Who, what, when, where, why, how. In English these are the 6 main question words key to making a story. Who are the characters? What are their goals? When does it take place? Where does it take place? Why do they have the goals they do? How will the story conclude? When writing a mystery or suspense story these questions are key or every main character and not answering any one for any one character will leave the story feeling incomplete. If you’ve been anywhere on the internet this season, aside from hearing how Konosuba is the best thing to grace anime and anime it saved anime just like One Punch Man did a few months before, you have probably heard of a little show called “ERASED”. Just like One Punch Man again this anime has been declared “best of the season” or even “best of the year” before half the episodes had even aired (even making it to MAL’s Top 10 with an average score of above 9.0) but did it truly have the same quality as HunterxHunter, a million seasons of Gintama or Steins;Gate?
I’m going to be 100% upfront in saying I thought this show was slightly above average most of its run with it falling to average after a certain reveal and teetering between average and below average after the finale. Now that the fanboys have left their comments and stopped reading let’s get into the review and maybe I can explain why I didn’t like ERASED.
Firstly I’ll go over the things I did like. The annimation looked great. It was really fluid. One of my favourite scenes (animation-wise) had the main character Satoru’s mother making him dinner. I’m not sure why but just making hamburger patties and the chopping of vegetables looked really good. I also really liked the soundtrack. Although I wasn’t as big a fan as the OP/ED (they weren’t bad though) as most people I did enjoy most of the background tracks. I also liked the premise which in vague terms to avoid spoilers, Satoru has the ability to (unwillingly) turn back time when a tragedy happens near him and try solving it. If he misses his chance he can’t go back and has to live with the consequences. Keep this last sentence in mind for later. Character wise I liked both Satoru’s mom and, a girl who works with Satoru at a pizza shop, Airi.
Before going into things I didn’t like I need to give base on the story so complaints make sense.
Basically when Satoru was growing up there was a case where 2 girls and a boy were killed and a college aged friend of his was accused. Satoru and his mom know this boy (Yuuki) didn’t do it and his mom seemingly knows. While visiting she sees him and he can tell she knows so he comes and kills her later with Satoru being accused his power activates and sends him back to when he was still in elementary school before any of the killings happened.
So I didn’t list Satoru as a character I liked and there’s good reason for that. He has no likable traits. Sure he attempts to make friends with one of the murdered girls, Kayo, to find the killer but keep in mind. His entire reason is to stop his mom from being killed and by relation, stop being accused. Yes a lot of characters have selfish motivations in other stories I love but usually there’s something to make them likable or you are meant to hate them. I found Satoru incredibly dry. The other children from the past were likable at first but they were way too mature for elementary students. The teacher will be gone over later and no other characters are really worth talking about except Kayo’s mom.
Kayo was a prime target for the killer because she was regularly beaten and abused by her mother making her spend a lot of time alone outside. Go look up stories of actual children suffering from abuse and you’ll notice Kayo acts nothing like them (except trying to be isolated) and the abuse seems to be there only because the author needed a tragic character and a child abuse victim is something most sane people will feel for. Without spoilers the resolution of the abuse was really lame too and felt extremely half-assed.
There is also a lot of film related references in Satoru’s power. When going to the past there’s film showing and when in the past everything is letterboxed which, while not personally an issue, makes no sense and is never properly explained.
The rest of this review will contain spoilers. Skip to the overview paragraph for final spoiler free thoughts.
So earlier when explaining Satoru’s power I mentioned to keep how it works in mind, well about halfway Satoru comes back to the present and is still being chased by the police since he didn’t fix the problem and he triggers the time travel himself which makes the power (which is key to the story) inconsistent.
Now the teacher. He is pretty much the only character that fits the bill of killer (as in adult male) and is constantly shown in shadow which answers the “who” very early. The reason I thought lower of the show after the finale is the “why” was never explained unless it’s “he’s crazy” then I’ll change my complaint from “why” never being explained to “why” being stupid.