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For me, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is everything I wanted Subete ga F ni Naru – The Perfect Insider and Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru to be. It is a murder mystery rooted in reality, but with fantasy elements, and has a well-rounded lead to take you on a journey to solve the murder mystery. One which won’t be solved in one episode, and has the foundation laid out from the beginning to make it seem it is worth sticking around for a while.
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
In the year 2006, a 29-year-old young man named Satoru is a pizza delivery boy and an inspiring manga artist. Yeah, that alone doesn’t sound interesting, but once you factor in that he often encounters bad things happening, and is given a chance to stop them, by rewinding 5 minutes in time, it becomes a bit more interesting doesn’t it? Add in the fact he can’t control this power, and you got the basis of something kind of cool.
What really tips this show into being worth watching though is the fact a murder mystery comes into play. You see, when Satoru was in 5th grade, kids in his neighborhood were kidnapped and murdered, and allegedly the person who did it was his friend Yuuki. Someone who had to at least been in his early 20s. Now, flash-forward 18 years, it seems Satoru’s mother witnesses a child almost get kidnapped, and begins to question if Yuuki might have been the kidnapper. But, before she can reveal her findings, she is stabbed in the back. Leaving her dead, Satoru a prime suspect, and his power jumping him past the usual 5 minutes in time, and all the way back to 5th grade. Leaving him possibly able to prove Yuuki’s innocence, and maybe even save some of the kids who get kidnapped. But considering when Satoru saves someone things either end up being even or him getting hurt, who knows what may happen as he disturbs fate and time.
I love how Satoru’s powers work. It sort of reminded me of Life Is Strange, but with Satoru not having the power to control reverse time flow, and the blue butterfly being a more consistent figure.
This murder/kidnapper mystery angle is quite intriguing. For it seemed over and done at first, and maybe something just used as a means for Satoru to tap into for a successful manga to jump-start his career, but with it now seeming like a new string of kidnappings are happening in 2008, and him jumping back to the past, I’m so glued to the screen. Especially since the original person who assumingly did it, named Yuuki, may not have been the culprit, which means Satoru is going in blind.
Though this more pertains to future episodes, I think it will be interesting to see Satoru, with his 29-year-old knowledge and thoughts, act as a 5th grader.
I quite loved the way Satoru’s mother was portrayed. Well, I didn’t understand the weirdness of her lips, but besides that she came off very interesting. To the point, I wondered what did she do for a living, was she married, divorced, or perhaps was always a single parent, and hopefully said things will be answered in the future.
On The Fence
With the end of the episode jumping back to 1988, it makes me wonder if that means we won’t get to see Satoru use his revival powers anymore. Which, for me, would suck since the 2006 era use of it was quite cool. To the point, even before it was established this series would be about a serial kidnapper and murderer, I was fully committed.
While I like Katagiri’s character, I find it creepy that both Satoru and his mom entertain the idea of her being a match for him. Heck, just him having her over for dinner, with his mom being the cook, I thought was odd.
Final Thought(s): Watch It
There isn’t much here not to like. It has a murder mystery, interesting enough characters, some fantasy elements, and decent quality animation. Perhaps making the only thing worth worrying about is whether or not with Satoru jumping back to 1988, will the friends he had back then lead to a decline in quality, or will things maintain? Plus, will he get to prevent bad things from happening still, or will his revival powers not have come into effect yet? Only time will tell but, till then, I’m definitely watching.