The hit series of Winter 2016 has come to an end.
it’s been a while since I’ve seen an anime so picked up within the anime community. There were series popularized outside the community of course, such as Attack on Titan and One Punch Man, but Boku Dake ga Inai Machi created a lot of buzz within the community, staying on top of the game every week. Of course I sensed it gradually declined when nearing the end, but this it’s very common that viewership declines as a show progresses.
Satoru has a special ability that gives him the possibility to skip small portions back in time to alter events happened. When he sees the opportunity to do right, he’ll get straight into the action. When one day he is flung way further back in time, Satoru decides to save his childhood friend Kayo and others from falling prey to a serial killer who is active in his hometown.
With each time leap he alters the past and consequently the future, giving the story the butterfly effect. Time jumping and altering of said time has been done many times before, even by series such as Family Guy, far away from the anime realm. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi takes it on the more serious boat and unravels the mystery one episode at the time. Building up tension to the finale.
The most appealing factor of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is the leaps through time and especially the part where Satoru travels back to his childhood and tries to safe Kayo’s life, who is one of the victims of the serial killer and also his classmate.
The time leaps give an interesting perspective on the interpretation of reality by an adult and a child, since both are vastly different. Satoru missed a lot of clues as a child and was mostly unable to take matters into his own hands. While being an adult in a child’s body another interesting dynamic comes up, namely being conscious of the situation yet not credible enough as a child to change events, only when really persistent.
The mystery isn’t really challenging, careful viewers will easily find hints of potential suspects and victims quite early on in the run. Yet, I believe it was never the shows intent to go all out and create a Great-Britain detective series. It remained with the realm of its target audience and focused more on the overall interpretation of reality by Satoru within his environment. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi builds the tension with its cliffhangers and not with purposely feeding the viewer falls clues, like The Killing did and undoubtedly many other crime/mystery series.
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi has a fairly standard visual design. There are no real bumps in the road when you look at the consistency. There seem to be some interesting budget distribution hints along the way.
The first episode had a very bright color scheme that really gave a good first impression, only to weaken as the episodes progressed and to pick up again in the last two final episodes. Examples such as reflections in windows and brighter colors, caught my attention in the eleventh episode.
The character designs aren’t as mind blowing as some KyoAni or A-1 pictures designs we’ve seen over the course of time. The soundtrack is also rather absent, or so well blend into the storytelling that you’re focus isn’t drawn to it.
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi was without a doubt the hit of the Winter season of 2016. It was refreshing, engaging and tense. Yet, I lacked some depth and started to lose some momentum with a finally that couldn’t live up to the fantastic debut. I rate Boku Dake ga Inai Machi an 8 out of 10 for its outstanding performance, but still being unable to live up to the hype.