First Impression: Boku dake ga Inai Machi

Edit: This is surprisingly long for a first impression review. I’m shocked myself. You deserve a cookie if you managed to read this to the end.

Not going to lie, I judged “the book by its cover.” The poster I saw that advertised the series was the one of the manga’s volume cover, and I can’t say the art was my cup of tea. Embarrassingly, I’m one of those people that check out the hype of the season so I can understand why people are raving about it. I thought Boku Machi will disappoint me like many other hypes, but boy did it surprise me. I was thinking how this is definitely the kind of mystery show that I’d like to indulge myself.

There is someone whom I trust when it comes to anime, and apparently, he said they did an awesome job with the anime adaptation. I haven’t read the manga myself, but it’s always good to know that it did justice to it. I love A-1 Pictures’s works so I expected as much on the quality of the art and animation. It’s been pretty consistent so far up until week three, because usually I see studios poor out their budget on the pilot episode then quality drops on the succeeding episodes. Props to Sasaki Keigo for the character design because it’s pretty good considering the mangaka’s art style. I found the flashback animations unappealing though. I wish they don’t have to do ‘roll out film’ animation like that. I really do want to talk more about the awesome cinematography, but I’ll leave that to my final review. Itou Tomohiko and Aoshima Toshiaki are a great combo.

I think it was nice how the opening and ending themes didn’t seem to spoil anything major since there are times we get anime where there are scenes from the actual show that will (kind of) spoil the viewers. The theme songs were definitely a plus as well. They were good choices. I personally loved the opening theme a lot.

I thought the pacing of the story is just right. It seems like we’re getting a lot of info all at once but it doesn’t seem all too confusing. Considering they have the compress the manga’s material to an episode, I thought they did a good job on it. I like how pretty straight-forward the “revival” concept of Satoru was. There was no beating around the bush that he has some sort of ability, and what the heck was going on in his environment. Even though he did expositions in the pilot ep, for example, it didn’t feel too much of a burden for myself to process all that. Not to mention, for non-Japanese speakers like myself, sometimes reading the English subtitles take away part of my attention on what’s happening on the show itself. The shift on the point of view from Satoru to his mom on the pilot episode was clever, in my opinion. One moment I thought she wasn’t going to pose an importance in the series, but in the end, his distressed jump back to time was centered around her.

I’m not going to delve in too much on what fallacies came/will come with its time-traveling concept, since I don’t know much about its laws. There are a couple things I can think of until week three that I found worth mentioning, and I’d probably need some clarification if I got them incorrect. For the first episode, I’m pretty sure Satoru closed the door when he arrived that night of his mother’s death despite the killer leaving it open at first. Even if the old woman was their landlord, no one enters another person’s living quarters without knocking. I guess then it was made to create an opening to the plot? Second thing was that I have trouble accepting the scene where Satoru gets embarrassed by Kayo’s actions during their conversation at the park where she placed her hand in front of his. When he said to himself that why on earth a 29-year-old would have that reaction, I was thinking, “Well yeah, why?” I feel like I’m reading too much into the prospect this show might be hinting that there will some affection beyond friendship or the need to help of Satoru to Kayo in the future. I know he’s in his 10-year-old body, but his mind isn’t so I got a bit uncomfortable on that scene there.

What I found nice were the characters. (For now, I’ll only be talking about Satoru and his mom; maybe I’ll expand on the supporting characters after the show finishes.) Satoru’s character is relatable for a lot people, at least that’s what I think. We get to a point where we wish we could’ve done something but should’ve not done something, and end up regretting a lot of things (e.g. ep 3’s skating race). Satoru’s personality in response to his surroundings is pretty much close, if not is, reality. Whenever we get narrations of what is going in his head, I snicker. A good example were his initial thoughts on Airi. Regarding Sachiko, Satoru’s mom, I found her quite chill (not meaning it in a bad way). I think she became the mom that came to a decision to let Satoru think for himself but be there when he needs her; she didn’t become to type to physically shower him with her affections. I also like how they showed how perspective she was, and she’s not some supporting character who’s easily disregarded. I wish I can talk more about their characters especially Satoru’s after this week’s episode, but if you follow me on Twitter you’ll see my thoughts there (since it’ll already too much if I added it here).

There are two shows worth watching every week this season, and that’s “a lot” if you ask me. Episode three’s looking good. The suspense in the end piqued my curiosity. I’m definitely watching this until the end.

Story: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Animation/Art: 4/5
Sound/VA cast: 5/5
Enjoyment: 5/5
Overall: 4.2/5

Click any of the thumbnails below to view the gallery.

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5 thoughts on “First Impression: Boku dake ga Inai Machi

  1. I had pretty high hopes for this one after I first read the synopsis, but I didn’t think it would be as good as it is either. I like pretty much everything about it, from the artwork and music to the characters and the pacing, but I think the biggest reason I like it so much is the tension. I like an anime that can draw me in and keep the tension building up and up without feeling overworked or melodramatic, and for me, Erased is doing a fantastic job of that so far.

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