Boku dake ga Inai Machi episode 2: The Taming of the Kuudere

This week essentially felt like a lesson in tasteful wish fulfillment under the guise of Satoru reacquainting himself with his old surroundings.

It’s pretty easy to see how someone using some crappy reductionist logic could see this kind of set-up as something potentially skeevy, however, Satoru does actually kind of take note of that here with his troubled response to how he blushed when touching Kayo’s hand. It might be a stupid concern to have, but after putting myself through Mujaki no Rakuen and…. this other awful thing, I can’t help but be happy but to see this kind of premise being tackled in a way that doesn’t pander to the worst possible sensibilities. From the looks of things, there ought to be more to what’s going on then simply winning over that cute girl that he wasn’t sociable enough to talk to the 1st time around. As Kayo’s scrapbook poetry seems to heavily imply, there seems to be some kind of ongoing, destructive factor in her life which is very likely to be her mother, Satoru is going to have to do more than simply just chat with her before and after classes. Just what it is he can do to change the fate of not only her, but for possibly his mom and Yuki is another big question here. But for now, he’s still in the befriending process. I imagine the endgame here is to build Kayo a solid network of friends, and Satoru’s plan to use his birthday party to get that to happen is a big step towards making that happen. After all, kidnappers are more likely to set their sights on vulnerable loners then they are lively with those who are lively and always have someone to look out for them. But these are all things even a child can do. If Satoru wants to do more then help offer comfort to distract Kayo from her worries, he’s going to have to find a way over a certain hump, that being the handicaps that come with being just a kid without any real authority.

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a pretty clear difference between this revival and the others that Satoru is used to dealing with that goes beyond how far back he’s been set. Right now this revival is allowing him an extended period of time to do whatever he can to at least throw off the maniac. That might all be obvious, but what we can’t quite tell from what we’ve been given thus far, however, is what will happen next as a result of attempting to change history. If Satoru does manage to have a profound impact on history, just think about what would happen to someone like Airi. Being a minor, we can conclude that she hadn’t even been born by the time Kayo originally was murdered ). Would that mean that by saving one friend, he’d have to retcon another out of existence? And would failure to save Kayo with this revival send him back to his original timeline with his mother and Yuki both dead? Or will he just have to live with that failure and carry on from then on?

There were a couple of other of other things worth dwelling on here, like how that kid Kenya reacted to Satoru’s sudden change in behaviour. From the scenes that the two of them shared, it seems reasonable to assume that there’s a possibility of him being aware of what Satoru’s been up to and that he wants to help him change history, perhaps being a time-jumper himself. Would a regular child be able to see Kayo’s poem for the cry of help that it is? I don’t think so. Should the problem get out of hand, Kenya will likely be one of the better guys Satoru can confide with.

On top of all of the interesting character moments to be found here, there’s the fantastic visuals and directing. From the film-like aspect ratio to the pretty backgrounds. This is an A-grade audio-visual treat from top-to-bottom. Also additional points for getting Aoi Yuuki on board with this as Kayo since she’s an actress I’ve been growing rather fond of recently. You Taichi’s performance as Kenya also does a rather respectable job, since it strikes the perfect spot between a youthful pitch and mature depth, which is important for someone like him who seems  mature beyond his years.

BokuMachi is right now firmly set in set-up mode. Not as much big things going on here as there was last week, but this is a change of pace the show needed to have and is handling as well as it possibly could.

 

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