Not as meaningful since not only did we not actually get to learn much of what happened in the 15 year gap, Satoru also appears immediately after this OP. A decent idea nonetheless.
Well, a lot of corners were cut, but that was to be expected. They left out the entirety of Yashiro’s backstory asides from that one bit at the beginning, which was fine I guess. Not like we really needed to know any of that stuff anyway. The opening bit with about how a little hamster helped shape his world view was pretty much the extent of what we needed to know about how he got on the path that led to becoming the messed-up individual he currently is. What wasn’t OK was (minor spoiler for the manga I guess) not going into what Satoru’s friends have been up to since, especially with regards to how they’ve been supporting him. Here it looks like they just happened to get involved with his life for the first time in years after learning he had overcome the coma, nor does it explain the logistics how they were able to keep him alive on life-support that long.
What I didn’t see coming were the changes, particularly with Yashiro. I can’t help but wonder why he would approach the guy he attempted to kill, as if he was expecting him to have forgotten such a traumatic event occurring right before lights out. And even then he should be aware of how doing such a thing might trigger something in Satoru. Just seems a tad sloppy, as does Satoru telling Yashiro that he’s regained his memories. Dude’s in a wheelchair on a roof with a deranged murderer that already tried to drown him to death. He was probably just in the moment, but it’s still pretty dumb way to force a cliffhanger for the finale. Whatever Yashiro had planned to do to him he’s certainly going to try a lot sooner now. I’m also a bit confused, the show is making such changes, yet the director claimed this was supposed to cover the manga’s ending. The anime probably creating a different route to said ending to make up for time constraints.
What I did like about this episode were the nice little touches, like The Opening Where only Satoru is Missing (the eyes of the side characters are no longer censored as well). And there was also the fact that the narration switched from late-20s Satoryu to 11 year old Satoru to represent just how much the world has moved on without him and that his inner child has been preserved over the last 15 years. I also appreciate the fact that Kayo was able to move on without Satoru, and how he in turn exhibited no bitterness over the fact that she didn’t wait X amount of years for someone who might not woken up. And even she did wait, it would be for someone that as far as she know is just an 11-year old in the casing of a grown man. Staying with someone out of a sense of debt isn’t the key to a healthy relationship after all. Simple, yet decent emotional pay-off for Kayo’s character arc but lo and behold, this is all that the shippingnerds and meme-spouting denizens of /a/ saw.
One other thing that bugs me is the idea how we never received an explanation as to how Satoru is saved (which makes the idea that Yashiro saved him out of his bizarre reverence for the one that ruined his plan, which is honestly quite stupid). But the lack of explanation has to do with Sachiko trying to shield her son from the truth, which you may remember, was a mistake she made in the original timeline as well. She doesn’t seem to want Satoru to worry about the behind what happened and instead wants him to focus on rehabilitation, which is fairly reasonable for now, but not for long. It was this kind of thinking that partially stunted his development as a child the 1st time around after all. Another thing worth noting is that the Sachiko we saw in episode 1 already suspected Yashiro of being the murderer, so that could very well be the case here as well. It’s already been established that certain factors of the story carry over between timelines so that would certainly make sense.
I’m aware that it’s totally possible that Yashiro was the person that saved Satoru. For all we know he could’ve changed his mind about the murder upon hearing Satoru yell “I know your future”. The opening bit with Yashiro expressing the kind of interest he has in Satoru seems to indicate that he did just that. That however, would be kind of ridiculous considering the only way something like that could work without needlessly jeopardizing his cover would be to have him drown juuuuust enough to put him in an extended coma. That might have happened, but only out of nigh impossible (actually it’s probably straight up impossible) luck. It’s just too goddamn ridiculous to make any sense and only worked out for Yashiro this long out of sheer plot convenience. And even then he had to mess it up by initiating this poorly thought out climax. Agh.
A few cool aspects worth ruminating on this week, but this was not quite the 11th hour return to form I wanted since the end of the episode left me feeling pretty sour. The finale will certainly have a lot to rally back from. As it stands, this is one series that’s accrued enough demerit points to be classified as a disappointment.