Just like we previously mentioned in our 2016 releases that have us hyped post, it seems like this is going to be a pretty awesome year for anime fans. Putting long-awaited releases aside, so far the winter season has been way better than the previous season. Today we are talking about ERASED, or Boku dake ga Inai Machi in Japanese, which is currently #29 on My Anime List. This isn’t only the highest rated anime of the season, but also the most talked about series. Even youtube reviewers who don’t usually talk about seasonal anime are covering ERASED. If you’re one of those viewers who doesn’t like to follow seasonal anime either, perhaps you should make an exception with for this one. (NOTE: This article is spoiler-free)
ERASED is the anime adaptation of the Japanese manga ‘Boku Dake ga Inai Machi’ (‘The Town Where Only I am Missing’) by Kei Sanbe. It’s a seinen series with supernatural and psychological genres. The anime is currently is produced by A-1 Pictures and it has been listed with 12 episodes. The synopsis is as follows:
“Struggling manga author Satoru Fujinuma is beset by his fear to express himself. However, he has a supernatural ability of being forced to prevent deaths and catastrophes by being sent back in time before the incident occurred, repeating time until it is prevented. One day, he gets involved in an incident that has him framed as a murderer. Desperate to save the victim, he sends himself back in time only to find himself as a grade-schooler one month before fellow classmate Kayo Hinazuki went missing. Satoru now embarks on a new quest: to save Kayo and solve the mystery behind her disappearance” (MAL News)
Let me say this first: I am in love with this series and it’s currently in my Top 3 of the season. However, let’s say it like it is: anime fans have a tendency of overhype series. Probably because it’s so hard to find unique series lately that everytime we stumble upon something good, we elevate it to the levels of Death Note or Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. In the case of ERASED, we can’t rely on manga readers telling us that the story is worth it either, as the anime will actually spoil the ending of the story for manga readers. I say let’s wait and see how the story unfolds but, so far, it’s doing everything right.
What are those things that ERASED is doing right? For starters, it had one of the most intense and captivating first episodes I have seen in a veeeery long time. Even though the synopsis sounds interesting, I didn’t think much of it at first. Anime about people going back in time and changing past events isn’t something new (Steins;Gate, Suzumiya Haruhi…), but, at the same time, the reason why there are so many using this concept is because it works. Time-travelling stories are usually very interesting, not only because they are something unknown to us, but because there’s always that thought in the back of our minds that tells us that it could actually be real. Somehow, playing with time (physics) feels more realistic than with magic. The fact that there can be paradoxes and butterfly effects, only adds to the merit of the writer when done right. On top of that, the way in which ERASED presents some of its elements like death or the importance of time feels very mature and, in some way, real.
Part of that is also thanks to the main character, Satoru, who looks like an older version of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU‘s Hikigaya: quiet, asocial and somewhat cynical. As explained in the synopsis, Satoru’s special power allows him to go back in time a few seconds before something bad happens. If he doesn’t avoid the thing, he will keep going back in time until he fixes it. Yes, it does sound annoying, but it’s also original and opens the door to some new scenarios in which the fun part is not so much about fixing what’s wrong, but finding out what’s wrong. Again, pretty unique.
Those are all merits of the source material, but the anime is also doing a great adaptation. In fact, A-1 is certainly doing things right lately. They did a great job with The Perfect Insider last season, and now they seem to be doing a pretty job with both ERASED and Hai to Gensou no Grimgar too. When it comes to ERASED, it’s not only that the art and the animation fit the series perfectly, but the setting and atmosphere are also on point. The music (check out the ending!) and the direction by Tomohiko Itou also add to the suspense and the feeling of uneasiness in every episode so far.
Once again, it’s hard to judge an entire series by its first two episodes, so don’t take this as a review, but as a holy shit, this looks great and you should totally check it out. Who knows, ERASED could still have a poor and unsatisfying ending. Managing time-travelling stories is very difficult and I’m not sure on how they are going to explain Satoru’s special powers, but that doesn’t take away from the great start it has had. Make sure to come back to us for the series review once the anime is finished!