Grim_Noir Gets Erased

 

Erased poster

Title: Erased (a.k.a. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi<)

Director: Tomohiko Ito

Screenplay by: Taku Kishimoto

Based on the manga by: Kei Sanbe

Animation by: A-1 Pictures

Distributed by: Aniplex of America

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

Ever since Man first discovered Fire, there was already some troglodyte climbing out of his muck to take a whiz on it. Sadly, the twelve episode anime Erased is another creative spark that seems to have drawn internet haters for simply existing. Which is a damn shame because this series is well worth a watch.

In 2006, Satoru Fujinuma is 29-year-old failed comic book artist and part-time pizza delivery person. He was never particularly bright in school and he’s told by editors looking at his portfolio that he “doesn’t put his heart into things.” But Saturo has one thing making him unique: an ability he calls “Revival.” Whenever a preventable life-threatening incident occurs around him, his consciousness can uncontrollably “jump” backward in time by 3-5 minutes; giving him just enough time to prevent the problem. Saturo is drifting through this life, until something truly horrible and personal happens. The police think he did it, so Saturo runs… and jumps back farther than he ever has before…

Erased is a pure thriller and to say too much more about the story would spoil the myriad plot twists, cliffhangers and reversals of fortune that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Suffice to say, the plot involves the death of three girls, when Saturo was ten. His mother and several of the other parents decided it would be best for the kids to forget what happened. With the best of intentions, they have done everything in their power to erase any lingering memories of the incidents and move forward with their lives. Now, he is in a position to undo those murders, if only his memories of that time weren’t so fuzzy.

Erased-women

I review things based on how well that piece of entertainment accomplished its stated goals, so I think (to mitigate the cyber-kiddies whining about Erased), we first need to address what the series is not. It is NOT a Sherlock-level mystery. By the end of the first act, you will have a pretty good idea who the murderer is. However, Saturo is not the smartest guy in the room and he is lacking in close friends and father figures. This is not time-travelling Naruto/Detective Conan.

The series is interested in issues of trust and the powerlessness of social agencies. Saturo is never able to tell anyone what is really happening because he knows no one would believe in his “Revival” ability. At the same time, he desparately needs people to believe in him in order to stop a homicidal pedophile. Police and Family Service agencies stand by ineffectually until things are too late. They have the public trust, but no power to prevent these murders. Saturo has the power to prevent the murders, but will need people to trust in him without supplying a good reason why they should. In the end, his reluctant sincerity needs to be more powerful than his “Revival.”

This is also not an action series. The real thrills in this cat-and-mouse game come from the complete imbalance of power between Saturo and the unknown killer (think The Wonder Years meets The Killing meets Quantum Leap directed by Brian DiPalma). In weaker hands, the series would become overwhelmingly depressing. Happily, Director Tomohiko Ito is experienced enough to keep things moving briskly and bouy the viewer with occasional flashes of hope.

Erased-Xmas tree

In a show about child abuse and a sociopath, it is strange to refer to the artwork and animation as a bright spot, but some genuine thought and effort have been expended by the animation staff. Motion is fluid in both conversations and action set pieces. Faces needed to be highly expressive for the heart of this show to work and these facial expressions will tear your heart out. The color red and its symbolic relationship to danger is obvious, yet well done. Less obvious, but equally impressive is how they handle the childhood scenes; keep an eye out for the use of “ultra-widescreen” and a more muted color palate in those passages. It is as if they are trying to make ANTI-“rose-colored-glasses” into a thing.

Erased is also coming out as a two-hour live action motion picture, but I highly recommend taking the extra four hours and watching the anime. The rewards of the extra emotional texture will far outweigh the additional time commitment.

Plus, the theme song (Re: Re:) by Asian Kung-Fu Generation is awesome. Even a troll could see that.

Boku-dake-ga-Inai-Machi-02-op1

Ol' Grim Hisself

* GRIM_NOIR is convinced that the internet is a figment of his imagination. Please comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter or “Friend” on Facebook or Good Reads to end his self-delusions.

Posted in : Misc

Leave a Reply