ERASED / Boku dake ga Inai Machi – A reason to believe

This post is intended to cover the show as a whole up till the halfway point, building upon what I’ve written regarding episodes one and two. This latest episode provided the pieces I needed to properly map out the threads I was gesturing at in the previous write-ups. I hope you’ll enjoy reading. Keep in mind that this means there will be spoilers for the latest episode, 6.


Erased / Boku Dake no Inai Machi Episode 6 Anime Review

One of the central ideas BokuMachi continues coming back to, is that of mutual trust and understanding, through sincere communication and honest self-expression. In order to elaborate more on that, lets look back at the relationship built between Kayo and Satoru back in 1988.

[HorribleSubs] Boku dake ga Inai Machi - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.25_[2016.02.11_20.10.48]

Some level of trust, even if its tenuous, is required for a friendship to grow. While Satoru made the first step by putting himself out there to invite Kayo to his birthday party, and to say that “he decided he won’t lie to her”, that’s not enough to change the fundamentals of his nature that he’s been living by all this time.

[HorribleSubs] Boku dake ga Inai Machi - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.03_[2016.02.11_20.08.44]

So, when he finds his first instinct was to lie to Kayo about the race with Hamada, Kayo distances herself from him once again, and ends up reluctant to state that they did infact share the same birthday, when she might have otherwise. A lie for a lie? They’re both “fakes and liars”, after all.

However, the desire to be honest with each other still exists, so when Kayo is finds herself forced by her mother to lie right to Satoru’s face , its something which hurts Kayo even more. Even though Satoru understands her situation requires it, she didn’t want for anyone else to see those wounds, and the anguish of it being discovered against her will is painful.

[HorribleSubs] Boku dake ga Inai Machi - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.35_[2016.02.15_22.34.16]

The other thread that has been running through the series, right from episode 1 through 6, is this idea of unconditional trust, and belief in those you truly love. Especially concerning how it feels for someone who did not receive this same level of belief from those they thought they trusted.

[HorribleSubs] Boku dake ga Inai Machi - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.49_[2016.02.15_22.47.36]

There’s many different angles in which the series has explored this angle, take that of Satoru having an unshaken belief that Yuuki-san (Shiratori Jun) was not the culprit of the original series of kidnappings. Even with damning evidence against him, Satoru placed his belief in Yuuki as a person above the seemingly “concrete” (as we know later, he was framed) evidence that the police had. His mother didn’t have that same level of trust for Yuuki ofcourse, but what about Satoru, her trust for him? Well it’s understandable that she wouldn’t take the word of a small child too seriously, but in her final moments she regrets it deeply.

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Back at episode 1, I talked about how Yuuki being convicted, in addition to his mother and the police not taking his honest vouch for him seriously, resulted in the disenfranchised 29-year-old Satoru of the present. However, the Satoru post-revival, who now knows the truth of it all, and is taking more pro-active steps to break his habits, won’t back down again when someone he trusts is blamed for something he couldn’t believe they would do.

[HorribleSubs] Boku dake ga Inai Machi - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.34_[2016.02.11_20.39.05]

You see, not only is it extremely validating for someone close to you to have an unconditional support for you, its not only them acting out of their trust in that moment. It puts an onus on the receiver of that “gift” to reciprocate this feeling, not only in trusting the other person in return, but working to continue to be the kind of human being that deserves the unwavering belief of this person.

[HorribleSubs] Boku dake ga Inai Machi - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.27_[2016.02.15_23.14.30]

We heard Airi’s words, which are relevant to this: “I feel like if you say the words over and over, it’ll actually happen somewhere along the line”, for someone to receive this kind of trust, the desire to truly be that kind of reliable individual takes hold, these strongly held mutual relations help us to become better people in the long run. That brings us to the story of Airi’s parents, where the eventual path taken by her father to get a divorce had spiralled from the lingering hurt of not being believed in that moment. Or perhaps the trust had not been established between them in the first place?

Even through all that, in a similar situation to what Satoru had with Yuuki, she believes her father no matter what. Though unlike Satoru, whose self-belief wavered after that event, seeing her mothers deep regret for not believing her husband years later only strengthened Airi’s resolve. She became the type of person who would hold a strong belief in those she respects. Thus Airi’s trust in Satoru in addition to her view of his character strongly being reinforced by his willingness to put his life to risk to save that child put her in a mindset where she simply does not accept that Satoru would kill his mother.

“I realized that believing in others was my strong point”

You could say, that from the perspective of young Airi, who still feels the tangible effects of her parents’ divorce every day, that being given the opportunity (and agency) to do things differently this time is a motivation which gives her a reason to live, even putting herself at risk to help him. Likewise, her mother also believes in her daughter for that same reason, as she understands that pain and regret, but also the validation that comes with being trusted.

[HorribleSubs] Boku dake ga Inai Machi - 04 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.05_[2016.02.15_23.33.47]

To bring things back to the story in the past, for Hinazuki Kayo, distrust in others has always been the default, as her most fundamental role models, her parents, are existences she sees as threatening. The first time her mother pressures her, she does not want to anger her and put herself at risk for the sake of her friendship with Satoru. However, after that experience in the classroom where he stood up for her, and how he’s become intimate with her by exposing vulnerabilities, showing her that place up in the mountains that holds a special value to him…

[HorribleSubs] Boku dake ga Inai Machi - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.50_[2016.02.11_20.42.13]
A gesture that gives the girl who sees relief in the thought of ‘a town without her’, who saw no joy or escape, a reason to live, a reason to believe and a desire to survive.
[HorribleSubs] Boku dake ga Inai Machi - 04 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.22_[2016.02.15_23.39.20]
A small nod, but it’s a big deal for her, she’s able to take the first steps in showing resistance to her mother, as Satoru is someone that’s given her the foundation to do so.

Closing Message

To close things out, I want to say that I’ve found a lot to love in BokuMachi outside its visual execution and strong thriller plotting. I think it is a story that shows a strong sensitivity in capturing the mindsets that are fallen into by those who’ve been trapped by their past regrets, and also the strongly-entrenched world-views of those who’ve had their reason to believe snatched away from them before they ever had the opportunity to trust.

I hope you enjoyed reading these post, and please look forward to reading anything I may write in the future about this show!


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