Boku Dake ga Inai Machi – 07

Boku Dake - 07 -5 Boku Dake - 07 -43 Boku Dake - 07 -50

Come on – there’s just no way that was 22 minutes, is there?

Boku Dake - 07 -1Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is one of those series that’s so good a part of me hates watching it – because as long as I don’t start watching an episode, I’m not bringing the end of that episode any closer.  People sometimes complain about the hype train attached to this series (with a show generating as much acclaim as Erased a backlash is inevitable), but for me it comes down to this – three out of seven episodes aired so far would for sure rank among my top 50 anime episodes ever, and maybe much higher (and the rest were no worse than excellent in their own right).  As far as I’m concerned, the hype is entirely appropriate.

Boku Dake - 07 -2As always I’m left to talk about the little things – the seasoning rather than the steak – because of reasons.  Fortunately it’s the little things that turn Boku Dake from a great series into a magnificent one, and there are always plenty of them to talk about.  Some of these I picked up on while reading the manga, and some not until the series became an anime.  Erased is so dependent on telling us things without saying them outright that I suppose that makes a lot of sense.

Boku Dake - 07 -3Is there a certain deeper emotional resonance in the scenes with the child Satoru as opposed to the adult?  Yes, I think there is – though I don’t think these episodes are objectively “better”.  The stuff in the adult Satoru’s timeline is every bit as subtle and penetrating, but there’s just something to seeing these events play out with kids that’s more viscerally impactful.  I’m hard-pressed to think of a series that so adroitly captures the world of the child through their eyes.  It also doesn’t hurt that it’s these chapters that feature Kayo, who’s so heartbreakingly vulnerable yet strong on her own terms, and her impossibly moving relationship with Satoru.

Boku Dake - 07 -4Two elements really hit me hard this week,  One is – once again – the dynamic between Satoru and Sachiko.  So much seems to have changed in their relationship in seventeen years, but the more we learn the more we realize how little has changed.   Sachiko is barely present in this ep but she makes a huge impact as always – I love the way we see how nothing gets by her when it concerns her son, and how much this unnerves him.  Satoru has never been able to put anything over on Sachiko, be he a fifth-grader or a struggling mangaka.  At the beginning of the series all he remembers is how much this annoys him, but the Revivals bring back to him its true meaning – just why his mother is so in tune with his thoughts and actions.

Boku Dake - 07 -6The other impression that’s really strong this week is how beautifully Boku Dake ga Inai Machi brings home the frustrations of being a child.  Kenya is the catalyst for this – an exceedingly smart and gutsy little boy, but a little boy nonetheless.  He sees what’s going on with Kayo but feels powerless to do anything about it, because no matter how smart or gutsy a fifth-grader is, how can he make the jump from understanding what he’s seeing to actually confronting adults in the way he would need to?  It’s because of Satoru’s life experience that he’s able to act, and Kenya is too keenly observant not to have picked up on the anomaly.  He’s a bit jealous of what Satoru has become, but even more curious about it – and he admires it, too.

Boku Dake - 07 -7Every moment we see Satoru and Kayo together – every sidelong glance, every “Are you stupid?”, every clasping of gloved hands – is a kick to the solar plexus.  These are two children who are each “old souls”, though for entirely different reasons, yet remarkably (all the more so in Satoru’s case) they retain an essence of innocence to them.  The lengths to which Satoru is willing to go (thank goodness for Kenya’s cooler head) to try and change things for Kayo are truly staggering, but so is her gratitude that another person (and indeed, six other people – but especially Satoru) could care so much for her.  How can so many conflicting emotions be brought to bear just by the simple act of showing two people spending time together?

Boku Dake - 07 -8There’s a hell of a lot else going on here too, most of which I’ll regretfully leave alone.  I do want to note how wonderful it is that Satoru, for all his focus on saving Kayo, hasn’t forgotten his friend Yuuki – who’s also of course a victim in all this.  And how pleased I was that Ito and Kishimoto nailed all the bits involving the abandoned school bus – nailed the scenes which embodied both extremes of the emotional spectrum.  These are outsized moments in Boku Dake, critically important, and as it has from the start the anime has understood where those moments are and brought out it’s A+ game for them.  My only complaint is that each episode brings us a week closer to the end, but not even a series a great as this one can do anything to stop that.

 

 

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23 comments

  1. O

    Is there any possibility that, after the series ends, you could share with us your analysis that you can’t share for spoiler reasons? After realizing how good this anime is, I’ve had to keep myself away from the manga so as to not spoil myself, so I really appreciate your effort to not spoil things. At the same time, I am sad that we can’t read a full in-depth analysis on a series you really really enjoy.

  2. I would really appreciate this too! A comparison between the manga and adaption. I spoiled myself with the manga – and have held of the last few chapters in order to fully enjoy the ending animated first.

  3. s

    so i finally caved this week and read the manga so no more speculating from me from this point on; however, i do want to mention that there were certain small tweaks the anime has made throughout the adaptation that quite frankly, i think take away from some of the subtlety the manga had with those scenes. I didnt like how purposefully dramatic they made Yuuki’s small “interrogation” scene, or Satoru shouting “go back”. And it seems Satoru’s concern for the well-being of his other friends is much less emphasized in the anime in comparison to the manga. There are more changes made from manga to anime form that i personally think should have stayed as it adds a bit of characterization to some of our cast…but i guess what we got is good enough

  4. Is it just me or are the ‘revival’ episode much better than those in present time? It might be because we’re getting a lot more progress when Satoru travels into the past, and all the characters in the past are a lot more nuanced.

  5. Yes, it’s the same for me. The ‘past’ episodes seem to have a stronger impact.

  6. That cliffhanger ending was so ominous.

  7. Y

    That ending! 🙁 This is simply torture. Watching Kayo being her adorable self again and again, and then having her killed again and again…probably the most tragic character I’ve ever seen.

  8. O

    Kind of reminds me of Mayushi

  9. O

    or Madoka. Actually, I guess it’s kind of a trope at this point.

  10. D

    I caved in started reading the manga (although I have restrained myself and not read ahead of the show) and it’s every bit as excellent as I expected and manages to convey the mood perfectly. One particular thing that I enjoy about this show is how fleshed out and grounded all the characters are. They are also pretty deep and it’s hard to really pin them down and figure out what any of them are really all about. TV rarely manages to capture that sweet spot of a persons complexity and depth. It’s either completely shallow and predictable or it’s dialed up to 11 and the show slaps you in the face with it, so you’re always made aware of it. Erased has a great awarness of this and even halfway through the show I hesitate to really try and make a sure bet on what every character is really all about.

    Out of curiousity, Enzo, which 3 episodes did you consider to be the best?

  11. Well in truth, it’s four. 2-4 and 7 would be my picks.

  12. t

    I might be missing something here, but am I the only one who felt like Satoru telling Kenya that Kayo is going to be murdered, and Kenya taking his word for it without questioning how he knows this was a major lapse in the narrative? Satoru knows what’s going to happen because he’s the one inducing the revivals, but for all intents and purposes Kenya doesn’t.

    All in all, this is a truly sensational series and I can’t wait for the mystery to be unraveled.

  13. I don’t trust Kenya. There is still that unexplained scene from the end of Ep 3 when he was shown talking with the class teacher at night with ominous music playing. Also, in the OP, he’s featured in the reel with the black censor bar over his eyes like he’s a potentially dodgy character. For the record, I haven’t read the manga and this is purely my speculation.

  14. But the bad guy who killed Kayo and Sachiko is supposed to be the same guy.
    Which ruled out Kenya as suspect, since he’s still too young.
    Unless the opponent is a psychic too?
    We can only speculate…

  15. Yeah he’s not necessarily the killer or even the bad guy. But the show does try to hint there’s more to his character so I think he’s hiding something. Until I find out what that is I refuse to trust him.

  16. Enzo, is there any chance that, given your inability to comment on the show’s “steak” as you put it, that you’d consider going back and re-blogging the show next season with caution for spoilers thrown to the wind so that you can take a bigger bite, rather than merely licking it, per se? Similarly, in a light (substance-wise) season, have you ever considered artificially adding a show from the past – Kanon, for instance, that you would have liked to blog but weren’t yet blogging and were thus unable to?

  17. To your first question, maybe – it’s an interesting idea. But Spring looks like it could be crazy busy as is.

    To your second, yes – I have definitely considered doing that. Though maybe even more seriously considered blogging something off the bucket list that I’d never seen.

  18. Good luck either way! It’s always a pleasure reading your blog, and I’m excited to see wherever you end up taking it.

  19. I can tell you it has taken every bit of strength I have not to go ahead of the anime and read the source material! In regards to the hype train, I feel usually if it’s still this strong 7 weeks into the season no longer is it hype, but the makings of an instant classic.

  20. I still have a few chapters to go, and at this point I’m thinking I may just wait until the anime finishes. Not an easy choice by any means.

  21. Managed to catch up with this today at last. I wonder if watching 7 episodes in a row is either a plus or a minus concerning the hints but… in the meantime DANG THAT OMINOUS CLIFFHANGER NOO KAYO RUN RUN FOR YOUR LIFE THAT IT AIN’T SATORU OR ANY OF THE KIDS FOR SURE, IT MUST BE EVIL MYSTERY MIB MURDERER/SERIAL SNATCHER JUST JUMP OFF THAT BED, SQUIRREL BETWEEN HIS LEGS, FREEZE HIS CROTCH WITH A SNOWBALL OUTSIDE THAT DEATH BOX & RUNNNN SWEETIE RUNNN D: *hyperventilating*
    Talking of evil dude…
    SPECULAH
    either they are a master of red-yet-not-so-red-but-indeed-red herrings or there is one and only strong candidate so far it seems to me: there aren’t many people who would have both trust and access to the kids&their infos after all + suspiciously infodumped the MC on future first classmate victim + have a very super consistent dress code of the dark suit variety. Also all the past children victims are from within a few towns all close to one another, yes? Basically my bets are on the teacher. Shady Mr Town Concilor could still be the teacher under a different name – Satoru just glanced at the previous suspect file on mom’s colleague’s PC after all… – now 18 years older ( heavier frame, still same dark suits) with his face hidden not to spoil it to soon etc.
    My other strong candidate just doesn’t give off bad vibes. Secrets and a borderline scary acumen, yes. Evil? Nope. Some Revival power ties if not the power itself? I suspect. I believe in you Kenya-kiddo <3 may you kids be the ones to fool the TOO NICE teacher rather than the other way around :,)
    /SPECULAH

  22. G

    So glad I finished this episode a short while before the airing of the next, since that cliffhanger! Like someone else mentioned here, I thought it was a little odd how Kenya took Satoru to his word so easily when he said Kayo would be “murdered”, but it’s not an impossible interpretation as Kenya could have taken it as Kayo would have died sooner or later from abuse.

    I too agree that episodes of the past are a lot more affecting, and it’s largely due to seeing through the lens of children. Their helplessness, vulnerability and innocence is so heartbreaking. I wonder if Satoru brought Hiromi into his plans because he hoped to protect him as well (in case of any complications). This is turning to be a wonderful series, and I’m actually wishing they slowed the pace a little just so I can savour it more.

  23. k

    its funny how satoru and kayo’s “relationship” is much more grounded in reality them either nanoha and fate’s, vivio and einhart’s, and miyu, illya, and kuro’s. the author spent time researching on how kids really act and in what situations if they were face with it instead of the kid characters being detached wishfullment fetish full. not only that it’s nice to see a grade school BOY main character again for once, its amazing how far anime can still go when it’s not pandering to recluses.

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