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’