It seems to have been quite some time since I have done this, huh?
During this early years of the blog, I followed a few shows and reviewed the episodes of those shows as they were airing in Japan, with some obvious delay due to the fact that simulcast do not usually stream here until some time after they air in Japan.
The last show I reviewed while it aired was A Certain Scientific Railgun S and have now found a decent show that I would want to talk about until now.
Today, I am going to be reviewing the first episode of that show, which is called Boku Dake ga Inai Machi.
Satoru Fujinuma is a seemingly normal and responsible member of society, who is struggling to make a name for himself in the manga industry.
However, what nobody seems to know, not even his mother, is that he has the blessing, or curse, in the eyes of some, of the ability to relive events and bring about happy endings that did not occur the first time around.
One day, when his ability activates, his mother witnesses something happening and ends up dead after talking about something that happened almost two decades ago.
Upon finding his mother’s corpse and being suspected of murder, Satoru wants to use his power to save his mom, but he is taken too far back and must now get involved in the case from 18 years ago that started everything.
I really enjoyed this show.
When I first became acquainted with this series, which, like Pandora Hearts, was through the manga, I had troubles really getting into the story, compared to the other works from Kei Sanbe, such as Hohzuki Island and Cradle of Monsters, mainly because it seemed to either be too slow or it was probably going to be a rip off of Bakuman, much like Lost+Brain ended up being too much like Death Note.
Likewise, when I heard that this series was going to get an anime adaptation, I thought that things were going to give off that same feeling that the manga did in the end, and people would not really enjoy how interesting this title can become, since I have read far enough to know a bit of the truth about what had happened 18 years prior to the events of this episode.
Fortunately, I did not really get that feeling during any point in this episode, despite the fact that it has some of the usual kind of problems that pilot episodes would have.
From the moment I saw Satoru’s ability the first time around to the point in which Satoru’s mother is killed, I did not want to stop watching for any particular reason.
I wish that the pilot episode of any show was like this, because, like the early volumes of the Pandora Hearts manga, I already want to watch the next episode, which is not out yet, especially considering that the first episode seems to currently be available to Crunchyroll subscribers, seeing as none of the other legal sites that are streaming the show, not even FUNimation and Daisuki, have it up yet, despite the fact that I already kind of know what will happen.
Unfortunately, things are not like that in real life, otherwise the shows where I lived would not be as awful as they are today.
If I had to say why this episode was so interesting is that a few of the tedious things are removed, such as the building incident that occurs in chapter 3 of the manga, which I am still not too certain are important to the story, since it seems to just serve as a second instance in which Satoru’s ability can shine.
While in some cases, the tedious scenes can create even more mystery than what was there before, and I do see that possibility from the online scans of the manga, it can really drag things out, especially when pilot episodes are supposed to make people want to continue the show.
In the case of this show, by removing the unnecessary scenes from chapter 3, though not everything from chapter 3 was removed from this episode, it really helped in that it got right to the point where I really see Satoru struggle with things, despite his seemingly convenient ability to relive moments that already occurred.
If those events from chapter 3 were kept in place, at least until it is revealed in the show or manga that it was important after all, I would have gotten the feeling that this series was going to be like those superhero shows with a villian of the week thing.
As A-1 Pictures is the studio behind this show, I have got to give them major props, because the mystery behind the case 18 years ago and the identity of the actual perpetrator is one of the big draws of this series, though it might change later on, seeing as I and the many others who followed the manga already know who the criminal is.
Still, the way this episode was handled suggests to me that A-1 Pictures would probably be able to do a good job with a series from the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, at least if they have the proper staff handle everything, considering that the Railgun portion of the Raildex universe seems to continually have better anime adaptations than the Magical Index portion, despite the fact that the same studio is behind both of those shows.
Speaking of the possibility of the studio being pretty capable of doing a mystery series, I also liked how this episode actually ended like a decent two-part mystery, which I found the most enjoyable of the episode.
While I cannot necessarily say that this indeed does deserve to be considered a mystery series, because of what I know will happen and some details given out right now would ruin things too much, I feel like I want to immerse myself in the series right now and find out who killed Satoru’s mother and why.
This is the kind of feeling that fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction all want to experience, and seeing things as they are presented here, I want to give A-1 Pictures some more props for giving off this kind of feeling, and I hope that they do not disappoint me in the future episodes.
Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least without giving too much away.
The fact that unnecessary events were cut, which ended up making the pilot episode much more interesting than the early chapters of the manga, and A-1 Pictures seemed to deliver things than fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction would want made this a great episode.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the episode, there are some issues.
However, aside from the usual problems found in pilot episodes, like not understanding the characters and their relationship enough to feel sympathetic, I cannot really think of anything that truly bugged me.
As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
Considering that there was quite a bit to like and nothing that really bugged me, this was definitely worth watching.
I recommend this to everyone, especially those that want to try something different, because if the future episodes are going to be anything like this, it just might be one of the most enjoyable of the season.
What are your thoughts on Boku Dake ga Inai Machi‘s first episode? Did you like it or hate it? Regardless of your feelings about the episode, if you read the manga, were there things you wish were not cut out? Was there anything else that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.