When going back in time doesn’t screw you over

Review: Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)

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You will rarely find me engrossed in a manga. To date, this has only occurred twice. There are two reasons. One, lazy. Two, I’m sure there are people who can definitely relate to having their anime experiences ruined by poor adaptations of the source material.

So when some scrubs were losing their shit over Boku dake ga Inai Machi (since they already know what could happen from the manga), I was blissfully unaware. Waiting for a new episode every week kept me on edge, sure. At least, my expectations weren’t set as high as the manga readers. Less likely to be disappointed, see?

After getting rid of leftover feels (hah who am I kidding), I went online to read reviews. They were split, almost half-half. The spectrum went from “OMG BEST ANIME EVERRRRRR” to “this sucks [launches into 500-word essay on why]”.

This is going to be the perspective of someone who has not read the manga. Also, if you are looking for a trashing of this anime, sorry buddy but this one is leaning towards the happier side. See that red ‘X’ on the top left of your window? Yup yup, click on it and you’re outta here.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi follows 29-year-old Fujinuma Satoru. He’s a manga artist, but he’s having some problems putting his heart into his work because he hasn’t got over trauma from his childhood. Every now and then, he trips out whenever a glowing, blue butterfly appears, and travels minutes tumblr_o0m9tkYRLV1rvkjhco1_400back in time. Usually, that means bad stuff is about to go down and he has to save the day. Then one day, everything went to hell. Wrongfully accused of murder, he’s suddenly transported from 2006 to 1988. Now Satoru has a mission – prevent the deaths of three children, and kick a killer’s ass.

For starters, the music was not the most impressive, but for the most part they are incorporated well into the scenes (acoustic tracks!). The OST for the opening fits too. I can’t put my finger on the vibes the vocals gave off, but the sound was very unique, and thus made the track memorable for me even after the show has ended. [And to those who watched the anime, I know, we all know how much anxiety the opening of Episode 11 gave us.]

Sadly, I don’t think I can give an opinion on the ending OST, because I tend to skip it. The only time I heard it in full was during the final episode. It stirred my heart a little bit, but otherwise just reminded me of many other OST songs I’ve heard before.

Animation and cinematography really shines at scenes with great significance. Episodes back in the winter of 1988 are so pretty. The world feels cold, yet retains a sense of tranquility, and at certain points can become very warm and inviting. And god would you look at some of the environment shots.

And during especially tense scenes, the camera work gave me no time to relax. Final episode’s rooftop scene? I literally yelled, “WTF SATORU WTF STOP WTF WTF!?!?”

With a genre like thriller in the tags, expect a lot of tension. The anime has really great buildup, specifically the first half. The first episode already has all the elements to reel you in – mystery, action, and the damn cliffhanger. It uses bit and pieces of foreshadowing, although they could have relied more on ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’.

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Fujinuma Satoru

I initially assumed Satoru would have a harder time fitting in back in the past but it seemed he kept some child-like qualities so that’s good. The interactions he had with Kayo were nothing short of adorable. I wished the anime could have explored his character a little further, but they NAILED his determination. I was shocked by some of his extreme acts to protect Kayo.

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Hinazuki Kayo

Speaking of Kayo, I have so many feels for her. Please protect this child 😭Easily one of my favourite characters. Doesn’t matter if its better in the manga or not, I found her very well-developed as a character in the anime. You WILL feel for her, trust me.

Kayo is constantly the killer’s target. Now, it is obvious a few episodes in who is the most likely killer, but damn the anime still got me. I just refused to believe it man. I got thrown even further into a dilemma when I saw the facial expressions. It looked so genuine. Yay naive me… I felt so betrayed when the truth came to light. The only issue I had with the killer was I couldn’t understand the motivation behind abducting and murdering children. Too abstract for me, or maybe just very screwed-up in general.

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More depth for the other characters would be nice. Satoru’s mom and childhood friends were interesting, however, some of them felt like they were just there to “fill up space”. But with only 12 episodes, I can understand why the studio couldn’t put more emphasis on them.

The ending is where the anime apparently deviates from the manga (basically an original ending). Some hated it, others loved it. I thought the story wrapped up nicely. It also ties in with the title Boku Dake ga Inai Machi – which I learnt meant “The Town Where Only I am Missing”. Satisfying, slightly emotional, and doesn’t seem that rushed to me.

Perks of watching anime before manga 🙂

Overall score: 8

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3 thoughts on “When going back in time doesn’t screw you over

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