29-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is sent back in time 18 years to prevent the events leading to his mother's death, which began with a series of kidnappings while he was in 5th grade.29-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is sent back in time 18 years to prevent the events leading to his mother's death, which began with a series of kidnappings while he was in 5th grade.29-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is sent back in time 18 years to prevent the events leading to his mother's death, which began with a series of kidnappings while he was in 5th grade.
Time travel usually falls along one of two plot lines, set-right-what-once-went-wrong or change the future sometimes with overlap of both. In the case of Erased we have an overlap as our main character Satoru goes back to his past to rewrite the wrongs of history to solve a kidnapping he feels partly responsible for, for not doing enough to possibly prevent it in the first place and help a friend who was set up to take the fall for such a crime. Through the course of several episodes we see him craftily work out tactics as a grown man occupying the body of his 10-year-old-self. Slowly but surely he has to make a connection with Kayo, a seemingly cold and distant person but finding out she's a girl hiding incredible amount of pain in her life.
As the episodes progress the series really is less about the time travel and more about a kid trying to do the right thing, even if that kid is really an adult. If not for the clever visual reminders and the ongoing mystery of the future which propels Satoru back in time, it would be easy to forget this is supposed to be a time traveling mystery.
If the show has a few shortcomings it does unfortunately suffer slightly by it's short length. With a 12 episode count a good chunk of the story is focused on Satoru's efforts to save his classmate, Kayo Hinazuki from a grim fate and terrible home life while the other victims of the story largely come in and are quickly resolved. The who-done-it aspect of the mystery might not hold you for long thanks to some fairly obvious clues and hints but then again plenty of red herrings can keep you guessing all the same.
The finale does bring some good emotional closure but as it is but felt rather rushed and anti-climactic as a culmination of 11 episodes worth of suspense and buildup. In spite of the flaw the dramatic pathos and tight scripting of the series as a whole should keep you engaged consistently.
The animation by A-1 Pictures is quality with many good uses of symbolism in its art, color design and cinematography. The art of the manga is evolved to fluid and dynamic looking animation with clean looking character designs making them adaptable and distinguishable.
Yuki Kajiura's music shapes up to make a good atmospheric score using her usual blend of synth and real instruments to mix and match mood of the series highs and lows. The opening theme provided by Asian-Kung-Fu Generation feels like a standard rock song but with a few listens manages to mesh decently into the series as a whole. The ending by Sayuri is a song bolstered by a good melody written by the accomplished Kajiura but hampered by a poor arrangement by Ryou Eguchi.
ERASED in the end proves to be a gripping thriller filled with many emotional twits and turns and will leave you consistently on the edge of your seat. A few shortcomings aside I can't deny it had me biting my nails through most of it and I highly recommend it.
- Mar 26, 2016