Visual Storytelling and Theming in ERASED
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Posted 3/3/16 , edited 3/4/16
ERASED has been the talk of the season for weeks now, and it’s no secret why: the show’s thrilling story and likable cast make it a contender for the top of anyone’s winter anime list. But discerning viewers have caught an impressive amount of cinematic storytelling that makes the show feel almost like a movie.

ERASED tells the story of Satoru Fujinuma, a man who is sent back in time to relive his childhood in order to stop a traumatic event in his future from happening. Eighteen years in the past, Satoru finds that the key to stopping future events from coming to pass starts with stopping the abduction and murder of Kayo Hinazuki, a troubled girl in his class.

Director Tomohiko Itou (Anohana, Sword Art Online) proves himself to be a master of his craft with the degree of care that goes into almost every scene of the anime. Take this scene, for example, from episode two in which Satoru meets Kayo in the park:



Itou frames the shot around a barren tree, which divides the screen separating Satoru from Kayo, conveying the idea that Kayo has put up a barrier and is keeping him out. This is further expressed in the use of light; Satoru is literally in the dark, just as he is in regards to Kayo and her emotional trauma at this point in the story.



The use of colors is also particularly striking. Despite being cold and distant on the surface, Kayo wears a bright red jacket. Red is a strong emotional color, and although we don’t know her story, it telegraphs her emotional turmoil to the audience. An additional subtle detail that nods to this is the character’s red fingertips in the scene, an environmental detail that further subtly communicates the emotional level they’re connecting on.



Slightly farther in, we can see Satoru get through Kayo’s barrier, the tree no longer divides them, and both characters are illuminated. At this point we know that Satoru is making progress with Kayo. As they understand each other better, we get an over-the-shoulder shot of Satoru in which the two overlap almost entirely, suggesting their similarities as they admit that they are “both fakes.”



You may notice that the shots are presented in letterbox; ERASED uses letterboxing in all of the scenes that take place in the past. At first glance, this is the only purpose the device serves, to distinguish the past from the present, but it also better conveys Satoru’s perspective as a child; children fit in the frame easily, but most adults can only be partially shown. The width of the frame expresses the feeling that the world feels like a larger place from a child’s perspective.

However, even the details of the scene beyond the perspective of the shots helps give the audience insight into the story: that barren tree that divided Satoru and Kayo also serves as a symbol for Kayo’s life. At first glance, the tree is dead, gnarled, and ugly. However, in episode three, Satoru takes Kayo to see another tree that is equally as dead, but the two share a beautiful moment together. In that moment, Kayo isn’t just seeing a pretty tree, she’s seeing how wonderful her life can still be.



It’s this kind of storytelling that distinguishes ERASED from the rest of the pack. The show is full of rich visuals like these that help tell the story in a subtle but significant way, and rewards the audience for noticing them. Itou is clearly drawing from his storied background in animation to create a wonderful show that fans are sure to remember for years to come.
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Posted 3/3/16 , edited 3/3/16
Easily my favorite show of the season. Been awhile since we had a good psychological series.
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27 / M / Buffalo NY
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Posted 3/3/16 , edited 3/3/16
Agreed. Thursdays will never be the same.
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Posted 3/3/16
Honestly the visuals are kinda meh for this anime. I think this anime is very good but not as good as people say, mostly because of the visuals. Erased probably would have won last season for me excluding sequels if it aired then. Honestly grimgar is the best this season though
Suyian 
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Posted 3/3/16 , edited 3/3/16
Jirachi Grimgar is great but is way too slow, and Erased is slow, 4 episodes explain how to kill a Gob and that once you die you don't come back.... way to slow. Both animation are extremely good. Erased is overall better. Grimgar may have better visual but that because a fantasy world is far easier to animate then your real world. And had come out last season would lost to the likes of Food Wars!
trace2 
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Posted 3/3/16
anime of the season
MrFabz 
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Posted 3/3/16
This anime is full of superb details. I am entranced with ERASED!
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Posted 3/3/16
Most of those points I wouldn't call subtle but arbitrary. Either I wouldn't notice them because they don't mean anything to me, or they could mean something or anything or nothing, or the opposite could mean the same as well.
g-0ff 
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Posted 3/3/16 , edited 3/4/16
Oi, if you're going to lift parts of my analysis more or less verbatim, the least you could do is credit me and hotlink out to it.

here, I'll do it for you. I'll even write the copy:

For a more complete analysis of this scene, check out this video by YouTuber Mother's Basement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOB4_Bs9A0k

Just copy and paste that and add it to your post.
Revolver Dogelot
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Posted 3/3/16 , edited 3/4/16

g-0ff wrote:

Oi, if you're going to lift parts of my analysis more or less verbatim, the least you could do is credit me and hotlink out to it.

here, I'll do it for you. I'll even write the copy:

For a more complete analysis of this scene, check out this video by YouTuber Mother's Basement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOB4_Bs9A0k

Just copy and paste that and add it to your post.


Or maybe they just came to the same conclusions you did and framed them in a similar way? No way, could never happen. I will be nice though and "forget" to remove your self promotion of your youtube channel by not deleting your post.
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