8 CommentsBoku dake ga Inai Machi, Editorials / By Inushinde /

The Bokumachi Finale Will Probably Suck: Or Why Episode 11 Sucks

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I can say that for the most part, this is a well-made show with a lot of love behind it. I like the characters, and for the most part it hit all the right emotional notes. But the penultimate few episodes left me in the cold, in the same way that a hamster using a dead hamster as a raft probably feels left in the cold. Needless to say that there are spoilers below the break, so be warned if you haven’t seen the highly telegraphed reveal yet.

When Bokumachi focuses on Kayo, as opposed to the framing device that’s more than a means of getting a situationally aware adult Satoru into his younger self, it’s damn strong. It hits the right balance of emotional weight, without feeling manipulative. There’s a drive to Satoru to save Kayo with the few resources that he has at his disposal, which makes his efforts all the more impactful. By the end, I really felt tangible sense of friendship between Satoru and Kayo, as well as a greater sense of respect from Satoru toward his great mom. Satoru is sick of feeling unfulfilled, and feels driven to remedy the past so that the only family left to him isn’t lost. There’s a character arc there that would be great in conjunction with better use of the framing device.

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Everything else that the show tries, unfortunately, leaves me wanting. Despite being the impetus for the plot, the mystery surrounding the killer just doesn’t have the same allure. After the reveal, and a somewhat tortured recollection about how he drowned hamsters for shits and giggles one day, Yashiro loses a not insignificant amount of malice. It’s not that he isn’t evil—he most certainly is. It’s just hard to take somebody seriously when they’re basically Vega from Street Fighter, sans the claw and sexy character theme. That particular brand of Vega-esque murderer is compelling in something with a fitting tone, that’s either silly or exaggerated. Bokumachi does not have that tone, opting to go for something more somber and oppressive. It’s not a poor choice, it just doesn’t gel with the kind of “I kill because THE BEAUTY” mentality that it tries to make Yashiro have.

Had Bokumachi gone with a less cartoonish, hand-wavey motivation, or even kept it under wraps, Yashiro would have been far more menacing of a murderer. Not knowing the motivation behind atrocities, or making it seem rational, makes the committer of said atrocities seem all the more intimidating. A dude being captivated by drowning hamsters and planning a child murder spree that he doesn’t even go through because a little boy thwarted three of his efforts is the worst of both worlds. There’s rationale, but it’s so perfunctory that it’d be better if there was none at all. He doesn’t even seem all that invested in his murder efforts, changing his focus instead to grooming Satoru in a really bizarre way, making him feel poorly written.

He worked better as a sort of murderous force working behind the scenes, rather than the primary antagonist with a full human face. Bokumachi almost had to make him the primary antagonist for any sort of closure, but it’s almost designed to fail. It’s balancing different timelines, characters, and two discrete plotlines, the lesser of which is fleshed out more than the overarching, time-spanning one. It just doesn’t handle the shift in focus all that well.

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Bokumachi’s trying to balance so much before the finale that the whole of it comes across as a needlessly convoluted, arbitrarily strung together mess so hopelessly intertwined that it has to untangle itself in one episode for any sort of decent resolution. I’ll grant that it at least didn’t pull a Mac and Me toward the end of the episode like I was half expecting (and sort of hoping, but again, this doesn’t have that kind of tone), but I don’t think it can go uphill much from here.

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7 Comments

  1. DP
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Despite a great opening couple of episodes, since about episode three, the whole thing has been a disappointing morass of convoluted melodrama and way over-the-top-direction that has turned the series into more than just a disappointment, but for me at least, into an almost total failure. At this point, I just feel like looking away.

  2. iTeddeck
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I do agree with basically all of what you said. In my opinion, the first 10 episodes were strong enough that the show will be remember as a good one and not for its poor ending. It could have been a lot more especially considering how the first 10 episodes were so positively received.

  3. Posted March 22, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s times like these that I start to think about all of the good things the anime has already done, which is an indication of how badly things are currently going right now. I feel like the author himself didn’t want to address the murder story going on behind the scenes, also because it has never been a strong point of the series. I’ll think of episode 9 as the end of the series, even if not an amazing one, and regard those three ulterior episodes like useless OVAs which I’ll watch just for completion.

  4. Mormegil
    Posted March 23, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    All the scenes with Kayo were much more compelling than anything else in this show, and Sachiko is mother of the year.

    But the thriller/mystery aspect was a complete let down.

  5. shytende
    Posted March 23, 2016 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Wait…
    I stopped watching for a while, but I’m following the manga.

    Did they just swept away all the killer’s backstry?
    The thing with his brother and spiders.
    It was somewhat cliché, but at least it explained some stuff.

    • Mormegil
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 3:15 am | Permalink

      Yeah, they skipped it. They just showed the scene with the hamsters.

    • Dark Kain
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      They skipped the whole ending arc. And cut away Airi relevance to the ending. The sad point is that it wouldn’t require more than two extra episode to animate Yashiro story and have a better ending arc adaptation.

      Zetsuboushita!

One Trackback

  • […] Others have written about the anime series’ many shortcomings as a thriller, but what I want to focus on is the time travel mechanic in relation to characters’ emotional narrative. While Bokumachi fails spectacularly in creating believable or interesting suspense, it succeeds when it focuses on lead Satoru and his growing maturity. As an audience, we are far more likely to relate to the feeling of wanting to change something in our past rather than solving a murder. The best parts of the series are small moments between Satoru and his childhood friends, as he actually lives through his childhood again where he had presumably checked out the first time around. These small moments pique interest and travels down our own personal memories as to what we would have done differently growing up with the knowledge that we have now as adults. […]

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