I didn’t want to make it too obvious last week, but given all the comments and the discussions, Yashiro Gaku (Miyamato Mitsuru) is being way too conspicuous as a villain. All we need are the neon lights and flashing signs that point to him! Anyway, besides that very abrupt scene, I thought they really played him well in terms of being the nice guy in front of Satoru while teasing the audience about what he’s really up to. It’s like watching a crime where the viewer knows the villain already and waits for dooms day to happen. I don’t know how, but we do know when, especially after Satoru narrows down Kayo’s kidnapping date to March 1st. We technically don’t know how or if Gaku is literally the person who kidnaps Kayo… but I think it’s a good guess. 29-year-old Satoru should know better. He’s clearly being tricked by Gaku and his talk of “protecting Kayo” by taking her away. Is this his way of kidnapping Kayo without Satoru getting suspicious? She’s going to disappear and Satoru won’t know any better! Of course, I can say all this as a member of the audience so I shouldn’t blame Satoru for trusting his teacher.
Then there’s Kobayashi Kenya (Tachi You) who might be the one who helps Gaku kidnap Kayo. Once again, many people brought up the fact that Kenya looks and acts very suspiciously and I can’t agree more. Especially meeting up with the teacher after hours? That’s not looking good for Kenya. I don’t want to believe that an 11-year-old boy can be involved in kidnapping and murder, but you really don’t know what’s going on in kids’ minds. Maybe Gaku is blackmailing Kenya. We’ll have to wait to see.
Kayo’s family finally comes to light this week, specifically her mom and stepdad (or actually dad?). I don’t want to jump to conclusions, because I never want to lead readers down the wrong path for these types of thrillers, but it’s heavily implied that Kayo gets domestic abused by her mother. It’s funny though, because her mom is also the one trying to hide all the bruises by dunking Kayo’s head in cold water afterwards. I find it ironic that she would want to hide all of Kayo’s bruises after being the one to beat her; why beat her and then bother to hide it? If you’re so worried about being caught, then don’t leave evidence on her (obviously…). That brings me to the conclusion that her mother isn’t the one to beat her, but the stepdad (or real dad). He’s the one that probably drinks a lot and while intoxicated, beats Kayo. It wouldn’t be a stretch, but it also doesn’t really explain how that leads up to her kidnapping other than her desire to run away home.
I wanted to bring up two new characters that we saw in action this week. Both of whom I think are innocent people but don’t know how they’ll play out in later episodes. The first is Satoru’s friend, Yuuki or Shiratori Jun (Mizushima Takahiro) who invites 29-year-old Satoru back into his house and notices that Satoru has “matured”. Obviously, he’s a 29-year-old in a 11-year-old body, how do you not suddenly change? I don’t believe that Yuuki was the murderer, but I do think he was at the wrong place at the wrong time and circumstantial evidence put him on death row. It’s unfortunate, but perhaps he also knows more than he leads on and doesn’t say anything because it makes him look guiltier. The other is Sugita Hiromi (Kito Akari) who is actually one of the kidnap/murder victims! We only see her for a brief moment but that’s her right? (confirmation anyone?) Hard not to notice, but we haven’t seen her connection to either Kayo or Gaku so far. I’ll wait a bit longer but deciding her fate in the story, but I would hope that Satoru is a little more observant than that. He knows two victim! Come on!
Before this post gets too long, I thought I’d talk about something a little more positive and heartwarming this episode (plus, it was beautifully animated). It’s incredible just how this episode could be thrilling, scary and lovable all in 20 minutes. I loved the ending where Satoru opens up to Kayo and they go on a “date”. He invites her to see a “Christmas tree” in February and they share a moment where Kayo starts to trust Satoru and hopefully see him as a friend. It’s quite cute and I don’t necessarily see their relationship as “romantic” (since they are young) but it does touch my heart to see Kayo finally have someone reach out to her. Especially seeing all this after hearing about Kayo’s past with the other students and how much they pick on her. I’m such a sucker when it comes to seeing such kind people in the world that help the less fortunate. That’s probably why I cry at all war and family focused movies.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: Seeing Satoru and Kayo become friends is so heartwarming. Not “romantic” but very sweet (or bittersweet). Another great episode of #BokuMachi. So misleading with the eyes, the teacher & Satoru’s friends. Who do you trust?!