Intro: Why is it interesting?
Erased is by far the most sagacious and intricate fantasy-thriller drama anime of the year. Finally after weeks of strange shifts I’ve been having lately, I’ve watched the last episode of this series.
Most of the series I’ve watched have been magical, Shojo or Shonen style even violent ones like the Gundam franchise. However, Erased is a strategic story that involves a phenomenon called, Revival (it is the ability to go back-in-time). Without this detail the story would flow, yet it is this detail that also makes this anime extremely engaging.
Plot (Warning there are Major Spoilers!)
The protagonist, Satoru Fujinuma lives in the year 2006. He is 29 years-old and he is the delivery man for a local pizza place. Somewhat frustrated because he would like to be a manga artist, so far he has been unlucky. Although, not everything is bad because he has an excellent relationship with his mother (a former news reporter) and his co-worker, Airi Katagiri which he secretly likes, but he feels guilty because she is 17 years-old.
One day while waiting for her son, Sachiko (Satoru’s mother) sees a man that attempts to kidnap a child. She calls a former co-worker and friend to discuss what she believes that will uncover a cold-case from the late 80s. Hours later, Sachiko is murdered and Satoru is framed for it. In his desperation to escape from the police, his co-worker, Airi helps him; however, the police is still on his tracks.
In the middle of despair, Satoru’s strange ability of revival takes him back-in-time. Now, he is 11 years-old; although, he is happy to see his mother again and alive…why his he back in 1988?
1988 in the original time-line, three children were abducted and found dead under unknown circumstances. Jun Shiratori, a delivery man and he was also friends with Satoru is accused of these murders.
Now, this is Satoru’s opportunity to change the destiny of his classmates, but also prove Jun’s innocence. Throughout the series, Satoru’s actions were very adult-like with the body of a child. In a way that was his advantage because his revival made him go back in time almost every aspect; nonetheless, his memories were not affected by it.
Using his memories as a benefit, Satoru is able to stop the unknown serial killer. With the help of his friends, his mother, and his teacher: Gaku Yashiro- Satoru prevented these horrific events. Yet, Satoru is unable to save himself.
Gaku that helped to save all of the original victims from their demise- he turns out to be the serial killer. Gaku reveals his fascination and his exasperation with Satoru’s dexterity. As a result, Satoru ended up as a victim.
Now, it is the year of 2003. The original victims are alive and Sachiko has cared for her son that has been in a comatose state since 1988. One morning, he wakes up with memories blurry. Like a crow waiting for roadkill, Gaku, now a well-known politician has also waited for this moment.
Satoru once again trusts Gaku and they speak alone. In a twist of events,the serial killer wants to silence his victim, but fails to do so. He is caught red-handed and sent to jail.
Months later, Satoru tries to restore the last 15 years that he has lost. Finally in this new time line, Jun and the victims are living the lives they were meant to have. The young hero becomes a manga artist and a final revival occurs. Instead of going back-in-time, the revival brings Airi back as an adult and they meet once again.
Why is it a Must Watch?
What I liked about the series is the fact that the serial killer is not the typical one. Quite the contrary, this murderer has a likeable personality, but this character does share a far amount of hints of his/her involvement.
Another intriguing part of this series is that Satoru is both a victim and a hero. Keep in mind, Satoru did use his memories to help the future victims; however, changing their destinies also meant a different outcome. As a viewer, it was unpredictable to know if the killer was going to be caught in 1988, 2006 or in 2003.
Overall, this series combines fantasy and thriller in a brilliant matter. This series is so well made that it can transition from animation to a series with human actors without a scratch. Watch it via Crunchyroll, Daisuki, Aniplex, and Hulu (And this series will be dubbed soon! Anime Expo® will host a screening.)
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