The view from Igirisu:
We start this week with an opening monologue from Yashiro, which provides an interesting insight into the workings of a killer’s mind. The anecdote illustrates how he started on the path to being a murderer from childhood, drowning hamsters but allowing just one to live: the survivor against the odds…
And then our survivor against the odds wakes up, 15 years after Yashiro tried to kill him. There are a few issues with that. Firstly, no attempt is made to explain how he survived the icy water. As it looked like a situation nobody could survive, even if Yashiro’s curiosity got the better of him and he tried to rescue Satoru himself, it stretches credulity to just gloss over that. Secondly, the choice of 15 years seems oddly arbitrary. Why not 18 years, to bring us back to the original present day? The unspoken consequence of this is that all those little Revivals Satoru was having are going to have to be relived. For three years he is going to have to make sure he retreads his own past, putting himself in the right place at the right time, or tragedies he prevented before are going to happen without him. His 15 year coma also means that his original life, and his friendship with Airi, has been wiped out of existence completely, which is a horrendous thought, but something we’ll look at in more detail next week. Perhaps getting to relive three years is supposed to be a gift. After all, he effectively has three extra years tacked onto his life total now, assuming his coma doesn’t end up shortening his lifespan by that much or more. As gifts go, it’s a pair of comedy socks from your aunt at Christmas.
When Satoru wakes up the animation doesn’t pull its punches. His appearance is shocking. He is haggard. His memories are also gone, cleverly represented by showing us images from his past as damaged film footage. Even more cleverly, the job of narration switches round so his younger self is now narrating. It makes perfect sense, because at this point in time (and until his memories come back) the 29-year-old version of him has ceased to exist and he is, to all intents and purposes, a child in the body of an adult.
Things take on a happier note pretty quickly. First Kenya and Hiromi turn up for a visit, and then some beautiful music and a flood of tears from Satoru accompanies the return of Kayo, carrying her baby. Marrying her off to Hiromi seems like a slightly odd choice. I’m not sure it makes sense to marry her off to anyone, as the last time we saw her she was being driven off to a new life, but if that’s going to happen then surely not Hiromi? He was feminine in appearance and there seemed to be hints that he was attracted to Satoru. Sure, a person can change, especially from childhood to adulthood, but if Kayo had to be paired off with somebody for the sake of this scene, surely Kenya would have seemed like a more realistic match for her?
Anyway, that’s a minor detail and doesn’t really matter. The point is that Satoru’s bravery and determination ensured that the lonely, abused little Kayo grew up to be a happy young woman with her own family. But poor Satoru’s job isn’t done yet. There’s one last child for him to save. Kumi is waiting for a bone marrow transplant, and is inspired by Satoru’s determination. He soon befriends her, but somebody else has already done that. Yashiro is back.
“You’ll remember me, in time.”
We are left with questions still to be answered, some easier to guess than others. What did Yashiro do when he visited Kumi before her operation? At what point did Satoru remember his past? Was that his motivation behind his determination to get fit as quickly as possible? Was it his motivation in befriending Kumi? Why would he allow the deadly old finger-tapper to take him up to the roof, and then give the game away about his memory?
“Yashiro. I remember everything, you SOB.”
It’s not a clever move, unless… RP
The view from Amerika:
Episode 10 ended with Satoru left to die in a freezing lake. Episode 11 tortures us for a while. It opens with Yashiro talking about hamsters he killed years earlier and how, upon seeing one survive, he remembered an old story about a spiders web given by Buddha to save a sinner from hell. When the sinner sees other sinners climbing the strand, he kicks and the strand breaks. From then on, Yashiro started seeing a spider’s web connected to the heads of people he felt he had to kill. At this point, we’re hearing the confessions of a serial killer and it is extremely disturbing.
Then we switch to see Sachiko living her life, alone. She goes to work, sits in the park, goes to museums… and all the while we are left to wonder if Satoru is actually dead. It’s not until nearly 6 minutes before we learn that Satoru is alive but in a coma for the last 15 years. When you consider an episode is only 22 minutes, waiting 6 minutes to learn something is a full quarter of the episode. Thankfully we only have to wait a short while longer to discover that he is recovering, but his memory is hazy.
Yet again, I’m struck by the visuals and one stood out to me far more than I would have expected. Maybe it’s because of the rainy day wherein I find myself, but I loved the bright and beautiful colors of the yellow tree. I love the color and I love the way it fades into the distance giving it a dimensional quality. The artist rendered it beautifully.
Along with this stunning art, when Satoru is first waking up, we once again see the faded, unmoving film reel and a light begins to shine. Slowly, the film begins to move. But when he tries to recall events, they are faded like old, water-stained Polaroids. The art work is stunning.
Back to the story, we are once again reminded that friendship matters. Even after 15 years, Satoru’s friends come to visit him. They are all grown up now. Then the gift I was hoping for: Kayo is alive. I confess that I was a little saddened that she had a child because I really wanted Satoru to end up with her, but like Roger, I’m a sucker for this sort of thing. At least we know that she was alive. That means the flashbacks in the previous episode were really happening. Yashiro taking her and her grandmother away was alright. That’s not to say Yashiro was actually a good person. It’s evident from the start of this story that he may never have been a good person, but at least he did get Kayo away to a safe place.
Then we get some mystery. I can’t help but wonder how that can happen on the penultimate episode though. We have effectively 22 minutes left, and that’s not even really true, because the opening credits are not short! But that doesn’t change the fact that we are given a hint about a director calling Satoru’s doctor wanting a status report. Nor does it explain the paparazzi. And when Yashiro turns up, we know things are going to go badly because, obviously, he wants to know if Satoru remembers him. When he introduces himself, black birds burst from their nests and fly away. We are also introduced to a young girl named Kumi. She’s about to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
Things start to rev up when Satoru is planning to see Kumi before her surgery. Yashiro intercepts Satoru on the way to visit her and tells him that she is sleeping. It did not escape my notice that when he was in Kumi’s room, he was using a cell phone which he leaves behind. On top of that, he had been wearing his black gloves while using it, so it’s evident that he has a nefarious plan. Then when he sees Satoru, and offers to take them somewhere to talk, I was unsurprised to hear him ask Satoru to press the button for the roof. He wants Satoru’s fingerprint on the button. Since he started pushing Satoru with his bare hands but changed into the gloves before they get to the elevator, presumably he did not want his fingerprints on the call button either. Once on the rooftop, Satoru makes the announcement…
“I remember everything!” And as Yashiro looks at Satoru, he sees the spiders web connecting him to the heavens.
I’m sorry for our readers that they have to wait a week to read how it ends. I wasn’t about to… I’m putting on the final part right now. ML