Winter 2016 is such a promising season for anime industry. Various anime with its various genres appear to rock this season. There are underdogs and there are big players being involved. Most notably is KyoAni with its bizarre decision, from usually handling the cutesy slice of life anime, moving onto ecchi genre with novel adaptation Musaigen. The series is controversially appreciated that some people opiating Kyoani “once again has found a way”. Comedy anime such as Sekkou Boys is also given spotlight by audience. Despite being a short and minimally-budgeted anime, this story of living Greek statues gives a parodic and entertaining view on idol group at best, especially with vaporwave spreading across the internet, making Sekkou Boys seems more interesting to some. But my concern for this season actually more into “anime for boys”, if you get my meaning. For instance, I am really into seinen anime Dimension W and its beautiful animation, while at a same time Polygon Studio is trying to liven up the story of demi-human in Ajin. It is not so much different when it comes to Boku dake ga Inai Machi or what is usually called as Bokumachi.
Satoru Fujinuma is 29-year-old with psychic power that allows him to go back through times, preventing unfortunate events to happen. He personally calls his power as “Revival”. Sometimes, Revival only happens within a short span, usually a few minutes before the tragedy happen or so. But this time, he is transferred into tens of years before. After his mom was murdered by a man he believed had something to do with the homicide near his neighbourhood in March 1 1988, he unconsciously being travelled back through time in order to prevent his mom death within his 10-year-old body. This is where Boku Dake ga Inai Machi takes its major plot.
First episode of the series captures the character of Satoru thoroughly. With his monologues, audience can figure out a little of what character they will be following throughout the story. The characterisation of Satoru is executed plainly, because the way he spouts his voice of mind as a fellow guy. He is totally not a guy you’d root in mystery anime because of its boldness or comedic and charismatic way of solving crimes. He acknowledges his power fully, he knows his responsibility and the danger he goes through, but it is never implied that he loves to save people, or about him thinking that his power is a message to some kind of call of duty. He only believes that he can do better for anybody with his power, and just that. Expect no heroism, because Fujinuma character is about modesty.
Then in next two episodes, Satoru starts to adjusting his life after being transferred to his childhood body, when at the same time figuring out the case that yet to happen. It is almost the same Detective Conan, but instead of becoming a child, Satoru goes back to his childhood years and is not a professional detective. Let’s get back, shall we? Fujinuma believes that the connection to this case heavily resides within Kayo Hinazuki, the last victim from the homicide in his neighborhood. He tries to save Kayo from threats around her (especially her death) in order to change the outcome of things that he believe shouldn’t had happened.
Satoru still keeps his low profile trait, but remember, he has to deal with people much younger than him mental-wise, so some awkward things are supposed to happen when he talks to another guy. That’s what happens in Bokumachi. Satoru, in his child form pretty much has to act like a mere child, even in some occasions he cannot help himself but to let lose his honest views to anybody else. At the same time, he has to decide things more mature than he used to do. This makes the wisdom he has acquired through ages helping him in taking action. Not as 10-year-old Satoru, instead making decision as Satoru Fujinuma.
It may be bothersome and tolerable to some, but A-1 Pictures (still) cannot grasp the animation potential as usual. The background is as uninspired as other anime they’ve made, even though some scenes are sincere and touching because of its well-done execution, especially on episode 3. In other thing, the 3DCG is not their best specialty, but it is pretty decently used. 3DCG isn’t used in all occasions, instead gives a certain scene more into the first person POV. For example, when Fujinuma becomes a little boy, audience were presented POV in 3D animation to emphasize his situation being in a different body, which is being in a child’s body. Like I said, their animation is not the best, but at least they know how to execute moments.
At the end of third episode, you should have your own opinions whether to continue Bokumachi or not. Well, it certainly has it flaws, especially animation-wise, but talking about the plot development itself, Bokumachi tells a sensible mystery told by well-written and well voice-acted main character. While we get to see some horrific character background, the bittersweet moments do happen in the series, hinting that there is a sparse amount of hope left in Satoru and Kayo’s scarred heart. The story goes into a good direction and well-paced, and considering that this is actually an adaptation of renowned manga, I pretty much have no doubt about the story itself. This will be good, I tell you.
NB: The reason I watched this show was merely my fanboy sense due to Ajikan (Asian Kungfu Generation) performing the opening song for this anime. I never expected Bokumachi to be good, but now I am more than satisfied and surely going to follow the series.
The Indonesian Anime Times | Written by Daniel Ageng Satrio, screencaps by Leonardo Ganal Prakoso