Boku Dake ga Inai Machi was the anime of the winter 2016 that came out of nowhere and surprised fans with one of the best stories and characters of the anime season. ERASED was on our list of top anime picks for Winter 2016 and in the end this one makes our #1 pick for the season by a mile.
This is a spoiler free review!
Satoru Fujinuma is a reclusive part-timer with no plans for the future. What sets him apart from the other slackers in his town is an involuntary time travel ability that allows him to jump back several seconds in time in order to prevent accidents and even deaths. As incidents around town begin reminding Satoru of a childhood trauma he’d sooner forget, he finally begins to question what caused his ability to surface and whether or not it’s powerful enough to change the past.
The series premise was interesting but it wasn’t until you starting getting into the series, about 3 episodes in that you finally understood just how great this story was written. The series is produced by Aniplex firm A-1 Pictures, the studio behind some of our favorite anime series: Sword Art Online, Aldnoah Zero and Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash. For starters the animation is beautiful which we have come to expect from A-1 Pictures. The series also has a great OP and EP score featuring “Re:Re:” by Asian Kung-Fu Generation while the ending theme is “Sore wa Chiisa na Hikari no Yō na” (It’s Like a Small Light?) by Sayuri. You can take a listen below, they are both great.
The story was full of emotion with likable characters and memorable lines that mix the dark story with child like humor of the simple things in life. Satoru finds himself with the ability to jump back in time (he calls it ‘Revival’) to stop terrible things from happening but he remembers a rash of disappearances from his town as a child and he does more then jump back a few minutes, but jumps from being a teenager to being a kid in grade school.
As we follow him on his journey for justice and to find out who was kidnapping the kids, Satoru digs himself into a difficult position that his good friend Kenya notices. Kenya ends up helping Satoru who has a fixation with getting Kayo away from her mother and saving her life. As Satoru digs deeper into who was responsible the eventual truth is shocking to him and somewhat expected but shocking to the viewer.
What makes this series so great is the emotional elements of the characters and the plot lines. Whether its Kayo’s response to a simple hot meal with Satoru and his mother, OR Satoru’s emotional reunion with his mother when he jumps back to being a child. The anime ends with a neat and completely satisfying finish to the story which is not always the case with anime. I would have loved to see more but I also feel the story came to its appropriate and eventual conclusion.
I highly recommend this series to any anime lover out there. Plus a live action version of the series has also been ordered due to its popularity.