Series review – Erased (2016)

It’s time to hop aboard the anime train once again as a talk about another show that I have fallen in love with in Erased. 

The 12-episode series focuses on Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old manga artist, who has these recurring experiences that he refers to as “revivals.” When a fatal incident is about to occur, Satoru is sent minutes back in time to have the opportunity to prevent these moments. 

During one of these moments, he saves a young boy, but winds up in the hospital with some significant injuries. His mother, Sachiko, visits him and reminds him of events that happened 18 years ago when Satoru was a kid, catalyzing unfortunate events that send him all the way back to 1988, when he was 10. 

His “revival” sends him back to his childhood so that he can correct and prevent the tragedy of three kids being kidnapped and murdered by an unknown assailant. Satoru quickly realizes that if he accomplishes the safety of the three kids that his future will be changed and present events won’t happen. 

The writing of this show is stellar. There is a great balance of keeping us invested in the mystery of finding the killer and the suspense of saving the three kids — Kayo Hinazuki, Hiromi Sugita and Aya Nakanishi. We get into the intricate details of Satoru’s plan of saving these three and the amount of investment and commitment he puts in.

There is a stark contrast between the wholesomeness of the show and its darker moments, which is a benefit to the show because those moments bring out a certain feeling when you watch them. This is especially the case for the relationship between Satoru and Kayo and Satoru and his mother. 

Sachiko is easily my favorite character in Erased. This is a woman that only cares about the safety and well-being of her son. The two have the best interactions in the show and it is quite funny when Sachiko is taken back by the wit and intelligence of her 10-year-old son, not knowing that he has the mind of a 29-year-old man. It’s still her son, but this child has the instincts of a full-grown adult. With what happens with Sachiko in the beginning of the show, you understand why Satoru is so enthusiastic about spending time with her. As an adult, he maybe didn’t understand how grateful he was to have such an amazing mother and those moments they have when he is a kid makes them even more meaningful. 

One can’t talk about this show without talking about Kayo. She’s one of the most likable characters I’ve come across in the time I’ve watched anime. At first, she’s a little taken back and confused as to why Satoru is spending all this time with her. Well, not only was Kayo originally kidnapped and murdered, but she was abused at home by her mother and was alone a lot of the time. She was bullied by her classmates because of her bruises and her emotions were very monotone because she’s really only known pain and isolation. Luckily, the writers knew exactly how we’d love her and fully invest in her safety as she becomes more warm to Satoru. 

Their relationship is intimate, but it’s not one of romance and I absolutely love that. The writers really had to be careful with these two to make sure their goals were of survival and not love or any other motivations because that then makes unnecessary side plots and the two expecting something from each other instead of just being friends and protecting each other. 

When Satoru brings Kayo home, this is where I couldn’t get control of my emotions. There’s one scene toward the end of the show where Kayo wakes up to a full plate of breakfast from Sachiko and she breaks down in tears because she’s never known people or even a mother that has cared for her like this. Satoru and Sachiko are truly the only people that care for her and it’s one of the most heartwarming moments I’ve seen in a show. 

While I wasn’t fully surprised by the reveal of the killer, it’s still shocking in how it is handled and Satoru’s connection to them. It leads to some great dialogue in the finale and a very satisfying one to say the least. 

Of course, anime openings are a big part of being attracted to a show and Erased probably has my favorite of the shows I’ve watched. The visuals do their job of preparing you for what you are about to watch and “Re:Re:” from Asian Kung-Fu Generation is glorious to listen to. While it may not fit the tone of the show, it still rules with great vocals and astonishing guitar work. 

Right now, this show is available on HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu and Funimation. If you have a subscription to any of these services, I cannot recommend this show enough. Throw away all your stereotypes you may have about anime and just treat this show as if you are watching a “normal” show because it is an absolute blast and easily in my “Big Three” of favorite anime with Re:Zero and OreGairu. 

Rating: 10/10

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