, but I couldn’t be happier or more excited to be here – and to share the trip with all of you.