Welcome to another review! Today we will be covering what was the most popular, and probably the best, anime of the Winter 2016 line-up of anime, Erased. Known also as Boku dake ga Inai Machi in Japan, this quickly became one of my favorite anime as suspense is basically a guilty pleasure genre for me. Quick thanks to B-Ro, who is uploading this post in my stead since I’m on vacation during the time we are planning to upload this review. As always, beware of minor SPOILERS.
Now without further ado, let us begin the review!
Summary: The story follows Satoru Fujinuma, a man who somehow possesses an ability that sends him back in time moments before a life-threatening incident, allowing him to prevent it from happening. When his mother is murdered by an unknown assailant, Satoru’s ability suddenly sends him back eighteen years to when he was still in elementary school, giving him the opportunity to prevent a kidnapping incident that took the lives of three of his classmates. -Wikipedia
Erased does more right than wrong in the entirety of the plot. It is one of the few anime that I’ve seen that utilizes time travel as a plot device properly, as the time travel involves traveling to a completely separate part of the story’s universe, not just an earlier episode. It maintains the mood excellently throughout, which is only compounded by the constant cliff hangers of every episode. This was probably one of the most stressful series for me to watch. The show is predictable, however, and this ruins the mood somewhat. Additionally, the show builds itself up so much, the ending is fairly weak and anticlimactic. Compared with the rest of the show, motivations and suspense are lacking, or poorly founded. However, the majority of the series is extremely good.
The story focuses almost exclusively on Satoru, who is responsible for exclusively driving the plot. There is definitely an interesting contrast created as he changes the past, but does make mistakes. This makes him a very realistic character and easy sympathize and relate to. Most other characters are equally as realistic and the character interactions in the show are some of the best, and feel very genuine. However, the main villain is a weak character, with his motivations being downright disappointing. Do to the nature of the show, I cannot say much about the main villain, but the build up to who he was is much greater than the villain actually is.
The animation is really solid and easy to enjoy. The story primarily takes place in winter, so a lot of dull colors help with setting a suspenseful mood.
A highly enjoyable soundtrack, it lends itself extremely well to the nature of the series. It builds up the more emotional or suspenseful moments very well, though it does get a tad tiresome at some points. The opening also sets a sense of urgency over the whole series, picking right up from the previous episode’s cliffhanger. The opening can get stuck in your head rather easily, unfortunately.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Erased is the earnest effort it puts into tackling very heavy themes. It deals directly with kidnapping and child abuse, both of which are highlighted through Hinazuki’s perils that Satoru is forced to navigate. The series shows most effectively the complexity of these issues, and the equal complexity involved in dealing with them. One other major theme is guilt, something Satoru is initially very driven by. He blames himself for not saving Hinazuki from murder in the beginning, and this belief (and the murder of his mother) drive him in all that he does. This shows the depth to which guilt can motivate people, both in anime and real life.
Final Score: 9.0/10
Final Grade: A
Erased was an amazing anime from the 2016 winter season. It is a very interesting mystery time travel anime. First thing that really took me back was that it was a time travel anime that I actually liked. When it comes to time travel more often than not I hate it, but this one added it in well and made it work. They plot was very interesting as Satoru tried to stop the murders that happened in the past and tried to find out who the killer was. Every episode left you with a cliffhanger that made you want to keep watching. The characters were great too. Satoru was interesting because he was an adult in a kid’s body for a good portion of the anime. All of the side character also played well off each other and really helped pull everything together. The worst character though was the killer, it was most just because it was a lit down once they were revealed. I really enjoyed the opening for the anime. It had a lot of small details and changed over time making it really cool. The song that went with it was also amazing and very catchy. Over all I would give this anime a 9 out of 10. I would recommend this anime to anyone who likes mystery anime or just wants an all-around good anime to watch.
Erased is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I know a lot of people liked it, but I was completely floored at just how amazing it was. Erased visits a lot of themes and ideas. It gets extremely dark at times, but there’s much more to it as well. I feel that the show has a very dark base, and from there it grows into a wide range of emotions. It had fun moments, and some of the most beautiful moments I have seen in an anime along with the dark and tense moments. I love it when shows are dark, but aren’t afraid/don’t forget to also be beautiful. They made each moment and emotion feel real and genuine. This sincerity is aided by an amazing group of characters, with all of them interesting, especially Satoru himself. The bonds between the characters are especially noteworthy. And what would a mystery/suspense show be without mystery/suspense? The end of each episode made me instantly want to see more. I was definitely along for the ride for its entirety, feeling each plot development and twist as it came. There is somewhat of a whodunit element to the show, but they didn’t really make it the main focus. There was a point where I realized that I didn’t really care who they made the culprit, just as long as the story stays interesting and emotional. Because of this, I was a bit shocked by the reveal, but mostly because of how well the scene was written. I loved the supernatural element of the show, and that they didn’t overdo it. Now for the soundtrack: it deserves serious praise!!! The opening is one of the best I have seen. It’s very deep, the visuals are cool, and the song is surprisingly upbeat, but gave me goosebumps every time mixed with the visuals. The ending theme is more mysterious, and I love it. I also loved that they used that melody in multiple forms for the soundtrack. I really like it when shows use an overarching melody, especially when they’re from the op or ed. The ost ranges from mysterious to delicate to movie quality cinematic orchestration. I LOVE this soundtrack! I should also make some non spoiler comments about the ending of the story. It surprised me, but was very well thought out, and i applaud it. You have to see it for yourself though. Erased is, to me, a perfect starter anime, or a perfect example of how anime can get really deep and interesting. Have a friend who thinks anime is just buff dudes fighting or stuff like Pokémon or just ridiculous fanservice (not that any of that is bad per se)? Show them Erased. I do wish it was longer so they could really flesh out the themes and story, but Erased is definitely in my top 5 for favorite anime. It is simply beautiful.
Final Comments: Erased does an excellent job of building up its plot with an intense, suspenseful atmosphere and deep themes and keeps the viewer engaged. Unfortunately, the buildup is too much, resulting the store suffering a somewhat lacking ending and weak villain.
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