(12 episodes, noitaminA)
What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a manga mystery series with a supernatural twist.
Interestingly, while the manga is still ongoing publication, the anime’s staff have made it clear they’re including its planned ending into their adaptation.
Satoru, our protagonist, is failed manga author in his late 20s who’s making do as a pizza delivery driver. At first he sounds like a highly cynical failure who doesn’t give a crap anymore, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. See, he’s somehow got the bizarre superpower to rewind time a bit after getting a flash that something terrible is about to happen. Nothing specific, but he’ll try his darndest to pay attention to his surroundings and notice anything going awry. Such as this truck driver having a heart attack and rushing towards an unsuspecting kid. Going out of his way to prevent that lands him into the hospital for a bit, but the guy is truly a hero. Dropping everything to act upon those not-quite-precognitive flashes… It quickly becomes obvious that an incident two decades ago where a girl was kidnapped and killed and maybe he could have prevented it by accompanying her home is still eating at him and informing his current behaviour (both the introverted cynicism and the hero complex).
Sachiko, his mother, comes to visit from Hokkaido after he gets released. While he doesn’t quite welcome her imposing on him without notice, she’s clearly worried about him. She’s now paying attention to his flashes… wait, did a dude just try kidnapping that girl in the supermarket parking lot, and only stopped when he saw her looking at him and taking a picture of his van’s plate ? Doesn’t this look a LOT like the kidnapping case two decades ago ? Maybe the slightly creepy older guy that always hung out with her son and got arrested wasn’t the true culprit… Okay, until now she may have tried to make Satoru forget about this, but it’s time she came clean with him about it and they figure this out together.
Ahahah, nope. Everything goes FUBAR that night. But when Satoru wakes up, he’s back in Hokkaido, two decades younger…
(Another prominent character this episode is Airi, a teenage coworker of Satoru’s who starts paying attention to him after witnessing his heroics. He isn’t amused by his mom’s attempts to set them up together, because seriously she’s at least ten years younger and still in high school. I have no clue how she’ll keep appearing in this show given we’ve now shifted to a time before she is even born…)
Very good. Great attention to the body language, impressive staging for the “Rewind” set pieces… Even Sachiko looking weirdly young for a woman in her 50s is actually called out. Also, it features a great atmospheric score by Yuki Kajiura, without getting overpowered by it.
Well, that’s our obvious candidate for Anime of the Season, right there. Perfectly paced, great characters, a cool gimmick, an intriguing mystery and driving question (“Can Satoru prevent those original kidnappings ? What happens if he does ?”)… This is just an enthralling start.
There’s tons of promise here, and a good chance it’ll actually deliver on a proper ending. Go for it.