Does anyone else remember Quantum Leap? That’s what Erased reminds me a little of. Aspiring manga artist Satoru Fujinuma doesn’t switch bodies, like Sam Beckett did, but he does possess the ability to prevent tragedies via time travel. In the first episode, whilst out delivering pizzas, Satoru uses his power to save a child from getting run over. Good job Satoru, although I suspect that heroic diversion will cost you a tip. By the time you recover from the injuries sustained, during said roadside rescue, that pizza you were ferrying is bound to have gotten cold. Man, I hate it when Dominos present me with a lukewarm Thin N Crispy.
Adapted from Kei Sanbe’s comic, Erased is a twelve-part anime that chronicles Satoru’s biggest time leap ever. In the first episode Satoru is framed for the murder of his mother. Just when the cops are about to apprehend him, his consciousness travels back almost two decades – to the time when he was just ten years old. Based on how his Revival power works, Satoru suspects that the guilty party is a serial killer who hounded his hometown back in the day. In order to prevent his parent’s homicide Satoru will have to uncover the identity of a sick predator, who claimed the lives of three children back in the eighties.
The first step in resolving the abovementioned mystery is to befriend the murderer’s first victim, a reclusive girl named Kayo Hinazuki. As it turns out Satoru’s kindness could potentially save Kayo’s life in more ways than one. His immediate concern is to guard Kayo against the killer. Over the course of the story however Satoru learns that Kayo is being abused by her mother and takes it upon himself to protect her from that cruelty too. The bond that forms between the pair is sweet, almost bordering on romantic. Somehow the relationship doesn’t come across as creepy though, even if it is technically between a minor and a guy in his late twenties (Amos Yee would approve.)
My rating for Erased is five stars. Having watched the series I can finally see why the anime garnered so much praise back in 2016. The time travel elements are right up my alley and I also enjoyed the schoolyard slice of life moments. Aside from the main manhunt plot, the script does a good job of developing its lead. Satoru ironically matures by reliving his childhood. Aiding our hero are present day adult acquaintances and chums from his youth. From the supporting cast Satoru’s mother Sachiko Fujinuma is my favourite. Satoru affectionately calls her a witch, as she possesses an uncanny sense for reading his mind. Witchcraft may explain why she doesn’t seem to age too. Those curries she cooks could well be wrinkle-preventing potions.
I highly recommend Erased, although those seeking a good whodunit may wish to look elsewhere. Mystery is the one area were Erased isn’t exceptional. Viewers catch a glimpse of the killer during the tail end of the first episode. Said scene was enough for me to successfully deduce the antagonist’s identity as early as episode two. The script tries to cast doubt with a few red herrings later on, but it was for naught. For once, the obvious candidate turns out to be the culprit. Do I get a cookie for guessing right? My Sherlock Holmes skills deserve a reward. If biscuits aren’t available I’ll take a free pizza instead. Just make sure it isn’t cold.