After the previous two tepid outings, I concluded last week that the show only could go up from here, it’s pretty safe to say that whatever excitement I walked into this series with is dead and buried. Also that “go back” yell was pretty terrible sounding wasn’t it? Looks like somebody needs a bit of work on their emoting.
I don’t consider these last two episodes to be bad, not at all actually. But the way the second half of the story is set-up does further expose the problem I have with this show’s underexplained time-travel elements, however. It wasn’t 100% clear whether or not Satoru triggered this reset or not, with that ambiguity stemming from the fact that we could clearly hear from Satoru’s inner monolog made it clear that he wants another shot at 1988. However I don’t think really made much of a difference whether he wanted to or not since that blue butterfly appears whenever something clearly terrible is about to happen either to or near him. That said, I don’t think it matters at all if he can control his powers. As long as The Forces That Be and he are on the same page regarding when they should kick in at least. The problem here is that in 2006, the fact that he’s able to go back to 1988 whenever it’s most convenient for him sort of kill any narrative stakes for the present. Hence, the more time spent the more time spent in the past the better. Of course, I’m assuming he can only go back in time during 2006 (which hasn’t been confirmed), but I’ll continue doing until proven otherwise.
Considering that we’re two-thirds of the show in, I can see why people would be a bit frustrated with all the seemingly undue attention being placed on Kayo, who is only just one of the serial killer’s victims. But you gotta remember, not only did it all start with her, she’s also clearly the one put in the most danger. Besides, the fact that the last reset ended not long after her death is a pretty clear sign from The Forces That Be that Satoru won’t be advancing any further until he gets a good ending on the Kayo route. What Satoru and friends are doing for Kayo right now could also give them a better idea of who they’re dealing with. It should be obvious to everyone by now that these are very much pre-meditated kills planned well in advance. What we know from the end of episode 7 is that whoever this guy is (it should be really obvious to you guys by now) really wants this one girl dead for some reason that’s apparently good enough for him to stalk the same target in three different continuities. I do hope there’s a decent explanation for why the dude only showed up to the bus to drop off his murder equipment. Hopefully, there’ll be a sensible explanation for why such an untraceable villain would choose to do this but that’s something to think about later. There’s also that slap-happy mom of Kayo’s that made an appearance again at the end of episode 8 whose one-sided demonic portrayal is something I’m honestly getting quite tired of. At first, it was easy for me to rationalize her one-dimensional evilness with the simple fact that this is a story told mainly from the biased perspective of the hero. The mother’s mental state and the reasons why she hits her daughter are not as important to this kind of narrative as the simple fact that she must be stopped. This is all fine and good, but if she’s going to continue to be relevant this long into the story then I’m going to need writing that’s more nuanced than that I’m afraid. Maybe next week’s Mom Fight will be just what the show needs to get past this hump.
Now that I’m done airing my worries and criticisms, I can safely say that these were two fairly solid outings for BokuMachi. Not only does Satoru’s renewed sense of urgency make things a bit more interesting. I mean, not only did he establish an alibi for Yuki in case things went wrong through casually vandalizing his home to attract cops, he also considered killing Kayo’s mom. Both of them being actions he never came close to considering the first time around. Episode 8 also had some real nice emotional punches too, as Sachiko finally allows Kayo to something she never had before, and that’s an adult she can she comfortable simply being a kid around and be rewarded with a pat on the head for it, as opposed to being yelled at and receiving a beating. That one scene with Kayo staring at a breakfast prepared with care and consideration as opposed to obligation perfectly encapsulates what I’m referring to here. This show really is at it’s best with regards to showcasing domestic violence through the subtlety of Kayo’s reactions to kind, everyday gestures. Certainly a step up from seeing a red-eyed demon smack her around.
Whilst I enjoyed how episode 8 paid more attention to the little moments then it did to advancing the story, I can’t but worry that the show can’t afford such slow pacing. Considering there’s only 4 episodes left to adapt nearly 20 chapters of content, I’m expecting a fair bit of turbulence. Here’s hoping that this March will ultimately end up being good for both Satoru and we the viewers but I’m ready for the worst.