Boku Dake ga Inai Machi – 09

Boku Dake - 09 -13 Boku Dake - 09 -48 Boku Dake - 09 -54

There’s just no escaping this minefield for me at this point.

Boku Dake - 09 -1I think we may have finally reached the stalemate point for me in terms of blogging with Boku Dake ga Inai Machi.  The minefield analogy works quite well, actually, because that’s exactly the figurative situation I find myself in – I have no sense of where to put my next foot down.  Every step could be an unintended disaster.  What feels like safe ground to me might seem like hinting or spoiling to a new viewer.  I don’t even really know if I can – or should – talk about pacing, which is quite an interesting topic right now.  But is even that crossing the line?

Boku Dake - 09 -2There are a couple of things I can safely address, I think.  The first salient point is that the manga officially ended today – the final chapter was released in Young Ace.  That’s a milestone, obviously, but also of note is that with that final chapter came an announcement of a spinoff manga by Sanbe Kei – Boku Dake ga Inai Machi Gaiden.  That in itself could be a spoiler under some circumstances, but it seems this will be an “untold stories” kind of manga, and this doesn’t reveal much about what happens in the final chapters of the original.

Boku Dake - 09 -3There’s one more important point, too, and that’s this: I haven’t finished the manga myself.  I’ve mentioned that before, but this seems a crucial time to reiterate it – when the anime started and proved to be as phenomenal as it is, I stopped myself a few chapters before the current manga release in order to be able to see the anime end with fresh eyes (hopefully).  The issue is, we’re not at the point where I’ve stopped yet – we’re quite a ways short of it in fact – and this is where the whole issue of pacing would be a really interesting topic for discussion if I felt safe in broaching it.  But  I don’t think I do – the risk is too great for me to get into that topic in any detail.

Boku Dake - 09 -4So can I talk about the episode at all?  Well, not much – and probably not at all when it comes to what happens after the first five minutes or so.  Kayo’s mom going after Sachiko with a shovel was certainly a headline moment.  It’s one thing to use yourself as bait, but quite another to have to dodge a blow like that one.  What stands out about this scene for me is the reaction Kayo has to seeing her mother break down in tears when her grandmother arrives, and I think it’s the key to the whole scene.  Sanbe-sensei wants us to take our cue from her – there’s no sympathy in her eyes, or Satoru’s either for that matter.  Using victimization as a pretext to victimize others doesn’t cut it, and the children here know it (even if one of them is sort of an adult).

Boku Dake - 09 -5The rest of the episode is a fascinating mix of stuff, but about 98% of it I just, just can’t talk about.  I know everyone who hasn’t read the manga has some very specific ideas about what was happening here, but I’m not going to feed that tiger.  If it makes you feel any better, there are some things about which I have absolutely no idea what to expect – and not just the few final chapters I haven’t read, either.  We’re three-quarters of the way into the anime, and Itou-sensei has some decisions to make for which the answers are not self-evident.  That’s one of the most fascinating parts of all this for me, and I never expected to be as unsure as I am this late in the game.

Boku Dake - 09 -6One final thought – please be very careful in the comments.  In the other places where this season is discussed I’m seeing more and more cases of manga readers being unable to resist the urge to speculate out loud, and to drop enormous hints in the process.  I get the temptation, believe me, but I’ll plead with everyone to resist it – I want this to be a safe zone for new viewers.  There’s only three eps to go, and if you’ve held your tongue for this long you can go three more weeks, right?

 

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21 comments

  1. D

    I, for one, am pretty worried about the pacing.

  2. o

    Just my take on the thing with the grandmother – I’m not really sure it was meant to garner sympathy for the mother, so much as it was meant to give her a way out. She was refusing to hand Kayo over on the grounds that doing so was admitting she’s a bad mom. She IS a bad mom, but the grandmother’s “act” gave everyone a way to pretend, “Oh, you’re not a bad mom, you just had too much to handle, it’s not your fault.” So Kayo gets save, mom saves face (in her own mind, at least).

    As for the rest of the episode, I keep willing Satoru to just spill the beans to HIS mom. At least about what they found at the bus hideout. Maybe 29 year old Satoru thinks 10 year Satoru shouldn’t know to mention it, but I’d think an innocent, “So, when Kayo was hiding out, some man showed up in the middle of the night, and the next morning, we found this box full of all this weird stuff….” just might get the adults alert. Guess that’d be too easy :/

    But man, Thursdays are too far apart this season!

  3. I was horrified that the Mom punched Kayo in the face (for nothing) with a closed fist.

  4. s

    the ending is going to be rushed; that’s definitely the feeling im getting but i could be wrong. There was that ova announcement but still; im not so sure how that’s going to help. Guess we’ll wait and see mmm

  5. Was there an OVA announcement? How did I miss that?

  6. e

    I’m with owler’s comment above making sense of the role of Out Of The Blue Grandma but it sort of pulled me out of the moment. Felt very tacked on. And it left me side-eyeing all the adults in that family more than soaking in the Yay For Kayo feels :,).
    I can’t avoid wondering about how Satoru can be so sure she’s completely safe from the killer now too. Sure it would be too much of a strange coincidence – scratch it, make it a giant glowing neon arrow – if mr. killer oh-so-by-chance managed to get her in her new house far(?) away from the main action location so to speak. But that’s sensibe from a viewer’s genre-savy point of view. From a in-story point they’re really painting him a way too naive 29yo time traveller hero here imho.

    Now… A whole stash of candy?! And a piece of folder paper that may or may have been not candy wrap. And oh-so-conventiently showing up in that car [ 1) he’s trailing the girl 2) he’s trailing Satoru 3) he’s trailing the girl BECAUSE Satoru is trailing her :,D ]. And chalk it up to my He’s The Culprit goggles but that vaguely PUA-flavoured advice about making friends… hmmmm. And those loaded jokes in the teacher’s room. Oh boy. As subtle as a candy-hoarder charming psycopath playing the trust game with his pet. Granted *if* he managed to elude even Satoru’s Super Mom all-powerful yokai sense (until it was too late) he’s pretty good at what he does.
    P.S.: talking of teacher’s pet and power of idiomatic phrases… ED sequence lightbulb moment anyone? Please let it not be a literal hamster dying in a (azure!) fire. I can live with the figure of speech and some reunion scene under that meaningful hill tree. Seriously.

    Talks of friendship and trust always get to me. Kenya, Hiromi, that was beautiful :,).

  7. I’m wondering if Kayo’s mom is the killer? She sure has all the red flags for a serial killer to have. In the future she could have killed Kayo 1st in a fit of anger and then killed 2 other kids to throw suspicion off of her? Guess we will find out at the end.

  8. e

    @Karmafan: was that a reply to me? Sorry I missed it so far.
    Anyway… I think it’s unlikely. 1) Kayo was not the first victim if I remember correctly… it’s just that she happened to be in Satoru’s life picture so to speak. Her Mommy Dearest is a violently abusive neglectful parent but her tendencies stem and work inside her own parent-child family frame, she lashed out at non-family members only when they were literally intruding at her hand’s reach. Can’t really see her starting screening tracking and abducting/murdering children all around the count(r)y. Honestly she lacks the organized mindset and long-term plan processing if anything.
    2) Ties into my last consideration above: I happen to be familiar with parental abuse and disfunctional families. Kayo’s Bio Mother is a piece of work but does not fit this serial killer bill.
    In any case we’ll see 🙂 .

  9. A

    As a manga reader I’m very, very worried about the pacing at this point, and that’s probably not something I would have said prior to this week. I love that they’re not cutting details, but if we had just one more episode…

  10. C

    I like this show, I really do. I think it’s a very solidly-executed thriller, and does very well in most of the moments that matter. The animation is good, the suspense is gripping, the characters are okay for the most part, the MC is relatable, the “loli-shota” romance is cute, et cetera et cetera.

    That being said I have no idea how anyone could say it is better than Rakugo. Rakugo has this amazing degree of verisimilitude that if anyone were to tell me “this actually happened in real life” I could almost believe them. Erased… well, to me it needs a good dose of suspension of disbelief. What if I were to tell you that there’s this story, and in it a 16-year old Japanese high-schooler defeats a Sumerian king? You would say “well, sounds interesting… but it’s kinda silly, isn’t it?” Yes, indeed, and what if I were to tell you there’s this other story about 5th graders who outsmart Japan’s best serial killer? Yeah, as I said I like Erased but it has its share of silly stuff, and that’s not even getting into the blatant emotional manipulation it tries to do, which fell really flat on its face on this episode. I’m sure nobody on the planet felt any sort of sympathy for Kayo’s mother. Why was giving her some sort of quasi-redemption even necessary?

  11. Opinions are wonderful things. Not everyone is going to agree with yours.

    My short answer is that I simply find this series more emotionally powerful than Rakugo. I care more about what happens. And I find the way the story is constructed to be almost impossibly elegant. But Rakugo is certainly a wonderful series too and I could see where anyone could rank it as their #1 of the season. I just don’t happen to feel that way.

  12. That I cannot agree no matter how much I adore your writing Sir. If there’s one thing Rakugo excels against everything else this season, it is the rawness of the emotions it show. Well, opinions are opinions and Erased is good, but I just happen not to feel what the majority feels this season.

    Back on Erased, can they deal with the main plot right in a span of three episodes now that Kayo is saved? I am not a manga reader but the pacing… I am afraid it will be really fast.

  13. s

    I can partially agree with your comment but saying rakugo is better is just as much of an opinion as enzo thinking erased is better. Heck, people think grimgar is this well written/directed masterpiece of animation to which I highly disagree with but that’s just my opinion as well. Rakugo requires some suspension of disbelief as well tho arguably not as much as others. It all comes down to what we as individuals believe to be good storytelling; what we believe to be the components that dictate a strong and cohesive narrative. Now yes we can argue that stories can be evaluated under some objective model n I would agree to that but some things effect people differently n that is very hard to account for. Rakugo n erased are both good shows………….in my opinion

  14. He’s not really a 5th grader though, he’s Detective Conan with multiple retries, its more than possible he’d be able to crack the case.

    I was confused by the redemption as well, but I think it might have worked if they toned the drama meter way down and used it purely as exposition.

    Overall I think this show looks nicer than Rakugo and has better pacing which gives it a heads up.

  15. s

    I can think of two reasons: 1.the announcement is attached to the last chapter of the manga which I read and 2. Before the release of the final chapter, the ova confirmation was kinda low key so not many knew about it

  16. Very weird ANN or MAL would have no coverage of an OVA announcement.

  17. That’s easy, Enzo. MAL is an database first, and news source later, they’re kinda slow in noticing stuff like OVAs and mini-episodes. ANN is a really shitty place with a horrible editorial line that caters to the common denominator, and is as slow as MAL is to react to news about stuff, even if they involve the “hit” of the season.

    (I stopped trusting ANN as a news source after they blatantly mistranslated an interview about G-Reco just to follow their editorial line, and the opinions of lots of people in the western anime fandom, on how shit was the show.)

  18. D

    I haven’t gotten very far into the manga yet, but the issue of question of pacing hit me especially hard after this episode. And given how the show operates, it’s hard to really understand if a particular plot element has been resolved (Kayo), in which case it seems almost a little underwhelming and abrupt. Or if there will be more to it and how they’re going to fit it into the remaning episodes. Obviously I can’t know for sure how everything will play out and I’m hoping it doesn’t feel rushed, but Erased seems like a prime candidate for a 2-cour treatment. I’ve never really been terribly informed about anime production politics, but 12 episodes feels like too little for a story of this scope.

    On an entirely unrelated note, I noticed that a short anime adaptation of She and Her Cat is airing. I was so surprised to see that I actually went back to browse through all the various Winter Season previews to check if I missed it somehow. Unless I’m blind, it hasn’t really been mentioned anywhere. Will you be covering it, Enzo? Given your love for most things Shinkai. Though as I undersand it, he’s not actually involved in the project.

  19. Y

    I’m following the german manga release and we are currently at volume 6, so I’m really worried about the pacing. Perhaps we will get a movie? Because there is no way they will fit more than 3 volumes of content into 3 episodes, right?

  20. Z

    I think this was probably my least favorite episode of Erased so far. As others have said, I really felt like I was ejected out of the story pretty forcefully with what seemed to be a “Deus Ex Machina Grandma”. The action leading up to is a proceeding it where done with the usual excellence, but that particular piece was pretty jarring. The snow shovel to the face and the screaming really grabbed my attention I was left kinda deflated by Grandam showing up.

    As for the rest of the episode, my non-manga reading self is fingering the teacher. He’s got the candy and the way over involvement in the kids lives. All he needs now is paneled white van.

  21. But aren’t the clues too apparent? They are possibly tricks from the author to misled us. Standard mystery writing puts misleading clues in the spotlight, and keep the correct clue somewhat hidden.
    However, the culprit of a mystery story should be someone we are familiar with, to make good story. It will be weird if the culprit is somebody who has only three minutes screen time.
    This leaves me a bit confused at this moment.
    The number of named adults in this anime is very few.

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