Tag Archives: Noitamina

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 7

Episode 7 Production Details

Episode Director: Toshimasa Ishii ( Episode Director on Nanatsu no Taizai episodes 6, 14 and 24 / Episode Director and Storyboard on Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso episode 18)

Storyboards: Shinpei Ezaki ( Episode Director on Kimi ni Todoke episodes 8, 18 and 24 / Episode Director on Ao No Exorcist episodes 17 and 22 / Director, Production and Storyboard on Guilty Crown OVA: Lost Christmas / Director on Sengoku Basara Ni Opening Sequence)

Script: Yutaka Yasunaga ( Script Writer on  Prince of Stride: Alternative episodes 4 and 9)


The abandoned bus from the second key visual of Boku Machi finally shows up in this episode.  I really enjoyed this episode.

Satoru arrives back in 1988, his third time at the science center and four days before Hinazuki is supposed to disappear. Taking Hinazuki away from her mother is a smart move but choosing an abandoned location makes Kayo a bigger target in the eyes of the killers.  Satoru wouldn’t be in the best position if she ends up getting killed right in the spot that the kids decide on hiding her.  This took me two viewings to notice how expressive Satoru is.  The surprise birthday party that we’ve seen about three times now—his reaction to it is more forced than the first time around.

For the longest time now I’ve been thinking that Kenya might be working together with the killer in luring his victims considering his rather unusual level of maturity.  Trusting Kenya this episode, was clearly a mistake on Satoru’s part because as we’ve seen before he’s got some strange relationship to their homeroom teacher Gaku Yashiro.

If there was anyone Satoru needs to put faith in and ask for help it’s his mom—Sachiko.  She’s trusted him before when they’ve faced off against Kayo’s mother so I think that she would be right behind him in his decision to abduct Kayo for safety reasons.  It’s interesting to see how the dynamic of their relationship has changed since episode 1.

Sachiko wants to be involved in her son’s life and before he was embarrassed by her even mention Airi as potential marriage material.  Now that we’ve seen more heart through Satoru having seen the loss of his mother in the 2006 timeline he’s grown to understand that she’s always been there for him.  This episode points this out when she sees him leaving in the middle of the night.  It makes me wonder if that person at the end of this episode showing up at the abandoned bus is her instead of the killer.  I hope it’s the former as it would be heartbreaking to see the death of Kayo again.  It would be rough to go through that again under different circumstances and also see Satoru realizing he hadn’t changed much of anything.

From story to visuals this episode shined.  Especially with all of the aesthetic tricks up its sleeve!  The past few episodes embellished Yuki Kajiura’s soundtrack to establish the drama and more often than not melodrama.  But this episode was different.  Every scene was for purpose, the dialogue was graceful and the visuals were stunning.  Since Satoru was in a timeline that didn’t have his mother in it, seeing her once again from the eyes of his child-self reveals his joy to see her rather than display the tears he had the first time he had his revival back to 1988.  The music didn’t hammer out suspense after suspense (except for the cliffhanger) rather we get a collection of very tight close angle shots between Kenya and Satoru’s conversation on the stairs,  the atmospheric paranoia Jun Shiratori has, the walk home to the bus with Kayo and Yashiro’s phone call was certainly an interesting creative choice visually.  Most importantly is right after the phone call sequence that pans from his eyes straight to a pair of street lights reflects that he’s keeping a watchful eye on his students.  This worked effectively.  It wouldn’t mean much but considering how this series has been covering his face as he’s entering the classroom and now this, Yashiro might indeed be the killer or one of them.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 6

Episode 6 Production Details

Episode Director: Daiki Mori ( Episode Director on Haikyuu!! Second Season episode 6)

Storyboards: Daiki Mori

Script: Taku Kishimoto ( Series Script Writer on Gin no Saji seasons 1 and 2 / Script Writer on Joker Game episode 1)


Since Satoru began his time traveling he’s been able to put his trust into his friends— especially Kenya.  This has been a revolving theme that’s been rearing its head throughout Boku Machi and hasn’t been more important until now.  I like how this episode touches on Airi’s ridiculous story about her parents.  It shapes up this episode’s overall theme about trust.  Picking right up from last time after the opening credits Satoru rushed in to save Airi further proving that she wasn’t wrong in believing that he didn’t kill Sachiko.  This further translates nicely into the manager even redeeming himself and giving Satoru the chance to evade the police.  Not to mention that Airi’s mother chooses to believe her daughter by protecting her so that she can see Satoru again.  The scrap of paper Satoru found back in episode one ends up turning up this time and it had the name of Sachiko’s co-worker and freelance investigator.

Before I dive into the “red eye” motif, something I’ve noticed is how important two colors are in this series.  Blue and red. While red represents a foreshadows this sense of danger or ominous situation that may be occurring in this episode or the next.  Blue is shown as a signal of hope most importantly in using the idea of the butterfly effect.  One of the first scenes that we see is Satoru wondering if Airi is alright.  The long overhead shot of him against the butterflies flying around the blue streetlight represents joy and love and its a great use of it because these past two episodes have been heavily framed towards Satoru’s ability to trust people especially Airi. This very same scene is used to symbolize that he’s going to have another revival somewhere in this episode.  As blue butterflies also represent a sign of rebirth.  Shifting over to other end is the color red.  Sawada is viewed as a possible villain and could be the killer in this series considering his relationship with Sachiko.  There’s a part in this episode that uses the red eyes trick.  Overselling the idea that there is a level of distrust among these possible villains in Boku Machi.  Satoru’s investigation with him works nicely here because he is finally trying to pick up the missing pieces of Kayo’s disappearance and how that relates to his mother’s death.  The red eye motif and the film reel sequence pays a nod that the investigator was the last person to speak to Sachiko before she died.  A man that’s personally investing his time into the case without much of an alibi.  I like how they build this up to being able to connect that Sachiko’s killer and Kayo’s killer are one in the same.  It’s been hinted at a few times in previous episode but now it’s in plain view and it doesn’t help the killer any that he tried to kill Airi.  The list the investigator provides to Sachiko is pretty telling of what’s happened to Jun Shiratori and how he’s been framed.  While Jun hasn’t had a main role in this series he’s been an integral part in keep the children disappearances as a focus of this show.

As Satoru is headed to see Airi he stops at a park and helps some boys with a paper plane.  As untrustworthy the 2006 timeline has shown us so far visually, this was probably one of my favorite scenes because it puts Satoru in the role of Jun Shiratori.  The mothers whispering about how strange for an adult to be there at this time of day emphasizes this wonderfully.  It builds the framework that there is a lot more outside of this show’s reach—there are villains out there like Sachiko and Kayo’s killer.  Good way to gradually build on this with Airi’s final meeting and Satoru’s arrest!

The imagery in this episode was fantastic—the paper plane drifting down the river bank illustrates his manga story about the Grim Reaper nicely.  Losing faith in himself because he hasn’t found out much about finding the truth behind his mother’s killer.

The blue butterfly without a doubt is a clear indication he’s having another revival and it’s nice he received some reward in this episode—seeing the killer again.

Come to think of it it’s rewarding to us that we finally get to hear what Sachiko had to say to Sawada on the phone back from episode 1.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 5

Episode 5 Production Details

Episode Director: Makoto Hoshino ( Episode Director on Sword Art Online episodes 7, alongside Takahiro Shikama on episode 20 / Storyboard on Rail Wars! episode 4 / Episode Director on Sword Art Online II episode 10)

Storyboards: Tetsuo Hirakawa (Key Animator on Naruto episodes 88 and 94 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin episode 10 / Storyboard on Rolling Girls episodes 8, 10 and 11 / Key Animator on Rolling Girls episode 12 / Key Animator on Sakamichi no Apollon episode 7 / Storyboard alongside Rie Matsumoto on Kekkai Sensen episode 3 / Key Animator on Colorful film / Key Animator on Noragami Opening Sequence / Key Animator on Denno Coil episodes 19 and 24 / Storyboard on Sword Art Online II episode 7)

Script: Yutaka Yasunaga ( Script Writer on Prince of Stride: Alternative episode 4)


This show doesn’t hold back one bit!  With Hinazuki presumably gone there are a few hints at what possibly could have happened to her and Satoru had no way of changing it from this timeline.  Given how Kayo’s mom had thrown away her gloves this series is pointing the finger at her but another idea is that the parents could have stumbled upon her body in the shed seeing as how the guy is panicking on what they should do with the body that’s seen lying on the floor of their house.

Once again, Boku Machi‘s composer Yuki Kaijura nails the soundtrack!  I absolutely love the scene where Satoru discovers the mittens in the trashbag that Kayo’s mom had thrown out.  Satoru having lost hope that he could even save Kayo has erased his mind completely and this is when his revival ability gives him a chance to go back to 2006.  I’m glad the creators didn’t choose to cliffhanger that moment.  Most of this episode establishes the fact that Satoru could save her again if he can go back again.  We also get a good idea of how much influence the killer has in society.  He’s a business man of sorts and it’s interesting to see how close how far he’s willing to go to rid himself of Satoru let alone anyone that has contact with him.  The painting of the last supper emphasizes this fact–by removing Airi from the situation.  The string shows back up again this episode to clarify two points–the killer is in fact the man speaking with manager Takahashi and secondly, that she’s the next target.  Her strength to protect Satoru is reminiscent of how Satoru was protecting Kayo from bullying.  Being that this is the long awaited return to his present timeline of 2006 I really like how the direction of this is similar to the first episode.  Presently, Satoru is on the run from police and is being kept hidden by his friends while he investigates.

Really neat how some of the camera shots followed the same technique that the first episode did. Sachiko’s investigation into Jun Shiratori (Yuuki) and now Satoru discovering more abduction cases.  They even used the same music!

As this episode progresses it’s cool to see the switch from letterbox format to full frame scenes.  Illustrating this idea that there’s a much bigger world out there when we are older and when we’re young we have a smaller perspective of the world and the people around us.

While the direction of this episode was strong there was Airi’s backstory that make this the weakest episode of the series so far.  Her parents breakup due to a misunderstanding with the police.  This felt a bit far fetched. Her father could have handled the situation better than just sacrificing his pride.  It’s a pity this backstory was thrown in even in the original manga because it feels so trivial compared to the main narrative Boku Machi should be focusing on.  Kayo Hinazuki’s home life.  The time traveling aspect and the killer are just a guise to develop a solid characterization.  As bizarre as Airi’s story was it was nice to see that she has backbone and can hold her own when she chooses to believe Satoru.  The manager certainly has a thing for her and it doesn’t help that the man in the suit has a working relationship with him.  The cinematography and soundtrack worked together nicely to build up the ending of this.  While it’s a little bit different from the manga it does use visual aesthetics to create melodrama–a style this series is really good at focusing on (sometimes a little too often).

 

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10

 

Subete ga F ni Naru [The Perfect Insider] [85/100]

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The [not quite] Perfect Insider

The Perfect Insider takes the classic locked room mystery and gives it an interesting twist, inserting digital technology and gendered elements… elements that don’t quite hold up under scrutiny, which may be a deal breaker for some.

Isaac Asimov in an introduction to his collected mystery short stories wrote that there were essentially two schools of whodunits. The first was of a logical puzzle sort that had to be deduced by the protagonist (and also, natch, the reader), with the locked room mystery being the ultimate example. The main pleasure to be derived in these sorts of stories was the logical coherence of the mystery and the way in which it could be solved as an exercise of the intellect. Asimov, as we might guess, wrote mysteries in this form.

The other sort of mystery, Asimov said, was the sort where the actual mystery was really second to the process of deduction – what might now be termed a police procedural. The main dividend  for the reader of these tales were the myriad amusing insights into human behavior, a sort of cynical morality play. Asimov gave Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe stories as the ultimate example of this school of mystery, adding, perhaps a bit ruefully, that they were really more shaggy dog stories than actual mysteries.

Having read every Philip Marlowe novel more than once, I can say that even now I don’t really remember what the mystery in any one story was exactly, or how it was even resolved. But the mystery was ancillary; an excuse for Marlowe to get involved with a colorful cast of characters, make clever remarks, and have adventures (a contemporary homage to this type of mystery is the Big Lebowski).

We can say. then, that The Perfect Insider represents a classic bait-and-switch: we are promised a cerebral locked-room mystery, and instead end up with an enjoyable character study and a somewhat disjointed adventure yarn. How annoyed the viewer is by the work’s admittedly unscrupulous deception depends on how amused they are in spite of it all.

Personally, I liked it so much that I now want to watch the live action adaptation.

The Perfect Insider opens with a simple confrontation between two young women, one of whom murdered her parents, and the other who had her parents taken from her in a tragic accident. From there begins an insightful, but also at times uneven, exploration of what it exactly means to be in control, and whether that is synonymous with freedom, a central theme that quietly flows beneath the surface of the work.

The next scene is takes up the rest of the first episode, and consists entirely of Moe Nishinosono, the young woman who lost her parents, talking with her professor.

If watching a cartoon about a professor’s office hours is something that intrigues you, then you will probably enjoy The Perfect Insider. For me, the episode was amazing. The professor,  Sohei Saikawa, is the series’ gumshoe stand-in, a haggard, unconventional chain smoker who can move effortlessly from  Zhuang Zhou to bootstrapping operating systems.  Moe Nishinosono falls into the Girl Friday role, but both characters color outside the lines enough that the conventional roles they play are more homage than hack work.

By episode 2 the duo find their way to a remote island, of course, where a storm cuts them off from the mainland, of course, and then a murder happens, of course. Thus, we finally arrive at the mystery, which involves the other young woman introduced in the first episode, the brilliant but deadly Shiki Magata. Again, the series’ charm lies in its spin on traditional elements of the mystery: the femme fatale, who in this instance never even meets the male protagonist; her seductive power for him lies totally in the realm of abstract thought.

A major plot point hinges on a real-life problem in programming, the overflow or wrap-around error, which I thought was a very clever and daring touch, given how unfamiliar and technical an issue it is, from the perspective of a general audience.

Of course, as I later had pointed out to me, while such an error is theoretically possible, it is highly improbable, even given the time period the source material was written in (the anime is based on a novel written in the early-mid 1990s). Essentially, the error involves an overflow on a 16-bit unsigned integer, which is a digitally stored whole number that has to be equal to or greater than zero, with no negative sign. However, by that period in time in Japan even video game systems had at least 32-bit CPUs, implying that the standard integer size on computers used in a state-of-the-art research laboratory would have to be at the very least twice the size of the one given in the story.

A detractor here would say that this is representative of the series’ general shortcomings; it’s only kissing to be clever, don’t think for a second that it’s going to go all the way, or that it even cares. I think this somewhat unfair, at least in this instance. It’s not something a casual viewer would ever catch, and even those people who sense it’s fibbing on a technicality would still be wiling to grant the artistic license and maintain the suspension of disbelief. Biologists and paleontologists are still able to enjoy Jurassic Park, right? Still…

In fact, what we can say is that the work as a mystery really, truly is sloppy. The mystery isn’t solved so much as it unravels in big heap in front of the viewer. By the final episode I was completely lost; not, I suspect, from a failure of intellect on my part, but because the story had so many loose ends you could make a mop out of it. At least, I hope that’s the case – FilmSnark has a much more detailed analysis of everything that didn’t add up (most of it).

And yet, after finishing it, I immediately wanted to watch it again. The main characters are a lot of fun, salient points are made regarding intelligence being used to excuse sociopathic behavior, and the soundtrack is awesome, like imagine if Phil Collins scored the original Lupin III series.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 85/100

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 4

Episode 4 Production Details

Episode Director: Shinya Watada ( Episode Director on Bounen no Xamdou episode 9 / Episode Director on Sword Art Online episode 4 / Episode Director and Storyboard on Gundam Build Fighters episodes 8, 17 and 23 / Episode Director on Hitsugi no Chaika episodes 1 and 6 / Director and Storyboard on Gundam Build Fighters Try Second Ending Sequence)

Storyboards: Shinya Watada

Script: Taku Kishimoto ( Script Writer on Gin no Saji series / Script Writer on Haikyuu!! Second Season episodes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18)


Neat idea to have a film reel moving backwards to recap what Satoru has already experienced.  Makes these mundane recaps of the previous episodes a lot more intriguing. Sachiko should win mother of the year award.  She really loves Satoru a whole lot and I like how much focus there is with their relationship both visually and in depicting the family dynamic between Satoru’s mother and Kayo’s mother. Satoru’s conversation with the girl at the beginning of the episode re-introduces to us in plain view that we’re seeing a 29-year old think and interact through the eyes of a child.  Sometimes I wonder how this conversation would have gone down originally or if it did at all. I also like how calculated he is–thinking about the day Kayo will go missing and establish a back-up plan in case something should happen.  On the other hand there is also a weakness to Satoru not being in his original body–he slips up and says what he thinks out loud providing some solid comedic moments between him and Kayo.  That was pretty cute when he says he couldn’t get them to go on Saturday because of a date with her.  I mentioned last time how detailed this series is with just about eery scene–Yashiro and Kenya meeting up builds on that weird cliffhanger from last time.  I wonder if Kenya and Yashiro are somehow involved with Sachiko’s death from 2006 given how close they appear to be. Speaking of evil and this show’s use of top notch sound direction especially where Satoru gets the guts to confront Kayo’s mother and get permission to take Kayo to the Science Center.  His slip ups are going to be a problem for hm later on if he is stuck in a situation like this with the killer.

Sachiko saving the day and smoothing her anger over really saved Satoru and provides more depth to him.  At the beginning of this series he wasn’t too fond of his own mom staying at his apartment let alone meddling in his affairs especially his relationship with Airi.  Now that he knows she could end up dying again in another 2006 timeline he appreciates her more and wants to protect her.  She’s perceptive in that she knows there might be some good in Kayo’s mother given that she dresses her up nicely rather than wearing ragged clothes.  Even at 29, Sachiko is teaching her son things about life I really like how mature their family relationship is.  I enjoyed that scene a lot because it builds the foundation for Kayo’s mother to stop her abuse and strengthens Satoru’s relationship with Kayo.

Deja Vu plays a vital role in Satoru understanding the world he’s in and how to change it.  The manga sees his ability in a different light and   Reciting lines in his head of what Kayo is going to say next is not a good sign.  The future is heading towards her inevitable disappearance again and how he’s going to change that will be entirely up to even his smallest of actions.  Right down to believing in himself.  The frame cuts in this are still amazing as ever–the teacher’s entrance in the classroom always uses this top shadow covering his eyes so that we just see his mouth and nose.  Interesting that the animation portrays this style because if you pay attention it can distract you into thinking could the killer be him?  Especially when he’s grading the essay about the Polar Bear eating the teacher.  These two scenes with Yashiro might play a role sometime later on but for now it’s just extra detail.  This was a pretty cheery episode we got to see how Satoru was going to save Kayo from X Day and that scene where he’s looking at the clock right outside her house was very tense!  This gave him the courage to keep protecting her and the reward by the end is a birthday party where its revealed that Kayo’s birthday is the same as his.

I like how this show continues to deceive us.  I originally thought Yashiro’s request to Kenya to help out at the clubroom was so much more but in actuality it was a realistic view of school life and how close students can be family to their teachers.  That birthday party and Yuki Kaijura’s score was a bit too overpowering this episode.  Satoru running home after believing he’s changed things for the better with Kayo’s situation while had some solid acting was too orchestral and needed to be more subdued.

Satoru has had dreadful events one after another and it’s about time we’re seeing happy situations unfolding throughout this episode.  A calm before the storm style of storytelling that also gives this sense of uneasiness.  Just when we believe everything is alright (just as Satoru has felt for the majority of this episode) this show drops a huge bomb–Satoru hasn’t changed much of anything and Kayo has disappeared again.  That’s how to make a cliffhanger!  Perhaps Satoru did in fact change things but the murderer changed his mind about Kayo becoming the first victim.

All in all this was a nice shift in tone, a feel good episode.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Just a side note, I’m hosting an ERASED event covering the full series.  The first half, episodes 1 through 6 will be April 6th. The second half is scheduled for May 11th.

Prizes will be included in a raffle for both nights.

Episodes 1-6 First Half Marathon:

Official Japanese retail CD w/ DVD Anime Edition Opening and Ending SINGLES

The first 10 Attendees will receive ERASED coffee mugs

Other prizes and items are TBA.

The huge raffle for the grand prize will be only available to those that show up both nights.

If anyone is interested in going or if you want to help fund the event please contact me at beatslars@gmail.com

 

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 3

Episode 3 Production Details

Episode Director: Takahiro Shikama ( Key Animator on STAR DRIVER: Kagayaki no Takuto episodes 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 12, 13, 23 and 25 / Action Animation Supervisor on Sword Art Online episodes 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 / Storyboard alongside Shigeki Kawai on Sword Art Online II episode 19 / Key Animator on Rolling Girls episode 4 / Action Animation Supervisor, Episode Director, Storyboard and Key Animator on Boku dake ga Inai Machi episode 3)

Storyboards: Takahiro Shikama

Script: Yutaka Yasunaga ( Script Writer on Gin no Saji series / Script Writer on Haikyuu!! Second Season episodes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18)


This is one of the most beautiful looking episodes of the season!  That sequence with Satoru and Kayo looking up at the night sky was breathtaking!  The animation flowed smoothly and Yuki Kaijura’s soundtrack all came together wonderfully.

Picking right up from last time, Satoru is trying to figure out exactly how he’s going to save Kayo.  The torn gloves is a big clue that Kayo is subjected to abuse and I like how believable Kayo’s mother in that it gives us a solid view of a family life that’s shattered.  Yuki Kaijura delivered in strides throughout this entire episode!  The drowning scene was amazing!  That song as Satoru is discovering Kayo’s abuse out in the open was creepy.

The red eyes might not symbolize the killer rather it uses the color as a red herring.  In order to avoid only predictability and focusing on one person being the culprit from the get-go.  Jun Shiratori has them in a closeup shot in this episode as well as Kayo’s mother, the father-like figure and Sachiko’s killer from the first episode.  Anyone could be the culprit.  The color plays a huge role in this series as its also the focus of death.  Kayo Hinazuki goes missing and is found dead in the previous timeline and it’s interesting how objects in this show like her coat is red signify this archetype of mystery.

Another piece that Boku Machi excels in is distracting its viewers with the importance of the smallest details and actions.  Jun Shiratori’s magazine collection and his quick reaction when Satoru sees them builds a level of suspicion on him especially when we are seeing it for the first time just as Satoru is (or had forgotten in the previous timeline).

I like how quick the animation cuts from 1988 to 2006 act as a sort of catalyst for Satoru understanding some truth about the timeline that he’s stuck in.  Seeing as how Jun looks from his time in jail plays on the mystery of this series wonderfully and removes the idea that he is Sachiko’s killer because he according to Satoru has been wrongly accused.  Gaku Yashiro is also a suspect due to the etherial soundtrack and that awesome angle shot upward with Satoru being caught by surprise by him.  Really love that entire scene because it’s so tense and gently bring back the idea that there is more to this story than the time travel and murders.

It’s been so nice to see this show not push aside everyday life.  While everything that Satoru does is crucial to a new timeline where he might be able to save Kayo and Sachiko it’s great that we get scenes like finding out when Kayo’s birthday is and the tender hearted moment Kayo and he share in the climax of this episode from the foxes running around them and the christmas tree.  There’s a lot going on each episode and I’m glad to see how much depth they’ve put into the main cast and even the adults of this series.

ERASED doesn’t forget the important topic at hand right now–removing custody of Kayo from her mother.  I like how Gaku is very concerned for Kayo because this episode at one point puts suspicion on him by Satoru and then in that one conversation with him he’s seen in a completely different light.

Incredible framing during the christmas tree scene!  Director Takahiro Shikama got to animate the hell out of this climax and it paid off!  All these top animation shots and closeups throughout Satoru’s experiences give off a very real perspective from the eyes of a child.  Amazing!

The one thing I don’t like however is the suspenseful cliffhanger between Gaku and Kenya.  What’s going on here?  They should have put that scene somewhere in the middle of this episode because it makes this show run dry when you put too many cliffhangers at the end of just about every episode.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

 

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 2

Episode 2 Production Details

Episode Director: Toshimasa Ishii ( Episode Director on Nanatsu no Taizai episodes 6, 14 and 24 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso episode 18)

Storyboards: Toshimasa Ishii

Script: Taku Kishimoto ( Script Writer on Gin no Saji series / Script Writer on Haikyuu!! Second Season episodes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18)


 

The cinematography in this series is ridiculously good.  It has a good balance between lighting and shading and long wide shots that emphasize the importance of a person’s facial expression whether the whole face is shown or not.  Loved that introduction of the teacher as he’s moving from the shadow and into the light to begin class!  There is a mix between close up shots of objects and character’s feet like this episode utilizes to build on the atmosphere throughout Boku Machi.  We also get a bunch of wide angle shots that establish the mystery surrounding Kayo’s inevitable disappearance.  The color red as we saw last time plays a significant role in depicting villainous actions–the killer’s eyes and now the amazing Kayo’s abuse scene from the perspective of Satoru was tough to watch.  Satoru’s inner thoughts remind us that he’s an adult stuck in a child’s body.  I’m glad that the creators got an actual actor to portray his 29 year old self because it’s his introspection and situational awareness that make this series so intriguing.

The sound effects play a large part in this and the scene in the very beginning where he’s reflecting on the situation at hand establishes this perfectly.  The closeup shot of his face as he’s sweating is very tense.  The cuts that play after these scenes develop a big picture that Satoru truly is in a different time.  It plays on how Kenya is suspicious of Satoru wonderfully.  I feel bad for Satoru because one of the last things he sees in 2006 is his dead mother and now he’s trying to figure out the world around him 18 years prior because of it.    It took me awhile to notice this but there are few key things from the premiere that you might miss from one viewing.  Remember the scene where Sachiko is on the phone on the park bench and there is that wide shot of her?  Right above her head is a shimmering thread which I’m sure will come into play later.  Also before Satoru experiences a Revival there is a blue butterfly moving across the screen.  This represents the idea of the butterfly effect–small causes can have large effects.

Yuki Kajiura weaves in quite the emotional slow-moving piece to pull in the idea that Satoru will finally see his mother again but in a different time.  This is the first time we are seeing him fall into his 11-year old self–the hamburgers and his power of revival are gradually making him lose sense of his present-day life.  Here is where we see shifts back and forth between him remembering small things like his friends and more importantly what he had said to Kayo the first time he was 11 years old.  This pulls you into the atmosphere of this show even more! From the very beginning scene where we see Satoru as a kid for the first time from episode 1 the creators did something smart in differentiating between past and present. The widescreen.

I believe the intentions of this episode are to shape how Satoru will change the future (his present day 2006) and hopefully save his mother.  His friends capitalize on this in a big way in that in order to save Kayo he has to make friends and others to realize kids are disappearing.  Love how Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy are mentioned it builds more depth to the pop culture of 1988.  Hiro and Kazu and Osamu are typical kids, they play videogames and I like how authentic their entire conversation is when it shifts to Kayo Hinazuki.  From his adult standpoint he has to save her.  From his friends’ point of view is the quick notion that Satoru has strong feelings for her.  Love how this entire idea acts as an obstacle for him in figuring out exactly how to save her and in how he thinks clearly as a 29-year old.  Fantastic script during that!  The bruises on Kayo reflect reality and the harsh life she has and Satoru’s desire to be a part of hers and make it the timeline in 2006 a better one.

It’s still great to see that Jun Shiratori is viewed as the murderer.  As little as we’ve seen of him I think Satoru is similar to him–they are both trying to fit into their society as normal people.  The first episode indicates Satoru doesn’t clearly fit in because he can’t seem to handle Airi’s affections and this episode finally shifts the focus of a love theme with Kayo in the picture.  Especially when Kayo says the same thing Airi said in the last episode about when you keep wanting to believe in something over and over how it can ultimately in the end shape your reality.  These words are quite true to Satoru’s revival ability and his desire to write a successful manga.

Kenya’s relationship with Satoru is interesting it’s more mature than any of the other students in the class.  There’s a lot of observation on Kenya’s part and it definitely keeps Satoru on his toes because by the end of this episode he’s acting as if nothing will happen to Kayo in front of his friends.  In the words of Kayo and Airi, keep believing that it is a crush, and her death may actually be avoided.  This entire idea spells out the ending in a touching way–Satoru says exactly what he’s feeling about Kayo and it’s great to see his resolve finally take form!


OP: “Re:Re:” by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION

Directed by: Tomohiko Ito

Storyboards: Tomohiko Ito

Animation Supervisor: Keigo Sasaki ( Character Designer on Ao No Exorcist / Character Designer on Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda / Key Animator on Magi First Opening Sequence)

This was my favorite song from the ‘Sol-Fa’ album!  I’m glad to see they are re-styling it! It’s a nice homage to this series central themes!  This song rocks and its lyrics captures Boku Machi‘s time travel motif perfectly!  The visuals give a good look at school life when Satoru was a kid and it’s smart Tomohiko Ito decided to not show this until the second episode until the point in the actual story that he’s stuck inside 1988!  The transition cuts are quick and there is a lot of foreshadowing going on.  Especially the water rushing sequence as the instrumentals on the guitar get quicker and going to the chorus!  Love that part where Satoru is colored in all black and the timeline is swirling around him as he’s shapeshifting between 29 and 11 years old!  You can also see a potential spoiler if you pause the video at just the right time!  Awesome opening!  I like the film reel at the beginning with the two Satoru’s viewing their life as an entertainment form! The entire sequence translates into the story amazingly well!

ED: “Sore wa Chiisa na Hikari no yō na” (それは小さな光のような; That was like a small light) by Sayuri

Directed by: Masashi Ishihama ( Director on Shinsekai Yori / Character Designer on Uchuu Show e Youkoso / Director, Storyboard and Animation Supervisor on BLEACH Fifth Opening Sequence / Animation Supervisor, Director, Storyboard and Key Animator on PSYCHO-PASS 2 Opening Sequence / Episode Director and Storyboard on Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)

Storyboards: Masashi Ishihama

Animation Supervisor: Masashi Ishihama

Sayuri did incredible work on Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace’s ending ‘Mikazuki’.  This ending is tons better than that one.  Sayuri’s voice is very emotional for this song!  Everything just comes together in this!  Hands down one of the best openings of the season!  Thanks to the amazing art style by Masashi Ishihama, one of my favorite animators and the lead director on the anime adaptation of 2012’s Shinsekai Yori!  His style is influenced by a variety of talented animators from Masami Obari to SHAFT’s Akiyuki Shinbo which is why we see some pretty amazing closeups of Kayo and other female characters throughout this ending!  The color palette is to the extreme in this!  It’s otherworldly and has a strong mystical vibe to it!  I really love how his animation is erratic–Kayo hopping to the down beats of the music track in a small detail that is incredible!  Wild movement from female silhouettes flying, lying down, closeup shots of a mouth moving and my favorite part is the blinds covering the girl as she quickly turns around and points!  Remember how I mentioned the string from the first episode above Sachiko? You can find that image here.  It shows up throughout this entire ending sequence!  Between binding the girl that’s lying down in two scenes and the string actually getting cut with scissors!  Satoru’s revival ability was nicely touched up as we see him standing on top of what looks like a train car being protected by his ability!  Those aqua flames look very cool!  Awesome work on this ending!

I don’t usually post additional screenshots but that ending using the string idea was fantastic work on Ishihama’s part!

 

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

 

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

 Satoru Fujinuma is a struggling manga artist and pizza delivery man who has the ability to turn back time and prevent deaths.  ~ANN

Animation Production: A-1 Pictures

Director: Tomohiko Ito ( Director on Sword Art Online / Episode Director on DEATH NOTE episodes 2, 7, 14 and 17 / Storyboards and Episode Director on Michiko e Hatchin episodes 4, 12 and 19)

Series Composition: Taku Kishimoto ( Series Script Writer on Gin no Saji / Series Script Writer on Haikyuu!! / Script Writer on Prince of Stride: Alternative episode 2)

Character Designer:  Keigo Sasaki ( Key Animator on Le Chevalier D’Eon episodes 3, 8, 11 and 22 / Key Animator on Shingeki no Kyojin episode 1 / Character Designer on Ao no Exorcist and Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda)

Music: Shiroh Hamaguchi ( Music Composer on Ah! My Goddess TV and film / Music Composer on Galilei Donna / Music Composer and Orchestra Conductor on Final Fantasy VII Advent Children / Music Composer on Shirobako / Music Composer on Tari Tari)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Tomohiko Ito

Storyboards: Tomohiko Ito

Script: Taku Kishimoto


 

The new season is finally here and with it another Noitamina series.  I’ve been very un-interested in a lot of what this season has to offer but from the announcement of what was going to be airing there were three that had my attention.  Josei series Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, science fiction action series Dimension W and this. Adapting a Kei Sanbe manga was the right choice for 2016.  It’s about time we get one of his works.  He’s known for writing enthralling characters and putting them into situations that evolve their characters to great heights.  I was actually quite surprised this would be the series to receive an anime adaptation before some of his earlier works in the 2000’s. After seeing this premiere however, my mind has changed on this.  Boku Machi takes a college-aged student, gives him an extraordinary ability to time travel and throws dreadful situations at him one after the other.  This is by far one of the top premieres this season–stunning visuals, tense atmosphere not to mention fast-pacing.  Tomohiko Ito compiled an entire volume in just 25 minutes!

Even better is the fact that we’ve got two extremely famous Japanese actors voicing 29-year old and 10-year old Satoru Fujinuma.  Only other time this has happened, If I remember right, is Michiko e Hatchin.  I give props to them for handling this entire episode wonderfully.  The narrative warrants Boku Machi as the “stand-out” show of this season.  I really like how real Satoru’s personality is influenced by his power. He’s well aware of Katagiri liking him but doesn’t want to get closer to her probably because of what he’s seen with his time traveling.  His relationship with his 52-year old mother is very much real–the conversation they have about Katagiri being marriage potential was one of the more subtle scenes that explores his family relationship very strongly.  I’m sure when we see his childhood scenes its very different–lot less respectful.  His mother, Sachiko clued in on the incident that happened when Satoru was a child and what a great way to foreshadow the ending by using serial murderer Jun Shiratori as the red herring.

An aspect that keeps me coming back to watching a variety of anime is how an episode is storyboarded.  This episode used a ton of distance shots to capture this theme of time really well.  The composition is ridiculously good for a television series.  Great framing on the characters to build up the tense atmosphere surround Satoru’s ability and I really love the shot where it pans around Sachiko’s keen sense of another abduction attempt.  There both just standing there–Satoru is trying to figure out with his time traveling ability what’s out of place and his mom definitely knows something isn’t right and figures it right out!  Given how we’re left with a cliffhanger I wonder how this will pan out since the director announced he was going to be following the manga’s ending and it hasn’t even ended yet! There’s sure to be a lot of material cut.

At first the narration had me a bit worried.  There’s a lot.  However, it works in that Tomohiko Ito was able to keep the momentum going while trimming down from the source material.  If there’s more manga parts left from the anime I really hope the execution of this series stays true because if that’s the case this might be the best anime to air this season!

The sound effects were very strong.  Coming from Another’s and PSYCHO-PASS‘s sound director Yoshikazu Iwanami this was pretty impressive for its first episode.

My club just recently had our after holiday anime party. This was one of the episodes shown including holiday-themed episodes from Nisekoi and Ranma.  Feature film was Tokyo Godfathers.  Boku Machi received a huge applause after it was shown.  Really good to see Noitamina’s picked up a gem.  Next one they should do is Omoide Emanon.  Gorgeous artwork in that manga and a fascinating story!

 

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso [91/100]

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This show is bittersweet–depicting the lives of middle school students enjoying their youth and experiencing hardships.  Noitamina picked a wonderfully written manga to adapt and the music sells this show a ton!

A-1 Pictures adapted Naoshi Arakawa’s manga faithfully.  It’s beautifully drawn with very detailed character designs by Yukio Aikei!  This is a wonderful series that ties the bonds between friends together through music and love.  Arima Kousei’s growth is one of the big highlights of Shigatsu as we see him placing fear onto himself due to his mother’s death.  The contrast that gets him out of his shell is Kaori Miyazono.  She’s free-spirited and much like his childhood friend, Tsubaki Sawabe, she’s got this drive to fix Kousei out of his slump.  The connection is that they are both musicians and this is how the romance develops between the two of them.  They’re both learning their own sounds by practicing together and discovering they’ve got strong chemistry!

Masaru Yokoyama’s soundtrack fits extremely well into this–  picking from a range of popular classical insert songs to a collection of original pieces that are just as emotionally moving as the animation and its engaging characters!  When it comes to a series about music it’s pivotal that you need sound to get this story moving and it doesn’t let go of this idea ever.  This is one series I would highly recommend to anyone that’s a fan of music or romance.  It touches on parental loss and the huge respects are paid to this theme throughout as Kousei goes on his journey discovery that in order to get over his mother’s death and realize his feelings for Kaori he must find his own way of voicing it out even if its through playing piano.

If you like Nodame Cantabile‘s focus into music than I’d say you would enjoy this series.  A lot of criticism from Shigatsu stems from its overdramatic scenes and moments where the show at times leans more on a characters’ emotions rather than the musical performances themselves.  In my opinion I find this to be a pretty big success to the series’ way of reminding us that these are middle school students and they need all the room to grow up in their own ways.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: [91/100]

PUNCHLINE [71/100]

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Having finished my classes for summer I’ve actually had more time to sit down and watch anime series I’ve neglected.  For Punchline I had seen the first few episodes and it fell off the map for me simply because series like Kekkai SensenDurararax2 Shou among a few others were grabbing my attention more.

An original anime series on the Noitamina programming block I was very eager to see this show:  MAPPA handling animation production and the script by Kyokugen Dasshutsu ONA writer Koutarou Uchikoshi gives this series extreme promise.  Plus, the story is very strange–  the world blows up if Yuuta Iridatsu gets a nosebleed from seeing panties.  I’m all for series that takes creativity to a whole other level.  If there is a series I’d recommend that had thrown in a “left-field” hook than look no further than Punchline.  It’s got a ton of FLCL spirit to it–  which makes sense considering director Yutaka Yemura first began his career as a CG artist for GAINAX.  I can clearly see some crossover influences in his works between these shows.  The characters in both are really exaggerated in the physical actions and personalities.

The amount of puns in this show are quite hilarious too!  That is if you can catch them.  The title of this show in Japanese “パンチライン” contains the word “Panchira” which literally translates to “panty-shot”.  Which is very in-line to the anime’s intentions.  Mikatan Narugino plays the love interest to Yuuta in this show and it’s funny how even her name translates to “ally for justice”.  Referring to her mahou shojo identity “Strange Juice” and the group the girls represent “Justice Punch”.  The genius inventor Meika Daihatsu is even a pun:  “dai hatsumeika” where “dai” means “great” and “hatsumeika” meaning “inventor”.   Otaku and NEET is derived from Ito Hikiotani’s name and Rabura Chichibu reflects her character.  Pun on “Chichi burabura”.  In Japanese the term “Chichi” or it’s written style “ちち” is a homophone for “father”, “milk” and “boobs” depending on the context.  As for “bura bura” it acts as an onomatopoeia for “just wandering”.  Depicts a lot of what she does in this series from all the running around and when Yuuta takes over her body to tell the others about the destruction of the world or Ito’s danger with the QMAY group.  All the girls names illustrate their own ideals and actions throughout this show that gets them closers as friends.

The first 4 episodes teaches the audience about Yuuta’s situation as a spirit and spirit cat Chiranosuke as a mentor figure in guiding him on his time-traveling journey.  The terminology in this series rocks because a lot of it is well-timed jokes that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.  Chiranosuke is a pervert so the creators decide to nonchalantly put in cats having sex with each other on a computer he’s looking at.  The transitions there are fantastic!  The slapstick comedy between Rabura’s psychic powers and Mikatan’s Strange Juice transformation sequences are highly energized and are quite refreshing compared to some of the calmer series of the season.

When Punchline does get serious though is where it actually shines.  Remove all the supernatural spirit stuff, sex jokes, time-traveling and you’ve got a couple of high-school students living together in the Korai House dealing with separation issues from childhood, neglect from parents and experimentations that separate them.

The main problem of Punchline is attributed to too much in too little time.  With 1-cour only to deal with the narrative switches throughout episodes as Yuuta is time traveling to different days with the Christmas Party being the constant unknown mystery factor as the key to Yuuta saving Ito from death as well as Mikatan.  This series is a definite re-watch in order to catch a lot of what’s going on between the QMay group’s infiltration of Korai and exactly what days these situations happen on.  Switching bodies at childhood is certainly a new approach but I feel it would have worked if this was 2-cour and the twist isn’t a rushed and cheap attempt at establishing Yuuta as the sacrificial (turns out to be a girl) in saving the people she loves.

Have to admit Marina Inoue did a fantastic job of masking Yuuta as a boy.

After a long absence from the anime soundtrack world, Vampire Hunter D composer Tetsuya Komuro returns to compose and produce Punchline‘s score!  His last work was on 2005’s Zoids:Fuzors by Tokyo Kids Animation Studio.  He’s well-known for bringing the dance genre to Japanese music and I can see some of that style in this show.  His strength however, lies as a producer signing on popular artists Namie Amuro, Ayumi Hamasaki, Ami Suzuki and many others even internationally like the Backstreet Boys within the pop scene around the 90’s.  Towards the beginning and in a few of the action sequences we get a lot of dubstep and it’s actually pretty decent.  You can tell the production of it is really high and it has a very deep bass sound.  The show has a strong bond with music and Mikatan’s pop-idol songs are key to this.  There are a few really funny drunk karaoke party scenes with some horrible singing!

Animation Studio MAPPA has quite a bit under its belt now.  Sakamichi no Apollon. Zankyou no Terror. Garo Honoo no Kokuin and now Punchline.  Their upcoming work on Ushio to Tora looks like it’ll be animated nicely but those character designs suck.  As for Punchline, it’s one of the most detailed in animation of the season.  This is where FLCL‘s influence comes in–  Yuuta flying through rooms trying to avoid panties, Rabura busting into a room and her wild psychic situations and the fight scenes are tightly animated!  The fluid style is pretty to look at the episodes aren’t as detailed as shows like Kekkai Sensen in terms of conceptual design on its backgrounds and characters.


OP:  “PUNCH LINE!” by Shokotan ♥ Denpagumi (Shoko Nakagawa x Dengapumi.INC)

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Such a strange opening. It reminds me of how quirky Hozuki no Reitetsu had been in integrating its cast to the song.  The character movements are edited well into the song but the transitions from scene to scene are a bit off.  I like how this basically tells Yuuta’s journey from each room discovering each girls’ panties and what happens to him if he does.  The band Dengapumi is a female Japanese idol group that are all former otaku and cosplayers that perform the instrumentals and backup to Nakagawa’s lead vocals.  It’s a fun and crazy song about panties that reflects this series a ton.  Generic in the style but its delivery is nice.

ED: “Mitsu Mitsu Mitsu” (蜜蜜蜜) by Ayumikurikamaki

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Great ending.  Another JPOP idol group that formed in 2012.  The name is derived from the original members’ names.  Known for their bear costumes on stage (they probably should have done a Yuri Kuma Arashi insert song haha) that change according to the season.  The song itself just like the opening is typical with a steady drum beat and strong rock guitar riffs but the vocals are great because they do a wonderful job of illustrating the fun these girls have in the Korai House.  As for the animation it’s awesome–  the characters are drawn in a kawaii style  mixed with this pastel matted background design.  The director and animator on this is Wataru Uekusa.

This is the first time he’s animated and worked on a full-fledge series before as most of his work are from music videos.  Including Yasashii March: The Tender March for Soutasei Riron’s song “Miss Parallel World”, fake!fake! for the song “fake!fake!” by A Crow is White and Mukougaoka Chisato wa Tada Mitsumeteita no Datta.  Curious by this style:  I could see him working with Masaaki Yuasa sometime in the future.  Uekusa gives off a visually smooth and bright tone that contains a wild trip spiraling out of control.

Here’s the music video of Mikougaoka Chisato:

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This one is fake!fake!—  its visually stunning and has some of smoothest animation I’ve ever seen in a music video!  Reminds me of Kaiba.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 71/100