Boku Dake ga Inai Machi – 11

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Yeah, I admit it – this is one of the posts I’ve least looked forward to writing since I started blogging anime.

Boku Dake - 11-1There’s really no two ways about it – I knew there was going to be the shitstorm to end all shitstorms after this episode of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi.  Why?  Well, if significant changes were made, the manga readers were going to be incensed.  And if the manga were followed religiously, the anime-only viewers were going to be up in arms.  Most likely, it would be some mixture of both – which is exactly what we got – effectively pissing off almost everybody (which I tried in a non-committal way to warn new viewers of last week).

Boku Dake - 11-2Not only is this a no-win situation for Erased, it’s a no-win situation for me.  And that’s because I was pretty much certain from the degree of controversy this section of the manga caused that the bulk of opinion was going to be negative (as it has been).  And if I were to defend the direction Sanbe-sensei – never mind the anime staff – took, I would be accused of looking at the series through rose-colored glasses, of being an apologist.  But that’s all I can do, because for the most part I bought was Sanbe was selling.

Boku Dake - 11-3Let’s get a couple of things that are more straightforward out of the way, just to simplify matters a bit.  First, there was a lot of material skipped here – a lot.  Of the three options I suggested were open to Itou and Kishimoto last week, I would say this was a cross between all three – the pace was speeded up dramatically, there was some original content, and a fair bit of material was either cut or shifted to the finale.  And I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen next week – based on this ep it’s impossible to say with any certainty.

Boku Dake - 11-4Second, while there are substantive subjective reasons why viewers might dislike Sanbe’s choices here that it would be really pointless for me to try and rebut (because of their subjectivity), there is one vein of viewer anger that I will refute.  That is, the insane amount of rage I’m seeing over Kayo and Hiromi being married and having a baby.  I was expecting some (not this much) and of course everyone is entitled to their own feelings.  But I think this anger is purely based on anime cliche, to be honest.  To be angry that someone who was eleven years old should not have resigned herself to be unhappy forever in gratitude to someone who might never wake up is, to me, unrealistic.  Do you honestly believe that’s what Satoru would want?  Didn’t he do all he did to try and save Kayo and Hiromi so that they would have a life?   It’s not ungrateful or disrespectful – if they fell in love, they did exactly what they should have done and what Satoru would have wanted.

And besides, there are plenty of better reasons for you to be pissed off – even if I don’t agree with them.

Boku Dake - 11-5So why do I like the general direction Sanbe has taken here?  I like the sense of disorientation and creeping unrest he manages to create (and which Itou-sensei recreates beautifully in the first half of the episode).  I love the poetic symmetry that after ten episodes of Satoru being an adult in a child’s body, he’s now a child in an adult’s body (with a child’s voice, which is the advantage of anime over manga).  I adored the way Sachiko’s superhuman maternal GAR was celebrated – and rewarded.  I liked both Yashiro’s origin story and the way events were connected to the present (as in  2003).  I thought it was both believable and creepy as hell.

Boku Dake - 11-6That said, I won’t deny this was quite different in the manga than it was in the anime.  There was more flesh on the bones of the material in the A-Part, and what happened in the B-Part was pretty different altogether.  One particular sequence was missing which I know manga readers will really have wanted to see.  And now we go into the final episode and I’m really at a loss for how Itou and Kishimoto are going to wrap all this up.  The best I can say about the finale is that I’ll judge it only after I’ve actually seen it – to try and pre-judge it now would be insane under the circumstances.  And one more time, I’ll defend Boku Dake ga Inai Machi for not pandering either to anime convention or the feelings of the audience – I love the fact that Sanbe doesn’t give a damn about taking the easier path.  As long as Erased goes out in a manner that’s true to itself, I’ll defend its right to do so until my last breath.

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42 comments

  1. I

    I’m glad you liked the episode! I was worried based on the preview line that you wouldn’t. I liked it too!

  2. C

    I have to say, this is a pretty great review, all without spoiling the changes made to the original source. Now that you’ve confirmed the show is freestyling the end (to a certain extent, anyway), I’ll probably wait for the last episodes to air before finishing the series myself. Sanbe doesn’t hold back with these cliff hangers, and I’m not keen on biting my nails from one week to the next.

  3. T

    Hear hear. As someone who has so far stayed away from the manga, I’m looking forward to the finale, and also looking forward to enjoying the manga afterward, and appreciating the differences between the two. Another great episode. No complaints here. Thank you for this review.

  4. t

    I really liked how the anime was executed up until this episode. I’m still very much perplexed by the decision to cram the series into 12 episodes instead of going with a two cour adaptation. The left out source material would’ve made the narrative (particularly in this ep) a lot more coherent and fulfilling.

  5. I like most of the changes that have been made. Personally I felt the last arc in the manga where Sataru basically used a child as a decoy to catch the killer felt off to me. It seemed like a very unsuperhero thing to do. Instead the’ve made the teacher ALOT more dangerous. The opening has been hinting at a rooftop confrontation with someone falling for a long time so I suspected that was the direction they would take.

    As to what the teacher has set up .. 1) he was playing with the girls phone and 2) he made Sataru use his own finger on the elevator. I suspect that he is trying to set it up like Sataru had a thing for the girl and she sent him or someone a txt rejecting him causing Sataru to commit suicide off the roof. We’ll see how it pans out.

    And yeah the wierd shipping thing is just wierd! They were 11 year olds!!! He was in a coma for 15 years!!!!!

  6. K

    Honestly, I don’t care about changes. I’m too tired of original material maniacs. The story remains interesting and that’s enough for me. To expect flawless storytelling, or to expect the anime staff to do exactly what you want, that’s just being entitled in my book. If they removed parts or changed the plot I’ll just look up the manga. And seriously, people got pissed at Kayo getting married? Come on, unlikely couples do happen in real life.

  7. I have not read the manga so I don’t know what I am missing. As an anime only viewer I have loved this series up until now. I did find this episode confusing in that how did Satoru get out of the car? Did the Teacher go back and pull him out? Did he drown and was revived but in a coma and possibly brain dead?I would have rather they end the series on a cliffhanger and we see the conclusion in an OVA or better yet a 2nd cour but by the pacing of this series their might not have been enough material left for another season.

  8. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that part of the “flesh on the bones” I was talking about was an explanation of how that car thing happened. I won’t say how, just in case they cover it in the finale.

  9. A

    I would actually be fine if we didn’t get the details on how Satoru survived the car. At the end of ep 10, after Satoru was strapped in the car, there was one cutaway of Satoru getting THROWN into the lake–which made no sense, but given how Yashiro looked back when Satoru shouted “I know your future” and Yashiro’s obsession with Satoru surviving, I kind of figure Yashiro took him out of the car. And even if that’s not what happens in the manga, it doesn’t really matter. Miracles do happen, and Satoru trapped in a sinking car was no guarantee of anything, IMO.

  10. M

    I am very annoyed some people use this word, NTR, to describe this episode…This story is not about who will be a couple or not but about deep friendship to care each other so much…Hiromi and Kayo being married is a wonderful development because they were not able to live longer than 11 years in another route but in this route, they are now adults, married and even have a baby. Surely Satoru is happy with it.
    Also, I wasn’t happy with the English title but when watching the OP for this ep is….I was impressed, “Oh, it makes sense somewhat.”.

  11. The use of that utterly anime cliche term “NTR” in relation to the episode is a perfect indication that a lot of viewers are trying to see this series through a filter that just doesn’t fit.

  12. Z

    Enzo, the rage and disappointment feelings from Satoru-Kayo shippers is justified, predictable everywhere argument like “it’s more realistic” or “she move on” or it’s “10 vs 29 years old”. Well no, even it’s not technically in story “NTR” but it’s the real life shippers that got NTR-ed instead because they feel cheated by author in absurd way.

    The problem is the pairing, it will be more make sense if it was Kenya instead Hiromi because he is quite developed and important character OR even an unknown male character to be Kayo’s husband is also FINE if the purpose is only to show that she is now live a happy normal life, like do you need to care about with who the girl in 5cm per Second married and move on from the boy in the end? Because the point in that story is their departure from each other, no need for unnecessary twist to fuel the shippers.

    But noooo….. in here it has to be Hiromi, a girl-ish looking boy side character which the author didn’t even care to giving him any spotlight or even foreshadowing for this role, almost like his character only used as a vessel for Kayo’s baby father.

    Yes indeed Satoru saved their lives but does it really THAT necessary for the author to have them married? He didn’t even bother to show adult Aya (another victim that Satoru saved) and the rest of Satoru’s friends (which also important to his life) when he wakes up, but only adult Hiromi is there with Kenya, yep he is there only for this OUT OF NO WHERE husband role.

    If this is not the author intend to slap hard Satoru-Kayo shippers in face, then I don’t know what it is. And of course to retcon this, he probably will create a side story later.

  13. Z

    The author alludes to what happens with Kayo and Hiromi pretty clearly in the manga. I’m sorry as an anime only watcher you felt so violated by the pairing. Even from a anime only point of view though, Hiromi said that he felt “saved” when Satoru included him in the “after school always together” thing, so being saved by Satoru was a point of commonality and bonding between Hiromi and Kayo. That alone makes it a more believable pairing than the “murderer obsessed” Kenya with Kayo.

    As a manga reader, I’ll admit to being a little disappointed in the plot changes. I liked all of the cat and mouse maneuvering, both successful and failures. I can understand the changes, because much of the manga from the coma-forward point is Satoru thinking, and talking, and thinking, and doing rehab, and did I mention the thinking? Not exactly heady anime fare, but I thought it was quite engaging.

    Hopefully this new route will take us someplace just as interesting.

  14. Z

    Well it’s always something when manga readers always feel “supreme” over anime only watchers, I would never claim as any though. You right, the manga become somewhat mediocre after the time skip and much majority agree with this, but the anime itself adapting Kayo’s arc quite faithfully although with questionably rushed pacing because even the anime staff know that is the best part of the manga.

    And no, the “bonding”” between Kayo and Hiromi still didn’t exist before Satoru fall into coma and common point isn’t even enough. If Sanbe Kei always planning for them to be together, then at least he should have put a hint or foreshadowing between them before time skip into 15 years, like Hiromi blushing to Kayo or anything like that, it will be make more sense instead of being like this out of no where “twist” factor.

    As I said before, if Kenya is out of option, then pair Kayo with an unknown male character is better because the idea is she now live happily while at same time you can also make separate a happy ending for Hiromi without having them married, it will be less “slap in face” for the shippers.

    Kayo is arguably is the main heroine of the series (you can free to think otherwise) and what people referring as “NTR” is actually when your main heroine (from shipper’s perspective) is paired with someone else other than the MC, it doesn’t need the actual definition of “stealing your girlfriend”.

  15. Z

    I apologize if you thought I was pulling a “I’ve read the manga” superiority vibe over you. It wasn’t my intention. I was only trying to explain why I didn’t find it so unrealistic. I guess you and I will just have to disagree about the viability of any of the ships.

    I also personally ADORED the second half of the manga. I just don’t think it would have translated as “exciting” in the anime medium. I would have liked to see it, but I know I am in a tiny minority.

    For me, the series was never about Satoru and any woman except his Mom. He went back to save his Mom, and he did that. The fact that he felt he had to save Kayo to accomplish that was just a bonus for Kayo. But that is just me, your mileage will vary.

  16. Z

    Indeed everyone always different, however my main personal problem is about how the author seemed purposely blew up the shippers with the “twist” just for sake to blew up the shippers. I said before if only he put even a little bit of hint between Kayo-Hiromi, then trust me as casual audience I would never have bothered with this issue, but seeing how people defend the author in this matter kinda irk me. Sorry for this inconvenience personal issue, I just trying to justify the “broken ship” complaint especially from the people who heavily invested in this series.

    Wait, he didn’t went back in time to save his mom on his will as the time travel thing work randomly and needs a trigger. Once he went back to the past, his very main objective is to save Kayo, notice how depressed little Satoru when he failed to save her on the first try.

  17. D

    I’m often dismayed by the sad trend among anime fandom to judge everything by a narrow set of bad cliches and unrealistic tropes. The bile aimed at Kayo because she put her new life to good use rather than being some kind of creepily obsessive ‘plaster saint’ staying at Satoru’s side for 15 years is just depressingly stupid, I find.

    Personally I liked that Hiromi and Kayo, two people whose lives would have been cut tragically short, had found happiness together. It was a good moment.

    I’m hoping the manga gets an English language publication so I can read it.

    Maybe the adaptation might have been better as a longer series. But then people would be complaining about it dragging or having filler just because some people are never happy with anything…!

  18. S

    It’s true that, had the show been 24 episodes instead of 12, people would complain about it dragging. And it’s generally true that some people are “never happy with anything.”

    But it’s also true that a story like this one, which relies so much on imagery and emotion (in other words, “little moments”) would have been well-served by a longer episode count.

    Forget the manga content that was left out. Instead, consider the breakneck scene composition from which Erased has suffered in its second half. Glances between characters that should linger for a couple seconds are instead so short that you can practically blink and miss them. There have been instances of two different characters speaking after one another so quickly that it doesn’t track like a normal conversation. This stuff is all happening because there’s not enough time to tell a complete story otherwise (at least, not the one that the creative team has decided on telling).

    Once the show is over, a marathon rewatch will (hopefully) reveal what I’m talking about. The first four episodes are beautifully directed and structured, and most crucially, they give their characters time to breathe. After that, a patchwork feel settles over the show, and it’s not at all the result of some anime vs manga conflict.

  19. s

    There are people actually overly upset because kayo and hiromi got married??? Wow………This wasnt a story about satoru hooking up with kayo; this was a story about a man given a second chance to correct mistakes in the past so he could overcome the trauma of his present. Hiromi and Kayo shouldnt be alive; satoru sacrificing his well-being so that he could give his friends a second chance at life; and for that second chance at life to end in the result of new life (kayo and hiromi’s baby) is supposed to be the beauty of everything satoru has worked towards. Why there are people who are going nuts because their ship didnt com.e to fruition is beyond me when that wasnt the point in the first place. When i got to this part of the manga all i said is “wow…this writer really knows what he/she’s doing”. He/she had set things up from the beginning to end like this. The theme of redemption and growth really came together nicely with satoru waking up to see that his friends grew up and had happy lives.

  20. M

    I agree every single word in your comment. This is not really a love srory. That’s why i think viewing satoru as a guy who lost his first love using such a shallow word NTR is very rude to him. Satoru was not working to win kayo but to give her a second chance, as you said.

  21. D

    The drastic shift in pace was hard to ignore. The first part made an impression of at least pretending like it’s not short on time, while the second half pretty much dropped all pretense. “We’re blowing through material like crazy here and we know it” might as well be on the title card under the episode name. That said, I enjoyed the episode. A lot. It wasn’t exactly what I expected and seeing this new timeline unfold – however briefly, – was a very exciting experience. Satoru’s mum, his inner voice of a child, the altered OP, Yashiro’s finger tapping and him asking Satoru to press the elevator button… To me, this show is as much about the main story as it is about an incredible attention to small details that have a lot of meaning, and this episode had plenty of that.

    Some things did seem a bit off to me, and while I read a few light manga spoilers that helped me make sense of certain issues, I still feel a bit lost. The reveal in the end felt especially random and while I (maybe) understand the idea they’re putting across, it wasn’t presented all that well.

    I have no clue about what’s in store for the finale, but regardless of what the ending brings, Erased was an amazing journey. We’re lucky to have it.

  22. P

    Well, because I haven’t read the manga I’ve been steering clear of the fandom and it seems to be paying off in more ways than one. I fear the fandom has been spoilt over the years and now all they want is some MC doing heroic actions getting with whomever while she calls him “Nii san”.

    But people saying it feels rushed or upset about this and that being left out but sometimes I wonder if they say it’s rushed because not very SINGLE PANEL has been adapted. Also, I heard about Airi, but really does she factor in this adaptation? I would be why is she even here?

    I know because I haven”t read the manga but I think what we have here is editing and streamlining the content, people talk about being 2 cour but, seriously? Satarou knows who the killer is and the killer knows that Satarou knows so why stretch it out.

    Also, there are gonna tonal shifts because the MC is in different times at different ages with a different emotional setting.

  23. A

    Not knowing that the B-part differed from the manga, I had no problems with the pacing. My only disappointment was not having Airi in this episode. She was a minor character in the adaptation, but like Hiromi and Kayo, she was someone who had an impact on Satoru’s life and who impacted Satoru’s life, so I was waiting to find out how she would react having never met Satoru. I also hope we hear about Yuuki next episode.

    I also really enjoyed the modified OP, which confirmed a theory I had ever since I noticed Kayo’s essay is called “Watashi dake ga inai machi” (I think)–that Kayo is not the “boku” of the title.

  24. T

    This just needed 3 more episodes in order to tie up nicely, but I’m curious to see how it ends.Could have avoided some of those cheesy effects (it appears crows follow yashiro sensei)…;).

  25. C

    Well, I’m not a manga reader and I thought it was pretty good. Nearly all episodes of this series are at least an 8/10 so even when it’s not as good as it could be, it’s still pretty solid.

    So… is it ever explained how he survived drowning and how someone, somehow, found him in the middle of nowhere? Because, you know, that was awfully convenient.

  26. D

    I’ve actually finished the manga, and to be honest,

    Sorry, but I don’t think analyses of reviews of the manga ending are appropriate when the anime hasn’t finished yet. – Enzo

    Basically, what I’m saying is that the anime’s a-part is worse than the b-part, and vice versa for the manga.

    (Also just to echo what everyone else has said already – seriously?! People are upset about Kayo ending up with Hiromi??)

  27. D

    Ah, I see. Sorry about that – I thought I’d been pretty spoiler-free, but it can’t be helpef if that wasn’t appropriate…

  28. r

    I’ve seen no spoilers and I’m not asking for any now, but I have a question about the anime that perhaps can be answered by someone who has read the manga. The anime leaves the impression that Yashiro sensei chooses only victims that he “sees” as having a chance at rescue (a spider-thread); i.e. he doesn’t necessarily intend that any of his victims die, but rather that they are rescued from death. As of this point in the anime version it’s not even clear that _any_ of his targets have actually died in this timeline. Is that also the case in the manga at the equivalent point in this timeline?

  29. I would prefer if no one answered that at this point. I don’t think it’s possible without taking the discussion into spoiler territory.

  30. Personally, not having read the manga, I found this episode not only satisfying enough, but a huge improvement over the last one. Where the revelation in the last episode had been overly dramatic this one seemed to me like it was hitting all the right buttons and telling the story with a nice subdued tone. So I’m trusting the finale to be at least a satisfying conclusion (though I will probably check out the manga afterwards to make the due comparisons).

    As for Kayo’s baby… I can’t deny I was a TINY bit disappointed that the story didn’t end up putting them together. I know it’s silly (even if there definitely seemed to be some level of romantic tension, how often does someone marry their primary school sweetheart?) but it’s what happens with a story’s small circle of characters – you always assume everyone’s there for multiple purposes. Oh, well, pizza girl it is I suppose. Let’s see if he manages to meet her again in THIS timeline as well.

  31. Wiki says there is a live action movie and spinoff series in the works as well. Would love to see a really well made movie of this series but sadly I’m sure its one of those awful Japanese live action movies that look like they were made by high school kids.

  32. Y

    I haven’t read the manga, but I found this episode slightly disappointing. I guess it’s because the last few episodes have been great, and I had high expectations for this penultimate episode. There were moments I liked, like the clever OP change, Yashiro’s opening monologue,and the moment Kayo appeared with the baby (yes I actually liked that scene and was bawling inside from happiness w/ Satoru). The rest was kind of..meh.
    It felt like the anime wasn’t sure what to put into this ep at the beginning, so they focused on Satoru’s mom at Ueno. I thought that part was kind of unnecessarily long? And then suddenly we have a rushed b-part. I’m not a manga-reader, but I definitely felt the pace pick up and the transitions abrupt with all sorts of scenes happening. Hopefully the last episode will be executed a lot better.

  33. S

    Among all those discussions over Kayo’s baby (even if I thought “that’s not fair” for a few seconds), let’s not forget about Sachiko who once again proved that she’s the best anime mother ever.

  34. Z

    Sachiko is the BEST.

  35. S

    There’s a lot more comments nowadays. Is it just because of the popular anime or maybe is it the site revamp, and more open comment section?

    I just watched the episode and was floored. It’s so intense and good. I loved it. Reading your last review, I’m extremely happy that we get a chance to see a proper end to it, and not a horribly rushed one .

  36. I liked the episode, but I have to admit, this felt like a completely different show at parts…Its quite dark when people around you live their lives through without you, gave some poignant meaning to the title too. I didn’t expect Satoru to survive the plunge with such heavy consequences, at least the last episode will give them time to wrap up everything well…

  37. e

    I am suspending my judgement until next week on the plotty side of things – namely how Satoru escaped his own hamster-y death by water -. On a figurative and thematic sense it’s ok but in the realm of belevable chances the only one around to intervene in a timely manner was the killer I mean. Did he pull his victim out of the car, made an unidentified ID call and vanished into the night? Did Super Mom magically teleported to the accident place? It’s a tiny pebble but it’s a sharp one.
    That itty bit notwithstanding really like the sequence about Satoru’s Mom leading up to his awakening from the coma. Even as a fictional character she is too good to be true but I can see my resistance crumbling. Ms Fujinuma just adopt me please :,) Aaand it was good seeing them kids allo grown up and going on with their lives, embracing the – ta-da! – Future! Although Kenya and the journalist basically had to censor themselves on juicy past clues hence we got no Kenya insights.
    Good buildup of the uneasy tension around Yashiro in the second half too. Although the scared birds taking flights felt a tad out of place imho. From flashback speech pre-OP to subtle drama to NOMEN OMEN spike! But his obsessive stalkering of his human pet spice survivor + finger tapping habit bookending the episode felt consistent.
    Now… Satoru. I liked the rehab bits and his tears at seeig Kayo with the baby. It was like a distillation of his willpower and determination and decency and his generous nature ( must run in the family ) along with his realization of what has been lost and gained… even if his memories are seemingly still fuzzy during this part he knows whatever happened has been worth it. And that’s probably why once he utters the reveal on the roof at the end he can do it in a rather calm fashion. Because whatevers happens it is always worth it. He is ready. Good luck!

  38. Wow, you sounded a true apologist Enzo. Back to Erased, I am wondering why this series got mere 12 episodes?? I think adding one will exponentially raise the quality of the recent episodes because it is now too rushed.

  39. A

    I’ve got no problem with 90% of the episode. Yashiro’s monologue was brilliant, the coma, whilst slightly cliched worked. Obviously Kayo isn’t going to be single, waiting by his bedside. Just the ending, if Satoru is going to do what it looks like he’s about to, I’ll be disappointed. I mean he surely could have done this a number of better ways. Whilst it’s obvious a lot has been skipped, from the POV of someone who hasn’t read the manga, doesn’t feel like I’m missing anything of great importance. Very curious to see what happens to the adult girl in Satoru’s original timeline.

  40. o

    I’m kind of curious about how Satoru was rescued from the car, but it’s not a major point to. His mom was shown noticing he was too late; his friends all knew he was going to the game; Yuuki’s dad could have seen him in the car and recognized him – there was a potential trail. I’m more curious as to how Yashiro thought he could arrange for Satoru to die/disappear, leave town before he was found, and NOT put himself on top of the suspect list….

    I’m also not bothered at all by Kayo/Hiromi pairing. Satoru’s interest in her was never completely romantic on his end, and maybe not hers. The “romance” was his friends’ explanation as to why he was suddenly paying attention to her, and he played along with that as an excuse. Not to say there was NO interest, but that was never the focus to him. I think he would have been happy to see her with Hiromi, Kenya, any other partner, or still single, just as long as she was safe and happy.

    I have soooooooooo many questions, though, and I’m worried they won’t all in answered in the last episode.

  41. R

    I’m nearly always happier when anime adaptations use the source material to tell a different story with the same elements or at least a different take on the plot or characters. Unfaithful adaptations gave us Ghost in the Shell, Trigun, Usagi Drop and the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime.

  42. G

    As an anime viewer only, sure it was rushed, but it was also beautiful. An anime adaptation is its own story and has no obligation to follow the manga fully. So long as it does not make changes that are inconsistent with the previous anime episodes. This is hard to see for manga viewers since u all know how it will be different but the story looks cohesive to me.

    And I expected the rage about Kayo marrying Hiromi, but I agree, this is reality. Kayo mentioned that in some ways, they felt bad about moving on but this has been 15 years and life doesnt come to a standstill just because a tragic event happened. It definitely hurt me to see Satoru’s lingering feelings for Kayo, but those were attachments from 15 years ago. Life has moved on, though Satoru will have to resolve issues from the past before he can catch up.

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