Ever tried and failed? It happens all the time, right? But what if you could save the life of a person and were not able to. That is a regret one wouldn’t want to live with. Enter our protagonist, Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old, a failed mangaka, and part-time pizza delivery boy.
He had failed to save a mysterious classmate in his elementary school years but the memory of last seeing her alive in the park during one cold winter night still haunts him.
Not only this, he is gifted with the phenomenon of “Revival” which means that he gets to relive the moments just before an accident.
He has successfully evaded lots of mishaps but is unable to come to terms with guilt from the past.
“Every day, the words cross my mind. “If I had done this back then…” but they don’t take the sincere form of regret. The words are just an excuse that comes to my mind then disappear.” – Satoru Fujinuma
Satoru’s mother is murdered after which a revival takes him back in time. This time he is thrown back to when he was an 11-year-old elementary school student in Hokkaido.
There were serial killings that took place during the time involving three children including his classmate Kayo Hinazuki.
The trope of an adult traveling back in time to change the events as a schoolchild makes for an interesting plot. The hero tries hard to overcome his limitation of physically being a child and connecting with other characters gradually.
The set of children along with a few adults are likable characters that show development throughout the plot.
Satoru’s mother is one loveable character who understands her son very well both as a child and as an adult. The depiction of the mother-son relationship is unique.
It is refreshing for an anime as mothers do not usually play such significant roles in the unfolding of plots.
The friends of young Satoru are believable characters who seem to be growing up together with elements of friendship and adventure.
The present time has Airi Katagiri, the only character interested in Satoru, who is otherwise invisible in the present world. It has made Satoru an unmotivated person who tries to redeem himself by helping others through a revival.
Satoru tries to discover the mysterious serial killer who targeted children during his school days. The murder of his mother is related to those past events but he has yet to figure out how.
He also has trouble with his memories initially when he travels back in time as he had forgotten about various events in his past.
Eventually, he begins to connect the dots but realizes the killer is too late. An avid anime watcher will guess the perpetrator early on but it will not cease the interest in the show.
Even in the end, it is not just about the murderer but how the characters have evolved in spite of everything.
“Believing in someone.” That’s a weird phrase, isn’t it? After all, if you truly believed in a person, you wouldn’t need to say, “I believe you.” It’s like saying, “I believe in air.” I don’t mean to say that “believing in something” is like a lie. “Believing” is really a term of hope of wanting to believe.”– Satoru Fujinuma
The anime has 12 episodes but the use of cliffhangers will make for a binge-watch. The animation and characters are pleasant to the eyes.
The use of an adult voice for young Satoru is an effective tool to juxtapose the adult Satoru with the younger ones. Also, the background music is appropriate and flows smoothly throughout the show.
The show overall is an emotional rollercoaster not restricted to a particular genre. Broadly a psychological thriller, it has elements of coming of age, a slice of life, drama, friendship, and adventure.
Additionally, themes of abuse, murder, and vengeance bring out the darker side. Just watch the first episode, the rest will follow.