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Manga / ERASED

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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

ERASED, known in Japan as Boku dake ga Inai Machi,note  is a Psychological Thriller and human drama Seinen manga series by Kei Sanbe. It was serialized in Kadokawa's Young Ace magazine from June 4, 2012 to March 4, 2016. A spinoff manga titled Boku dake ga Inai Machi Gaiden, which feature side stories not covered in the main plot, was serialized from June 4 to November 4, 2016. In addition, a spinoff novel titled Another Record starring Kenya Kobayashi was serialized from November 2015 to March 2016 and was penned by Hajime Ninomae of nitro+. Yen Press has licensed the manga for North America.

Satoru Fujinuma is a 29-year-old struggling mangaka with exactly one published work under his belt and a part-time job as a pizza delivery driver. 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 again and again until he spots the oddity. Unwilling though he is to interfere, Satoru consistently and successfully completes each revival, oftentimes at his own personal detriment. Understandably, he consider his ability to be a hindrance, preferring not to get involved with other people.

Then one day, in a grocery store parking lot, a revival Satoru has sets off a chain of events that ends with his mother's murder and him being set up as her killer. This incident triggers a powerful revival that sends him back eighteen years in the past to his fifth grade class in February 1988, a month before the first of three children from his hometown are kidnapped and killed by a Serial Killer.

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.

An Animated Adaptation by A-1 Pictures aired from January 8 to March 25, 2016 and ran for twelve episodes. Crunchyroll streamed the anime, which can be viewed here.

A live-action movie was released on March 19, 2016. Additionally, Netflix released a twelve episode live-action series on their platform in December 2017.

ERASED contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Kayo's mother (and presumably her mother's boyfriend as well) physically and verbally abuses her.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime condenses quite a bit of the material from the manga to fit the entire story into twelve episodes. This is especially apparent in the anime's adaptation of events following the 15 year Time Skip, but also true of many events prior to it, stretching as far back as the beginning.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Yashiro's Freudian Excuse was omitted in 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 29-year-old in the body of a 10-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 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.
  • Age-Down Romance: 29-year-old Satoru's consciousness is transferred into his 11-year-old self so that he can rescue his classmate Kayo from a grisly murder. Satoru finds himself developing a crush on her, and they have some Puppy Love moments of romantic tension, but the relationship is never explicit.
  • 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. This wasn't the initial intent, however. Since Hiromi was quite effeminate, the killer hoped the police would look for someone who didn't know him and know he's a boy, thus diverting suspicion. He's implied to have hidden these books only after finding out his chosen scapegoat knew Hiromi and knew his gender, in order to explain the exception.
  • 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 written in kanji as 再上映, normally read "saijyouei" 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 (16:9), 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, a city councilor by the name of Manabu Nishizono is introduced. "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. Weirdly enough, another alternate reading is "Satoru".
  • 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 zeroes in on rescuing her and doesn't pay a single thought to Aya 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 when he discovers that 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 he shifts his efforts on saving them too.
  • Arc Words: Kayo frequently says "Are you stupid?" to Satoru, even as she warms up to him. He says it to himself when he realizes Yashiro is the killer, and how obvious it was.
  • 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 she 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. It's done in a way where it's not clear when the switch actually takes place. In fact, it's even possible that it happens nearly right away, or that much of the monologue applies to both of them.
  • 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. Yashiro would ultimately be arrested once he's finally caught. This is downplayed in the anime where Yashiro says he didn't commit any crimes in the intervening 15 years.
  • Bland-Name Product: Zigzagged. Episode 4 of the anime gives us "Zeiko" and "Saiko" clocks, but also names Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy and the Famicom in a conversation between the children.
  • Blessed with Suck: The revivals 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 one 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 a revival; someone has died and Satoru is put in a situation to make sure that person comes out alive at the end.
  • Butterfly of Doom: 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:
    • 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.
  • Casting Gag:
  • 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 manages 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 is staying at catches on fire with a text to her from Satoru 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?: This is 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 into 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.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: In the anime, Yashiro's voice becomes noticeably deeper and huskier pretty much the exact moment that it starts to sink in for Satoru that he's the murderer. To be specific, right after Satoru notices that the box in the glove compartment is a box of laxatives. The next time we see Yashiro, their voice is deeper and huskier still, because he's over a decade older and solidly middle-aged.
  • 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.
    • While the manga has a different final showdown and so lacks a lot of that subtext, it provides plenty of its own: As aforementioned under Bait-and-Switch, there is an internal monologue in which Sachiko expresses how happy she was to see Satoru waking from his coma; but an unspecified amount of that monologue is implied to apply to Yashiro as well. The monologue contains phrases like, "When I lost Satoru, everything I saw seemed dull and faded"; "The image of your sleeping form was never far from my mind's eye"; after Satoru woke up: "I'm not alone anymore. My tears of joy wouldn't stop"; and after having seen Satoru go out into the hospital yard for the first time: "The way you looked as you breathed in the fresh air once more and were bathed in the sun's rays… you looked mighty and saintly in these eyes." After we have definitely switched to Yashiro's viewpoint, he goes onto say that he was "mesmerized", and then, "When I saw you, a feeling of elation that had eluded me for over a decade filled me up from within … Only you, the one person I couldn't kill in the past, gave me two things. Elation and trepidation." He also says "I've awoken with you. The impulses I've kept locked inside have begun to stir", referring to the fact that he stopped killing children after Satoru went into a coma, but regained his desire for it after Satoru woke up. In a later chapter, while narrating how killing people made him feel alive, but then Satoru appeared and purposely got in his way, he says "Satoru… How you stimulated me", and then "You're the one person who's given me joy in this life."
  • 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.
  • Forgotten First Meeting:
    • In the manga, when Satoru was four, he unknowingly stopped the serial killer's first attempt by following his friend to a building. While he didn't interact because of fear nor he saw the killer's face due to darkness, he only remembered the killer's malicious eyes.
    • When Yashiro realized that it's same kid who thwarted his first attempt, he views Satoru as his fated enemy.
  • 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 Kenya's trust during the second revival, 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 killer.
  • 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.
    • The ending credits has one: the rope noose, a pair scissors that cuts a thread and finally a hamster riding on a wheel. These are things that are related to the serial killer's backstory.
  • Friend to All Children: What Yuuki 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.
  • Genius Thriller: Most of the series is about child Satoru using his time travel powers to effectively outsmart adults, particularly the killer.
  • Genki Girl: Downplayed with Airi. She's cutesy and energetic but extremely serious when the situation calls for it.
  • 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 case as the next few episodes take place in the past, at least a year before she was born.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The revivals consist of Satoru reliving a span of time repeatedly until he averts the tragedy they're heralding.
  • Groundhog Peggy Sue: Satoru is sent eighteen years into the past to stop the murders of three children from his hometown.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Sachiko is killed because she recognized the killer.
    • Airi is targeted because she'd seen the killer's face as a customer, and would be able to identify him to anyone who asked the right questions.
    • Yashiro attempts to drown the 11-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. The first time this happens is when Satoru's doctor tells him that willpower can create medical miracles. In the penultimate chapter, Satoru repeats his doctor's line before he charges through a burning bridge, on fire himself, and tackles Yashiro into the river below.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Misato's attempt to blame Kayo for stealing the class' lunch money blows up in her face after Satoru comes to Kayo's defense. His friends then state that anyone could have taken the money from his 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 Misato, due to an earlier incident where the latter kept making fun of her pencils, prompting Kayo to toss Misato'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.
  • 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. Unfortunately, this makes it all the easier for the killer operating in the neighborhood to frame him for their crimes.
  • Mama Bear: Sachiko, 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. This is 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.
  • Mature Work, Child Protagonists: The series is a seinen psychological crime thriller in which Satoru gets sent back in time when he was an elementary school student. As such, much of the story focuses on him reliving a crucial part of his childhood trying to protect his friends and hunt down a serial killer.
  • 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." This is 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 Catchphrase, 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:
    • Satoru's name means "to perceive, understand or realize", which is his job in the plot regarding the murders.
    • 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.
  • 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 10-year-old boy towards a girl. 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: Yuuki 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the original timeline, Kenya testified that he saw Yuuki talking to Kayo, which gave the police more evidence against Yuuki.
  • 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: Satoru has Kayo live in 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 very 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.
  • Physical Therapy Plot: Satoru has to undergo this to regain his strength and mobility after spending 15 years in a coma.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: In Chapter 31, Satoru can't undo his seat belt 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 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 uses red eyes as shorthand for a character having malicious thoughts.
  • Reused Character Design: Some of the characters has a quite similar personalities and appearances of Sanbe's previous works: Hoozuki no Shima and Cradle of Monsters.
  • Running Gag:
  • 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 series 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: Many of the romantic scenes between Satoru and Kayo involve snow, including their first meeting and their visit to the icicle covered "Christmas tree." They even give each other mittens as birthday presents. This is ultimately 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 this, 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: 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 Yuuki 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 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 killer? Also, who would suspect a prominent city councilor of being that same killer?
  • 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 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 Kenya, still doing it after Satoru woke up, which also means they all still hold contact with each other even 15 years later.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Is Kayo the only one who's late?"
    • "This isn't my car."
  • Wham Shot: When Satoru opens Yashiro's glovebox and finds laxatives inside instead of candy.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In episode 5, 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 with Airi again.
    • The anime epilogue. 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 Yuuki 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 revival back to 1988 in order to prevent Kayo's disappearance and murder. Though he did delay it, she still ends up dying. This is 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