I won’t deny it, I really enjoyed this episode – particularly the latter half.
While the first half was relatively slow, it took important strides in further introducing Kayo’s abusive mother, and nice-guy fifth-grade teacher Gaku Yashiro (who is aware of Kayo’s abuse, and has tried alerting authorities in the past). Satoru’s goal for the episode is clear; he suspects Kayo will be murdered on March 1st, so he tries his utmost to stay with her and see that day through to its end. He succeeds, and they share March 2nd (their birthday) together along with Satoru’s friend and mom. It’s a heartwarming event, and the episode ends on March 3rd where Satoru, jubilant that he has changed history, notices Kayo is missing from class.
It’s a cool ending as it sends Satoru the message that yes, he’s changed history and might have moved Kayo’s death forward by two days, but does that really matter if she still end up getting murdered? At the least, it shows him that its possible to change the past, which is encouraging.
I found that there were two standout moments for me this episode:
- I really enjoyed the scene in the science center. It replicates the scene from the anime where Satoru and Kayo visit a center of sorts, but it actually triumphs over the anime’s counterpart-scene in that it actually shows the pair doing things and having fun. Seeing Kayo smile and come slightly out of her shell displays hope in an anime that makes a point of highlighting the seemingly hopeless lives of children who suffer abuse, and highlighting the idea that child-abuse exists all around us.
- The next standout scene was the birthday party. The adaptation actually presents a more convincing party than the anime (where the kids just make and eat sandwiches, which is apparently their favorite thing to do) – and watching Kayo laugh with all her new friends and open her presents (probably the most or only presents she’s ever received on her birthday) is truly heartwarming. The coloring here is also extremely cosy and warm, and the slow-motion capture of the jovial festivities of the children seriously helps to make it memorable. I’m hoping for more of these scenes that just work.
…and there are two things I’m sure of moving forward:
- Tomoka Kurotani’s portrayal of Satoru’s mom (Sachiko) is superb. Not only does she look scarily similar to the anime character, but she’s the perfect blend of feisty and loving (and woke) and she has great chemistry with Reo Uchikawa (the guy who plays Satoru).
- The series is going to put more emphasis on the ending than the anime did. We’re on episode 3, but have covered all of the content of episode 4 from the anime – I think the show will probably move faster than the anime, which hopefully means we’ll get more focus on the ending (which actually felt quite rushed when I watched the anime). Also, like I stated in the preview, this series ostensibly has the ending of the manga, which I hear is different to the anime’s ending (which is exciting news, for me at least).
Otherwise, the episode went well and I’m excited for the next one. The acting is still so-so, but the pacing is improving and the following episodes should better steer the show into thriller territory, whereas now we’re sitting in children-drama, slice of life kind of stuff.
Side Thoughts and Observations:
- Baka Nano count: 3
- Satoru’s facial expressions can be pretty weird at times. When he’s shouting at the mean-girl in his class he looks more like he’s stepped in something nasty (or been caught doing something naughty) than that he’s furious.
- I’m hoping we’ll get some more focus on Satoru’s (and now Kayo’s) friend-group. The anime gives each member a distinct personality, and right now they’re just generic *insert young, goofy, same-age kid* types.