REVIEW | BOKU DAKE GA INAI MACHI

I started the series practically as soon as it was released last year then I put it aside to watch all the episodes in one go. Meanwhile, I went about my business, other series came out… In short, I completely forgot about it. I finally resumed the watching a few days ago and now that I have finished the 12 episodes, here’s my little review.

ID Card : BOKU DAKE GA INAI MACHI

Genre : Fantastic, suspense
Originak title : 僕だけがいない街 (Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi)
Author : Kei Sanbe
Director : Tomohiko Ito
Scenarist : Taku Kishimoto
Studio : A-1 Pictures
Broadcast dates : January 7th 2016 – March 24th 2016
Duration : 12 episodes of 25 min ∼

Trailer (eng. subs) :

Synopsis :

The story follows Satoru Fujinuma, a man who somehow possesses an ability that sends him back in time moments before a life-threatening incident, allowing him to prevent it from happening. When his mother is murdered by an unknown assailant, Satoru’s ability suddenly sends him back eighteen years to when he was still in elementary school, giving him the opportunity to prevent a kidnapping incident that took the lives of three of his childhood friends, two classmates and one young girl studying at a school nearby.

My review :

The pitch is original. Fantastic and realism blend together intelligently and credibly. The series is good and undeniably well done. The technical aspects show a great dexterity and the story keeps you in tenterhooks.

The topics covered – sexual violence, pedophilia, family brutality on minors – are poignant and deeply rooted in the reality of our modern society. Nevertheless, they are treated with pragmatism : there’s no attempt to fall into pathos or to draw a tear from the viewer. The construction of the thriller around these subjects is skillful, the pinch of fantastic sublimates the whole.

But…

I didn’t feel the wow effect. Admittedly, I wasn’t disappointed and I didn’t have any dissatisfied expectations either. But frankly, the series won’t remain engraved in my memory and it’s not the kind I would re-watch for pleasure. If someone asked me “should I watch Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi?” I would say “oh yes, go ahead without hesitation”. On the other hand, if I was asked “what series do you recommend?”, Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi wouldn’t come to my mind. You see what I mean?

As far as I’m concerned, I quickly identified the asailant mentioned in the synopsis, long before the clues – subtle or explicit – were given. So I approached the series with some doubt – “am I right or not” – and in the spirit of observing how the unfolding will lead the characters to the answer. I like this kind of approach which, although it sacrifices a bit of astonishment, emphasizes the quality of narration. Once the official revelation, I felt a satisfaction to have solved the mystery, and then a bit of disappointment not to have been caught off gard. I wished for a bigger twist.

Another thing : I didn’t read the manga so I can’t tell if the 12-episodes format is suitable or not. I think it’s okay and sufficient for the story but I can’t help but compare with other thriller anime I know (and liked) : Monster, Death Note and Kiseijū. With respectively 74, 37 and 24 episodes, These series are richer in twists, go further in the themes and the characters development (however Kiseijū was a bit dissatisfying)Therefore, a longer format might have allowed Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi to be more impactful.

Overall rating, totally subjective and non-binding : 8/10

Good and that’s it. I had a good time watching the series but I found it was missing a little je-ne-sais-quoi in order to be on top of the top. Perhaps a less obvious and longer intrigue would have changed my impressions.

Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi is definitely a series I recommend ; however, I would not put it in the “exceptional” category.

Chrys Prolls

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