Boku dake ga Inai Machi – 03


Satoru and Kayo meet Disney stars Tod and Vixey

spring15-irenesWe return to our mystery drama tale, as Satoru is determined to save his classmate from her fate, but in order to do that, he must first navigate the perils of childhood. And sometimes without the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, we may come to realize that those elementary school days, were a lot more complicated than we remember…

Will You Ever Learn?

It’s all about that hindsight.

While the 29-year old Satoru is trying to solve a mystery and save a young girl’s life, the 10 year-old Satoru still has school that he has to contend with everyday. We open on a snowy gym scene where the students are doing ice racing (or at least the boys are), while some of the girls watch and other students just have fun on the ice. It is here where we begin to first note how Satoru is beginning to change his own life simply from the relationships he’s beginning to form. Satoru is going up to race and the other students have already noticed the connection between him and Kayo (no thanks to his friends of course), and they urge her into the significant other role of cheering him on.

Most guys would like to impress the girl, and Satoru wants to continue to develop his relationship with Kayo, not only for her sake, but also for his as well. So, when she asks if he’ll win, rather than a simple yes when he knew could be a lie, he responds with an even more damning statement. That he will “try his best”.  However, an interesting incident happens that day, one that normally he would have put off as insignificant, but it actually ends up teaching him a valuable lesson in retrospect, or should we say, double retrospect.


One little mistake…

It has been said that those who don’t understand their own history are doomed to repeat it, and Satoru ends up making the same mistake that he made as a child, because as a child, he never understood his mistake and thus never learned that lesson. Him pulling back at the last minute might seem like a nice thing to do, until you realize that what you have done has serviced no one, least of all the person that he did it for. Some parts low self-esteem that even the adult Satoru still carries, an other parts, and inability to see the consequences of his actions, lead him to make this same mistake. And somehow, like in most cases, the second time it’s done, the damage is actually worse.


…can lead to…

The only people Satoru fools with his “dive” are the unobservant, inconsequential masses. His opponent classmate, his teacher, Kenya, and most importantly, Kayo, can see past the lie, and it affects Kayo the most. The girl was just beginning to open up to him, after his insistent badgering sure, but it had been progress. However, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose and even harder/near impossible to regain. And with this one seemingly small mistake, Satoru lost the trust that he had been trying to build.

The way she can’t even look at him speaks volumes, this is no petty grievance, but a breach much deeper. If it had been a more childish matter, the adult inside the boy would have been exasperated instead of ashamed and contrite. Kayo has been hurt to many times to take extra chances, and it would be very soon that Satoru would discover just how damaged his new friend is and the true reality of the situation he is about to experience first hand.


…disastrous consequences.

But before we get to the biggest talking point in this episode, there’s another talking point that needs to be address, specifically–a premeditated murder.

Evidence of the Most Circumstantial Nature

Before his ice racing fiasco, Satoru had figured out from his own past knowledge of the crime, that the day of Kayo’s murder must have been in March sometime before her birthday. Also, he’s on a bit of an interesting time clock since it turns out that Kayo’s abduction and murder is only the first of three, and one of the other victims just happens to be one Satoru’s childhood friends, Hiromi.


Kayo isn’t the only one in danger it seems.

But the man/boy can only handle protecting one at a time, and he’s hoping that by thwarting the murderer on the first victim, with cause him to get discouraged and perhaps even leave the area. However, I think that might just be wishful thinking. Interestingly, Hiromi, of all the victims and soon-to-be victims that we’ve seen so far, is the only male (though he’s pretty much approaching trap status). So, considering the change in M.O., does this tell us anything about the killer?

Satoru finds out Kayo’s birthday from his teacher (who is quite understanding considering Satoru was about to make at the very least, a suspension-level offense), and by some huge twist of fate, it happens to be the same day as his own: March 2nd.


Time is running out.

This actually is extremely helpful in that it pins down the “x-day” to only a single day, being March 1st. Now, that he’s found the date, if he could just find the perpetrator. But no sooner, thought than the crime’s number one suspect shows up…or at least the one from 1988.

It’s almost astonishing how many things were counting against Jun Shiratori aka Yuuki. You just could see how the odds stacked against him the more you see of him. A young man who is a loner, who lives and works out of his parent’s house, rather shy with a speech impediment and who spends uncomfortably long amounts of time alone with kids gaining their trust AND he knew the victim?! Yeah, the porn collection would be just icing on the cake, especially to a jury. And while almost all of this would be rather circumstantial, to a jury who was in an outrage and needed someone to blame for the murder of three children, Yuuki would have been such an ideal scapegoat that they might not have even thought twice before being convinced of his guilt.


But Satoru continues to believe him to be innocent, and even while seeing him now through the eyes of an experienced adult, he still believes it. Sure, much of the veneer that was there when he was a kid looking up to a role model is gone, but he still sees the good friend that was there and he’s convinced that the wrong man has been spending almost 20 years on death row. The transformation between the vibrant shy young man and the dead man walking we see eighteen years later, is a shocking one. Satoru is convinced of Yuuki’s innocence–are you?


Yet, while a faceless murderer is a clear incoming threat, there is actually a much closer threat that is a danger to Kayo.


Kyrie Eleison

Last episode, we and Satoru realized that Kayo was suffering long before he had taken notice of her. As a kid, he probably didn’t understand or notice the signs for what they were, but as an adult (or for a very mature child, like the very perceptive Kenya) they are all but screaming out to him. It’s so obvious that I at first placed their homeroom teacher in that anime cliche of a “worst authority figure ever” that you usually find many an anime teacher, who would let a bully student carve up another student right in front of them with a razor blade and still monotonously drone on with the lesson, proving themselves to be both blind, deaf, and idiotic.


Thankfully not your average anime teacher.

However, is seems that Yashiro-sensei actually goes against the grain, just like this series. While at first it seems that he is blissfully unaware of Kayo’s plight, and I was angry at him as a mandated reporter myself, I was surprised to see that he had noticed the abuse and had indeed reported it, even though he had kept from treating Kayo any different in front of the class for her own sake. However, while he had reported the case to the Japanese version of DCFS, the system itself is still flawed and the she-demon that is Kayo’s abuser is crafty enough to know the system.

Well, I guess that’s enough beating around the bush. We have to talk about currently, the most hated character of the series thus far.


Nil inultum remanebit. Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis.  (Yes, she is so evil that I’m using a dead language to express what should happen to her.)

For both us as well as Satoru, it’s one thing to simply know about the abuse that Kayo has been suffering through, but it is quite another to actually see it happening in action and being helpless to stop it. I have to say that while I was expecting the scene in the shed and then further in the bathroom, it was still as heartrending and horrifying seeing the scenes in animated form as it was when I was first shocked by seeing it in the manga itself.

It’s one thing to talk about abuse or simply see the bruises or withdrawn manner of the child. It’s quite another to actually see the affects like this. There is so much told in these short few scenes with very little dialog, so much that is conveyed between this little girl and this boy who despite having an experienced adult inside him, is still in shock to the point of speechlessness.


I just…I have no words…

You also are able to see the heartless and cruel almost sadistic fell of the mother, whose manic and yet calculated actions drive her daughter to a life of hell day in and day out. The smile she smiles has no warmth, her eyes hold no sense of empathy or regret. There seems to be no sense of human feeling or connection at all, no area where we can understand her or grasp her actions. True, we know nothing of the mother’s story right now, or that of her deadbeat significant other, but somehow, I still don’t think we’ll quite understand nor spare any sympathy for the cold-heartedness of a person such as her.


There is also an interesting thing to note about her eyes if you took the time to notice. Yes, the color wasn’t off on your screen. The mother’s eyes were painted a blood red, one that we’ve actually seen several times already, all shown very subtly. While red eyes themselves are not unusual in anime, here, they are actually used for a purpose.

We first see them on the murderer himself as he tips his hat to Satoru in passing. But if you thought you could use that as a possible clue for identification, the red orbs seems to be more symbolic than anything else, and is one of the many red herrings in this series. Kayo’s mom, her boyfriend, Yuuki, and even Kenya at one point or another have also been shown to have a reddish glint to their eyes from time to time, the brilliance of the crimson often depending on the scene. What it could mean is up to interpretation from whether it’s simply meant to throw us off the trail, or if it indeed shows the hidden darkness in each of these characters.

Chevalier Héroïque


Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, even from different times.

After this incident, there seems to be an even deeper connection between Kayo and Satoru, as he has seen her at her lowest point, and yet instead of scaring him away as she probably feared, it has caused him to be all the more protective. The adult in him has lost the fear and hesitancy of a child and instead he goes straight to his teacher about the situation, practically talking to him man to man about the issue. Where a child might have been unsure whether to get involved, or back away for the fear of not being able to see their friend again, Satoru only wants what’s best for Kayo. Showing the true depths of his feeling and regard towards her, as well as his obvious, sudden maturity of course.

This same adult nature shines through when another girl classmate conspires to make fun of and humiliate Kayo by implicating her as a thief because of a poverty. A child in the same class might have been too immature to understand what was going on, or too apprehensive to attempt to get involved for fear of the class turning on him next. However, the 29 year-old adult Satoru is in no way intimidated by this lying little harpy. He’s pissed and he’s not afraid to let her know it. The person who fearlessly puts her into her place and reveals her petty nature to the entire class is not the boy everyone can see, but the adult that resides inside him.   


You can tell that there is now an unbreakable bond that has been formed and tested by fire between Kayo and Satoru. Somehow he was able to not only regain the trust he had lost with Kayo but to even build upon her. Satoru is the first person to have defended her like this before, the first person to have seen her in her worst condition, but didn’t treat her any differently or spread gossip about her. He vehemently defended her when no one else would, and he went out of his way to put a real smile on her face. Satoru is more “knight in shining armor” than any of those fairy tale princes and heroes, now if only he can help to free her from under her mother’s grasp…or at least keep her alive past her next birthday.




I know this review was a long time coming, but it was such a lot that went on in this episode, that it took a lot to digest it. Also of course there was real life as well. I also just got a new job, so there’s been adjusting to that. But I just had to talk about this amazing episode. Some similar series of the past were not able to figure out the right balance between mystery and human drama, however, BokuMachi has been able to find the formula somehow and employ it expertly.

It’s only been three episodes, and already we are so connected to all of our main characters, even the supporting characters are beginning to make an impression on us. We get to examine not only the nature of Satoru, Kayo and others, but also the suspense and mystery are still able to thrill us as the tension builds. That last shot with Kenya and Yashiro-sensei (especially considering that while Satoru was studying Kayo, Kenya was doing the same to him) was held under quite a sinister light. It all just adds to the overall package that has made this series the most acclaimed series of the season.


That smile must be protected at all costs. 


A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
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9 Responses to “Boku dake ga Inai Machi – 03”

  1. Highway says:

    I think that something that needs to be remembered (and really becomes evident after episode 4) is what the real goal is. Why was Satoru sent back 18 years? Thinking about his other Revivals, he goes back far enough to prevent the thing that just happened.

    If the goal of whatever sent his consciousness back to 1988 was to save Kayo, wouldn’t it have happened earlier? That’s why I think that the real point here is to save Satoru’s mom. As unhappy as the thought is, saving Kayo, and even Hiromi, is probably off the table. Would it have fixed Satoru’s mom being killed? Probably, but that’s not the solution the power is looking for.

    And I’ve understood his power to be one that sends him back over and over again until he actually fixes it. So if it is to save Kayo, then if he doesn’t this time he’ll get another chance. But I think that the real story is somewhere else besides the doomed (if you follow my logic) Hinazuki.

    • HannoX says:

      I don’t think the goal of the power is just to save Satoru’s mother. It would seem that all that would be necessary for that is to send him back just far enough in time that he doesn’t leave her alone that night. By sending him back 18 years before the first murder occurs the goal appears to be to prevent all the murders and the execution of an innocent man.

      So why wait until he was 29 and his mother was murdered to send him back? Here’s a few thoughts.

      Since it’s clear he can be sent back in time as far as necessary, there was no rush about sending him back earlier in his life. Maybe it’s only Satoru’s 29 year old self that has the necessary experience to save Kayo and the others. Part of that experience will have been to have prevented other tragedies. I doubt he would have been able to prevent the murders if that was the first time he was sent back. He’d be struggling to deal with the very notion he had been sent back in time and would probably be in no condition to save anyone. Lastly, his mother’s murder and his being thought the one responsible may have been the last bit needed to give him the necessary motivation to save Kayo and the others since his 11 year old self will probably be put in great danger trying to prevent the murders.

      • IreneSharda says:

        Experience might be a reason. He would definitely need it, as he would have never have had the knowledge or wherewithal in order to stop all this from happening.

        Though again, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not perhaps him, himself that he supposed to save…

    • skylion says:

      Well, we’ve seen these “Back in Time” sorts of stories. So, is time travel more or less interesting as a plot device, more or less as a narrative device, or more or less as a character device? Why not all three?

      I think he’s there, for now, to explore. To take the lay of the land…

    • IreneSharda says:

      I just got to see episode 4, and I can see where you’re going with this. I think that some elements from the manga point a little to what the real answer and they weren’t added for time, but I would definitely suggest you read the original murder scene of the mother and the following aftermath that might give you a different perspective.

      In my own opinion, I actually think that Satoru didn’t gain this power until after the murder events took place. He never states in the anime or manga when he first acquired the powers, but I’m thinking it was probably after and maybe in response to this tragic incidents in his life.

      Considering the time that passed between his mother’s death and when he was actually sent back in time. (It was longer than it looked) I think that what skylion commented on last week is more true than we thought.

      That actually it’s not Kayo, Hiromi, or even his mother that Satoru is supposed to save…it’s actually him, himself. If the events had continued in the future, he would have been implicated and imprisoned for murder either for the rest of his life or even put on death row.

      The life he has to save is more than likely his own, and to do that, something about that winter of 1988 put him on the path to where he was headed, allowing the time powers he has to send him back to that time. Now, whether he saves Kayo, him mom, or anyone else would probably be a bonus, but like you said, what he did here was probably not the solution the power was looking for.

      • Highway says:

        Well, saving his mom (at least in those circumstances) saves him. I can’t see any way that his mom would be killed and yet Satoru changes what goes on such that he isn’t implicated, so I think the one is the prerequisite for the other.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Satoru can be a little too considerate at times. If you have a talent, let it show. Who knows? Maybe his opponent would’ve acknowledged him for his prowess instead of tearing him a new one.

    Personally, the abuse scene isn’t that needed to show that Kayo is in a living hell. If needed at all. The welts on her body plus her expression of despair along with the malevolent, disgusting vibe her mother gave off were more than enough to get the message across that her mother is an insensitive, abusing bitch. The actual scene when she shoved Kayo’s face in the ice water telling her to get it healed or people will blame her had me intensely riled up.

    It’s only been three episodes, and already we are so connected to all of our main characters, even the supporting characters are beginning to make an impression on us.

    Don’t be surprised when I say this: The show’s getting a lot of positive feedback and in my opinion, it’s very well deserved.

    Side note: Congratulations on getting the new job, Irene!

    • IreneSharda says:

      Thank you, BB. Being an actual teacher now, gives me a new perspective on all these classroom scenes. 😛

      Satoru has some self-esteem issues, both in the past and in the future, so I can see why he did what he did. Though it did no good to his opponent. A kid like that who trains everyday, would know when someone obviously took the fall for him, and all it would do would be to make him mad.

      As for the abuse scene, I’ve seen a couple of people say that it was unnecessary and just put there for shock horror. However, I very adamantly disagree. For such a jaded audience that hears about horrible things everyday, we can hear about child abuse and see it’s signs and we feel sorry.

      However, to actually witness it being done right in front of us gives us a totally different feeling altogether. So when we see it done here, just like you said, it riles us up and we suddenly are much more connected to Kayo and her plight and we can really relate and support Satoru in what he was trying to do.

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