The next 2 episode reviews are going to be late since I’m going to Japan for 10 days or so this friday and might not have time to do the episode 5 review before I go.
Through his narration, Satoru clarifies a few things about what happened in the ‘original’ past. Firstly, Kayo was the first child to die in the serial murder cases – which clears up why he’s putting all the effort into saving her first and not the others – he’s clearly under the assumption that this would prevent the rest. Secondly, Yuuki was actually there on the night she died.
Furthering his plan to become good friends with her, he invites Kayo to go to the science centre with her on Saturday…which would also have the added benefit of getting her out of the house on the day her mother usually abuses her. Her mother doesnt respond well to a)the concept of Kayo having fun and b)the idea that Satoru knows about the abuse, but after Sachiko intervenes they manage to secure the playdate.
However, even with changing history as much as he has, Satoru is still struck by de ja vu – he even remembers going to the science centre on his own and seeing Kayo there alone on this exact day. Therefore, he is extra viligant in ensuring that ‘X day’ passes without incident -going as far as walking Kayo home and going to her door in the morning. As it turns out, he does manage to change history – Kayo survived the day she was originally meant to die, which means she is able to attend their birthday party and have a lot of fun.
Of course, this also means that Satoru lets his guard down…
Even though this was a relatively happy and feelgood episode, it was incredibly tense and I spent the whole damn run-time expecting someone to die – truthfully, I was scared for Hiromi. I thought maybe Satoru saving Kayo first would only just alter the order of the deaths instead of preventing them completely. It’s pretty obvious he hasn’t really managed to do anything except delay the murders at this point – the tone of the episode was too happy for it to be anything other than a cushion for the cliffhanger at the end. It’s not confirmed yet that Kayo did die (which would be odd, unless Satoru went back in time again and he ends up in some groundhog day loop trying to prevent Kayo’s death over and over again) but the show definitely wants us to think that at the end of this episode. (Honestly, I knew something bad was going to happen as soon as Kayo told him ‘I’ll give you your present tomorrow!’, way to plant your own death flag kid) Some other people have pointed out that all the focus on Satoru’s joy at having saved her life is almost cruel – obviously the viewer knows he can’t possibly have been successful in only the fourth episode. I have to agree a little there, unfortunately.
A lot of people were also criticizing the writing in this episode by questioning why Satoru, or Sachiko for that matter, were not making any real effort to do anything about Kayo’s abusive mother. While this does reveal some negative points about Japan’s incredibly ingrained ‘mind your own business’ culture, I feel like it’s not really bad writing per se because there isn’t really a lot Satoru can do at the moment, especially given that it’s obvious any action could result in Kayo’s mother taking her anger out on her. The child services being laughably incompetent as a way of explaining their absence away may seem somewhat of a stretch – but we have to remember this is a rural town in Hokkaido. But the most important thing may be that if Kayo gets removed from Hokkaido for her ‘safety’, Satoru wont be able to ensure that she’s really safe. After all, we still don’t know who the murderer is and whether it is someone Kayo knows or not. (The obvious answer is of course the teacher, but there’s almost no way that isnt a red herring. Unless it’s a double red-herring.)
Whatever you may think about the writing, this show is pretty brillaint with the suspense and the date and party scenes in this episode were absolutely adorable.
Out of 5,