“oh noes who could have seen this coming?”
No one ever
The further this episode and Satoru’s plan went along the bigger feeling of looming dread felt and I’m sure you guys felt the same as well. With how pleasant everything seemed to be proceeding (besides maybe that one scene with Kayo’s mom, but Sachiko was there to smooth things out so it’s all good), it was obviously a matter of time before the scriptwriters would curb stomp Satoru’s efforts. What went wrong exactly? With the plan? Nothing. Satoru executed it to perfection. Not only did he grant Kayo the kind of happiness all children deserve, but he also put her mother on notice. The problem was with the plan itself. Satoru made the foolish mistake of assuming that keeping her safe a day longer would necessarily mean everything would be fine. Given how she was last seen alive on her birthday. Keeping her safe until the birthday was just a goal post he had set up because it seemed logical to him at the moment. I can’t exactly blame him either. He was still doing everything within his limited power to create a better future, but it wasn’t enough. This story isn’t working off of “The Butterfly Effects” logic in how changing minor events would necessarily lead to a different outcome. Both in the original 1988 and the 1988 we’re witnessing now, Kayo was marked for death. The brick wall Satoru ran into here is the simple fact that he lacks the power to identify the heart of the issue, let alone strike at it. His 29-year-old mind hasn’t made him anywhere near as capable as he thinks he is or needs to be. He can make bold speeches at the end of the day, but to Kayo’s mom, or that girl who blamed Kayo for stealing the lunch money, he just comes off of some self-righteous brat in love. Saving the future is hard if you haven’t even reached puberty yet.
What I do feel safe in saying now is that I don’t believe Kayo’s mother is responsible for murdering her daughter. Intentionally, at least. Between the fact that her abuse of Kayo isn’t exactly a secret, I’d like to think that she wouldn’t be foolish enough to kill her in cold blood. I’d also like to think she wouldn’t be cruel enough to do it on her birthday of all times. She may have done it back in the original timeline, but as we can see with Satoru’s “deja vu”, certain events between the two timelines are overlapping, but with different contexts. Kayo’s death could also be one of those common denominators whether it be at the hands of her mother, or the murderer. For now, however, I believe that it is far more likely that the murderer singled her out as a victim and planned to kill her on March 1st in both timelines.
Here’s a basic here’s a rundown of possibilities:
1. The unknown murderer killed targeted and killed Kayo in both the original 1988 and during this revival (most likely)
2. Kayo’s mother killed her in one version of 1988 (probably the 1st), and the unknown murderer during the other (possible)
3. Kayo’s mother killed her in both the original 1988 and the ongoing year (least likely)
Anyway, we’re at a pretty big crossroads here! The next episode will have to determine what kind of route we can expect the series to go on for the next little while at least. From here, we have even more choices to guess from. We haven’t been told what would happen should Satoru not get his desired result from a revival, so he might either be sent back to 2006, or he might just have to move on from where he is now. I suppose the idea of him being in a sort of Groundhog Day-ish loop is also worth entertaining at this point (with how his memories overlap at points), but I think the answer is far simpler. I said in my 1st episode review that I did not believe it be one of the time travel stories like Mayuri’s are from Stein;s Gate, or the 10th episode of Madoka Magica in which fate would always go out of its way to maintain the same constants despite the impact of a time-traveler, and I’m still far from convinced. The only way to make sense of this not being his first time jumping back to 1988 would be to make him forget every other attempt he had prior, and I don’t think convenient amnesia would be the right ingredient for this series. It’s better to just chalk up those recurring memories as parts of the childhood he once repressed, especially the one with Kayo at the science center. Memories of her would be the ones he’d want to do away with the most of course considering the guilt he felt when she was originally killed.
As appropriately cynical this episode was with that ending, it was still pretty easy to root for Satoru in his meaningless quest to overcome his dreaded X Day. The majority of the episode made for some well-needed contrast from last week’s misery that came with being made aware of Kayo’s terrible situation. As close as the two have gotten (the two did begin holding hands after all) I still don’t feel particularly creeped out by the prospect of grown-man in a kids body treating another kid like this. How to feel about this kind of subject matter is a highly interpretive matter still. It comes down to whether or not his memories as a 29-year-old are in complete control over his actions (both voluntary and involuntary) or if he’s still subject to his 11-year-old hormones. I’m just going to give the show the benefit of a doubt and assume the latter. Besides, intent also matters. His 29-year-old side wants to only “pretend” to have feelings for her to make her feel comfortable and lead her away from tragedy. Whilst as an 11-year-old, said feelings are impossible to fake. The bond between the two just may have been their undoing. With all the stock Satoru has placed on saving Kayo, he forgot how there’s more to the mission than just keeping her safer. There’s Yuki of course, what about keeping an eye on him, either to establish his alibi or discover he’s the murderer? If Satoru is going to get another shot at 1988, he’s going to need to be far more watchful of his surroundings instead of focusing on what seems easiest.
This episode pretty much left me off in the perfect spot: Both devastated emotionally worn out and a bit confused/excited by the sheer amount of possibilities to pick from. Whilst some directions are definitely less appealing to me than others, I’ve been given enough reason to assume to expect whatever works best for this series going forward.