First Impressions – Boku dake ga Inai Machi


Everyone knows you can’t change the past, but….what if you could?

winter15-kyoI first came across this story while looking at anime news last year and it instantly clicked with me. Not because of mini-Shiki or even a Mikiya representative of a main character. Rather the story is intriguing and the first episode lived up to my expectations of brilliance. AKFG’s Re:Re: was a beautiful bonus.


spring15-irenesHave you ever wished that you could change the past? That if you could, even for a few minutes, to go back in time and redo past events in your life? If you could have just changed that one thing, if you could go back in time with the maturity and mindset and knowledge that you have now, everything would be different? I think everyone has had moments like that from time to time. However, as the old adage goes, you might want to be careful what you wish for….

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Time Erased

IreneSharda// The year is 2006, Satoru Fujinuma is a pretty average guy that many of us have either are, have been, or at least have known at some point. He has his dream career of being a mangaka, but that’s a hard road to climb and so in order to have the career he wants, he has a job as a part-time pizza deliveryman. I can follow and empathize with Satoru’s situation pretty well. He’s almost 30, and his career hasn’t really taken off yet, he doesn’t have any friends really other than his coworker acquaintances, he doesn’t really have a love life, and his life just really seems to be going nowhere and in a rut.

In fact the more we listen to our main character’s inner monologue, we find that he doesn’t really have that high of an opinion of himself or that he really has any importance to the world at all. Even going so far as to say that his dying wouldn’t make any difference at all.

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Just a normal average guy with a normal dead-end job.

But I guess a wingless angel that’s waiting for its bell to ring, is looking after our hero, and has decided to teach him a lesson, as Satoru also happens to have been struck with a power that he neither asked for, nor can fully explain. An superhuman ability that he has dubbed, “Revival”.

Now, while the episode gave you an idea of how Satoru’s “Revival” power works, in order to clarify:

  • Revival will send him backwards in time between 1-5 minutes or so in order to prevent a catastrophe within his area of notice.
  • It is an involuntary power. Satoru cannot control it and it can strike at any moment.
  • The power of Revival does not give Satoru the power to choose. He must stop the catastrophe that triggered him to go back in time in the first place. If he does not, he will get sent back in time again and again until he succeeds.
  • Once he has prevented the disaster, he is not sent back to the original timeline in which the disaster occurred, but will continue on down this new path in time after the disaster has been averted.

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Let’s Do It Again 

Kyokai//Time travel or time resets are nothing new. Steins;Gate has done it, and so has The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Haruhi, Noein, Madoka Magica, Occult Academy and many more. Playing with time is srs bsns and the results are not always what you expect. This is the reason, to make such concepts great, execution and plot needs to be well-balanced and interesting. No one wants to wait for episodes after episodes for something to happen or a big reveal (Yes, I’m looking at you, Perfect Insider and Haruhi S2).

A big ball of wibbly wobbly…time-y wimey…stuff.

Time is a fickle thing, which stops for no one. But Satoru is one of the lucky ones who can actually go back for a bit. Everyone wishes for such power as we would like to replay our mistakes to make them right but it comes with a price. On the first impressions alone,Boku dake ga Inai Michi does a wonderful job of keeping the viewers on their toes and having them pay attention to every second as a reset could happen any time. Even the drawlish monologue of Satoru seems interesting as it reflects his greyish point of view of his world, which is not normal due to his reset ability. For a 29-year-old, he seems to be still figuring things out rather than having a clear path in life. Whatever happened in his past has made him anti-social in general with him shirking away from any kind of human connection.

Butterfly Effect

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Irene//I like the way that the Revival is shown, as a figment of a butterfly, before all the colors suddenly invert and it feels like someone accidentally hit the rewind button. I also find it interesting, that the power requires for you to actually look for the disaster and doesn’t just drop it into your lab. I also like that it actually forces you to do something about the event, and doesn’t just leave it up to your choice. Cause I have a feeling that a guy like our MC would often opt out of getting involved if he didn’t have to.

However, Satoru has had this power for a while now, and he’s experienced it to the point that he has a pretty good idea of how it works. Yet, after saving who knows how many others and preventing disaster over and over again, our young man’s estimation of himself hasn’t really changed all that much. It has become just another part of his monotonous life. And yet, despite his disenfranchised demeanor, there are times that we as the audience see another side to him that glistens and glints with life when he’s saving someone else’s life, or even at moments when he’s interacting with his mother, and we have to wonder how and when he got wrapped up by so much “membrane” (as Airi Katagiri puts it) that he’s prevented even himself from seeing the real him that is underneath? Is it truly as he says that he’s scared to get to the heart of his own mind…and if so, why?

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Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fainter

Kyo//Airi definitely seemed interested in him as an individual but he never paid it any mind except for labeling her as weird. Even with his own blood, his own mother, he acts distant. I know nobody likes to have a long trip of folks after they leave their first home, but Satoru is an extra amount of prickly for having his mother visit. But who knew, things would deteriorate so quickly? I am not sure if we would be seeing the adult Satoru for a while, but I hope it’s not too long as the adult version sure has grown on me. Though, from promotional poster, it seems a big chunk of events will happen around his chibi-self. Whatever happens, this was a delightful first episode and I can’t wait find out more!

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Airi’s not going to take your stuff, Satoru.

Irene//Well, we’re going to find out all about the inner workings of Satoru Fujinuma, because this series is split into two different types of show that is perfectly blended for our consumption. The first part is that of an internal introspection and drama. The other part, is quite a mystery….a murder mystery in fact.

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Okay, I think there might be a typo in this script. In scene 29  I’m going to get what now?! 

It turns out that Satoru’s childhood wasn’t as bland and boring as his adult life would lead you to believe. In 1988 (the best year ever, by the way) while Satoru was in elementary school, two of his classmates became the victims of a serial kidnapper and murderer, and the culprit to the crime ended up being an adult friend he had as a child, who was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death row.

The adults of his hometown did their best to make the children forget the event, and while it might have faded from his memory, the tragedy left its mark on the young man. His feeling of childlike guilt never went away, and the fact that his mother didn’t believe his claims of his friend’s innocence, caused a schism to form between the two that continued to grow. In fact, by the time we see them 18 years in the future, while Satoru and Sachiko are comfortable with each other’s presence and behavior, there’s a distance there that sometimes causes both tension and angst to rise up at the slightest provocation.

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Dark and troubled past

For years, Satoru forgot the murders and went on with his life, never knowing that while he thought he was done with that event, it was never quite done with him.

The Past Will Catch Up With You

Irene//Through a series of events and an act of coincidence and fate, his mother realizes that the man accused of the kidnapping murders from 18 years ago, may have been innocent and that she might have just witnessed the real perpetrator up to his old tricks in her son’s town. However, in FMA fashion, just as she pretty much has the entire crime figured out, the murderer just so happens to be a step ahead and gets rid of the loose end permanently.

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Crime of Cruelty

And just like that, Satoru’s rather blase life is turned upside down and he’s now dealing with the murder of mother all the while on the run from the police who believe him to be the culprit. But then again, there IS that pesky time travel power as well. But doesn’t it only work for a time period of a few minutes before? Well, not this time. For Satoru was getting on that wingless angel’s last nerve, and so going the extra mile, decided to go all in and turn up the power of Revival to 11. And now our 29 year old Satoru finds himself in his 10 year old body at the starting point for all these events back in his hometown of Hokkaido in the winter of 1988…

Can he see what needs to change in order to stop the disaster this time? And now that this has become personal, will he begin to find things out about himself that he didn’t know before?

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Oh come on, I just shampooed this carpet! Mom, you have to do your body paint somewhere else. Mom…?

Boku dake ga Inai Machi has in one episode become the frontrunner of the season, showing both insight, depth, tension, and danger all wrapped in one streamlined package. The animation and music are a delight, and the mystery is intriguing. The building apprehension throughout the second half of the episode, the cold presence of the faceless murderer as he plunges the knife into Sachiko’s back and calmly removes the phone from her grasp and waits for her to bleed out. The disturbing scene of he and Satoru passing each other on the stairwell, and he just smugly tips his hat all the while hiding his face, knowing that he’s leaving the young man to take the bag for the crime. We have no idea who the murderer could be and considering that the time that our main character is going back to is almost 20 years into the past, the man could look like or be anybody.

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That angel is going to get his wings if it kills him, and by “him”, he’s talking about Satoru.

And as Sotaru is now stuck in a child’s body, there is significantly less he can do in the face of such violent crimes. However, he does have his 29 year old intellect and experience to aid him, as well a knowledge of future events. Will he be able to fix the problem during this Revival, or will he have to continue the heartbreaking cycle?


All of this atmosphere that has built up around this series, is thanks to excellent writers, directors, and animators. A-1 Pictures and noitaminA offering this year is off to a stellar start. Shinnosuke Mitsushima, a first time seiyuu but veteran actor, does well the older Satoru, who sounds just a disinterested in life as he acts, and yet when asked to give powerful emotion, can seamlessly gun it full throttle. Minami Takayama also takes a break from doing her day job as Detective Conan to do a praiseworthy job as Satoru’s ex-reporter mother Sachiko. The original material has already won several accolades and we as the audience can already see why. I can tell you first hand that the manga is dangerously addicting, and I will admonish you that whatever you do, do not read the manga! You will spoil yourself to an amazing, heartrending, tension-filled wild ride that is as much about the keeping the human soul alive, as it is about finding out who would be one to cruelly and purposefully rip it away?


Yep, most promising first episode of Winter so far. Once the episode ended, I replayed it just to see if I missed anything. Not many series can achieve this kind of inquisitiveness and interest. It’s on the right path and I hope the pacing continues to keep us guessing each episode.

An interesting fact is that Satoru’s seiyuu is a newbie. This is Shinnosuke Mitsushima’s first anime role and he has real potential of doing great things as he reminded me of a young Yoshimasa Hosoya, when he first voiced Juuzawa Juu’s character in Denpa Teki na Kanojo (a brilliant OVA series, which I highly recommend).

There are enough puzzles at the onset for this to run a season but I hope it stays true to its original source like any other good adaptation as I believe the manga has not ended yet.

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Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? 


We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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10 Responses to “First Impressions – Boku dake ga Inai Machi”

  1. zztop says:

    There are enough puzzles…for this to run a season but I hope it stays true to its original source…as I believe the manga has not ended yet.

    Boku Dake’s director tweeted the anime will use the manga’s original ending, and will be 12 episodes long.

    Some viewers think this means the manga will be ending with the anime, although nothing’s been confirmed yet.

    Ep 1 also blazed through 6 manga chapters, meaning certain segments of character development were removed. This may be a good thing, since the manga could be very slow-paced.

    • Kyokai says:

      Ending the anime and manga FMA style; that would be pretty nice if they plan on doing it. I would look forward to it.

      I hope they don’t miss too many important things in keeping up the pace but then again, minute observers can always check the manga for details like book readers do. I tend to enjoy better adaptations more if I have read the original story. I might just as well go check out the manga.

      • IreneSharda says:

        DON’T DO IT!

        I’m already regretting that I did prior to the series coming out. It’s better to be surprised. I had thought to only read a few chapters but that series is pretty addicting, and now I’m pretty much caught up.

        This one episode did animate 6 chapters in one sitting, however, most of what was left out was character development scenes to get you more into who Satoru, Sachiko, and Airi are. Also, the give you a clearer look at his powers as well.
        The episode still got the main idea and feel for those chapters though, and I think that if they had gone any slower, people might have been a little bored since the beginning is more of a slow burn with us constantly being inside Satoru’s head.

        Really the only thing missing were more details about the murder/kidnapping case that will be revealed later. That Satoru and Sachiko’s relationship was a little more strained than the anime had time to show, which is another thing that contribute to him looking guilty after she is murdered. And it also shows more examples of the fact that, like what I wrote in the post, his power of Revival, will continue to send him back in time until he stops the disaster in someway.

        For example, the scene in the parking lot gets replayed at least twice instead of once, until him getting his mother to look around is finally what stops the abduction. There’s also a scene of him saving some kids (this has nothing to do with the rest of the plot) in an abandoned building, but the Revival has to happen 2-3 times before he realizes what the disaster is and it gets stopped. You can see how that might get repetitive to an audience, so they just cut much of that out.

        As for the manga not being finished yet, I wouldn’t worry about it. For the most part, right now, the manga is really just beginning to wrap things up. The mystery itself has already been pretty much solved and we’re pretty much at the final confrontation stage. So the anime has more than enough to end on a proper note, no matter what happens with the manga. Unless the mangaka comes up with some really off the wall twist at some point, I think the anime will be fine.

      • Highway says:

        You guys never listen to my warning: Never read source material before you watch an adaptation. Down that road lies unhappiness.

        Wait until the adaptation is done. Then read if you want to. Instead of constantly focusing on “Oh, they left that part out” and “that doesn’t make as much sense”, as you watch the lower transmitted information version, you get the reverse if you read AFTER watching. “Oh, that’s what that meant.” “That is more interesting now.” “I understand it better.” The source materials inform the adaptation. It doesn’t work the other direction.

        At most, you have to wait 3 months to then read it.

  2. HannoX says:

    An excellent first episode. If it keeps it up this will be the anime of the season and a strong contender for best of the year.

  3. skylion says:

    Hey, I’ve seen this story somewhere before……One of these days I’ll follow through on my threat and review that manga.

    I get the distinct feeling we are only seeing the top of iceberg so far as the time travel and memory patterns are concerned. Mr. Eyes and Hat is waaaaay to mysterious…

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Mystery, intrigue and everything that’s not what it seems. Yes, this is a series I can get into and though it was slow, it was nonetheless a good start-off. Certainly one of the more promising series this season.

    As far as abilities go, I wonder if only Satoru has “Revival” or if there are others, too. If one can exist, why not more?

  5. IreneSharda says:

    One thing that I didn’t get or understand in the episode was that Sachiko said that they couldn’t get the murderer for the crimes of 1988 because it had been 18 years and the statute of limitations was up. I’m so used to the idea that there was no statute of limitations on murder, that it had me scratching my head.

    So did some digging, and learned that Japan did not eliminate it’s statute of limitations on murder until 2010. It’s law system was influenced more by France’s system, while America’s was based more so on England’s.
    So, the more you know. 😀

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