Boku Dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episode 12 (Finale) – Hoping to Believe, Believe in Hope.

This show hasn’t always been even. The episodes in the present time in particular were somewhat lacking, in tension when the tension was paramount, and in small and comfortable moments when the show veered more in that direction (in the second half), which made sense, since Kayo was stuck in the past. Thankfully, last episode was pretty small and comfortable and good, and this episode? This episode was great. It didn’t give me the same amount of smiles and tears as episode 8 did (Kayo’s highlight episode, and being brought into the Fujinoma household), but it was at least that level of great. Can’t think of a better episode of the show, and it’s always nice to end on a very positive note, isn’t it?

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 12 - Fujinoma Satoru was everyone's hero

My write-ups for BokuMachi have always focused on the themes of the show, and this episode, as befits a finale, not made use of them all, but also tied them all neatly together, so let’s look at some of them.

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Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Week 11 (Anime Power Ranking)

Still not caught up on Ajin, and I can’t help but eagerly look forward for next season’s crop of exciting new shows (and exciting disappointments!), but we’ve still got Spring season’s last few hanging-on shows to take a look at, so let’s do that.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Episode 11:

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju anime Episode 11 - Sukeroku (Shin) Yakumo tells (Kikuhiko/Bon) you can't do rakugo on your own

The human drama train keeps going on. This means that things are sort of “inevitable”, to a degree. Such as Miyokichi and Shin’s marriage, which was designed to run away from their problems, and run away from Bon, and the Rakugo Association, and being turned down, didn’t turn out well for them. Because no matter where they went, they still took themselves along, and neither of them is a person who can actually handle life on their own, let alone while also taking care for another damaged individual such as themselves. And it probably doesn’t help that both of them might very well suffer from depression, and Shin almost definitely, having lost his reason to live and care – his rakugo, with a partner who maligns it even more.

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Boku Dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episode 11 – Circling Forward

I was really curious where they’d go with the show after last episode. As I wrote about that episode, it didn’t really feel like a climax, because of the delivery, and I wondered what they’d do now that they’ve done away with the protagonist and us still having two episodes left. Then after Yashiro’s monologue at the beginning, I actually thought that after Satoru’s proclamation, he saved him from drowning, like the hamster, and kept him in a cage, to ply him from his knowledge. Well, the reveal about 6 minutes in worked. They dragged it on and on, and it was effective, so good job there.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 11 notes - Crying Fujinoma Sachiko

Speaking of effective versus non-effective, or rather “Effective versus overbearing,” look at Sachiko’s tears. A heart-felt moment, I teared up myself. When it comes to tears, less really is more. Unlike what we got when Satoru was crying, which had me chuckling a bit, because, I mean, just look at it :P Also in that scene, I can’t really tell if adult Hinazuki is voiced by Yuuki Aoi or not. Half the time she sounds like her, and half the time not. I like this voice. I wish anime voice acting were more naturalistic in general, y’know? Just as I like Hayami Saori a lot more when it’s natural.

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Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Weeks 9-10 (Anime Power Ranking)

Have been busy lately, and had been preoccupied by a bunch of stuff (including the massive Spring 2016 Season Preview, check it out!), so this is a tad late, and I haven’t watched the last 3 Ajin episodes, so we’ll cover what I did watch. Can’t wait for the new season to arrive – gotta find some new shows to disappoint me until I’m left with but a handful!

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst). Though it might be a bit more “tier”-sorted this time, as I’ve got some ties I don’t want to pick between.

1) Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Episodes 9-10:

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju anime Episode 9 - Miyokichi tells Yakumo (Kikuhiko/Bon) she'll haunt him

This show is good. Watch it. It’s a tragedy, where people pay for their past sins, and they pay for the past sins of their forebears. They pay for their hubris, for the goals they set out to achieve, and for being unable to put themselves in others positions. This is a story about hopes and dreams and people falling out even as they wish they could still cling to one another. It has beautiful set-pieces, and the visual design remains exquisite even as the models drop off-model with increasing frequency (but thankfully it’s not so common as to be actively detrimental to my enjoyment of the show and its visuals). There’s a lot to unpack here, from symbolism in word and deed, to symbolism in the visuals the show employs, to just how theatre-like the characters are in their off-stage interactions, where they act as if they’re symbolic manifestations to one another. Then again, in some ways they are.

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Boku Dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episode 10 – No Climax

(The order of the two main topics in this post have been switched around, so the big spoiler will be after the “Read more” tag, rather than before.)

Theme-wise, this episode really started by hitting things right at the point I’ve been discussing all along, of the twin themes of superheroes and naivete (or childishness), with Aya telling them that they are playing at being superheroes. And this episode was exactly proof of what happens when you play at it – there are repercussions. The theme of “The superhero’s sacrifice” also came here, through Yashiro’s mouth, as he’s telling Satoru he won, but is also presenting him with the bill of saving everyone else – his own life.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 10 - Nakanishi Aya on boys playing at being superheroes

Direct and concise.

And this is a common theme, to save everyone, you must give up your own life. I mentioned it in last week’s write-up, how impossible it is to actually save everyone, to make sure absolutely no one is ever alone. Even trying will quite literally cost you your whole life, every single moment of it. And we can all think of stories, time-travel or otherwise, anime or otherwise, where the cost for saving one person is one’s life, or at least one’s happiness. Plenty of superhero stories are like this as well, with them ending up clutching the corpse of their loved ones, as they went to save the world. So, Satoru’s getting a crash course.

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Boku Dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episode 9 – The Death God’s Wish

You know how a continuous story that makes sense works? It has something happen, then it has something else happen that directly follows the first event, and so on and so forth. It’s the same with themes, where today’s thematic discussion has to correspond with and grow out of yesterday’s, for the story to make sense as a whole.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 9 - Fujinoma Satoru vows to not let anyone be alone

So, where are we in terms of themes with the show? Episodes 5 and especially episode 6 were all about trust. Episode 6 also introduced the “What would a superhero do?” style of thinking, that led to episode 7 revolving around being a superhero, about being naive. And while episode 8 last week seemed like it wasn’t all too thematically relevant, and served mostly as a break within the story, it actually drove home that Satoru is complacent, that he cares a bit more about being recognized as a superhero than being one, truly.

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Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Week 8 (Anime Power Ranking)

I’ve barely got any shows to bring up this time around, as I’ve dropped most, and Ajin didn’t get the subs I’m waiting for yet this week. I guess I’ll cheat a bit, and even though the main focus would be week 7’s episodes, I’ll throw a few words about last week’s episodes as well, where relevant.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst). Though it might be a bit more “tier”-sorted this time, as I’ve got some ties I don’t want to pick between.

Tied 1) Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episode 8:

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 8 - Hinazuki Kayo hands Funjinoma Satoru his birthday gloves

This episode was so cute, and comfortable, and sweet. Since the best word to describe this show is “fraught”, seeing how there’s a sense of fighting against the inevitability of Kayo and Satoru’s mothers’ fates, this sweet respite from cliffhangers and tension only promises what is to come will hit us even harder. It feels as if the show had allowed us to catch our breath, a risky business in a fast-paced thriller, but it’s only done so so we could scream from now on until the series concludes.

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