February 4h, 2016.
Subtle and Unsubtle Moments in Time
I think talking of this episodes in terms of “specific points”, and starting with the more amusing ones would be fun, so let’s go with that:
1) How to tell a show is by A-1 studios, known for their ass-focus, and by director Itou Tomohiko? That any scene involving Airi has something like this. It’s much more subtle than other shows, and the show’s shot-framing is good and often draws attention away, but it can also draw attention to it, cause it’s definitely there. And yes, Airi’s cute.
And she’s also a crazy badass. I mean, if I were told she’s a yandere at this point, I’d have believed it, with how the show built up her different surname, and telling manager not to send the police to her home, it did make it seem plausible she might be hiding something, beyond Satoru. And the show also keeps drawing parallels between her and Kayo, with her constantly asking Satoru if he’s stupid, which he picked up on.
2) I have to say, I laughed a bit when we got to “And then my father quit the co-op, divorced, and left town,” as a result of shoplifting. Don’t shoplift, y’all! But it does make sense, because this scene was all about trust, so her father couldn’t remain with people who didn’t believe in him. Which is what Airi told Satoru, “Please become someone I can believe in,” or “please prove my trust wasn’t misplaced.” A heavy burden, the burden of another person’s trust. Which is also why Airi got so angry with the Manager, who betrayed her trust.
3) “Let’s eat!” and then we cut to an image of The Last Supper, where Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. Not very subtle. But yes, a murder suspect who doesn’t think the police went to his workplace a day later? Silly boy. But the lack of subtlety here still made me chuckle. Maybe it’s more subtle in the non-Christian Japanese context?
Of course, Judas betrayed Jesus for money, but we keep hearing Manager does what he does because he believes it’s “The Right Thing,” even as we see him meeting with a councilman, so which is it? Perhaps it is a subtle hint of him selling his allies for personal gain?
4) Which brings us to how the episode ended. Satoru’s allies and friends are being removed. The noose around him tightens. But this is how it’s always been, with Yuuki Jun, his friend who stutters, taking the blame for Kayo’s disappearance. The feeling of mounting dread, of things coming closer and closer, of loneliness. Thrillers are half suspense-horrors, and this show is doing very well on that front, in terms of “mounting dread”, cinematography, and musical score.
5) Kayo, the show hints very strongly her mother and mother’s boyfriend did away with her, though it’s possible they only found her body after the “Adult man” hid next to her house and killed her himself. Or if they killed her, he was then unsatisfied and thus the next murder came earlier? Or perhaps her mother killed her originally as well and now we see it? Who knows. Does it really matter? I’m not sure it does. What matters is that history will not let you defeat it so easily.
6) Speaking of which, “there’s only so much you can do, and there’s no use crying over spilled milk” is good advice by mother to Satoru, except he is the one who could’ve made a difference, and failed, so her words burn him.
But her message is still worthwhile, “Don’t think of the failure, but of how to do it better next time!” is what he’s thinking. But Satoru, haven’t you watched any story about time-travel? You’re going down a long and soul-crushing road.
But this is what this show is about, ultimately, about how his soul has been in stasis, how he’s been a walking dead, figuratively, ever since this event, how he’s been stopped from moving onward. And maybe he needs this soul-crushing experience to live once more.