Boku Dake ga Inai Machi – 05

Bake Dake - 05 -4 Bake Dake - 05 -39 Bake Dake - 05 -43

The scope of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is getting wider and wider, but the box I’m trapped in narrower and narrower.

Bake Dake - 05 -1As always with Erased, there’s an awful lot I’d like to say about this episode but simply can’t.  And unfortunately that’s likely to only get worse as we advance in the plot.  And it’s not as though I can just sit here and pick holes in the series, because it really isn’t doing anything wrong.  What’s a blogger to do under these circumstances – besides gush over how great this show is, I mean?

Bake Dake - 05 -2Well, as always there are things I can touch on that don’t directly impact the mystery (which really deepened this week) – or reflect backwards rather than forwards.  You noticed, most likely, that this was clearly a budget-saving episode – the animation and detail was a definite step down from the first four.  You may not have noticed if you didn’t read the manga that this was the first episode that skipped what I would consider a significant amount of material.  There’s going to be some of that, inevitably, and I feel pretty reassured based on this week that Ito and Kishimoto-sensei can handle it – I don’t think any clarity or cohesion was lost (though of course those without manga knowledge may feel differently).

Bake Dake - 05 -3I also want to talk about another element of this episode that’s safe ground, because it’s not something Sanbe Kei returns to as a point of focus in the manga.  I was quite struck by the tear that rolled down Satoru’s cheek in the classroom on the morning after Kayo’s disappearance – and by his freak-out outside her house later.  Consider this – we’re talking about a 29 year-old man here, but that childlike reaction was clearly genuine.  Why?  I guess what I’m asking is, which Satoru was it that was crying there – and does it even matter?  Sanbe – and Ito – don’t beat us over the head with this point, but I think it’s a fascinating thing to ponder.  Where does the boy end and the man begin?

Bake Dake - 05 -5This episode asks a lot of questions old and new that it’s not prepared to answer yet, but it also makes Kayo’s fate clear – and irrespective of the answers to any of those questions, that tragedy cuts deep.  On thing Sanbe doesn’t tell us at this point is why Satoru winds up back in the present, but so he does – once again a fugitive for a crime that pains him more than anyone else.  In that situation a man needs all the friends he can get, and what’s interesting isn’t so much that the manager betrays him (that painting of The Last Supper on his wall should have been your spoiler alert) but that Satoru was willing to beliebe in him,  And that he was willing, even after the manager called the cops, to forgive him for what he’d done.

Bake Dake - 05 -6One suspects that if Satoru had been a fly on the wall for the next day’s interaction between the manager and Airi he wouldn’t have been so forgiving.  Airi is a character who’s made an impression that’s outsized to her screen time, and she’s an interesting mix of a 17 year-old’s naiveté with a hard-edged toughness.  As to what happens with her this is definitely one of those minefields into which I dare not tiptoe, but you’ll no doubt have taken note of something she said – that Kayo died on Girl’s Day (Hina Matsuri, March 3).  Satoru certainly did…

Bake Dake - 05 -7There’s not much else I can say, sadly, except perhaps this – one takeaway from this episode and this series is that everyone has a story.  Not everything everyone says or does has a hidden meaning, because that’s now how real life is – people are saying and doing things all the time for reasons of their own, and in the process their story is being written by those words and actions (and thoughts) and by the things that shape us as people.  The fierce pride to believe in someone in spite of the evidence doesn’t take root in us by accident – it comes from the example of those we loved, especially when we were children.  Not everything that we see in Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is directly connected to the plot, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important – it paints the picture of the characters who make that plot matter to us.

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23 comments

  1. What do you think about Airi’s father losing his job and getting divorced for stealing a chocolate bar?

    Everyone is laughing at that. I’m not sure… Maybe that “samurai honor” still exists, at least in small villages.

  2. Trust me, that kind of thing could very easily happen in Japan today, never mind 10 or more years ago.

  3. M

    What do you know about samurai honour…by the way…

  4. Mari, I said “samurai honor” because it reminded me of how samurais committed seppuku when they dishonoured themselves.

    But I don’t know much about it. Let’s just say “honor” instead.

  5. s

    I MISSED AIRI!!!! She such a precocious 17 year old that girl; it’s probably why the adults around her are infatuated with her despite her age (yes im pretty sure it’s Airi Satoru has feelings for and not kayo like some assume). Just pointing something out but uhmmm, does this series even care about shrouding the culprit in mystery? Like i mentioned in the ep 2 post, it was obvious to me who the killer was, and then we have this “politician” speaking who’s voice uncannily sounds identical to someone else…uhmm Boku dake??? do you even care? Well i dont because i know this is more of a story of redemption and hope than it is a mystery series so yea…Oh and before someone goes off about how Airi’s backstory is silly because it’s just a piece of chocolate, take into consideration the socio-cultural dynamics of japan. How shame and unworthiness are essentially precursors to social suicide.

    Due to Air’s father’s high and respectable social standing, doing something as simple as shoplifting candy can essentially be social suicide. Imagine if you heard on the news that obama stole some sneakers from payless rather than paying for it, you’d be like “Why would the president do that, he’s hella rich so why didnt he just pay for it?”. As the president, obama should be setting an example of what a good citizen should be like so as expected, something like this would be overblown by the press. In japan, it’s even worse. Like Airi said, it was a small town and everyone was reasonably connected with each other. Word of mouth spread about this societal bigwig doing something as shameful as stealing a silly piece of chocolate…and that’s the key word: shame. With a social standing such as airi’s father, there are always going to be people who try and besmirch and sabotage you ( i assume her father got framed). The fact that Airi’s father felt shame made him turn down his job position and with the bad publicity (and most like airi’s dad acting closed off), a divorce was inevitable

  6. “Consider this – we’re talking about a 29 year-old man here, but that childlike reaction was clearly genuine.”

    To be frank, I’d say there are plenty reasons why a 29 year old man might want to cry at the thought of a little girl being murdered in cold blood, especially a girl he cared about/felt a duty to protect. I don’t think there needs be a dissociation there between the two Satorus – they both are at play and both have ample reasons to shed tears, though from slightly different perspectives.

    The drop in animation quality was noticeable, but hadn’t you said so, I wouldn’t have realized this cut manga material. Which is a good thing! Also the episode made it look like it was Kayo’s mom who killed her, probably involuntarily by beating her too much. Or maybe she simply found her dead in the shed and thought it was caused by her beating? Either way, I assume she disposed of the corpse and called the police, or her disappearance wouldn’t have been noticed so soon.

  7. M

    Seems a lot of people complained so much about that chocolate part – I personally think it’s just shows how Japanese society are. And I think most watchers missed the real reason why Airi’s father got suspended and divorced; the society and his wife thinks he’s a thief who cowardly do not admit his guilt. If Airi’s father just admits that he stole the chocolate, everyone will quick to forgive him, accept his apologies and life move on. But he didn’t and maintained his innocence (which actually same as Yuuki). I can see this is one of the main themes of Boku Dake – how the society so fixed on one suspect being guilty of the crime that they cannot accept the possibility that the suspect is innocent and the real criminal is still running loose.

  8. Yes, you’ve got it exactly right (and it’s OK to discuss this because the importance of that flashback is really self-contained in this episode). The key element here is the Dad’s refusal to admit his guilt for something he didn’t do – that’s what led to his divorcing his wife (and not the other-way around – at least that’s how I took it), because of her refusal to believe him.

    I do think, though, that we shouldn’t overly diminish the impact admitting guilt would have had on his life. Yes, he would have kept his job and stayed married, but he’d always have been that guy who stole the chocolate bar. There would have been snickers and whispers.

  9. Could Airi have taken the candy bar (she was a little kid) and her Dad took the heat for it?

  10. In theory? Sure. I didn’t pick up any hints in the story that it was being suggested, though.

  11. Yeah, I’m sure she would feel MIGHTY guilty if that was the case and it would have shown.

  12. Hah, “snickers and whispers”. Nice.

    I have to disagree a bit here. I think the episode felt rushed, too much stuff is happening, and the escapes didn’t feel very realistic.

  13. C

    (Coming from someone who hasn’t read the manga) The episode did feel very short, which isn’t necessarily good or bad, but it’s clearly a transition episode that focuses more on propelling the plot than on living in the moment. Even so, I was impressed by the pause in the action to look at Airi’s past (actually, I’m surprised they’re developing the female characters, maybe that’s just due to my recent anime watches lowering expectations, and there female cast really is superbly diverse and well written!). It’s thematically relevant without beating anyone over the head with drama. Somehow I think I’m missing the point of Hina Matsuri, apart from the change in the date. And I want to think that the teacher is somehow involved in all this, but at this point I doubt we have all the pieces of the puzzle. It’s a mystery that begins in a small town so of course we’re tempted to see a “locked room” scenario with a limited set of suspects. I’d be a bit disappointed if it turned out to be the teacher. (hopefully Satoru doesn’t pull a Homura if he really IS trying to save Kayo in vain)

  14. Hina Matsuri is Girl’s day – basically a festival to celebrate girls (May 5 is Boy’s Day, though in modern PC times it’s now “Children’s Day”). The significance here is the date itself (the disappearance date being two days later than original) but Airi is also struck by how tragic it is that a little girl would die on Girl’s Day.

  15. C

    Ah, that explains the translation. I understood the significance behind the date change and Satoru’s ability to alter the course of history even slightly, but I’ve always known Hina Matsuri as the display of those beautiful dolls in traditional clothing. I wasn’t sure why it would be associated with girls in particular. Thank you for clearing that up!

  16. J

    “You may not have noticed if you didn’t read the manga that this was the first episode that skipped what I would consider a significant amount of material. ”

    I read the manga and I don’t understand. This episode covers Ch 13-15 and I re-read those again and there is nothing that was cut here. What am I missing? Is there a half chapter or something?

  17. S

    I think Airi’s backstory is fantastically sweet and definitely thematically relevant with how society is so quick with casting blame to try and move away from other possibilities and the issue itself. Still, the chocolate thing bothered me even more in the anime then the manga. It just jumps way too abruptly from one to the other and ends up being accidentally hilarious. Sure it could happen, and if anywhere it would be Japan but a divorce itself would be quite ‘dishonorable’ so it doesn’t make sense that Airi’s father was so unwilling to give up his honor over the chocolate bar then get a divorce right after. Oh well, one silly cringey moment in an otherwise absolutely fantastic series. Can’t wait to see how this all turns out.

  18. You’re free to think that, but all I can tell you is I’ve heard many such stories in Japan. Didn’t seem at all unfeasible to me.

  19. This was the first episode that I felt was a bit of a step back to be honest. Things happened a bit too coincidentally for my liking, and the villain seems to get away with too much.

  20. F

    I think this episode and especially last episode really highlight the flaw in Satoru’s reasoning: saving Kayo in this one instance on the day of her historical disappearance does not give her immunity from her fate. If her death was the result of a random act carried out by an opportunistic killer then perhaps it would have worked, but there was intent behind her death which was not thwarted by being delayed by two days. Random events can be “corrected” one at a time, but to deflect an intentional act requires vigilance not limited to a single moment in time.

    You can’t blame Satoru for his shortcoming. His previous Revivals had all been short-term, sending him back mere moments and not years. He didn’t have to experience the repercussions of his acts and deal with the knowledge of what changes, if any, his actions made in the lives of those he saved or helped. The only glaring exception we are aware of is the Revival which seemingly set his Mother’s murder in motion. Cause and effect; very difficult to manage in a dynamic system such as time.

    I think they are doing a great job so far in keeping the story out of the swamp that time manipulation can often cause an interesting anime to veer into. This is my favorite show this season and it’s making me want to read the manga when it’s all over.

  21. G

    Could the murder of Airi be taken as a private vendetta towards Satoru? Or would it merely a warning? This episode is really too short, and I admit, it was slightly too fast paced for my liking. I also find the young Satoru scenes much more affecting than those showing the older Satoru.

  22. B

    AHHHHHHH! This show is driving me nuts. I don’t think I could have dealt with having to wait a week between episodes.

  23. ROFL.

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