So it was pretty easy to choose what to blog this season.
I am also meant to do a first impression for Ajin, but it’s a bit of a wild card because Netflix have licensed it. When that happens, they don’t release the episodes one by one like literally any streaming licensor would, they release them all at once, which is a really stupid business model for anime but whatever. Even if they were releasing it one by one, though, I probably wouldnt be able to watch it from Australia anyway, and it doesn’t look like anyone else has managed to sub it either. I still want to review it if something else pops up, or I might just not bother. We’ll see.
To recap, Satoru has an ‘ability’ to timeslip to a few minutes before a calamity in order to prevent it, although since he has no control over when it happens it’s hard to really call it an ‘ability’. At the end of our first episode when his mother is killed, his panic leads him to timeslip all the way back to his childhood.
Now in 1988, or ’18 years ago’, Satoru starts to adjust to reliving his childhood in Sapporo. While at first he is grateful for the chance to treasure as much time with his mother as possible, he soon realizes that the timeslip was likely for another reason. That other reason is the girl Kayo, who was kidnapped and murdered around this period, so Satoru decides that it must be his duty to find a way to prevent this.
His first step, of course, is to get to know Kayo – which most of his friends interpret as him having a crush on her. Getting to know her, however, reveals that she is a very troubled girl in an abusive household who has little trust for others. Satoru eventually manages to be able to talk a little with her, and to invite her to his upcoming birthday party.
Like with a lot of anime, the second episode of Boku Dake is where we get to see the opening and ending, and they really are quite lovely. Since I haven’t read the manga at all I’m really looking forward to seeing how a lot of the imagery in them works into this show.
I was glad to see that the second episode was also just as compelling as the first, if not more so. I think what I liked most about it, actually, was how good it was at painting an accurate picture of a small Hokkaido town in 1988. The scenery is all lovely of course, and I like the additional flavour that the kids’ Hokkaido dialects add to the dialogue. There’s also some nice little things here and there to remind you that it’s 1988, such as the kids all talking about Monster Quest III. And something about the idea of reliving your childhood with your adult mind just strikes a chord with me, as it’s something I often think about. It would be nice to relive certain years or even days…although maybe not for Satoru, who has an urgent mission. It’s a bit hard to tell how urgent it is immediately, because he isn’t yet sure how close to Kayo’s original date of death he is.
Kayo having an abusive mother did not surprise me (why else would she have been out late in the park), but there’s definitely a lot more to her disappearance and murder than meets the eye. I feel like this wasn’t just a random killing, and that there are a lot of deeper mysteries about this case. Regarding what I said in the previous episode review about whether or not the ‘Boku’ in the title refers to Satoru or to Kayo – this episode does kind of reveal that it does refer to Satoru after all. Kayo wrote a composition titled ‘Watashi dake ga inai machi'(a town where only i’m not there) – there’s still the chance she used the more formal and feminine ‘watashi’ as it was an essay, but I do kind of like the theory that Satoru is helping Kayo at the risk of taking her place. There’s also the chance I’m entirely overthinking this, but the difference in grammar between the show and essay titles can’t be a coincidence either. Anyway, while I didn’t expect Kayo to warm up to Satoru easily it was nice to see that she did soften a little by the end of the episode. The scene of them in the park in the snow was really quite lovely.
Besides saving Kayo and changing the future, there’s also the chance that Satoru may inadvertently affect the outcome of other people’s lives. It hasn’t been confirmed, but the ‘present’ Satoru didn’t seem to be in contact with any of his childhood friends. This is completely normal of course, but I felt like his friends have the potential to end up as important characters and we may get to see how they end up in 18 years. Let’s hope Satoru doesn’t accidentally ruin anything for any of them by changing the ‘present’ like this.