Boku dake ga Inai Machi and time travel

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I used to watch anime almost religiously for a very long time. Eventually, my enthusiasm began to wane and I focused on Japanese and Korean dramas and other non-animated TV series instead. Was it because I got older? No way.

At some moment you simply realize that each new anime season brings you mostly the same rehashed stories and characters, over and over again. Every single high school rom-com with a sarcastic smarty-pants male lead and a bunch of girls fawning over him had its charm after the 10th or even 20th watch, but there comes a point when the dullness and predictability become unbearable.

Make no mistake, I may no longer dig through 10+ series per season, but every now and then I find a few titles worth attention that I thoroughly enjoy. The great majority is utter crap though. So when the anime like Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED, ‘The Town Where Only I am Missing’) popped up, my faith got restored.

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Time travel in fiction (and otherwise) has always been a topic of great interest to me. Be it Back to the Future franchise, movies like Summer Time Machine Blues (starring Ueno Juri and Eita) or The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, or the more recent, fantastic anime Steins;Gate – they all had what it takes to make something epic – humor, drama, plot, characters. The last one mentioned was particularly thrilling, and mood-wise closest to ERASED.

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Boku dake ga Inai Machi is a currently running anime which proves to be nothing like what I originally expected based on the synopsis. It’s a really dark show where we’re immediately thrown into this startling story with a serial killer running loose, and a protagonist who can’t really go Super Saiyan nor shout Bankai! and instantly deal with everything. He’s weak, he’s afraid, he has few allies. Despite the odds, he tries to find the truth behind the murders.

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The supernatural part of ERASED comes with his ability to time leap, yet only if faced with specific circumstances. It is what it sounds like, the skill is absolutely not up to par with, say, Dio’s The World. We’ll see if it’s gonna have any impact on the plot at the end of the day.

The anime is 6 episodes in, and there continue to be more questions than answers. The puzzles don’t fit together, the suspense is reaching new highs, and the weekly cliffhangers are killing me! I haven’t been this frantic about an anime since Steins;Gate I guess. Do check it out!

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Having said all that stuff about being less than amused with many anime series lately, I’ve been pondering if more people feel the same way. Also I’m curious whether the anime/manga worldwide boom is still a thing. Attack on Titan is surely huge… yet many anime sites and forums have died since I started watching these shows so I wonder what is the number of fans out there. Has it gone down? Up?

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I can safely tell that after all these years I certainly don’t feel like quitting on anime just yet, as some quality titles persist to appear on the air, and it would be a darn shame to miss out on them. Just gotta be more picky about my viewing choices, as the time suddenly has much more value when you have to live like a semi-decent adult.

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