Satoru Fujinuma is a struggling manga artist who works at his local pizza place. Ever since he was a kid, he has been holding himself responsible for a kidnapping incident that happened to a young girl he knew. Finally, the time has come for the truth from his past to be revealed and he plans to use his special ability in order to make things right.
Satoru is pushing thirty and isn’t exactly your usual anime protagonist. His life is a bit lacklustre and he’s always struggling to pay his way financially and, to make matters worse, he doesn’t seem to have a knack for connecting with his audiences through his work. However, working at the pizza place to support himself in his slump means that he can spend his time with his high school colleague who may have a crush on him. Luckily, his life is exciting in another way…
Our protagonist, though he leads a humdrum life, is gifted with the well-documented phenomenon that occurs frequently in various forms of fiction: he can go back in time. To be more accurate in this instance, he can go back in time for a brief period in order to try and stop something bad from happening in that time, and he calls this quirk of his “Revival”, and he always goes back in order to try and make things better though he never knows when this will happen to him. Through flashbacks within his current life, this ability seems to stem from his biggest regret which has haunted him all through his childhood – the one thing that he wishes more than ever that he could go back and set right. But fate seems to have bigger plans for our Satoru.
When he can’t determine what to take action against during his latest sensation of Revival, the past comes back to affect his present, resulting in a new tragedy which has the potential to ruin his life on more than just one level. It’s all connected, and the solution to his childhood regret could very well be the solution to remedy his most recent tragedy. Revival kicks in then, and suddenly Satoru’s life is turned upside-down in an even more unbelievable way than any of these inconceivable events – he finds himself back in his childhood, as a child, re-living the days before a terrible kidnapping and he has to find a way to stop history repeating itself and, hopefully, this will fix his present.
ERASED looked highly intriguing to me from the very start. A-1 Pictures productions working with Aniplex tend to have solid production values and have created some notable heavy-hitters. Series composition is handled by Taku Kishimoto of Usagi Drop and Haikyuu fame and the fantastic music comes courtesy of one of the best-known composers in the industry, Yuki Kajiura. Kajiura has been a composer for the past few years and has composed some really subtle and impactive pieces for ERASED – very human, but building up the tension and feelings and helping to elicit the strong emotional responses that make this anime what it is. The music we here is so powerful and yet so low-key.
Every episode seems to up the ante just a little bit more as Satoru tries to navigate his way through his childhood a second time, now knowing what is about to happen and the horrible future events that occur as a result. He knows that the wrong person was convicted of a crime and that the real killer is still at large. I have been absolutely gripped since the first episode and, whilst I love my magical, sparkly, action-packed and fantasy-based anime, I do love a more toned-down, mature anime that gets my brain thinking and my heart racing. This is where I think ERASED is slightly reminiscent of The Perfect Insider and Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation.
ERASED is off to an intriguing start. The animation realism is beautiful, the writing makes almost all the characters sympathetic and as a result affects the audience as if they were watching something in real life. The quality of this series always seems to be on the increase. Even when the pace slows down I’m waiting with bated breath to see just what’s going to happen to cause the pace to speed up again – there always seems to be a twist around the corner. I can’t seem to predict which way this plot will turn, and that’s what has me tuning in as soon as possible to every new episode.