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Old 03-30-2016, 09:39 AM   #78
Nebby. Back into the bag.
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Episode 11:

Spoiler: show
I'm two weeks late to the party with this post, and nearly a full week late to the party for Episode 12 -- which I still haven't seen -- but like the old saying goes, "Better late than never!" I've had a hard time writing my post for Episode 11 for a number of reasons. I've gotten back to playing ORAS recently, which has seen a lot of my free time diverted over there. Then there have also been some podcasts I've been listening to. And work has been demanding of my time as well.

But I've also had a hard time motivating myself to sit down and write this post because ... well ... BokuMachi Episode 11 was the first episode of this series I haven't liked. And I didn't just not like it:

I disliked it.

I didn't hate it overall, though there were many elements to it that I did hate. But if I had been feeling that the series was a 9 out of 10 with the conclusion of Episode 10, Episode 11 was my first 4/10 in a series that had never known worse than a 7/10. (I'd say the series overall sits at an 8/10 right now in honor of its past achievements, but I'm feeling more like a 6 or a 7 at this point emotionally. :\) I don't like to rag on anime, especially since there are loads of examples where in the past when I have done this I have influenced others' perception of the stories as well and ... while I value honesty and enjoy frank discussion, I don't like ruining for people the things that they enjoy, and that's certainly not my aim whenever I rant about an episode or a series.

Now that BokuMachi is "old" in Internet time, and you guys have already finished the series and cemented your feelings about how good or bad it was, I feel like I can go into why I hated this episode without any reservations about coloring your impressions.

I still don't want to write it. But okay ... let's hop to it ...

One of my biggest frustrations with this episode is just how shitty the alternate future is. We've saved three lives and restored Yuuki's quality of life to him, but at the cost of Satoru's quality of life in this new world as well as his mother's. A friend of mine told me off for what I'm about to say. You might too. But it doesn't change how I feel about the situation:

I feel like Sachiko's life is shit in the new timeline.

He said, "Who are you to judge!?" and started quipping about how to her this is an easy decision, a wortwhile trade-off, so on and so forth. But it doesn't change the fact for me that in the original timeline she was a retired TV anchor who was enjoying early retirement, was financially well off enough to come visit her son in faraway Tokyo, etc. ... and in the new timeline is a friggin' convenience store clerk making near minimum wage and having to exchange one job for another every night she comes home. "At work, I have to take care of customers. At home, I have to take care of Satoru." He shits the bed. He stains the bed sheets with his sweat. He's fucking heavy. Yes, he's her son, and yes, she loves him and prays every day he'll come back to her ... but from her own POV, the Satoru she's going to get back is going to have the mind and life experiences of a 10-year old (she doesn't know what we know) and she doesn't even have any guarantee that he'll ever wake up again. She can't go on dates ... she can't have a nightlife ... she makes pennies on the dollar and has to reinvest all of them into Satoru. It just sucks. It just plain sucks. I feel so sorry for her, and ... I mean, this is not a fate that you would wish on anyone IRL. You don't go around saying "GUッ ENDO! " when somebody informs you that their dad had a stroke and they have to quit their job to stay at home and take care of him from now on. You routinely hear the horrible stories about how people are torn between their love of who he/she used to be and of wishing for Death to come and take him/her away so that they the caretaker can have a normal life back. It's sick, gut-knotting stuff like that that we hear all the time with these cases. We don't look at this outcome and go, "Man, what a happy ending! " It's awful. D: It's just plain awful.

And this is the future Satoru bought for his mother. My friend chastised me for saying this, but in some ways I honestly feel --

It's a fate worse than death.

Then we have Kayo. Oh dear sweet Kayo ...

This was easily my No.1 least favorite development of the entire story. Those of you who have been following my posts for the past few months could probably see it coming from a mile away that I was not going to be happy with the sinking of the S.S. SatoKayo. But even if Sanbe Kei torpedoed the ship I've been shipping since Episode 02, that didn't have to mean I would hate what he came up with. After all, we understood that SatoKayo had a massive hurdle to overcome to avoid being creepy Genji wife-rearing shit. And we discussed how one possibility was to just walk off the race course entirely, not even worry about the hurdle, just ... leave the track and not go for SatoKayo. Fine. I can live with that. (Maybe. )

... But he doesn't just do that. He ... he pairs Kayo up with Hiromi of all people. Frickin' Hiromi. And it's like, no! No. I refuse to accept this. Bad ending. BAD ENDING.

First off, I can't stand how contrived it is. "These two kids were both dead in the original timeline. So now that they're both alive, it only makes sense to pair them off together!" It feels way too artificial, way too scripted. I hate it.

Second, I thought Kayo moved away! WHY HIROMI!? I know that in the manga Kayo comes back soon after moving. (It's one of the very last manga spoilers I do know, and I found it out some time shortly before watching this episode.) But in the anime, there's no evidence of this. And why would she come back anyway!? That was one of the changes to the plot I felt the anime did right. It makes a lot more sense for Kayo to move away permanently after being taken into Child Protective Services than to move right back to town only a couple of weeks later and to return to being a classmate of the kids'. So in the anime, we have a Kayo who moves away and presumably never moves back until she's well in her teens ... why oh why oh why would she pair up with Hiromi!? It boggles the mind. Her childhood crushes were Satoru (comatose) and Kenya (questionable; also available). If she's going to pair off with anyone you'd think it'd be Kenya. Then, more likely, we'd expect Kayo to pair off with NONE of her childhood acquaintances. HAVE YOU!? Some people do, sure, but good lord is it rare outside of tiny village cultures! The odds are simply immense that she'd pair off with some dude she met at college or at work. And why should that be Hiromi either? So contrived if it were ...

Third, I hate the contrivance of pairing all of your named characters off with other named characters. This is slightly different from the previous two paragraphs, so let me be clear by way of example: I fucking hate the last chapter of the Harry Potter series. Fucking ... HATE it. It's so stupid. -_-; "LET'S PAIR DRACO OFF WITH PANSY PARKINSON 'CAUSE YEAH THAT MAKES SENSE! LET'S PAIR LUNA OFF WITH THIS OTHER NAMED CHARACTER! LET'S PAIR THIS OTHER NAMED CHARACTER OFF WITH THIS OTHER NAMED CHARACTER!" I just can't stand shit like that. It's so contrived and it reeks of such unreality.

And then we have this. See, you could say, "But Talon! SatoKayo was just in your head this entire time! Satoru never felt about her that way!" But a, you know that's horseshit from the Kayo side of the equation. And b ... LOOK AT THOSE TEARS! Torrents of TORRENTS OF TEARS streaming down his face when Satoru sees Kayo's made it to the 21st century. Where were those tears for Hiromi, huh!? Where were those tears for Mom? Don't give me this garbage of, "Oh, well, he wouldn't cry like that for Hiromi 'cause ..." / "He wouldn't cry like that for Sachiko 'cause ..." At the end of the day this is proof positive that Kayo means more to Satoru than just another friend.

And honestly, I hate the author for leaving this in there. 'Cause if he wanted to go with the sinking of the S.S. SatoKayo, then like I said, that's fine ... but do it properly. Don't be leaving behind these SatoKayo breadcrumb trails even in the final episodes. It makes absolutely no sense. If you're gonna sink the ship, don't go having Satoru weep and weep and weep upon seeing an adult Kayo but do nothing comparable for any of the other survivors whose lives he helped save.

Let's rewind to Yashiro, shall we? I thought the opening scene to the episode did a good enough job of establishing what a sick fuck he is. But I found it disturbing (particularly the wine/sake bottle scene), which is of course the point but also means I didn't enjoy it since no one likes being disturbed. And I thought it was rushed, which makes sense given we only had two episodes left of air time but still sucks.

I liked that they confirmed that Yashiro has a superpower just like Satoru does. I like that their powers are different (though I could've been okay with them being the same too, I suppose), and I thought the nature of Yashiro's power was interesting and befitting. I don't know if the symbolism is intended or not, but Yashiro's power manifesting as spidersilk suggests spiders vs. Satoru's power manifesting with the sudden appearance of blue moths suggests bugs -- and bugs get caught in the spider's web, see. It's interesting. Even though we want Satoru to win, the moth is naturally at a disadvantage against the spider. So it creates dramatic tension as we watch with baited breath to see how Satoru will outmaneuver the spider.

My friend at lunch disagrees with me. He thinks the spidersilk is all in Yashiro's head, that it's either a) metaphorical and Yashiro's being poetic or else it's b) literally seen by Yashiro but not literally there, i.e. Yashiro's psychotic and is hallucinating when he sees these things. (Sort of like psychotic killers who say that they saw marks on their victims which told them to kill those people.) He refused to see it my way, and I refuse to see it his way. I feel like the episode could not have been clearer about Yashiro having a power of his own aside from outright stating the fact in words, "Yashiro Gaku alias Nishizono Manabu has a superpower in which he can see spidersilk attached to the heads of the people who he's to kill if he doesn't want to get caught by the authorities." What about you? Do you think Yashiro sees the spidersilk or is it poetry? And if he does see it, do you think he's just a crazy serial killer seeing markings or do you think this really is the manifestation of a superpower similar to Satoru's Revival ability?

When Kayo's baby touches hands with Satoru, and then we see a change come over the baby, I thought that this was the author's way of hinting that Kayo's baby might be our third entity with a superpower. What that power is, who can say. My friend thinks I'm barking up the way wrong tree. Whatever.

I also thought it was really, really obvious that Kumi-chan, the chemo patient in the hospital who Satoru bonds with during rehab, is related to Airi. So much so, in fact, that when we first saw her I first mistook her for Airi. Thought it was Airi three years younger (and they were driving the point home by really accentuating the animation differences between a child and a young adult). It wasn't until she revealed her name was Kumi and that she had an "older sister" who was going to give her bone marrow that I was like, "Ahhhhhhh ... " and adapted the theory to be that Kumi is Airi's little sister and that that's why they look so similar.

Again, my luncheon friend disagreed with me. (So much disagreement this episode!) But this one I think he's bound to have crow on his face for once I get to see Episode 12. If they don't end up revealing Airi is Kumi's sister I'll eat my hat. I feel like it's super super obvious.

The part where Nishizono plants the phone in Kumi's bedroom is pretty weird given how the episode ends. Despite the episode's ending, I feel like the only way you can interpret this scene is, Nishizono is framing Satoru in order to sabotage him. We already know that Nishizono's modus operandi is to send fake text messages to people to frame them (see: Airi and the housefire), and I feel like in this scene what we're witnessing is that Nishizono has planted a fake phone (which the investigators will mistake for Kumi's) which has a false text message on it from "Satoru" that is creepy pedotastic. They'll find this, they'll accuse Satoru of being a dangerous pedo, a tragic case of a 10-year old boy's brain and affections trapped in a 25-year old man's body, and basically Satoru will be the new timeline's Yuuki. That's the big twist, that's the big gut-wrenching disgusting tragedy that Nishizono and/or the author are going for here. "Yeah, you saved Yuuki-san, but EQUIVALENT EXCHANGE, BITCH! Now you're the guy doing time in prison for pedophilic crimes you didn't commit!" It seems like the sort of sick delight that Nishizono would relish.

... But ... it really doesn't make much sense given the episode's ending scene, does it? Nishizono wheels Satoru out to the roof of the hospital as though he intends to kill him. Then, even with Satoru gaining his memories back and Nishizono being caught off guard, we see that Nishizono can see the spidersilk still attached to Satoru's head, telling him he's good to try and kill Satoru. So like ... why would you frame someone for pedophilia if your plan was to kill them anyway? Was it because he was going to stage Satoru's death as a suicide? "10-year old boy awakens in 25-year old body. Wrought with anguish over his yearnings and his morality, he throws himself off the roof"? I mean ... if that is the plan it still seems really weird to me. There are so many better ways to go about staging a suicide that don't involve Kumi-chan or hard-to-swallow theories about Satoru's physical yearnings.

I dunno. That's the best theory I've got. If it's not a plant meant to make Satoru look like a creepy pedo, then I've no idea why Nishizono planted that phone there in Kumi-chan's room.

I liked how the thing that brought Satoru's memories back was Nishizono's nervous tic. That finger tapping! It's so obvious to the viewer, and every time it happens I just love the way the direction and animation is done. It seems really fitting that it'd be the finger tapping that reminds Satoru of who this man is and what's happened over the course of the previous ten episodes.


Alright! Time for the big finale. Let's do this! >.<

I'm going in with lowered expectations. Episode 11 let me down a lot. :\ And while I've avoided 98% of what you guys have had to say, the 2% that has slipped through has given me the impression that most if not all of you are dissatisfied with the way the anime ends. Sooooooo ... we'll have to see. That isn't the sort of thing I want to hear about a show I adored up until two weeks ago, but Episode 11 was such a disappointment to me that I'm regretfully going into 12 with a "Meh. I don't care" attitude. Hopefully that helps me out.
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