Rule number one: Never assume that someone’s dead until you see a body. Without a body confirmation, it’s only a kidnapping, not a murder. Maybe I was presumptuous to assume that Kayo’s case was one about a missing and murdered girl, because now I’m not so sure especially when the news reported a serial kidnapper not a serial killer. You see Kayo’s beaten up body and her distressed parents in a shot following school… but you never know what happens to her afterwards. Yes – she could be buried somewhere or even worse, but I’d a positively naïve person and I’d like to hope that Satoru was able to do more than that (even if it appears that nothing has changed). Normally in these cases, the police would file a missing person’s report and investigate, but until there is further evidence that Kayo was murdered, they can’t really press any charges or do anything more than speculate. These situations remind me of those cold case files that get reinvestigated years later when the serial killers/kidnappers finally make a mistake or the police are able to get a good profile of the criminal. This seems particularly true for Satoru’s mother who was able to finally get a good idea of who the criminal is/was years later because of newfound evidence. It’s just unfortunate that she wasn’t able to solve the case before someone caught on. Luckily though, Satoru does have a clue… in a tiny piece of paper.
This episode introduces more about the other key characters in the story (and OP). Up until now, we’ve had quite a long running list of suspicious characters. Everyone from their teacher to Kenya to Yuuki and more specifically, Kayo’s mom (she was knitting him mittens! That just makes it so much more tragic and heartbreaking). To add to the growing list, we meet a few other characters that may or may not know more than they let on. The ones that stick out the most are obviously Satoru’s manager, Takahashi (Takeuchi Eiji) but also the man talking with the manager (he’s named Nishizono on the website). The news reporter working with Satoru’s mom also gets some screen time so I’m beginning to feel that anyone that has an actual face that’s nicely zoomed in and focused on, should be remembered. Takahashi is a bit of a wild card but he definitely raises a lot of red flags. From the get go, he’s so ready to push Satoru under the bus and even stalks Airi’s home to ensure that Satoru gets caught. I’m not sure if I trust him for really being concerned for Airi, or if he just has a crush on her or both. There’s just something about his involvement with Nishizono that I’m not too keen on either. Until I know more about Nishizono, I’m not going to trust Takahashi; which puts him under my radar as the primary suspect for the house fire (since he knows where Airi lives). It doesn’t explain the text message from Satoru’s mother’s phone though… so either the killer has the phone and is trying to scare her and burn her, or there’s another purpose for the message.
This episode proves that Satoru can in fact jump backward and forwards in time but obviously not without the consequences of his actions. The past has changed as a result of what he did for Kayo but obviously not enough to prevent her from going missing… the same goes for another girl in a nearby school named Nakanishi Aya. So here’s where my head is at – there are two mysteries this episode that really got me thinking: 1) I always thought that Satoru’s “revival abilities” only allowed him to travel back in time. This isn’t the case anymore so how does “revival” work? Does he jump back and forth involuntarily because the writer chooses to do so for the story’s convenience? Maybe the fact that he has this ability, isn’t even that important to the grand scheme of the story because what’s more important is the fact that he can change the past period. Or will it be explained later? Does he suffer from a phenomena that has a reason behind it and/or someone else knows what he’s going through? It reminds me a bit of The Time Traveler’s Wife where the husband goes back and forth in history and his wife watches him do so and it’s not really “explained” in the end, but this “ability” does exist in their world and follows some logic. And 2) will it happen again? Will Satoru go back in time again and try and change history again? Or is this what he has to live with now? I somehow think that he’s going to go back again and this time, try and make a bigger impact. Maybe this is where his character development comes in and he does things outside his comfort zone. He has more clues now in this “new future” as to how this case turned out so he has more leads as to when and where the kidnapper could’ve stuck. Being friends with Kayo honestly did buy her a few days, but was it enough? Personally I think that as a 29-year-old, Satoru (even in an 11-year-old body) can do a lot more. Yes, he’s a child and people might not take him seriously, but he has a mother whom he can explain his concerns to and trusts. His mom does know something and is pretty much his biggest resource so what did she know? If Yuuki is a suspect, maybe do a bit more background check on him – where was he? Why was he a suspect? Is he still a suspect? These are just the small steps I think Satoru could take as a child without really making himself seem like a lunatic. If by chance he can’t go back again, investigating in this future with the police chasing after him will be difficult (and he’s on the run).
The last thing I wanted to bring up was Airi’s involvement in the future/present. Don’t get me wrong, I really like her – in fact, she’s probably my favorite character this series because she’s so kicka**, kind and she doesn’t seem to be an unreliable narrator in this story. However, I think she’s also quick to trust people, especially when they’ve just been pinned down as a murderer. Airi and Satoru’s relationship isn’t crystal clear from the first episode, and they don’t seem like they have a ton of history together other than being coworkers, so I think she should be a little wearier to let him stay over. Even though she tells Satoru her family history, that doesn’t mean everyone is telling the truth. Initially I thought Airi’s family story would also open a lot of doors of possibilities but unfortunately I still don’t know much about her parents. Airi could have potentially been connected to the kidnapper/murderer but it sounds like her father wasn’t a bad person at all in her eyes. We’ll have to wait and see how she’s further connected to this story and if maybe… just maybe, her opinion of her father isn’t that reliable either. Am I making this story more convoluted than it needs to be?
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: Airi just turned into my favorite character. I hope nothing bad happens to her. #soproud. More characters introduced; like Satoru’s manager and Airi’s family background. But it’s all still fishy. So time CAN fastforward for Satoru. I thought it was a one-shot deal… but he did change to future so maybe he can do it again?