Erased Anime Review
Before I really jump into the review, I’m gonna say it straight out. GO WATCH ERASED. This is a show that deserves to be watched with little to no knowledge. The less you know about the story the more engaging it will be.
Now I know it’s late but after my three complete viewings of Erased, I have finally decided to do a review for it. With that being said Let’s start the review.
Story of Erased
The story in Erased follows the main character, Satouru Fujinuma who is a 29 year old Pizza delivery guy who isn’t very happy with where he is in life. However Satoru has an ability he calls “Revival” which allows him to go back in time 5 to 10 minutes to prevent some kind of catastrophic event from happening. However eventually his mother get’s murdered triggering a “Revival” that sends him back, not 5 or 10 minutes, but 18 years into the past to prevent his mothers murder and find the culprit responsible.
Now it’s very rare to see a show have a clear focus on where it wants to go and how it wants to get there. I like to think that Erased is one of those rare shows. From beginning to end the show has a keen sense of what it wants to show and when it wants to show it. Because of this, every scene or frame feels like it holds some kind of importance. Whether it be a scene where we see a newspaper article, or a frame with a mask. Everything shown feels like it’s there to help further the plot as well as give the audience clues so that they can formulate their own conclusions about the mystery. And I realized during my second and third viewing of the show that there are even some clues that you might miss if you aren’t paying attention. And because of this, the show also has some of best pacing I’ve seen in a while. Not once in my three viewings of this show did I get bored, or uninterested, and very rarely did I think that it was jarring to watch and because of this the transitioning between past and present was done seamlessly as well. This is greatly due to the aforementioned focus that the show has. Erased set’s up the information and events in a way that flows into the next extremely smoothly which prevents the feeling of “What the hell just happened”. However the shows biggest strength as a mystery, is its decision to not treat its audience like children. Never are we spoon fed information and exposition to the point where every single little detail is explained to us and this allows the audience to stay engaged as we are constantly trying to piece everything together.
When I think about it, Erased is really told in three acts. The first two acts really focus on Satoru trying to change things from his past that directly involve the people around him in order to prevent certain events from happening, and all of this connects extremely well into the final act in which everything comes into fruition. There are multiple story arcs that the anime goes through but these story arcs don’t stray from getting to the conclusion. They provide an engaging, interesting, and necessary bridge between Satoru’s overall goals. The reason I wanted to mention this is because a lot of people mention that the shows shift in focus during the first two arcs don’t fit with Satoru’s initial goal, which I find to be an invalid argument as to why the story in this show is bad.
Nonethless Erased is one of the better mystery anime as it gives you options as to how you want to watch it. You can actively watch the show and try to solve the mystery along with the characters or you can simply sit back, relax, and watch everything unfold.
Now the story does have some major problems that I would like to address as no anime is without flaw. The first one being the ridiculous shift in pacing in the last two episodes. It’s inexcusable to rush the most pivotal moment of a show, which is the conclusion. And Erased did just that. The last two episodes of the show were extremely rushed and felt like a lot of the story elements used in the finale were lackluster and didn’t offer the same emotional impact and intrigue that the rest of the show did. Now although this might seem like a contradiction to my statement saying that the pacing was great, I honestly still think that the writers had a lot more from the source material to work with, but they got stuck with a 12 episode limit. I think that if the show were at least two or three episodes longer they could have really fleshed out the final act and made it just as engaging as the rest of the show. But for working with the episode limit that they got and how they dealt with the ending with the remaining ones, although disappointing, it was satisfying enough for me not to smite it with the fury of angry gods. There is also one specific story element that focuses on the female protagonists family that I felt could have been a lot done better. This part of the story is quickly introduced, then takes a huge backseat and is really only there to provide a reason for character actions, and is never utilized well enough for me to say that it was interesting, and the worst part was that the explanation and resolution to this story arc was extremely dull and just completely random. It was obvious that they wanted to pull the heartstrings here but it just wasn’t focused on or emphasized enough for the moment to really leave a lasting impact.
Now although this isn’t really a major issue, I honestly would have liked to have been given some kind of backstory for the “revival” ability. Now I say it isn’t a major issue, because it really is just a plot device used to really get us into the meat of the story, however I think it would have been interesting to explore how he got these powers to begin with. But again it’s not a problem that really affects the show.
Overall regardless of these problems the combination of all the good elements in an anime such as Erased, is the perfect formula for an engaging and thrilling experience that keeps you at the edge of your seat. And luckily that’s what I got.
Characters of Erased
The characters in Erased are by far the shining aspect of this show. It has a diverse cast of lovable, interesting, and fun characters that are all fairly well developed. First I really want to give the writers props for the way that they gave development to the supporting cast. Rather than giving every single character screen time where they just talk about their back story and their goals and aspirations, they utilize every single one of the characters to develop one another. Especially Satoru’s friends. All of these characters are given a fairly generic archetype, such as the loveable big guy, the girly boy, and of course the good looking one whose also super smart and doesn’t act their age. But they make everyone of these characters feel genuine by developing them through the bonds that we get to see grow and evolve through their interactions with Satoru, Hinazuki, as well as the remaining cast of supporting characters. So it never feels like these characters are useless or just there because plot. We actually genuinely begin to care for them as we start to think about how the other characters would react if one were to disappear or possibly even die. However there are a couple characters that really feel more likeable than others due to lack of screentime that some of the supporting characters get.
Now our main character, Satoru Fujinuma, is probably one of my favorite MC’s from this year so far. He goes through such a unique development as the show progresses and we learn more about his past life and his present life. There’s also a really interesting juxtaposition between his character at the beginning of the show and after his “revival” when it comes to their attitude, and view on the world as we learn that before this “Revival” past Satoru wasn’t all that different when compared to present Satoru. It’s really great to see the character develop from this person with no goal and lack of motivation, to this person who has a drive to succeed and do more. Satoru becomes a character we really root for, and when he fails we feel what he feels, and when he succeeds we feel great like he does. He even goes through a lot of minor changes that showcase his state of mind which really makes this character feel genuine. One of my favorite scenes being the one where Satoru speaks to his mother after his Revival.
When it comes to our female protagonist, Hinazuki Kayo, although an interesting and well written character as well, was given a very linear development. we see her grow from this quiet and distant character to one that becomes more open. Now this isn’t bad by any means, I just thought that, as compared to Satoru, she wasn’t given as much depth and complexity as I wanted. However just because her development is linear doesn’t mean she isn’t a great character. Hinazuki is a character that you begin to genuinely feel sympathetic for and it’s great to see how we, the audience, feel this more and more as we see her gradually start to become more confident, and more open.
I think that this characters greatest strength comes from her relationship with Satoru as every scene involving these two characters is thoroughly enjoyable to watch. Another interesting little thing that I noticed is that when Hinazuki becomes a pivotal character in scenes, the two are rarely ever separated which I thought was a very nice and subtle way to emphasize their bond and closeness. And when they are separated it’s normally at the beginning when their relationship has still yet to be established and when there are moments of fear, anguish, stress, or anticipation.
But of course there are some issues I have to address related to the characters in this show.
One of the bigger issues stemming from the setup of a character named Yuuki. This character was a complete and utter waste of space in this anime. Throughout the entire setup for this show, it emphasized how much of an important and pivotal character he was, but he only ever got five or ten minutes of actual proper screen time. In all honesty I completely forgot that he was even in the show until the last three or four episodes. It became more and more apparent that there just wasn’t enough time and space amongst all the other characters and story arcs to actually put this character into motion. So it just boggles my mind why they would make such a huge deal about him in the beginning rather than just simply giving us basic information about his overall involvement.
Another character that I feel got the short end of the stick was Airi. My god was she a loveable character. I honestly would have loved to see more of this character. Everytime she was on screen I had a great time. She was a fun and charismatic character with an ideal that I could get behind. Although not as bad as what happened to Yuuki, I just wish there was just a little more time spent developing her as a character as well as her relationship with Satoru as the chemistry between them was fantastic.
I just thought that the characters had a lot more good as compared to the bad, and thought they were well thought out and executed. Also I have to give props to the Japanese Voice actors as they did a fantastic job at making these characters come to life.
Art of Erased
A-1 Pictures has really done a great job. I absolutely love the art in this show. The simplicity of the art really fits with the tone and overall atmosphere that the show has to offer. I also think the fact that because the story was very heavy the light and simple art style really complemented the shows story. But even though the art was simple in design, there was some fantastic use, with some of the gorgeous scenes and frames within the anime. Honestly you could turn some of the scenes into posters, or screen savers. They were just that pretty to look at. However Erased used it’s art in a way that I haven’t seen it used in anime, in a long time.
It used colors to further develop the story and characters. Which is not something a lot of anime nowadays do. It really adds a more thematic element to the series. Erased uses colors such as red, gray, black, and even purple to foreshadow and give both a metaphorical and physical interpretation of certain things in the show. For example a scene involving Hinazuki where she is standing in a park under a lamp. This is also the first scene we see Hinazuki. The use of the colors in this frame not only tell us that there is something eerie, and dark happening around her but we can also see that she is only within a certain area of the light eminating from the lamp, which emphasizes and solidifies aspects of the character such as her being closed off from the outside and hardly having any friends, and that she keeps to herself, and that she’s surrounded by darkness. You can gather all this information just from looking at the scene, it’s art style, and the color. It’s a subtle little details that really make me think that the art in this show is amazing. I could go on for hours talking about the great use of color and art is but I won’t do that in this video. However the art in Erased really goes to show that anime isn’t just great for bouncing boobies and great fight scenes but that it’s still amazing for visual storytelling.
Music of Erased
Now the music in the show was good. It’s not good to the point where I’ll go out and buy the soundtrack for the show, but it’s good enough to enhance the mood and atmosphere in the scenes that need them. The soundtrack has a good range of eerie and haunting melodies, as well as a good amount of nice calming songs to balance it out. However actual use of the music within the show, was not so great. Although the soundtrack worked, I wish there was a more diverse set of music used throughout the entire show. I just felt like I kept hearing the same two or three songs every single episode. There was even a scene where Satoru and Kenya were talking on the staircase that I thought could have used some different music as the song that was used just didn’t seem like it was right for the situation. I won’t really talk too much about the Opening and Endings as that is just up to personal taste. I’ll just say that I liked the Opening but not the ending.
Overall of Erased
It’s nice to be able to watch an anime that knows what it wants. Erased was one of those shows I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. With a fairly well written and executed story, a cast of fantastic characters, and some of the best utilization of visual storytelling I’ve seen in a while. Erased is a show deserving of the immense hype and praise that it has been receiving. Despite it’s shortcomings Erased has a lot to offer, and is a show that I personally thinks get’s better the second time around as you notice a lot of things you didn’t notice the first time around. So my final verdict for Erased, or Boku dake ga inai Machi, is a LOVE AND BUY IT. I was enthralled, I was intrigued, I was engaged, and I was satisfied. Erased is a show that I think everyone should check out, or at least give a chance.