Finales: Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, Gate

The finale of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi was excellent and emotionally satisfying, and I don’t mind that they cheated a bit.


I had wondered how Satoru was going to get out of his situation, being trapped in a wheelchair with his would-be murderer, with that gate swinging open. It starts well, with the two playing mind games (“I filled the hole in your heart!”), but we soon get flashbacks to talks with Kenya, Hiromi, and Sachiko, where, reminded that he’s not alone in all this, he tells all. Obviously they have a plan in store. On one hand this made me feel better because I really wanted Satoru, who had grown so much and acted so selflessly, to live. On the other hand, since we didn’t know he had told everyone, it was, as I said, a bit of a cheat. Not to mention that they had the perfect plan, put a bag on the ground exactly where Satoru would land, upon which he landed perfectly, on his back, able to wink at Yashiro up above. How did they know this would be the way Yashiro tried it?


No matter. That scene, with Satoru splayed on bag and quick close-ups of Kenya, Sachiko (best mom in anime), and other everyday defenders of justice, is the highlight of the season for me, the payoff for twelve episodes of anxiety. But I grew anxious again. There was still plenty of time in the episode for things to go wrong. I had been told that the manga was still going (but I was told this in February). I thought Yashiro would escape, get out on a loophole, do something that would make him a threat, but no, they simply extended the happy ending so we could see Jun (married!), Airi, and other outside characters again, and have Satoru read his old story about not having courage, and thus, friends … until he got some of both.


All the loose ends were tied up nicely, apart one–where the hell did Satoru get his time-traveling ability in the first place? I know, a plot device, but one so blatant as this needs an explanation and we never got one. I kept asking: does someone want him to go back and change history? Or for him to become an adult? Why him? Are there others? Why not other victims of powerful people? This is the thing in the series that leaves me the most unsatisfied, especially when it did just about everything else so well. Terrific characters, constant dread, and the strongest thing of all: its anger over how children are often broken by adults because they’re powerless, and how brave it is for both children and adults to fight back. Well done!

One more of Sachiko.
One more of Sachiko.

Gate had a finale too, and while I wasn’t as thrilled by it, I didn’t expect anything more.


After an intro reminding us that Youji is an otaku that values hobbies more than work, women, etc. Then we watch him do the opposite–create an independent plan to infiltrate the capital and get Pina out, and act surprised when his fellow soldiers volunteer because they respect him as a soldier and a human being. So off they go, as usual, getting into the palace without any resistance, and bursting in on Zorzal while he’s acting triumphant, and naturally Pina is there, not in her cell, so they don’t waste any time.


I wish I was an evil overlord to I could say things like “Release the giant ogre!” Nowhere in the show has an ogre been mentioned before. The only reason for it that I can see is to kill a couple of minutes and to let Rory and Lelei show off. I always like Lelei’s light shows, and poor Rory has had very little to do recently, so she deserves a minute or two of mayhem-making in the finale, before sitting on Youji’s lap. After the usual escape where the JSDF is on top of every threat, they have both Pina and the old emperor. Everyone’s all deferential and he’s very nice to everyone, in spite of the fact that he was a conniving SOB in the original series. After that, Pina, in short pants, becomes the crown princess, the warrior girls all hook up with soldiers, and everyone’s happy except Youji, and his pain is for laughs. That’s what you get for ditching Pina’s coronation for Comiket.


There’s obviously room for another season. They have to deal with Rory’s fiancee issues for one thing, and I’d like to see that. But while it’s reassuring to show the good guys obviously capable of obliterating incompetent enemies, it gets a little dull. Even in a land of sexy fetish symbols we never see the soldiers misbehaving. We never see any successful intrigue from the opponents–all of their plans are thwarted and cut off. The only humans misbehaving are government ministers, with their attempts to “find resources,” i.e. exploit this new land and the people there. Well, maybe another season will work that in. If there is, I’ll watch it. This was a dumb show, but fun to watch. I liked Youji’s mix of military smarts and bumbling otaku-ness, and watching the harem mess with him, especially Rory. And while it bothered others, I really didn’t mind watching the JSDF in a too-heroic light.

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