Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi)

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Satoru Fujinuma is a 29 year old man, who has the power he calls ‘revival’. When something bad is about to happen or happens, revival sends his consciousness back, allowing him to fix whatever occurred. These generally only involve a couple minutes, however when an especially horrible event occurs Satoru is sent back 18 years to when he was an elementary school student. The horrific event taking place 18 years later seems to be connected to the traumatizing event that happened much earlier, when a number of children around his town were killed with the blame being placed on one of his friends, and Satoru was left feeling responsible for his inaction. But this time, he is determined to tackle things head on and change the future. And hence he immediately tries to become friends with Kayo Hinazuki, the first to die in the previous timeline. Kayo is a girl who even independently of the murders is going through an incredibly difficult time due to her mother’s abuse, resulting in her having an anti-social personality, however that makes Satoru even more determined, not just to save her from the murderer, but from everything else as well.

***

Erased is an incredibly suspenseful and intense anime, the type that you just need to keep watching without stopping once it really gets going. And it has a tremendous amount of things going for it such as having a lot of great characters, Satoru’s mom standing out among the side characters especially. There’s a lot of character and relationship development as well as many other moments and sequences that are tremendously beautiful and awesome to watch, in part due to the good use of subtle elements and reuse of motifs. However, as the anime approaches its ending, I had a major problem with the direction it took, that I feel could be rooted down to finding the anime so amazing for very different reasons from what seemed to be the actual focus of the author was. For me, what made the anime amazing was Satoru’s desperate attempt at rescuing Kayo, with all the twists and turns that took, and all the intense emotional moments and character development that came about as a result of it. The serial murderer aspect and revival were a good back drop to that, escalating the stakes and providing further grounding for Satoru to be able to and have the motivation to act. But the core of the story from the outset was saving Kayo. However, the anime actually goes in a very different direction, with most of the anime being Kayo’s arc, but then her disappearing from the plot and relationship web of the Satoru completely and abruptly, and the true focus of the plot turns out to be Satoru connection to the the murderer. I felt everything after Kayo left was a mess and not only not what I wanted from the series, but also not really good at all either in terms of quality. And then it all comes together for an  an ending that definitely has closure, but is still a complete train-wreck and something I was entirely unsatisfied with.

The art and animation are very solid. The soundtrack was fantastic. The OP/ED were great.

An anime that has a lot that I really liked, but then went in a completely different direction leading to a disappointing end.

8/10

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