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"'If only I'd done things different' is a phrase that pops into my head every day." Pictured from left to right 

"When I get bigger, big enough to go somewhere by myself, I want to go to a land that’s far away. I want to go to a faraway island. I want to go to an island that has no people. I want to go to an island that has no pain or sadness. On that island, I can climb a tree when I want to climb, swim in the sea when I want to swim, and sleep when I want to sleep. When I think about the town without me, I feel a sense of relief. I want to go far, far away."
Kayo Hinazuki
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Satoru Fujinuma is a twenty-nine-year-old struggling mangaka with exactly one published work under his belt and a part-time job as a pizza delivery boy. Having been repeatedly told by publishers that his writing "doesn't carry enough of himself in it," he's become disillusioned with both his work and himself, fearing that if he reveals himself through his art, he'll affirm what he fears — that he's actually a hollow person on the inside. In the face of his disheartening failures, he continues living on in mediocrity, with one very notable exception: He has the power, or rather, the responsibility, of traveling back in time in order to avert disasters that happen around him.

Appropriately termed "revival," these instances force Satoru to relive a span of time (usually lasting only minutes, if even that) again and again until he spots the "oddity," the cause of the impending catastrophe. Unwilling though he is to interfere, Satoru consistently and successfully completes each rerun, oftentimes at his own personal detriment. Understandably, he's come to consider his ability a hindrance, preferring not to get involved with other people.

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Then one day, in a grocery store parking lot, a rerun has him and his mother unwittingly foil an attempted kidnapping, setting off a chain of events that ends with his mother's murder and Satoru set up as the killer. The incident triggers a powerful rerun that sends him back eighteen years to his fifth-grade class in February of 1988, a month before the first of three children from his hometown is serially kidnapped and murdered: The disappearances of Kayo Hinazuki, Aya Nakanishi, and Hiromi Sugita traumatized the small town and led to the conviction of an innocent young man for the crimes.

Now that he's back in the past, Satoru is determined to save not only his mother but the three children as well by catching the killer before he can commit his crimes. He finds out very quickly, however, that that might not be as easy as expected when the culprit turns out to be a crafty and experienced killer who may have also been behind a string of seemingly unrelated crimes that have continued up to the present day...

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ERASED (Japanese title Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, or The Town Where Only I Am Missing) is a 2012 Psychological Thriller and human drama Seinen manga series by Kei Sanbe, published monthly in Kadokawa's Young Ace magazine, which finished at 44 chapters on March 3, 2016. A spinoff manga titled Boku Dake ga Inai Machi Gaiden featuring side stories not covered in the main plot was announced for June 2016. In addition, a spinoff novel titled Another Record starring character Kenya Kobayashi ran from November 2015 to March 2016, and was penned by Hajime Ninomae of nitro+. Yen Press has licensed the manga for North America.

An Animated Adaptation by A-1 Pictures debuted on January 8, 2016 and ran for twelve episodes, and ended approximately at the same time as the manga and followed its original ending, while a live-action movie was also announced for March 19, 2016. Crunchyroll is streaming the anime, which can be viewed here for people living in North America, Central America, South America, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Furthermore, Aniplex USA confirmed ERASED would be released with an English dub at Anime Central 2016.

Meanwhile, Netflix also released a twelve-episode worldwide live-action series on their platform in December 2017, with an intent to cover the manga without any deviation from the source material.


ERASED contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Kayo's mother (and presumably her mother's boyfriend as well) beats her severely on a regular basis as well as verbally abusing her.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime condenses quite a bit of the material from the manga to fit the entire story into 12 episodes. This is especially apparent in the anime's adaptation of events following the 15-year timeskip, but also true of many events prior to it, stretching as far back as the beginning.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Yashiro's Freudian Excuse was omitted from the anime.
  • Addiction Displacement: Yashiro keeps a huge amount of hard candy and lollipops in his car's glovebox after kicking a smoking habit. Or so he claims, because the next time he offers candy to Satoru, it's definitely not candy.
  • Adults Are Useless: Played with in multiple ways:
    • Satoru is a twenty-nine-year-old in the body of a ten-year-old and is far from useless, yet he is directly involved with the kids and observes that none of the adults seem to notice Kayo's abusive home situation.
    • Subverted with Sachiko. She's aware that her son is getting involved with Kayo and suspects the latter may be having trouble at home but has no way of proving it. She later proves instrumental in getting Kayo taken away from her mother.
    • Subverted with Yashiro as well, who, as her teacher, notices Kayo's bruises and constant absences and tardiness, yet is in a position to do very little. He tells Satoru that he's called the CPS, who are useless, multiple times, and they've yet to take any action against Kayo's mother. And then that's all thrown out the window when Yashiro is revealed to be the killer and that he never called CPS except for the one time they actually investigated the Hinazukis, at which point he decided to drop Kayo as a target.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The whole child kidnapping-murder scenario on its own, though the specific idea that your child's charming and charismatic elementary school teacher could be a serial kidnapper and murderer is... unsettling, to say the least.
    • Finding your only son in an abandoned car, submerged under water, with the pretense of attempted murder. Not to mention taking care of him in vegetative state for 15 years, not know if they'll ever wake up
  • Alone with the Psycho: Satoru is stunned to find himself in this situation when he ends up in the car with his heretofore trusted teacher Yashiro and realizes he's the killer.
  • Alternate Character Reading: The term "revival" is pronounced "revival" in English (as dictated by the furigana and the anime), but is written in kanji as 再上映, normally read "saijouei" and referring to a rerun of a film. Fittingly, the anime depicts the past in Satoru's memories as if it were on a film strip, and toys with the Aspect Ratio: the "present-day" scenes take place in fullscreen (4:3), while the scenes after Satoru travels back in time to 1988 are in cinematic ratio (2.39:1).
    • The morning after Satoru's first failure to save Kayo and getting sent back to the present, we're introduced to a city councilor by the name of Manabu Nishizono. "Manabu" is simply another way of reading 学, which would normally be read "Gaku" - as in Gaku Yashiro. As it turns out, they are indeed the same person, with Yashiro having stolen the surname from a murder victim.
  • Always Save the Girl: The number of times when "Kayo Hinazuki's murder" is mentioned by Satoru (and sometimes by the other characters as well) can make one think she was the only victim in the story, and that just because she's the first victim means that saving her would somehow magically make the killer disappear or prevent them from committing any more murders. Satoru zeros on rescuing her and doesn't pay a single thought to Aya Nakanishi and his own friend Hiromi's safety. The power of "Revival" seems to operate in a similar way in this case - despite sending Satoru to the past seemingly because of Sachiko, it ultimately deprives him of the chance to save his mother, sending him back to the time after her death after he discovers he's failed to save Kayo. The story ultimately does acknowledge that there's more to it than just her, though; after successfully saving Kayo, Satoru is reminded by signs that the killer is still on the move, that Aya and Hiromi are still targets, and shifts his efforts on saving them, too
  • Art Shift: The anime's color palette and use of depth becomes much more fleshed out and varied during sequences taking place in 1988.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Satoru's recovery is awfully fast, and the state of his body is impossible for someone who's been in a coma for fifteen years, even taking into consideration the sheer amount of physical therapy that his mother performed on him during the coma. The story does note, however, that certain conditions of his coma seemed to be medically impossible, and that his recovery speed is unusual; it's left ambiguous whether it has to do with his revival ability, the power of Heroic Resolve, a sheer miracle, or something else entirely.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Chapter 37 starts with Sachiko narrating her love for her son and how happy was to see him waking up from his 15-year coma, only to switch to Yashiro's words of happiness over seeing Satoru, his escaped murder target of particular fascination, awake again, in such a way that it's not clear at what point the speaker actually switched.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted with Kayo. Satoru notices bruises on her body at school, and in one scene, her mother forcibly puts her head in some ice cold water in the kitchen sink in an attempt to heal her wounds a little faster so as not to draw too much suspicion. He even later sees her badly beaten up and lying in a shed behind her apartment. Her mother then forces her to tell him she "fell", which he obviously doesn't believe.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The resolution of the 1988 arc ends with this. Yashiro manages to escape and his attempt to kill Satoru leaves the latter in a coma. And while Kayo, Hiromi, and Aya all go on to survive into adulthood, in the fifteen years since his accident Yashiro's crime spree continued unabated, despite Kenya's (who was now a lawyer working with the police) best efforts to track him down.
  • Bland-Name Product: Both averted and played straight. Episode 4 of the anime gives us "Zeiko" and "Saiko" clocks, but also names Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy and Nintendo/Famicom in a conversation between the children.
  • Blessed with Suck: The reruns are this for Satoru. Though their primary purpose seems to be to save lives, they dramatically and unpleasantly interfere with his already dismal life.
  • Broken Bird: Kayo, who's extremely cynical but clearly hurting due to the abuse she's dealt by her mother. She slowly starts healing thanks to Satoru's intervention.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Satoru never goes through another "revival" after he wakes up from his coma, leading him to believe that the timeline he's in is now the "true" timeline. Still, the "revival" intervenes a last time to reward Satoru by bringing Airi to him.
  • The Bus Came Back: In Chapter 35, Airi is finally reintroduced to the plot.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: The blue butterfly that appears just before Satoru experiences Revival - someone has died, and Satoru is put in a situation to make sure that person comes out alive at the end.
  • The Butterfly Effect: While not mentioned by name, the first episode of the anime shows a blue butterfly shortly before Satoru's jumps. This butterfly reappears at the end of Episode 6, before Satoru forces his own jump back.
  • Call-Back: Not in the in-universe temporal sense, but later in the story: Sachiko snaps a vegetable in two while "just thinking about things" when working with Kumi, unaware that she's Yashiro/Nishizono's next target, in the same way she did in the very first timeline when realizing that she recognizes the killer.
  • Cassandra Truth: A few examples:
    • Only Satoru believes that "Yuuki" was innocent. Everyone else thinks he kidnapped and murdered three children.
    • Averted with Airi regarding Satoru killing his mother. It may partly be because she spent a little time with him and his mom and saw that they didn't have an antagonistic relationship. It may also be as a result of her father being framed for stealing when she was with him and clearly saw he didn't do anything wrong, but was blamed for it anyway.
  • Cast as a Mask: Sort of. The first episode in the anime to give "Manabu Nishizono" speaking lines credits his role to the fake name "Ippei Oizumi", because crediting him as Mitsuru Miyamoto would make it blatantly obvious to anyone reading the credits that he's actually Yashiro.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Satoru is shocked when he looks in Yashiro's glovebox (while the reader assumes he discovered something serious), only to reveal that it's a huge stash of lollipops and candy. This returns in chapter 30, where he opens the glovebox for a lollipop, only to discover laxatives, and realizes that Yashiro has been the culprit all along when the latter drops his Wham Line.
  • Child Prodigy: Kenya, being 10, is hyper-observant and able to get a good understanding of what people are thinking by their expressions. He later becomes a major asset when he starts helping Satoru.
  • Clear My Name: Satoru intends to do so not through conventional means but rather by going back in time to stop the crime he's accused of from ever occurring.
  • Cliffhanger: Each episode in the anime ends on one to keep the suspense up, such as when Satoru managed to keep Kayo alive past "X-Day" by changing events. But then she doesn't show up to school the next day, and he finds out her fate didn't change aside from her being aged eleven rather than ten in the newspaper. And the house Airi was staying at catches on fire with a text to her from Satoru's mom telling her to stay put.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The anime takes out a number of events that contribute to the background narrative in order to fit the eight-volume story into a twelve-episode anime, starting out as Adaptation Distillation before eventually cutting out the entirety of the subplot with Airi in the second half in favor of jumping right to a confrontation with Yashiro.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: After Satoru finds Kayo badly beaten up and nearly stripped of all her clothing in a shed behind her apartment, she simply tells him "she fell". He understandably doesn't believe it at all.
  • Deconstruction: Of the Peggy Sue stories, Satoru has the ability to return to the past but he realizes there is little that he can do. He only has the overall pictures and the lack of fine details has caused him to fail before. As well as the limitation of being a child, he only succeeds when he starts getting allies that believe him.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Satoru's Verbal Tic.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Hiromi has both a feminine appearance and name and was allegedly killed because he was mistaken for a girl. Satoru later theorizes that the killer was well aware of Hiromi's gender and killed him in order to remove himself from the list of suspects, as anyone who knew Hiromi would also know that he's a boy and thus be discounted by the police as a serial killer known for targeting young girls. Satoru's theory turns out to be correct.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Yashiro's been apprehended, Satoru's enjoying a successful career with his manga about to be adapted to an anime, and he's surrounded by his friends whom he was able to prevent the deaths of. It came at the cost of fifteen years of his life that he wasn't able to spend with everyone else, but he's satisfied as long as he has his friends there to support him and fill him in. The Cosmic Retcon, however, means that his relationship with Airi is gone, but at the very end fate gifts Satoru with a chance to start his relationship with her anew.
  • Evolving Credits: Episode 11's opening credits are a little different than the ones before. Satoru, both old and young versions, is completely removed from all scenes, and Yuuki isn't in his jail cell. This means several scenes where the focus is on a blank space. The redacted lines over the character eyes in the "film strip" part are also gone.
    • Episode 12 returns Satoru to the opening, but still removes the lines over the character eyes. It also keeps the spider threads over the heads of Kayo, Airi, and Satoru's mom in one scene.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Between Satoru and Yashiro, especially in the final episodes of the anime adaptation. Yashiro becomes incredibly obsessed with Satoru after getting his plans repeatedly foiled by him, and even names him after his beloved hamster Spice for his tenacity. He spends fifteen years waiting for him to wake up from his coma, all while having numerous chances to kill him but never being able to get himself to do so, gives him Longing Looks from afar, and is clearly shown to be unable to move on with his life at all when Satoru is not around in contrast to Satoru's friends. The final confrontation between them in the finale further establishes that Yashiro's only reason for living now is because of Satoru, who tells him "they filled each others' holes", and that he is the only one in the entire world who knows the real Yashiro, which Yashiro tearfully agrees with. Yashiro even tries to commit double suicide with Satoru in the climax until he discovers Satoru survived the fall thanks to his friends. It even gets lampshaded by Satoru at one point when hearing Yashiro describe his delight at finally succeeding in trapping Satoru, who unknowingly asks him if he's talking about a lover which causes Yashiro to admit the situation is similar to a romantic one.
  • Foreshadowing: Volume 6's table of contents has the years for chapters 33 to 35 obscured by blood spatter. This is because these chapters take place in 2003 to 2005 of the new timeline.
  • Frame-Up: The killer always has someone set up to take the fall for each set of crimes he commits:
    • Yuuki took the fall for the three murders in 1988 when it was made known that he'd had contact with the victims and that he lacked a credible alibi.
    • Satoru is made to look like his mother's killer when he stumbles upon her body in his apartment, then chases the real killer by the landlady's window, creating an eyewitness to his "escape." The day before, he had broken a window during a (verbal) fight with his mother, giving him the appearance of having a motive.
    • After Satoru gains Ken'ya's trust during the second re-run, he reveals that a man that his attorney father is defending allegedly fell victim to this ploy as well, standing accused of murdering his daughter because he no longer had the means or money to take care of her. Satoru suspects this is the work of the same serial murderer.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: For just a split second in the opening, you can see the reflection of the real killer in the broken shards of Satoru's glasses.
  • Friend to All Children: What Yuki really was. He would speak out to awkward children to keep them company and would be happy if they made friends.
  • Fugitive Arc: Satoru is on the run as a suspect in his mother's murder in 2006 in the original and modified original timelines.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Invoked by the real killer. He put homosexual books in Yuuki's room which added with Yuuki's tendency to befriend children made him look very suspicious
  • Genki Girl: Downplayed with Airi Katagiri. She's cutesy and energetic but extremely serious when the situation calls for it.
  • Genius Thriller: Most of the series is about child Satoru using his time travel powers to effectively outsmart adults, particularly the killer.
  • Good Job Breaking It Hero: In the original time line Kenya testified that he saw Yuuki talking to Kayo giving the police more evidence.
  • Green Rooming: Airi is introduced in the first episode of the anime, then isn't seen again until episode five. However, it's justified in this example, as the next few episodes take place in the past, at least a year before she was born.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The reruns consist of Satoru reliving a span of time repeatedly until he averts the tragedy they're heralding.
    • Groundhog Peggy Sue: And then he's sent eighteen years into the past (twice in the story so far after failing his first rerun) to stop the murders of three children from his hometown.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Sachiko is killed because she recognized the kidnapper. Airi is targeted because she'd seen their face as a customer, and would be able to identify him to anyone who asked the right questions.
    • In chapter 31 (Episode 10 of the anime), Yashiro attempts to drown the ten-year-old Satoru for this reason.
  • Heroic Neutral: At the beginning of the series, Satoru would prefer not to involve himself in people's lives and yet does so every time someone around him is in trouble. He starts growing out of this mold after befriending Kayo and committing himself to his mission.
  • Heroic Willpower: Done several times, especially near the end. First when Satoru's doctor tells him that willpower can create medical miracles and again in the penultimate chapter. Satoru repeats the doctor's line before he charges through a burning building, on fire himself, and tackles Yashiro into the river below.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The girl that tried to blame Kayo for stealing the student's lunch money ends up horribly embarrassing herself after Satoru comes to Kayo's defense. His friends then state that anyone could have taken the money from Satoru's desk, then placed it in Kayo's to frame her. Finally, their teacher says that since Kayo was on class duty that day, her having the money wouldn't be suspicious at all. Kayo later tells Satoru that she didn't get along with that girl, due to an earlier incident where she kept making fun of her pencils, prompting Kayo to toss the other girl's mechanical pencil out the window.
  • Indirect Kiss: Yashiro uses this concept to drug Kumi near the end of the manga. Realizing her Precocious Crush on Satoru, he sets out his used thermos with a note telling her where to go; she recalls him having used the thermos, blushes, and starts to drink.
  • Japanese Dialects: As Satoru grew up in Hokkaido, all of the characters in 1988 speak with the Hokkaido dialect, with the exception of Yuuki, whom Satoru suspects is intentionally suppressing it to sound more mature. Later on, Satoru suppressing it for similar reasons (he's spent his adulthood in Tokyo) causes Kenya to correctly suspect that something's different about him.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: It becomes obvious within a few seconds of his introduction that 'Yuuki', the young man who befriends the kids of Satoru's class, isn't all there in the head. This, unfortunately, makes it all the easier for the serial child-killer operating in the neighbourhood to frame him for their crimes.
  • Mama Bear: Sachiko Fujinuma, an overworked single mother, is this for her son, going so far as to discount his testimony in favor of Yuuki's innocence so that he can just forget about the horror of the abductions. She later regrets this with her dying breath. Played straight, however, when she stops Kayo's mom from slapping Kayo after witnessing Satoru attempting to get her permission to take Kayo to a museum that Saturday.
  • Maybe Ever After: Along with Kayo, Satoru also has a developing romantic connection with Airi, especially in the manga. In the very last scene, Satoru is back under the bridge where he met with Airi before, and Airi suddenly shows up having a new first (or in the manga second) meeting in the new timeline as she asks to take shelter from the snow with him beneath the bridge. The story ends with Satoru repeating that the future is a blank sheet of paper and only your willpower can leave your footprints in it, suggesting the possibility of him creating a relationship with her anew in this new timeline.
  • Meaningful Echo: "The future is always a blank sheet of paper. Only your willpower can leave your footprints on it." Used after Satoru finally saves Kayo from her abusive household, paving the way for her happier future, and when Satoru reunites with Airi in the new timeline, allowing them to start their relationship anew.
    • "Are you stupid?", Kayo's Catch-Phrase, is delivered to Satoru by Airi when she saves him after his first failed attempt at saving Kayo.
    • "Snip snip. Mr. Fujinuma, you always seem to be covered by some thin membrane. That's why you won't open up your heart to others." Airi says this to Satoru during her conversation with him in the hospital, and it's repeated by Kumi, in the new timeline, when Satoru's in a stupor after recovering his memories and failing to reconnect with Airi.
  • Meaningful Name: Kayo names her and Hiromi's son "Mirai", meaning "future"; unbeknownst to her, her son quite literally represents the future that Satoru created in saving both his parents. The amnesiac Satoru uses this name to remind himself of his childhood dream (and past life) career as a manga artist.
    • Satoru's name means "to perceive, understand or realize", which is his job in the plot regarding the murders.
  • Mental Time Travel: How Satoru is able to jump through time.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Satoru tends to get just as flustered at Kayo's actions as one would expect from an actual ten year-old boy towards a girl. Badly enough he has to consciously remind himself he's an adult. He also regularly makes many of the same impulsive errors he did when he was originally a child, such as using all of the money his mother gives him for shopping on sandwich ingredients.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Jun "Yuuki" Shiratori is convicted of kidnapping and murdering Kayo, Aya, and Hiromi, despite maintaining his innocence. In 2006, he's on death row after his attempts at an appeal are denied.
  • Mistaken for Gay: The real killer placed homosexual books in Yuuki's room to make Hiromi's murder look like an action of lust.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Played for drama with Yuuki. The real killer used the fact that Yuuki was known to hang around children to pin the crimes on him.
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence: When Satoru first walks into his classroom after having been sent back to 1988, one of the first signs he really has gone back in time is discussion between his classmates about Dragon Quest III. Choujuu Sentai Liveman is later mentioned in chapter 11 (episode 4).
    • The signs indicating that Satoru's lived a full life from 1988 to 2006 already when he's struggling with his amnesia are defined by real-life changes that Japan had undergone during that time period.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Yuuki. He's awkward around people his own age and prefers to hang out with children instead. Satoru initially suspected he was unemployed since he was always around when the kids were getting out of school but later found out he was working part-time for his father's lunch delivery company, and his shift ended around noon.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: A manga whose protagonist is a struggling manga artist.
  • Mysterious Waif: Kayo, whom Satoru initially only knew as "the girl in the red coat who was often alone". Consequently, when he's transported back to the past, he makes more of an effort to find out who she is, and what happened to her.
  • Mythology Gag: The last chapter of the manga makes two references to the anime adaptation, which had started airing two months prior to the chapter's release: a text message Satoru gets is titled "Re:Re:" (the title of the anime's opening song), and Satoru's success as a manga artist is exemplified by his manga having an anime adaptation in the works.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Satoru complains that getting involved with other people only ever lands him in hot water. He gets hit by a car and subsequently hospitalized for saving a child's life, and later, his mother is murdered for stopping an attempted kidnapping.
  • Non-Residential Residence: Satou has Kayo live on an abandoned school bus for a few days to protect her from her abusive mother.
  • Oh, Crap!: Yashiro has this reaction in Chapter 41 when he discovers that Kumi is not where he had texted her to go, not knowing that this was due to the text that he had sent to her phone from Sachiko's phone being intercepted by Satoru and Kenya, who then sent a text to Kumi to meet Kenya elsewhere.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Jun Shiratori is known only as Yuuki by the children since he's always talking about courage. note 
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Kenya becomes suspicious of Satoru because Satoru's behavior and personality suddenly become much different in February, 1988. He likens it to a mask covering up the "real" Satoru and eventually confronts Satoru over this. While Satoru doesn't reveal the truth about Revival to Kenya, he's at least able to assuage Kenya's fears and enlist his friend's aid in saving Kayo.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The scene where Satoru is introduced to Kayo's son, Mirai, is shown twice, once in episode 11 of the anime and once at the start of episode 12. The second time round it's revealed that this is when the amnesiac Satoru recovered his memories.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: In chapter 31, Satoru can't undo his seatbelt when he's trapped in the car the killer is about to send into the water. This is, naturally, invoked by Yashiro, who had the car prepared in advance with the intent to murder Satoru.
  • Put on a Bus: Despite being a rather major character and one of the few people Satoru can genuinely count on, Airi is naturally absent from the plot whenever he time travels back to 1988.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The anime adaption uses red eyes as shorthand for a character having malicious thoughts.
  • Running Gag: Several.
  • Screw Destiny: Satoru's determination to save others, even at the expense of bad things happening to him as a result, such as saving a young boy from getting hit by a truck, but crashing into an oncoming car in the process.
  • Serial Killer: The perpetrator behind the child abductions and murders is one.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The premise of the show as Satoru works to save Kayo, Aya and Hiromi.
  • Shipper on Deck: Satoru's friends are quite eager to hook him up with Kayo after several of them notice he's been staring at her a lot.
  • Snow Means Death: Kayo seemingly froze to death outside in winter, her body only turning up when the snow melted. Her short story about wishing to go somewhere far away happens to take place on a tropical island. This story reappears when she is finally safe, away from the killer and her abusive mother.
  • Snow Means Love: On the other hand, many of the romantic scenes between Satoru and Kayo also involve snow, including their first meeting and their visit to the icicle-covered "Christmas tree." They even give each other mittens as birthday presents. Subverted, as they do not end up together. In the final scene, Satoru reunites with Airi when she asks to share his snow shelter (under the bridge they visited in previous timelines). This could be taken as a straight version of the trope, or some sort of twist on it since they're both avoiding the snow; after all, snow meant death back in the beginning of the story.
  • Starving Artist: Mostly downplayed with Satoru. Though he does live in a tiny apartment, he at least has a part time job as a pizza delivery driver. His editor does tell him that his stories don't seem to dig deep enough to connect to readers.
  • Suicide, Not Murder: Gaku Yashiro managed to cover up the murders of his older brother (back when they were kids), and a psychiatric counselor that he was engaged to.
  • That One Case: The TV reporter Sawada, who used to work with Sachiko, herself a former TV anchor, is convinced that the serial murders that took place in his town eighteen years ago were not the work of Jun Shiratori but of an experienced killer who had been active in cases prior to and since said murders. In 2006, he still has a file on the case, which he later shows to Satoru to help him find his mother's (presumably the same) killer.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!:
    • The real killer blends in seamlessly with his environment. After all, who would suspect a young, good-natured elementary school teacher of being a serial child murderer?
    • Also, who would suspect a prominent city councilor of being that same serial child murderer?
  • Title Drop: Chapter 8 of the manga, as well as the title of Kayo's student composition that appears in the same chapter, in which she imagines being able to escape to an island and "the town where only [she's] missing" functioning the same as ever without her. The difference is they use the pronoun "watashi," referring to Kayo, while the title of the manga uses the pronoun "boku," referring to Satoru. The actual word-for-word title drop finally appears in chapter 36, in which it's revealed that the title refers not to the composition, but the world after the Cosmic Retcon in which Satoru saves the other children from being murdered but he himself ended up in a coma for fifteen years, therefore being "the town where only [he's] missing".
  • Trap Is the Only Option: Satoru and Kenya are fully aware that the 2005 Sasanqua Park event for rehabilitating patients is a trap, in which Kumi will be killed and Satoru will be framed for it by Yashiro. They decide to turn this "trap" into a "chance" to catch him.
  • Villain Episode: Chapter 32 delves into Gaku Yashiro's past.
  • We Were Your Team: Subverted. After Satoru gets put into a coma, his gang of friends don't disband, but rather start raising funds for Satoru's medical bills. In fact, they are, according to Ken'ya, still doing it after Satoru woke up, which also means they all still hold contact with each other even 15 years later.
  • Wham Line: Chapter 30:
    • Episode four fives us "Is Kayo the only one who's late?"
    • "This isn't my car."
  • Wham Shot: When Satoru opens Yashiro's glove box and finds laxatives inside instead of candy.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In episode five, Airi's manager tells her that he's worried about Satoru too, hinting that he also believes Satoru is innocent. However, she quickly finds out that he was lying, as she spots him trying to call the police after spotting Satoru heading back to her house. She ends up punching him in the face for it.
  • When She Smiles: Kayo has a genuine one after Satoru takes her up the mountain to see a "Christmas Tree". Though she seemingly protests it, particularly as it's now February, she still seems quite happy to see this sight.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: With Yashiro apprehended, Yuuki's rebuilding his family's fallen food factory with a wife he'd met in a Southeast Asian country and a child; Kazu's working in construction, and may have advanced his relationship with Aya; Osamu works as a chef; Kenya works under Sawada; Kayo and Hiromi are living happily with their son; Kumi's gotten into middle school; Sachiko lives with her son, with a far better relationship with him than she had in the original timeline; Satoru's graduated high school, is advancing a successful career as a manga artist, and is able to rekindle his relationship to Airi again.
    • The anime epilogue does something similar too. After confirming his most current draft with his editor, Satoru takes a trip back to his hometown, and meets with everyone there again; first with Yuki and his family; then with his surviving friends, including Aya (who the manga epilogue only alluded to) AND Misato (who the manga epilogue didn't even hint at, despite being an "alternate" target), the latter of whom seemed to have joined the circle of friends while Satoru was in a coma. Much like the manga however, Satoru and Airi meet up again, amidst one of the snowiest days of 2010, while the the latter was taking pictures of the snowfall. Now isn't THAT heartwarming?
  • You Can't Fight Fate: What happens to Satoru during his first time travel back to 1988 in order to prevent Kayo's disappearance and murder. Though he did delay it, she still ends up dying. Eventually averted when he decides to take definitive action with the help of others around him, pulling a Screw Destiny and changing the timeline for good.

Alternative Title(s): Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi

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