Name: ERASED Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi
Genre: Supernatural, Mystery, Psychological, Thriller
Director: Itou Tomohiko
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Original Airtime: Jan 8,2016 – March 25, 2016
ERASED follows Satoru Fujinuma who is a struggling mangaka. Satoru possesses a supernatural power called ‘Revival’ which enables him to prevent deaths and disasters by travelling back in time. But he is unable to control this power at will and whenever something bad is about to happen he is automatically sent back in time to prevent it from happening. How does this ability affect his life?
The set up of ERASED is superb. It gets the viewers hooked in the very first episode. You really cannot ask for a better first episode from a show. From that point on the show just kept on getting better. But here is the problem- take a look at some top notch anime like FMAB, Code Geass, Death Note etc all of them are way beyond the 12 episode mark. To put it simply it is just too difficult of a task to pull of great story in 12 episodes. And that is where ERASED struggled big time. From episode 6 the rushing started. By the time they went to episode 9 they actually cut out quite a bit of the manga material. And there are instances where they actually deviated from the manga story line. I am not saying that not following the manga is a crime. But if you are going to deviate from the manga at least make sure you do it properly. The manga of ERASED itself made sort of a mess in wrapping up the story. And the anime was going in that direction completely sidestepping big roles of some key characters. However, an amazing final episode just saved the show some blushes. Despite making a real mess in the mid section ERASED went out with a strong finish. The pacing was impeccable at start but became very irregular later on. But nonetheless a story that deserves plaudit and acclaims.
Now these problems with the story line might be more evident to people who have read the manga like myself. Those who haven’t read it will not notice these flaws much and it might appear okay to them. This is where the differences of opinions about ERASED stem from. If you judge the anime as independent from the manga, the anime does a good job with the story and in fact it has one of the best stories in anime in recent times apart from a few hiccups in episode 11.
The characters of ERASED are good. They are commendable. However, the thing is the story is just too short. So there is just not enough room to explore all the characters. Apart from Satoru, Kayo, Airi and Kenya I really felt like the characters just weren’t up to the mark. When we talk about proper exploration of characters you want to know the ins and outs of a characters, what are their motives and how do they contribute to the story. In case of ERASED apart from 3-4 pivotal characters you barely get to know the other characters. Some of them are actually just there to make up the numbers. However, having said all that I must admit Satoru is an extremely refreshing protagonist. He is arguably the standout character of the show. He’s the prime example of how a certain regret in your life can affect your future greatly. He is also an example of how a regret-less life can be fulfilling. I personally liked Airi too. She is a genuinely nice person and her character traits also stem from a certain regret in her life. But her role has been massively reduced in the anime. She is a pivotal character on the context of the manga and really flourished in her role in the manga but she just made some bit par appearances in the anime.
Like Satoru and Airi some of the other characters are also shown to have regrets and these have affected their future. For example: Kenya and Hiroomi. Their regrets of not being able to believe in Satoru and help him had influenced their paths in career. That’s why Kenya became a lawyer and Hiroomi became a doctor. So in that sense ERASED focuses a lot on ‘regrets’ a catalyst in character buildup.
I personally felt that the antagonist of the show could have been done better. His motives behind the killings ultimately boil down to ‘enjoyment’ or ‘filling the hole in his heart’ or ‘living the best moment of life.’ So, in a sense he is nothing but a psychopath. Which is not bad but I think he could be executed better. The manga of ERASED actually did a better job of defining him than the anime.
Here are some notable characters from the anime:
The art style of ERASED is amazing. I loved the drawing and color choices. If you read the manga, you would realize the anime actually is a massive leap forward compared to the manga in terms of drawing. The lack of edge or fine finishing in manga’s drawing was properly rectified in the anime adaptation. The animation is great as well. A-1 pictures did a great work in bringing the manga to life.
One thing that must be said is the direction of Itou Tomohiko was absolutely mind-blowing in ERASED. There are so many scenes that are so well done in the anime. Even a scene of Satoru walking to the park was done masterfully with the surrounding environment reflecting his thoughts and mental state. The very last moments of the anime were done so beautifully. Especially the scenes where Satoru is sitting under the bridge reminiscing and afterward Airi runs in. That scene alone carried so much emotion that the manga could not.
Here are some screenshots from the anime:
ERASED does a fantastic job in the music department. The music direction was impeccable and the background score were simply beautiful as expected from Yuki Kajiura. Both the openning theme, “Re:Re:” by Asian Kung-Fu Generation and the ending theme, “Sore wa Shiisana Hikari no Youna” by Sayuri were spectacular. The music was executed to perfection and suited the show to a T.
Unless you are extremely picky about even the most minor of things ERASED is actually extremely enjoyable. The cliffhangers are just unbearable, there were tons of sweet moments, great art and music, some interesting characters. Basically, ERASED has everything to entertain you. But at the same time you will notice that the show suffered a drop in quality in the middle section. Though a great ending made for lot of them but still it’s a flaw worth pointing fingers at.
ERASED had massive potential to become something really special and the first few episodes were really spectacular. But it failed to deliver in some accounts. Nonetheless ERASED is an extremely good anime and one of the better anime of Winter 2016. It is definitely worth giving a shot and I assure you that you’ll enjoy it.