· Cinephilia · 4 min read

Anime Binge Watch - Erased

· Anime Review

After finishing my M.Tech thesis, I had some free time on my hands. It was an ideal situation to satiate my gluttonous appetite for some movies/tv. This time I chose to watch some long outstanding anime. Despite animes having some excellent stroylines and amazing characters, I had been withholding the urge to watch them for a long time due their addictive/bingeworthy nature.

The first anime I binge-watched was Boku dake ga Inai Machi (The Town Where Only I am Missing) also known as Erased in English. Releases in January 2016, it has just 12 episodes of 20 minutes each and can be easily watched in a single sitting.

Erased is a fantasy thriller. Though there is not much fantasy in it. The protagonist of the story is Satoru Fujinuma, a 29 year old manga writer who has a supernatural abiility known as Revival that allows him to be sent back in time to prevent deaths and casualties around him. Generally, a revial sends Staoru back a few minutes in time. When his mother visits him and gets mysteriously killed, he is sent back 18 years in time to prevent her death. Satoru now decides to save one of his classmates - Kayo Hinazuki, who he remembers having died in a series of child abduction cases that struck his locality 18 years ago. It is shown that Satoru blames himself for not being able to save Kayo. One of his childhood friends was also falsely set-up and convicted for these murders. He also wants to change the future by saving Kayo to prevent his mother from getting killed. This sets up the rest of the anime where he tries to save first Kayo, and then the other victims from the murderer.

A fair amount of time is delved in trying to change the things from as they has happened the last time, trying to anticipate the actions and methods of the enemy and trying to alter things reasonably to save Kayo. Kayo is a recluse and a victim of child abuse by her mother. Satoru tries to befriend her and keep her from the harm’s way. The plot is very interesting. There are enough thrills and suspense to keep you totally immersed. The anime moves at a moderate pace, never too slow or never too hard to follow. On top of all this, the animation is very well done and the music is also good. All this makes for enjoyable watching.

Time travel as a plot device might seem trite and the show does not try to deal with the background behind the workings of revival. No thought is given to how Revival works, or the paradoxes occurring through time travel. At one point, after failing to save Kayo, Satoru is again restored to his original time, without any explanation. This feels a little too convenient for the plot and is just sloppy writing.But given that the anime is too short to delve into all these details, this can be overlooked to enjoy its better parts.

One area in which the anime lacks is character development. The characters are shallow and most of them are one-dimensional and have very strange, seemingly artificial motivations. At one point in the series, Satoru finds himself at the crime scene of his murder with blood in his hands and police arriving at the scene. Out of all the possible things to do, he tries to run away from the police. Surely there were better alternatives than running away and making himself seem guilty of the crime. There is another character named Airi, who is Satoru’s coworker at a pizza delivery shop. Her father got divorced because everyone believed that he stole a chocolate even though he did not and her mother resented him for it. Nobody believed in her father, and due to this, Airi wants to believe in everybody. Very strange! There are not enough characters in the show to hide the identity of the villian. Sometimes during the show, it becomes obvious who the villain is because no other suitable character is introduced in the anime for the role. The villian is depicted as a shrewd mastermind who avoids detection by framing other people for his crimes. But the villian does not get enough screen time and his motivations are for killing lonely children are not convincing enough. But in the anime’s defense, it makes good use of its limited screen time.

Overall, I will give it 8.5 / 10. Despite its flaws, it was very entertaining and kept me interested for the entirety of 4 hours. I would definitely recommend everyone to watch it.

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