First Look: ERASED

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Alternative titles: Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, The Town Where I’m Missing
Manga Adaptation – A-1 Pictures
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Satoru Fujinuma is a struggling mangaka with a unique gift: he is catapulted back in time whenever someone is in danger so that he can help them out of their predicament. After his powers help reopen an old abduction case, he must use them to unravel the mystery.

Marlin’s verdict: Morphogenetic Field-day

I unfortunately read a synopsis before getting into this show, so I was not able to enjoy the full force that the end of this episode brings to the table. Still, I found myself engrossed in the show’s atmosphere and world-building. Clearly we see that his experience with these events has given him situational awareness that one would need to solve mysteries. Considering he’s come close to dying just in this episode, he also has a reasonable, albeit selfish excuse for his antisocial behavior. By keeping his interaction to a minimum he reduces its activity, and thus reduces his risk. I will chime in with all the others who will praise the writing of his mother. Once you get over anime’s inability to make anyone over 50 look over 30, she quickly stands out as a sharp, witty contrast to Satoru’s glum demeanor. It’s clear that her influence will extend to the past as well.

While it might be a bit worrying to return to this guy’s adolescence, I doubt that means we are going to have to deal with a lot of schoolhouse nonsense. From what we already know, I wouldn’t be surprised if more twists are added to the setting than we’ve already seen. It will be interesting to see how he goes about collecting information as a child, something that will naturally hamper his ability to search for clues and get information from others. It will also be interesting to see how he will have to manage without the internet or other technological advances that makes information gathering so much easier these days. While it still needs to prove itself in its new setting, ERASED really started out hot.

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Iro’s verdict: High Potential

Wow, I wish I’d thought of that plot hook. Time travel stories are nothing new, but ERASED manages to create a damn intriguing premise within its first episode. Unfortunately, it does so a bit awkwardly. For example, you have to just accept right off the bat that Satoru has time-rewinding powers, because otherwise the plot can’t function. While that’s not a large hurdle, I wish there was more time to get used to the idea, since the episode seems cramped from trying to work in all the pertinent information. Still, there’s quite a bit of potential here for a long-term murder mystery, with Satoru having to pull the thread and figure out what he needs to change over the course of his entire life. Here’s hoping the show can keep it up.

Zigg’s verdict: Past Master

I’ve got a myriad of concerns about ERASED – the clumsy pacing, forced exposition and generally unlikable characters all contribute to a sense of lingering skepticism over the show. But man, that ending and the revelation of the big hook which looks to power the story forward is absolutely brilliant and seems like it could be the harbinger for a fascinating reverse-murder mystery. It’s also nice to see a show which largely concentrated on adult characters with adult concerns, and one which was able to maintain a genuine atmosphere of grimness and unease. There’s lots of things that could go wrong in the future but there’s also a real potential for a breakout hit here. I’ll be watching with interest.

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Gee’s verdict: Best Hook Of The Season

I have to admit, as a fan of the likes of 999 and Ghost Trick, I’m a sucker for time fuckery stories. But wow, while I wouldn’t say ERASED does anything entirely new, the presentation of its conceit absolutely knocks it out of the park. Satoru himself is a bit of a wet blanket, but his rumination about the nature of regret is uncomfortably close to how I feel about many of my past mistakes and decisions. Him being a seemingly failed artist like me makes it even more relatable. Will I also be delivering pizzas in my late 20s as I wonder where it all went wrong? I hope I also get time travel powers with the package.

Satoru’s mom is one hell of a character though. Ignoring her somewhat implausible appearance (which I suppose is nothing new for anime moms), it’s always nice to see more adults in anime. I do hope they address how she seems to be a pretty competent detective though. While the twist at the end is what has me the most excited for what’s to come, it’s also the thing that could sink it all. I had already grown attached to the universe ERASED was setting up for us, so to jump back means we’re also going to be treated to an entirely new cast . Also going back to childhood days means going back to the tired Japanese school setting. Still, this is definitely the show this season that had me the most excited for next week. Don’t let me down A-1.

BASELESS SPECULATION: Satoru’s near death experience in the beginning is actually him being saved by someone else with the Revival power. This will eventually lead to a contrived situation where the only timeline where everything is saved is the one where he himself has to die.

POINTLESS NOTE: Always nice to hear Asian Kung Fu Generation featured in an anime again.

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Artemis’ verdict: The One Show Everyone Should Be Watching

It’s a no-brainer – this was the best premiere of the season and, assuming it stays consistent, will more than likely be the best overall title as well. Personally I thought the pacing was fine, the exposition perfectly natural, and the cast not only likeable but more importantly interesting. The final third of the episode was certainly the biggest hook though, and it’s not often that I’m taken aback (in a good way) like this. The transition in POV was executed so well that instead of finding it jarring I was mostly just impressed – although I’m also hoping that Satoru’s mother is shown to be a lawyer or detective or something, because while she instantly became my favourite character, her thought process would be pretty damn weird otherwise. However, from what I’ve seen of the show so far I don’t it would be dumb enough to overlook such a gaping detail, so I have faith that it’ll be addressed later on.

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8 thoughts on “First Look: ERASED

  1. I agree with most of this. I think this series has tremendous potential, and as long as it doesn’t pull a Charlotte (or something like that) and keeps up the excitement and development, then it will be one of the better animes this season.

    • This guy seems too mature to pull a Charlotte, and I have to say I appreciate having an adult main character. So hopefully we’re safe there.

  2. This one looks interesting. I love this kind of time-travel plots, so I guess I’ll be adding this to something that I should watch.

    …also, Morphogenetic Field? That’s a trigger phrase for me to being lazy again; time to replay the whole 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward storyline for a week.

    • Even as someone who is super sick of time travel plots, I thought this was pretty great. I should probably get around to 999 and VLR, the rest of the crew keeps nagging me about it.

  3. DAYUM. That last third was something else. I agree going back to the tired school background is annoying, but let’s see how it plays out. Hopefully we don’t get many bullshit school life tropes while he tries to unravel the mystery.

  4. The second episode was pretty good in my book. It really seemed to walk the right line of this guy having to relive his elementary school days while also incorporating the overall plot. I’m also diggin’ the OP and ED for this show too.

  5. we’ll see a boy x girl elementary school relationship again for once and one that gets developement. not to mention this relationship is going to be much more grounded in reality than the moe pretentiousness that is nanoha fate, vivio einhart, and miyu illya and kuro.

    • Yeah, well, anything trying to ground itself like this is gonna look normal compared to a magical girl show, but I do like this somewhat darker take on growing up.

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