The ending wasn’t delivered exactly the way I expected.
In fact, there was a lot of talking from both Gaku and Satoru as they tested each other in this psychological game. If I was confronting a killer a decade later, let me tell you – I’d probably be scared sh*tless or physically trying to strangle him. I guess Satoru had the upper hand here with the help of his friends and family, but he was really putting all his eggs in one basket by gambling with his tactics. I wasn’t particularly a fan with how it all went down. I get that the villain always has his spew at the end and this was Gaku’s, but I didn’t feel a strong enough connection with him either way. I didn’t empathize, sympathize or even care about him at that points because I didn’t feel like he was worth my attention anymore. He’s an evil man who deserves to be imprisoned and that’s all I hoped for. And that’s exactly what I got. There were moments that his relationship with Satoru made him more pitiful, but towards the end, I felt like Gaku was just a coward that deserved to fall to his death.
The epilogue was longer than I anticipated as well. Look at all the screen caps that I included – and there’s more where that came from. It was a nice peak at everyone’s lives and just how much they’ve grown up without Satoru. Misato even joins their group which was cute to see. It always pulls at my heartstrings when outsiders get invited into the clique as well. Satoru himself, has done very well as a mangaka. I envisioned a happy ending for him and I was right. Plus, as a bonus, given that his chances with Kayo went out the window completely, Airi returns! Gosh, I wish there was more of her in the back half of the story because outside of Sachiko, she wins best character. Even though she’s simply a friend, her impact on Satoru throughout this journey was instrumental.
By the end of the series, we still haven’t heard about how or why Satoru “revives”, only that he doesn’t experience them anymore. I don’t think it matters in the grand scheme of things how or why it occurred before, all that matters is that he used it to correct his future. If he no longer experiences these phenomena, maybe he’s already done what he’s “supposed to do” and therefore doesn’t need this “power” anymore. It’s not a big deal to me that it’s never explained. Normally this would drive me insane, however I can live with the fact that story is simply focused on other things. The revivals were mainly a tool used to move the story forward and whether or not the author decides to talk about it, doesn’t bother me.
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi was probably one of the most anticipated series this season and because of that, there’s been a ton of eyeballs, and hype surrounding it. I’ve even had a ton of friends ask me about ERASED as non-average anime viewers and they thoroughly enjoyed it. As such, I would say that as a whole, even though it didn’t live up to the hype and epic-potential, the anime was good. It was a worthwhile journey to watch from beginning to end and following it week after week with all those cliffhangers, tested my patience. I think the strength of the series came from the complexity of all the characters, and just hearing the truth of human nature from a 29-year-old; an 11-year-old; and a adult’s point of view, made it that much more intriguing. I think where the series fell apart a bit, was its execution in its storytelling at the end. The ending was sloppy, not tied off particularly well and missing a lot of details which would’ve added more value to the overall story.
I don’t want to deter anyone from giving Boku Dake ga Inai Machi a shot because I do think it was a well done anime. Besides the awkward pacing, the animation and quality was consistent throughout and beautifully drawn in some cases. The soundtrack and OP/ED suited the show very well and added to the spooky/chill-down-your-spine feeling. The beginning starts off extremely well – setting up the story about Satoru and his “revival” abilities, introducing everyone you need to know and then pulling you in. The middle was a bit slower, but still a good demonstration of how Satoru’s actions in the past impact his future. Then the ending which confirms everyone’s suspicions… turns out to be a bit anticlimactic and very quick to jump to the resolution. It didn’t live up to the hype but it did live up to my expectations as a dramatic crime drama. The mystery aspect was great and even though it can be predictable, predictability does not make the series unenjoyable. I think learning about the serial killer’s motives were one of the key takeaways from the series. So in that regard, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is not a series to take lightly and it will prove to be addictive to anyone watching from the beginning.