Hey there! Are you looking for a new show to watch to kill time? Heaven knows that all of us have plenty of that lying around… well, I have a recommendation for you: Erased, a wonderful anime with dynamic characters and an amazing plot! In its original form, it was a manga, the Japanese version of a graphic novel. For those of you who are unfamiliar with anime, it is a style of animation originating from Japan that is used for T.V. shows and movies. In my opinion, it’s pretty neat.
Our story begins in 2006. It centers around a 29-year-old man named Satoru Fujinuma, a struggling manga artist who feels he has lost his purpose. He possesses an ability called “revival”, which transports him back one to five minutes before a life-threatening event endangers the people around him. Satoru takes it upon himself to prevent these events whenever possible. Upon returning home one evening, Satoru discovers that his mother has been murdered by an unknown killer somehow tied to his past. His revival ability transports him back eighteen years, giving him the ability not only to prevent the death of his mother but also to protect three children from their eventual kidnapping and murder. Are you curious now? Then let’s dive in!
Despite one of the central focuses being time travel, the story of Erased never becomes confusing. It takes place during three years: 1988, 2003, and 2006, yet the timeline never gets muddled. The developers use time travel as a creative device, giving the audience insight into Satoru’s life. There aren’t any complicated rules, nor is there a strong explanation for Satoru’s ability in the first place. Instead of spending half the show explaining revival, the developers focus on the story at hand. The audience is allowed to interpret that strange, otherworldly ability for themselves, leaving the gates of possibility wide open. This both saves time and keeps the show focused on the main story.
Now, as an individual who has watched plenty of anime, I can say with full confidence that inner monologues can be one of the most irritating and over-dramatic aspects of the main character. However, Satoru’s is different. In most animes, inner monologues are more of time fillers and blatant explanations. In Erased, it is Satoru’s active thoughts, and they can only be heard when necessary. It brings the audience into Satoru’s mind and invites them to work out the problem alongside him, instead of standing by and waiting for answers to appear. It engages the audience in the story. I would honestly love to see more of this strategy in mystery thrillers! It makes the audience feel like they are a part of the world behind the screen and has the added benefit of helping the audience connect with its characters. Oh, the characters! Here comes my favorite part!
The characters are dynamic and realistic, making the audience almost immediately invested in their well-being. I know I sure was. They all have separate personalities, quirks, and things that make them tick. Even in the first episode, Satoru had me giggling at his little imperfections! When the show wants you to feel something, whether it be joy, suspense, or anger, it does so through the character’s actions and reactions. Their aspirations become your aspirations; their joy becomes your joy; their sadness becomes yours as well. At times, I felt myself on the verge of tears of joy at the character’s highest moments. I felt as if I had accomplished something with them, that I had worked so hard alongside them to get there. And then, things fell apart.
The roller coaster of twists and turns this anime puts you on is thoroughly engaging. You are invested in the characters, and you yearn to see them win! Once you start, you are strapped in for the long haul. Let’s just say that I started this anime at around ten in the morning, took a few breaks, and finished it on the same day at eight at night. Just like a good book, I could not put it down. I watched until the end. However, it never really felt as if I were simply watching. I was experiencing the story. By the end, I felt all of the emotion the main character portrayed. And I have to say, it couldn’t have ended any better!
Erased was released on January 8th, 2016, and was directed by Tomohiko Itō and written by Taku Kishimoto. I found this anime on Hulu in both English and in subtitles. Pick whichever one suits you best! It contains 12 episodes, each a little more than 20 minutes long. However, like most anime, about six minutes of this time is dedicated to the recap, the intro, and the final credits. However, it is easy enough to skip, so it didn’t bother me very much. The story still progresses as far as it would if it had the full 20 minutes to itself and never feels rushed. If you enjoy a good mystery with a hint of sci-fi, I highly recommend that you check this out! Stay safe and healthy, readers, and have a wonderful day!