WARNING: This article, while it will not spoil the major plot points of the show (I’ll be keeping the ending as vague as possible), it will contain minor spoilers. I’ll actually try to keep as much of the show as vague as I can. I may actually have a second posting that’s all spoilers for the show, so stay tuned!
This article’s been pushed back for a couple weeks now for various reasons, but nothing’s stopping me this week from getting this sucker out. I’m gonna talk about the best show from this year’s winter season and quite possibly while not my favourite anime of all-time, it’s certainly one of the best overall anime that I’ve ever watched.
I’ve never really been into super serious anime and if you keep up with the shows I review ever week during simulcasting you’d have a pretty good idea of that. I prefer the goofy stuff, whether it’s cheesy comedy or downright ridiculous harems. So it takes something really good to get me interested in something that isn’t about the comedy. The sad part (literally) is that most of these shows are ones that make me cry and while Erased did that to me once during the season, the majority of my time watching the show it was more me sitting there on baited breath rather than reaching for tissues.
The show is about Satoru, a male who strangely has developed the power (or a curse) where he without his own doing will go back in time and will continue to do so until he fixes whatever the problem is, whether it’s saving someone’s life or something else of that nature. He has no idea why this developed, it’s not something he had from birth. That power ends up being used on a much grander scale after he finds himself framed for a murder he didn’t commit and he finds himself being sent back in time all the way to when he was a kid in grade school. Why exactly that far back? Because it’s hinted that the real murderer is connected to a series of crimes committed when he was a young boy, around the same time he finds himself back in the past and as his younger self, not his older self in the past.
When he was a boy, three of his classmates went missing and eventually turned up dead and the first victim was someone that while he wasn’t actually friends with, he knew something was wrong and didn’t act on it, actually yelling at his mother after the first victim turned up dead that he could’ve saved her and did nothing. So his now future self in his younger body realizes that this is his chance to completely change history and save not only the first victim, but the other two and quite possibly completely foil the serial killer’s plans altogether. And thus begins our journey.
Enter Kayo, the first and primary victim of the series. She’s the classic girl that doesn’t talk much, has no friends, the kind of girl no one would realize was gone if she disappeared. It’s a challenge to say that least for Satoru who never actually had an interest in her to begin with to now figure out how to get close to her. And that’s when things really start to get dark, as if murder and child murders aren’t dark enough. Kayo is constantly being beaten by her mother and it’s to the point that she’s gotten so clever about hiding Kayo’s injuries too, attacking spots clothing will cover and shoving her face into ice cold water to stop the bruising. Those moments in the show are very sickening, disturbing and really hard to watch and this is coming from someone who’s worst moments with my folks was a spanking or an ear pull, I can’t imagine anyone watching this show who actually did get beaten by their parents.
The overall tone of the show because of content like this ends up being a mixture of disturbing moments, constant second-guessing as the mystery of this show is fantastically put together and the odd happy moment. As time goes on, you continue to think that we’re slowly getting to the happy ending of the show…and then the writer’s psych you out again and it’s right back to the “Oh fuck…” kind of moments, or a new revelation that really sets you back another week. It’s the best part about the show, the writing doesn’t let up. A lot of shows shoot their load in the first half of the series and then are never able to properly end the story, whereas this show just doesn’t stop being interesting, engaging and full of twist and turns to the point you cannot guess what’ll happen next. It’s so good that it makes the most obvious answers seem impossible, when in reality that was the answer, you just thought they were so clever, they were diverting your attention the whole time, when in fact you were the one diverting your attention elsewhere.
Without spoiling the ending, it’s fair to say that the last couple episodes of the show is a finish worth of the drama and mystery of the first 10 episodes. You don’t leave with any major questions, or gaping plot holes, you might have a few little things to nitpick, but nothing to the point that it ruins what was a fantastic anime.
I’d really love to say more about this show, but I feel like if I do much more, I’ll say something that’ll spoil it for everyone else. So stay posted for a pure spoilers level of discussion about the entire show, not that my weekly reviews didn’t reveal everything, but that’s supposed to be spoiler-filled.
But yeah, this was my absolute favourite show from the winter season and likely one of the best written, best made shows I’ve ever watched. It’s not my favourite, simply due to the fact there really isn’t a character I’m 100% invested in, not even Satoru. I was invested in the story, anyone could’ve been the main character in Satoru’s place and I would’ve reacted similarly. But if you didn’t watch this show while it was simulcasting, I strongly suggest you do now, since you don’t have to wait a week for every episode. You can hammer that out in a day if you wanted to.
I wish I could have, that weeklong wait killed me every time.