I tried to wait until it’s over before shitting it properly, but the damn thing didn’t let me. It kept piling up bullshit, the fantards keep excusing them with more bullshit, it got all the way to no5 on MAL and no1 on Anime-Planet, and the topics I made on Reddit and MAL about its problems were deleted immediately, so nobody can have an opinion that differs from the damn circlejerk. This piece of shit that the anime community considered better than Legend of the Galactic Heroes was plain offensive on so many levels and I am here to tell you why.
1) TIME RESETS MAKE NO SENSE.
Just look how there is absolutely no consistency amongst them.
First & Second resets:
- Trigger before someone nearby gets killed
- The protagonist doesn’t need to know about the eminent death for the reset to happen
- The protagonist has no control over when it happens
- The reset sends you 5 minutes into the past
- If the protagonist fails, time moves on as normal
- Triggers after someone nearby gets killed
- The protagonist needs to know about the death for the reset to happen
- The protagonist has no control over when it happens
- The reset sends you 20 years into the past
- If the protagonist fails, time reverts to present, and he can try again until he succeeds
- Let’s not overlook the time paradox of managing to chance the day of death but everything else remained exactly the same, something which is impossible because of the butterfly effect. Also, we are supposed to believe when he returned to the present, his old self magically forgot everything, life went back to normal and played out in exactly the same way. Bullshit.
- Triggers when everybody is fine.
- The protagonist wills it to happen. The fan boys were defending the show before this, saying it was great how he had no control over this power, since he can’t use it to his benefit and the tension is tenfold because of it. Well, so much for that. But the fan boys still defended it, saying the protagonist could always control time travel but was too afraid to use it consciously. Excusing bullshit with more bullshit.
- The reset sends you 20 years into the past but not at the same moment the third reset did.
The problem with this one is that it doesn’t exist. We get to a point where the protagonist is in grave danger and yet no time reset triggers. Why is that when it fits several criteria from previous cases? I mean, yeah, he says that the fourth reset would be the last, but how did he know that? Did he read the script for what happens next? If he knows he lost the power, how does he know that???
Despite the protagonist reassuring us that there will not be another reset, he contradicts himself in the last episode by willingly going back in time and warns everybody of what to do so he can expose the killer. And guess what, he was in grave danger when it happened. Why didn’t it happen in the previous life or death situation? Why didn’t he go all the way back to the car scene, so he won’t lose 15 years of his life? Because shitty writing, that’s why.
And once again, the fan boys said it was no time reset and that he used a super amazing mind game to do everything right. Sure man, he just regained his memory and figured out of a plan that involved the killer taking him to the roof, while his friends would be waiting on ground level with a huge cushion. He would know that the killer was going gay for him too and that he would be fine if he jumped down the roof, with the power of friendship saving his ass and making the killer admit his crimes. Sure, it was all an amazing mind game by a guy WHO WAS A RETARD DURING THE WHOLE SERIES.
2) THE PROTAGONIST HAS NO STEADY MOTIVATIONS.
They change in every episode with no rhyme or reason, something the fan boys didn’t notice because he is a bland self-insert who can be anything and anyone at any given moment. I mean did you even see how generic his face is? Take all faces A1 Pictures animated from light novels and compare them. They are the exact same one, featureless face!
First & Second reset: He saves kids because he is altruistic
Never explained why he is, he was magically born that way.
Third reset: He wants to save his mother by manipulating the emotions of a little girl
A selfish reason, now he is magically no longer altruistic.
Fourth reset: He wants to save the little girl
He no longer cares about saving his mother, which by the way was never hard to save. He had 20 years of time to simply be around her when the fateful night arrives.
3) PLOT CONVENIENCES.
Many events happen seemingly by chance and end up affecting the plot considerably. No proper mystery or thriller should be so reliant on chance because it cheapens what it’s trying to accomplish.
Episode 1: The mother gets killed exactly when she finds out who the killer is. How nice for the killer to wait until he is revealed before deciding to walk in the house.
Episode 1: The reason the protagonist panicked so fast when he saw his dead mother, was because at that exact moment a neighbor came in and the police arrived outside. There is no way for the killer to have arranged it that way, since the neighbor was just passing by. Therefore, it was darn luck and not incrimination that made the protagonist panic, turning the whole thing into stupidity instead of an elaborate scheme.
Episode 3: The protagonist has birthday the exact same day as the girl he is trying to save. This is way too convenient and lazy writing for the sake of cheap feels. He already wants to save her; there is no reason to hammer it even further with more drama.
Episode 5: Airi appears out of nowhere and helps the protagonist when he is hunted by the police. The reason? She just believes he is not a killer. Ok…
Episode 5: Airi’s house is set on fire immediately after she finds out who the killer is. Again, the killer is waiting to be revealed before making his move.
Episode 6: The manager appears out of nowhere to help out the protagonist. The script just wanted him to be there for the sake of plot armor.
Episode 7: The protagonist is about to kill someone when a friend of his appears out of nowhere and stops him before it’s too late. The script just wanted him to be there for the sake of ruining tension.
Episode 8: The girl was hiding from her mother in the exact same bus that the person who wanted to kill her was hiding his equipment. From all the places in this universe, what are the odds of the target running to hide into the killer’s base?
Episode 11: The killer knew that the protagonist is alive but in a coma for many years, yet didn’t do anything to kill him, despite having the political power to do anything he likes. He just reappears when the protagonists wakes up, does his best to make him remember what happened, and THEN tries to kill him.
Episode 12: The killer out of nowhere is not only unable to kill the protagonist but he is also willing to save him and commit suicide if the guy he wanted to kill just a few seconds ago is not alive. And all that were well known to the protagonist who had regained his memories just a few minutes ago. What the frack???
Episode 12: Airi appears out of nowhere under the bridge and is super friendly with a guy she just sees there. Dumb girl is dumb. Also, this was a sappy ending just for forced feels.
4) THE PROTAGONIST’S REASONING MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE.
He runs away from the police, thus incriminating himself for no reason. The fan boys excuse it as him panicking because of the murder of his mother, thus he wasn’t thinking reasonably. If that is the case, why is he STILL running away from the police after he returns to the present? He is calm now, and thinks reasonably. Hell, he spends half the episode playing with children out in the open for everybody to see, and then goes to chat in a public cafeteria full of people. Seems like he is not afraid of being seen, right? But when police officers arrive, he is running away again. What is this bullshit?
He assumes that he can save his mother by saving a little girl, the two of which have absolutely nothing to do with each other, just because he is at the time when the murders began. Well, thank goodness nothing else happened in the world that year, or he might have arbitrarily assumed he would have to do something completely different.
The fan boys excuse it as, if he stops the killer, he will save both at the same time. But how is this going to work? Just look at how no matter what he does, it will never have a positive outcome.
- He is not intimidating to keep a child killer away by spending time with the girl (in fact, this makes the killer double as motivated)
- He is not strong to beat up the killer in case he shows up
- Even if he scares the killer, this will not stop him from killing other children or his mother in the future
- Even if he saves the little girl, it will not prevent her mother from beating her all the time
- He is not trying to tell anybody about it, which over-complicated things for no reason. The fan boys tried to excuse it like nobody would believe him if he talked. Yet in later episodes pretty much EVERYBODY believes EVERYTHING he says and helps him out.
• His fellow students agree to hide the girl in a bus by simply believing his story.
• They leave her there in the cold for three days, only for eventually telling his mother about it. She believes him as well, and lets her hide in their house thereafter.
• He then tells child support to come check out the mother, something nobody was doing for years. They also believe him and turns out it was easy to prove the girl’s mother was a bad parent.
• The mother’s mother is also magically thrown in the story and is the one that revels what a terrible mother her child is. All the protagonist did, was to tell her to go there when child support is talking to the mother. Something nobody thought of doing for years.
• So basically, he could have resolved the show’s entire conflict by episode 2 if he simply told everybody what is going on right away.
- He then moves to protecting other kids after the first is saved, which again makes no sense. He has no reason to assume the killer would go after the same people, in the same order, and in the same dates. He changed his actions for Pete’s sake, he could have gone after someone else with completely different methods or schedule.
5) THE MYSTERY ASPECT OF THE SHOW IS COMPLETE GARBAGE.
- The protagonist is doing absolutely nothing to find out who is the killer. He prefers to spend his time in a cringy romance between a 10 year old girl and a 30 year old man.
- Whatever the author thinks that can count as clues, is nothing more than hints dropping on the protagonist’s head by complete chance (the bus Hinazuki is hiding just happens to be the killer’s hideout) or through someone’s convenient infodumping (the meeting with the old man, or the teacher in the car). This destroyed any sense of mystery, since the protagonist didn’t use deduction to find clues. They were thrown at him with ridiculous convenience.
- There aren’t even many possible suspects for who the killer could be. It can either be someone from the cast we see all the time, or a complete stranger which would make the revelation BS (thankfully this is not the case). Now try to count how many people look like the guy we see in the first episode (male adult with no beard). There, it can only be THAT guy. What kind of a mystery is this where you know right away who the killer is?
- 10 year-olds in the 80s are somehow masterminds. They can psycho-analyze the protagonist (Hinazuki) and deduct he is hiding something (Kenya). He on the other hand can do nothing but stare like an oaf despite living in the freaking internet era. He is so useless, even little children are better detectives than he is.
- The killer was not revealed because of a mistake he did. He exposed himself and even went as far as soliloquize his evil intentions, like a Saturday morning cartoon villain.
- A mystery story is supposed to give you answers at the end. Yet you don’t get any explanation for why the protagonist has the power to travel in time. Magic space Jesus gave it to him just because. The story never explains anything regarding time travel; it just throws it out there and then expects you not to give a damn when it’s vital to the plot. The fanboys kept saying that you should disregard it entirely, and focus on the mystery instead. Which is impossible since without time travel you have no story. No, really, the story would end in the first episode without it. Also, as proven above, the mystery was also shit.
6) FAKE TENSION WITH CLIFFHANGERS.
Every episode ends with a cliffhanger that makes the average viewer wanting to find out what will happen next. The problem here is that what follows the cliffhangers is a dud. It is always something anti-climactic or completely stupid. The show systematically tries to undo consequences or hide its plot conveniences with cliffhangers that are too obvious to spot when you marathon the show.
- Every time something horrible happens to the protagonist (fails to save the girl or gets captured by the police), a time reset occurs in the beginning of the next episode to undo all the tension.
- When the protagonist is clueless or about to do something really stupid, another character appears out of nowhere as an ally and helps him out with not much justification.
- When the killer gets in the bus where the girl is hiding, is followed by him leaving without even trying to find her because it was conveniently his lair, and not because he knew she was there.
- And of course, the last episode where the protagonist is about to be killed again, but out of nowhere he becomes a mastermind that has planned everything to happen exactly as he hoped.
7) VICTIMIZING GALORE.
A one dimensional evil parent hits while laughing her own child for forced drama.
- No fan boys, saying this happens all the time in real life does not make it any less forced.
- Let’s have the girl being bullied at school as well. No reason to assume the more victimizing they throw at you, the more absurd it becomes.
8 ) PLOT INDUCED STUPIDITY.
Episode 3: Everybody is either too dumb to do anything about it, or too blind to notice the domestic violence. Because a child full of bruises, the testimony of teachers and students, as well as a mother who is constantly running away from inspection, or swings shovels at people, is clearly not evidence.
Episode 5: People lose their jobs, ruin their marriages, and leave town because of a chocolate bar. But people who beat their children every day while laughing about it are left to do as they like.
Episode 5: Only complete retards open the door to a room they know it’s on fire.
Episode 10: You see someone getting in a room but never coming out, despite you standing right outside the whole time. How stupid do you need to be to actually believe the person teleported away?
Episode 10: A little child can’t slip through a jammed seat belt, when it’s easy even for an adult to do it.
Episode 10: The protagonist yells to the killer that he knows his future, something that the killer believes. Which is bullshit because if Satoru knew it, he would know the killer would try to murder him.
Episode 11: The killer does his best to make the protagonist remember he is the killer instead of killing him right away.
Episode 12: The killer magically changes his goal from trying to murder the protagonist, to saving his life and then killing himself.
9) PEDOPHILIA, AS THE PROTAGONIST IS SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO A LITTLE GIRL.
No fan boys, just because his body is 10 years old, does not make his brain not 30 years old. And nobody knowing he is not really a child does makes him not pedo. Pleading ignorance does not pass in court.
Oh, sorry officer, I thought I could have sex with 10 year olds because I’m a time traveler.
10) ONE DIMENSIONAL EVIL CHARACTERS.
- The manager lusts over Airi, and betrays the protagonist just so he can have her for himself. The fan boys try to excuse it like he did what he thought was right, but all we see is him being a jerk who laughs idiotically and saves Airi because he wants to impress her and get in her pants.
- Letting us know Hibazuki’s mother was mistreated by her husband does not excuse her actions. She is one dimensional because her husband was one dimensional, the end.
- The killer loves to kidnap and murder little children, just because. He is also presented as a mastermind for half the show, always magically teleporting to people that find out who he is, and managing to throw the blame for what he did to someone else. But towards the end, he turns into a laughably incompetent idiot who monologues his evil plans to the protagonist and has no alibi for what he does. He also changes his reason for killing people, from making sure nobody will find out who he is, to magic spider webs only he can see being the reason he needs to kill certain individuals. Also, he does his best to be caught by making the protagonist REMEMBER he is the killer and not killing him while he is vulnerable.
11) AWFUL TIME SKIP.
Any hints of logic the show had, are completely gone when a time skip takes place in the last episodes.
- The protagonist falls in a coma and wakes up with amnesia, two of the most bullshit tropes only lazy soap opera writers would be using. Not only that but they are also completely meaningless. They are both dealt with in the same episode they appear in.
- The only major change made during the time skip was the kids he saved getting married, and everything else remained exactly the same. Because that’s how time travel works. Why would his mother be living in a different place when she is taking care of a comatose man, or the killer having a different lifestyle when he ran away from town and didn’t kill anyone?
- Why the hell did those kids marry each other? There was no damn chemistry between them! Three quarters of the show were spent on building a relationship between the girl and the protagonist, and the result is her getting married to a minor character she didn’t care about that looks like a girl? How did that happen?
- Every fantard was yelling netorare in the episode discussions for not getting the pedophilia ship they were hoping for. In fact, the show began decreasing in average score only because it made the fandom very butthurt.
- Not only the killer did not try to kill the protagonist while he was defenseless in a coma, but also does his best to make him remember. Where did his ingenious plans to keep his crimes hidden went to?
12) UNDEFINED FOCUS.
This show has no idea of what it’s trying to be about, leading to a complete lack of identity. This is evident in how the fanboys were gradually changing their opinion of the show, every time something was disappointing them.
- First, they said it was a time travel type of story. Something I proved it was very bad because it made no sense.
- So, they switch their opinion to, no it’s not about time travel but a mystery story about trying to uncover a killer. Something I also proved wrong, since there was absolutely no deduction made by the protagonist and the killer was obvious right away. I mean, yeah, the fanboys were still surprised with the obvious revelation because they were refusing to believe it would be so obvious. They still pretended it was amazing writing because it made it seem it was too easy to be him. This was self trolling caused by people who didn’t want to accept it was so easy after all.
- Then they say it was never a mystery but rather a thriller, where the protagonist is rushing to save kids from a killer before it’s too late. Again, I proved this was a lie since the constant time resets and the plot conveniences were destroying all sense of tension.
- Desperate to excuse it somehow, the fanboys were then saying it was a drama about people living miserable lives by being mistreated by their family or not getting what they want in life. Something I also proved it was the result of being stupid and not simply talking about it.
- Oh, and let’s not forget the usual double standards they were using all the time, saying how real the characters are, how the show makes them cry, and how amazingly interesting the mystery is. But when I proved the time resets are unexplained bullshit, they immediately say it is just a cartoon and you shouldn’t take it seriously. If that is so, why do you find them real and cry about it??? Why do you call the mystery amazing when it makes no sense???
See? They can’t even defend the show as something done right.
SO WHY THE DEVIL WAS THIS SHOW SO HYPED AND ADORED BY EVERYBODY?
Erased fails in everything besides emotional manipulation. It had a premise where a good hearted man tries to save his mother and a cute girl the viewers feel sorry for. As soon as both these issues were solved in episode 9, the interest in the show immediately evaporated and what followed was a bullshit killer revelation and a retarded time skip nobody could take seriously.
Basically, while the show was using forced drama and a sickening romance between a man and a little girl, everybody was blinded to its problems. The second those were dealt with, they instantly woke up and realized it was crap all along. The whole thing is yet another example of why crap like Sword Art Online become super hyped and loved by everybody while they air, and then are hated as soon as they are over. The anime community is a cesspool of immature people who can’t think straight and let emotions cloud their perception. And then some wonder why Donald Trump is so adored for all the ridiculous things he does. Faith in humanity, lost.
Time travel isn't anything new to anime. We've seen it done again, and again, and again. Sure, some stories really throw a curveball into a mind-blowing plot, while others bite the dust of overused concepts. Every single episode of Erased is a cliff hanger. You want to know what's going to happen next every single time. It isn't your typical "better go back in time and save some friends" story. It really has it's own personal twist on it. The characters are easy to fall for, the main characters especially over the lesser important ones. While there's little relationship between Satoru and the 2 different girls that the viewers would like to ship them with, the story is really heartwarming and mature. There are many different layers to it. When you think you've figured out what will happen next, you're thrown in a completely different direction. The art for the most part is really enjoyable, and the sound is clear. This is a fantastic anime that I'd recommend to anyone looking for a new favorite. I don't see why the reviews are so mixed between low and high, but this definitely gets a 10 on my list. The few nitty gritty details don't knock it down to a 9.
I wanted to love this anime. From moment one I was drawn in by the intriguing story and the understated characters. I wanted to like it but… there were a couple of aspects that did not shine so brightly. When you have a show that does so much brilliantly, it’s hard not to feel a little cheated when certain aspects fell so flat. This is why I understand how the fan community is reacting. Half the reviews I read are giving it a 10/10 and praising it as a masterpiece and the other half are giving it a 1/10 and saying it's horrific. As is obvious from the rating I gave it, I am one of the few people who are somewhere in between.
Story: The story revolves around a man named Satoru Fujinuma, a struggling manga artist, who has a special ability that (without his control) jumps him back in time (usually only a couple of minutes) when somebody’s life is in danger. The first episode deals a lot with getting us used to this power of his and explaining his relationship to his mother. The two have been distant since he was a child due to a series of murders that occurred when he was 11, resulting in a number of his friends ending up dead. However, when his mother is murdered in the present, Satoru’s time traveling ability jumps him back in time to try and stop the murders of the past and, possibly in turn, stop his mother’s death. The interesting thing about the story is that, on the most obvious of levels, this story doesn’t work. If I were to classify the story in a category, it would likely be time travel or mystery. Yet, the show doesn’t handle either of those categories particularly well. As a story about time travel, the rules of time travel don’t seem particularly clear. A couple of times, we don’t even see the result of what would have happened if he hadn’t stopped said event from happening. There are times when he has no control of his abilities and times when he does. Neither of those things bother me too much but what does confuse me is this stories stance on “fate” in relation to the theme of time travel. On a basic level, this seems like a story where a character has the ability to change what has been fated. Yet, many of these time jumps occur before a death has occurred, or where Satoru has no idea what the consequences would be if he did nothing. Thus, this doesn't seem to be Satoru's ability per say. If it were, he would either have control over it or he would be jumping around at random. This take seems to imply that an other worldly omniscient party is using him as a tool to force fate to occur. It made me wonder what was going on behind the scenes to allow for this strange time traveling to occur in the odd way that it did. Why is he necessary in this concept of “fate”? (But this is a thread for another essay) Thus, the time travel in this show doesn’t seem to make much sense logically or thematically. As a mystery, the show breaks just as many rules. Obviously, the key to preventing the murders of the past is to find the murderer. The only problem is that the murderer is not a secret. We see the murderer a number of times. We have a basic idea of what the murderer looks like. The only problem is… there is only one person that looks at all like the murderer in the whole show. Immediately, audience suspicion goes to one person… and stays on that one person because there is no one else to suspect. By the law of mystery stories, a murderer must be someone the audience has been introduced to, but usually we get a couple of options of people to suspect. Just about every fan of the show guessed pretty quickly “who dun it”. However, in spite of these two primary parts of the show essentially failing, this show did something surprisingly right. As a story about “friendship” this story was handled in a way that most other shows never accomplish. Ultimately, what I loved the most about this show were the character interactions and the moments created between them. A lot of the interactions that happened between the characters were not essential for the plot to continue. We didn’t need the scene where Satoru takes Kayo up into the mountains. But, as an isolated moment, it was beautiful. We become invested in these people and how they feel about each other. I’ve seen so many shows where some awful friendship speech gets written in and it ruins things. Most shows don’t have the maturity to handle a show about friendship without throwing in tropes like “I’m secretly in love with you”. The show does not handle it's ending well. It feels like a quick tie up of most loose plot threads. Even so, I still believe that the journey to get to the end had a lot of magic to it.
Animation: The animation was deceptively simple. It doesn’t have quite the flash and glitter of a show like Attack on Titan but these animators are definitely smart (if not sometimes a little too smart). If you know how to look for them, there are a million little hints in the animation that give you some kind of foreshadowing. It’s very clear that this show knew where to focus their attentions and what details needed to be added in. Plus, even when I, as an audience member, knew that something was going to happen, it didn’t stop me from having a strong reaction to the scenes. It’s largely because it was animated so well. Unfortunately, this is also a negative for the show. You see, if you know anything about symbolism you can read these scenes like a book. For instance, I was immediately drawn to the lighting in this show. They know how to set the tone with the lighting and they do it pretty damned well. Yet, this also lead me to say things like, “This character is constantly put in shadow. I bet there is something shifty about him/her,” way earlier than I should have been able to. The animation got a bit cocky and gave a couple of things away pretty quickly.
Sound: I love the opening and closing themes. I am truly addicted to them. Also, these voice actors were so phenomenal. Plus, I was surprised to learn that a lot of the voice actors were relative new comers, which made me really excited about the idea that these talented individuals might get a lot of recognition for this show. I will admit that there was one song that tended to play in light and happy moments that tended to draw me out of it but never in a major way.
Character: This, I would say, is where the biggest successes and also the biggest failures in this show lie. This show seemed to fail pretty hard with its villains and excel with it’s heroes. Let’s start off with the bad to get it out of the way. The murderer’s motivation is never explained well. Sure, we get an explanation, but never one that convinced me that this person was anything more than an evil psychopath. In the same vein, we also have an abusive mother in the story. The characterization for this character was painfully bad. For most of the story she just comes off like a demon who beats her kid because she can. Again, we get an explanation for why this character does it but it’s so rushed that we have no time to feel any real human emotions for this character. Essentially, there isn’t much in between with villains in this show. If you are a villain you’re the worst piece of human scum. Moving on to the good! Satoru would have been so easy to make boring. On the surface he is astonishingly normal because he believes himself to be average. Yet, the more you get to know him the more remarkable he becomes. He meddles in the lives of others because of a knee jerk reaction to use his time traveling powers for good even though he finds himself in so many situations where he has no idea how to fix the situation. I love that, for most of the series, Satoru is continuously trying to do the right thing but failing. This actually needed a lot of depth because his intentions are in the right place but usually has to face the fact that he still ends up messing up some really crucial moments. Kayo Hinazuki is a pretty tragic character. She was one of the children who was murdered when Satoru was a kid. As a child dealing with a lot of abuse it is easy to see how shut down she is. In scenes where she is blamed for things she was not responsible for she just takes the abuse with this distant look in her eyes. It’s obvious that she feels that whatever abuse she is given will happen no matter what she does. Yet, we also get to see her drawn out of her shell with people she really trusts and how much her personality changes when she is not alone. Satoru’s mother is an extremely well written character especially since we get to see her in a couple of possible time lines. She’s a fighter through and through. She seems to look at Satoru as someone she can trust entirely and never questions that his intentions are positive. Yet, at the same time we also get to see her as a mother who has become estranged from her son due to traumas that neither of them knew how to handle and help each other with. Airi Katagiri needed a little more fleshing out. She is obviously a key character in the show but mostly shows up to barely become important before she’s gone again. She was likeable for what we saw of her but I would bet money that her role is bigger in the manga. I think a lot of what makes these characters so effective is that we get to see how they are alone in contrast to when they are with others. This obviously ties into the themes of loneliness and loss but is also a very effective way to write characters. Satoru’s childhood friends always felt a little strange to me. First we have Kenya. This kid is far too smart. He’s incredibly serious and very adult even as a pre-teen. For a long time I thought he was a time traveler like Satoru because he was so intelligent and so mature. I enjoyed his character, but he never seemed to fit into the plot organically. Hiromi was a complete anomaly to me. Of the kids who were murdered when Satoru was a child, Hiromi was one of them. This was a person that Satoru knew well and hung out with every day. Yet, he had so little reaction to this kid’s death that it took me a long time to figure out that he was one of the murdered children. This is especially strange when we can compare Satoru’s reaction to the death of his friend Hiromi to the death of Kayo (who he barely knew) and he is obviously more broken up about Kayo. I never quite understood that.
I trusted this show. I think this show gained a lot of people's trust very quickly which resulted in a lot of fans feeling like they trust it to be a masterpiece in spite of its problems or betrayed when things went wrong. What it get's right is spot on. It handled itself so well on so many issues that I didn’t see its faults for a long time. It has a lot of faults. Yet, even so, I would say that the journey it takes you on isn't ruined by its faults. I would definitely recommend it.
Hype, hype and more hype. This show got hyped up to heaven and back, something which achieved it the huge popularity it garnered during the 2016 winter, however at the same time it was unable to live up to that hype for many. Now in my case I came into this show without knowing a single thing about it, other than "oh that is a nice looking poster, I like those tags too". It was only when I got a few episodes in that I noticed it had gotten to #1 on the site (it since has lost this spot).
Does ERASED deserve #1? Well I can only speak my own opinion and personally I think it doesn't, if only because there are shows I prefer to this one, and on top of that I find it's difficult to define a singular #1 show. However, I still massively enjoyed this show, and will be among the better shows that I have enjoyed.
Story and Characters
One of the main reasons I managed to enjoy this show was because I did not watch it primarily as a mystery/thriller. The thriller aspect is good, always leaving me wanting to see more at the end of an episode but I will admit the mystery is not particularly strong. It's not too difficult to figure out who the killer is after a few episodes and I totally understand why some people might dislike this. Thing is, I instead watched this primarily as a progression of the character Satoru, from his rather bleak lifestyle as a struggling mangaka, regretting the fact he could have saved his fellow classmate and then being given the chance to correct that mistake and change things for the better. I found that the most important part of the show was his interactions with Kayo, attempting to become friends with this quiet girl as well as save her.
The story itself is pretty simple. Satoru needs to find out the identity of a serial killer whilst saving his victims after he inadvertently travels back in time. He does this by building a friendship with the killer's first victim Kayo, whilst also trying to implicate her mother as an abusive parent, which is very evident.
The protagonist Satoru and the main female character Kayo are the highlights of the show. It's the interactions between these two that sold the show the most for me. It might seem a little strange to see a 29 year old man in the body of his 10 year old self with a 10 year old girl, especially as there are hints of romance here and there, however it never get 'weird'. Love is not something a 10 year old can really fully understand and Satoru never takes advantage of this in some horrible way.
The other characters were also pretty good. Some get less screen time than they deserved, looking at Airi here, but they filled their roles pretty well. I won't talk about them too much as I do not want to give away anything but some of the characters we have are, his mother who is there for Satoru's moral support, Kayo's abusive mother, their homeroom teacher, a man named Yuuki who likes to talk to some of the kids from the school, Satoru's group of friends, principal friends being Hiromi and Kenya and of course the serial killer whom is unknown. There were no characters I thought were bad, just that a few could have had a bit more fleshing out.
I was satisfied by the end of the show anyways. I think they could have elaborated more on the killer's motivations, and maybe had less of a montage finish but all in all I am happy with its conclusion.
Sound and Animation
I liked the soundtrack used throughout. Always fit the mood well although I would probably not listen to it on its own. However, the OP and ED were great and probably my favourite for this season.
As for the animation it was pretty good. There weren't any dodgy features that I noticed and it did the job. Expressions in character faces were done well and some of the backgrounds were really good.
So, all in all, this was a great series that I had a lot of fun with. The mystery elements were rather weak but it was very good at keeping my excitement between episodes.
I can recommend this show, just be aware that if you watch this expecting a great mystery story you may (probably will) be disappointed.
A SpanglishJC ‘Review’
What I Liked: The tense atmosphere. The various film motifs added a nice visual touch to the series. Satoru's mum. The interpersonal relationships in the show. The utterly perfect soundtrack. Shinnosuke Mitsushima was brilliant as the despondent Satoru. Cinematography was top-notch. Great Opening Theme. The strong, well-paced first half. The animation is marvellous, with simple character animation and some beautiful stand-out moments.
What I Didn't: The pacing becomes rushed in the second half. Yashiro, for being so flatly characterised. Some dramatic moments felt overly melodramatic. Depending on one's take on Episode 10, the show trips over itself in the mystery department. Simple but lacklustre ending. Some side characters lack depth and/or interest. The Ending Theme's animation feels completely out-of-place, as if it's reusing material from another show. Red eyes for the villian? Really?!
Final Verdict: Visually marvelous and with some of the best cinematography this side of Hollywood, ERASED starts off strong with a gripping time-travel premise and unnerving atmosphere. Unfortunately, it's not as good as it could have been, as the pacing and the side characters suffer as the series progresses . Still, it's a worthwhile watch if you like a bit of crime mystery with your time-travel.