First Impressions: Boku Dake ga Inai Machi

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry. For Satoru Fujinuma, unsuccessful manga creator and current pizza delivery man, it’s a life of what ifs and struggling with his own emotional expression. For myself, it was intending to do a quick first impression and quickly losing the better half of a day to an anime embroiled with mystery, intensity, and genuine sweetness.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The new anime from A-1 Pictures, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is an adaption of the manga of the same name by Kei Sanbe. It follows Satoru, a down on his luck 29 year old with the power of REVIVAL, an ability that flings him several minutes back in time in order to prevent tragic accidents from occurring. What starts off as a slice of life anime with a twist, quickly becomes an intense mystery when someone close to Satoru is killed and a tragic past is revealed. Queue the effects of REVIVAL, and Satoru is flung back in time to his childhood in order to put right the wrongs of his past and solve the dark mystery surrounding the abduction and murder of several of his classmates.

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi hits the ground running at the end of episode one, transforming into a mystery with a tension that doesn’t stop building. While the subject matter of the show takes dark twists and turns from the first few episodes, it still manages to give you a break from the intensity. This is done with moments of genuine kindness and familiarity between characters or an appropriately placed joke to relieve an otherwise emotionally wrought episode. A-1 Pictures also facilitates this type of story-telling with gorgeous animation and lighting, giving us visuals that work well with the emotional extremes the show reaches.

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is an emotional drama mystery with genuine drama and characters that you come to care for in a very short amount of time. This, and Satoru’s relationship with those around him as he tries to protect the people he loves in the past and present, are things that truly make this anime shine from the get go. If you can live with the anxiety and mystery the first few episodes may give you in Satoru’s journey for the truth, then this anime is a must see.