Group Review: ERASED
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Posted 3/2/16 , edited 3/2/16
Written by: Eclipsed_Oblivion

Immediately from its first episode, ERASED establishes itself as one of the frontrunners of the winter season. The series is a master of simultaneously weaving both suspense and melancholy at once, which meshes into a sense of dread that looms through even the most innocuous of scenes. This comes from its movie-like cinematography and somewhat monotone colour palette, for one, but also from how it boldly deals with dark themes like death and child abuse. These themes are poignant without becoming macabre, as the protagonist dealing with them often appears to be a child, but has the maturity and perceptiveness of the 29-year-old man he actually is. On top of the high quality animation used to create the series’s visually stunning scenes, ERASED grips its viewers from the start and doesn’t let go.

The only possibly negative thing about ERASED is its pacing. Solving the murder case that took place in the protagonist’s childhood is not the series’s priority, even if it is the initial hook. However, it is a mistake to think this is a bad thing. ERASED isn’t just about its mystery, but also its characters and their relationships with each other. This works due to the series’s dynamic, realistic characterization, as well as the chemistry between the characters; the relationship between the protagonist and one of the victims he tries to save is especially fascinating. Such focus on the characters is just another of many aspects that makes ERASED so captivating, and it is an anime you cannot afford to miss.

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Written by: moonhawk81

ERASED is one of my favorite new series this season, despite my distaste for the subject matter--namely, child abuse and murder. In my case, the show's draw is that it is presented as a psychological thriller, something we see precious little of nowadays. The few recent titles that have attempted this genre, the cinematic heyday of which occurred from the 1940s-1960s, have usually fizzled out to become action with just an overlay of mystery. But a true psychological thriller seduces the intellect even as it batters the emotions and psyche, often prompting the viewer to emerge disoriented and bereft. So why watch something like that? Well, for the same reasons you choose the park ride that you already know makes you sick--a certain amount of controlled helplessness can be thrilling, even cathartic. Too bad our protagonist has seemingly no control over his situation. . .

Satoru is nearing thirty, unattached and with the ultimate dead-end job--he delivers pizza. Worse, he is also haunted by the kidnapping and murder of a childhood classmate, believing himself to be the last person to have seen her before her disappearance. Perhaps in response to his fixation upon this incident, Satoru has somehow developed an ability, which he calls Revival, to slip back in time by approximately 5 minutes in order to attempt to change things. The downside is that he must himself recognize what needs to be changed; that, and the fact that his changes can produce life-or-death consequences for those involved. Satoru is subsequently injured while saving a child from a runaway truck, inspiring his mother to come and care for him. But her visit is cut short by her brutal murder, and Satoru becomes the prime suspect when circumstances force him to flee the police. Panicked and heartbroken, Satoru then experiences a Revival event that transports him back 18 years, just days before the disappearance of his classmate. How many futures can he change, especially given that his adult mind is trapped inside his childhood body?

OK, then, think you're ready? Because this show will savage you, so be prepared. The artwork is wonderfully true to mood, muted and overcast. But the writing is especially exceptional! With realistic scenes of abuse rivaling those of Myself; Yourself, and an overpowering sense of loss-of-innocence that might make Gunslinger Girl proud, this show not only engages but deliberately challenges its audience. Still, it's a ride worth taking!

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Written by: battlewaitress

For a little while, I was debating whether ERASED or Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju was my favorite show of the Winter season, and I have to say, I think ERASED is pulling ahead, at least for now. The absolute best thing about the show, in my opinion, is the tone of it. There are few shows I can compare it to. It knows what its doing, and it does a damn good job of it. Childhood innocence is mixed with the overarching fear of the inevitable, the 'what's next' of even the most seemingly happy scenes. There were plenty of times I was happy for what was happening with Satoru and Kayo... only to be starkly reminded that oh yeah, don't be too excited about it.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say everyone has had a 'what if I could go back and change this' moment, but ERASED flips that on its head a little, because of the fact that Satoru has to go back to being a child. It highlights the helplessness of having to not seem as aware, and not be able to say or do the things that you really need to. This can be seen with Kayo and her abuse, as well, and how she can't even enjoy the childhood she should have.

ERASED excels in subtlety, and these little touches make you genuinely care for the characters. A scene at the end of episode three between Satoru and Kayo is particularly important; we can see that she still has feelings and (maybe) a chance to grow, that all the negativity in her life hasn't entirely cut her off from getting happiness, yet.

If you are on the fence whatsoever about watching ERASED, just go for it. It handles itself beautifully, and it's too poignant to deny.

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Written by: Zeroguki

ERASED isn't a total departure from the typical anime formula, but when it pushes the boundaries of what it can do, it reveals a standout show. The plot and sequence of events could go in any number of directions, and no matter what, we already know what works so well about it. The atmosphere and the tension -- the way entire scenes set you up to imagine virtually every characters as either a victim or a perpetrator of murder, the way the environment itself feels oppressive and villainous.

The snow-capped environment around the school in 1988, the harsh, shadowy interiors inside Hanazuki's house, even the way Satoru's cute childhood exterior contrast with the seriousness of his mission in the past and the darkness that pervades his world are great devices to explore a true horror story, something that's actually fairly rare in anime. By focusing so much on suspense, it avoids the burden of having to constantly stimulate the audience and make up for short attention spans.

There's something so spooky about the mystery itself -- the way that the audience only knows as much as Satoru, and is a little bit trapped in this sort of ghost past along with him, watching things play out with only subtle changes. Even when it gets hopeful, there's a dark undercurrent to everything. That would be exhausting if not for the impressive craftsmanship the series has displayed since episode one. It leavens the entire proceedings with an artful, engaging tone while never quite leaving the sinister and the strange behind.

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Written by: edsamac

At first, the plot of ERASED seems difficult to swallow. Part "Butterfly Effect" and part "Detective Conan", the concept of a murder thriller/mystery 18-years in the making seems like a hefty endeavor that might leave even the most curious viewer skeptical. Leave it to Director Ito Tomohiko (Sword Art Online, Silver Spoon) to bring the highly acclaimed thriller manga to new cinematic heights in a way that is, possibly, better than the source material itself.

As early as the first episode, a heavy atmosphere is cast. The mental mindscape of Satoru is filled with the weight of regret and past decisions made in error. That on top of the metaphysical "joke" of his powers that can supposedly "undo" bad things from happening. It's an ironic, almost tragic "curse" that highlights Satoru's suffering as he is made to believe that he can undo past mistakes in order to change his present failures. Such ideas are compelling, and thoughtful, and many more such ideas are brought up in a chilling fashion throughout the show.

The transition to his childhood is gripping. Framed in letterbox to add to the "nostalgic" sense of the past, as if looking into one's memories. The cinematography is superb, utilizing framing and details made to add to the sense of "observership"and a tight sense of claustrophobia. This depicts Satoru's childhood as far from idyllic, and rightly so. The weight of Satoru's choices is felt with the ingenious use of ambient noises, reverberating strings, and sharp drum strikes. And finally, the sense of a thriller permeates the scenes flawlessly and brings out an almost filmic experience. It's incredible!

The only drawback is perhaps the overselling of the drama. There are many times where simple plot devices could serve on their own, but the need to use "red eyes" or "psycho strings" at almost every turn makes the show feel like it's trying too hard to prove itself. However, it's in the subtleties and small character moments where the show shines. It's understandable that it's trying to sell itself as a thriller, but the plot devices are already compelling in themselves, so the show could stand to turn it down a little when it comes to being excessively dramatic. Mystery-wise, it's already on the borders of fantasy, but its direction does not feel contrived in the least. It might seem a bit obvious who the villains are at times (red eyes and whatnot), but barring those situations, the mystery elements are acceptable.

Otherwise, the show is indeed one of the best this season. And that's a big statement, coming from me. If you aren't watching this show yet, you should. Leave no doubts, this is a show you SHOULD be watching.

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Written by: Koda89

ERASED is one of the better constructed mystery series in a long time. The show has left plenty of clues over the course of its episodes, but is still keeping its biggest reveals close to its chest, resulting in many people making theories that implicate just about every character introduced in Satoru’s past. ERASED is also incredibly enthralling, drawing the viewer in and making them want to watch the next episode immediately, a feat helped by an expert use of cliffhangers. Another thing of note is how the show handles the parts where Satoru is in his past.

The show literally frames it like it was a movie, but besides just the presentation of the past, how they deal with Satoru’s memories of the past is phenomenal. Usually when a character is sent to the past, they remember everything perfectly. In ERASED, Satoru has holes in his memories, often times only remembering specific key moments, and not really the details or events around them. He even sometimes forgets things wholesale, only remembering them as they happen in real time for him. This is a great twist on works with time traveling characters, and is one of the many signs of the amount of care that went into making what many, including myself, regard as one of the best shows of the season.

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Written by: Necara

After having such a beautiful mystery as The Perfect Insider end last season, ERASED fills in the void it left seamlessly. The main characters are fairly mundane and ordinary, which ramps up the suspense because you're not sure which character is the next to start the action. Every episode a new twist appears, leaving those who thought they had it figured out speechless. There's no telling what will happen next episode.

One of the strongest elements about ERASED is the composition of the show. It has many dynamic angles that are uncommonly seen in 2D media. The intentional and methodical way the show is choreographed helps the feeling that something is not quite right whenever you watch. One of the most poignant scenes so far is at the beginning of episode 5, where the main character Satoru is shown in his classroom, the back wall behind him lined with papers that have the kanji for hope on all of them. Without giving away too much, it certainly signifies the weight of his situation: hope is literally all Satoru has backing him up at this point.

I'm already going to call it a front-runner for Top Anime of the Year. ERASED has the makings of an animated classic lined up for it. I look forward to the rest of the series and even more so to the new projects it may inspire.
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