|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi
ERASED is a mystery drama focused on struggling mangaka and pizza delivery driver Satoru Fujinuma finding his mind going back and forth through time to clear himself for the murder of his mother that he gets framed for by a mysterious assailant. As Satoru tries piecing together events to determine the killer's identity, he comes to learn of an old classmate named Kayo who will be one of the assailant's future victims and tries to find a means to prevent her demise.|
Throughout its run, ERASED attempts to be both a human drama focused on Satoru learning to value the bonds he develops with his friends and the mystery plot with our lead trying to learn the identity of the assailant whose murders he is trying to prevent from taking place. The human drama element to the series is its best quality one as Satoru tries getting support to help him resolve the mystery and preventing Kayo's murder in both the past and present. Learning he can't tackle the mystery alone and to get over his reserved personality, Satoru is able to gradually gain bonds with several of his classmates to aid him in resolving the situation. Kayo's character gets a good deal of development during Satoru's time in the past as the reasons surrounding her subdued personality get fleshed out and her character improves for the better as she interacts more with Satoru throughout ERASED. The bonds matter also extends to the present timeline with Satoru finding one person who trusts him in spite of being set up for his mother's murder. The focus on Satoru's struggles and bringing hope to Kayo's traumatic life make for the high points in the series thanks to ERASED being effective in its character drama for the majority of its run.
Where ERASED is at its weakest is its attempts at being a mystery thriller title. While the series has its moments of creating effective suspense, the mystery element lacks the effective amount of buildup and development that the series committed to its human drama storytelling, especially as more focus is put on Satoru resolving Kayo's family issues in the middle of its run than protecting her from the murderer. Other than revealing his modus operandi, there is little foreshadowing on who the murderer is and there is little revealed over why he commits his crimes. This makes the last quarter of the series rather underwhelming and the weakest segment of the series when the murderer is revealed and all major dilemmas and loose ends get resolved a bit too conveniently.
In terms of visuals, ERASED is mostly nothing spectacular. While sporting beautiful scenic shots, character designs and movement are a bit on the average end for the most part and attempts to give facial designs a more realistic approach with their gestures look more awkward and jerky in their onscreen movements. In addition, the show's use of CG animation for moving vehicles or visual effects like Satoru's mind blurring between the past and present stick out like a sore thumb from the regular animation.
Still for the issues ERASED has at trying to be a mystery title, it is still a worthwhile human drama in exploring the developments of Satoru and Kayo's characters with the former learning to place trust into others throughout his ordeals and these efforts coming to positively effect Kayo in her family situation. While not the worthwhile big hit of Winter 2016 that I seen many folks hype it as, ERASED is still worth a look throughout its 12-episode run.
Last updated Friday, March 25 2016. Created Friday, March 25 2016.
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi
(All episodes watched):|
If you want to know how to write an intriguing manga/anime script, just make something impossible happen and give the main characters a little development. Do that, and you'll automatically deliver a better product than average, no matter how mediocre your actual writing skills may be, because most writers don't even get this far. Here is what should be an intriguing show: a guy with real world problems who somehow is sometimes hurled backwards in time and re-lives a seemingly innocuous event. This is a warning that something bad is about to happen to someone, and protagonist Fujinuma feels obliged to try to prevent it. These flashbacks usually last only a few seconds, but Fujinuma undergoes a somewhat longer one at the end of episode one. One problem I had with this show is that I was more comfortable with the 'how is this guy able to time travel?' theme than the 'who killed this person?' one. I hope the show won't be about solving a murder rather than exploring the far-out implications of this odd sort of time travel, because I think the latter would be much more fun. But for now this show looks like one that definitely deserves to be watched.
Despite my reservations, episode two was entertaining. I had feared that running around with little boys couldn't possibly be very interesting, but the show managed to make it so. It wasn't brilliant, but very few shows are, and I'm engaged for now. What the hell the link between what happened to Fujinuma's mother and his time travel back to 1988 could be, I still have no idea, but I get the feel that it will (probably) all make some sense eventually.
I appreciate the little bring-us-up-to-speed bit at the start of episodes, which refreshes our memory of where the story stands at the moment. Even if I hadn't spent two and a half weeks between two episodes (due to computer problems) this would be useful. BokuDake has grown on me by a good deal and I now consider it one of the best shows of the season. It's an emotional, engaging show which tugs at one's heartstrings; I really hope that things work out OK for Satoru and Kayo. If this show was not as engaging and moving as it is, I might be harping about how the hell this time travel business works, who or what is behind it, etc. But that doesn't bother me here, because Erased is telling a genuinely intriguing and fascinating story which I want to hear. Thus, I can suspend disbelief and just run with it. I wasn't expecting a time leap back to the (more-or-less) present, but was titillated by it, since I have high confidence that this show will turn it into a important and desirable plot point. A show as good as this one reminds me of how vapid a good deal of mass produced anime is.
During episode six I found myself becoming confused about who's who and who supposedly did what back in 1988. I need to keep track of names better, but the show could also make it easier on people like me. On the one hand, this show is running like a murder mystery, in which clues are provided and we are supposed to figure out who is guilty. But on the other there's inexplicable time travel of course, which doesn't exactly fit perfectly with the fact-based mystery part. I wonder if we'll learn at some point that the murderer has been engaging in time travel himself. I don't trust the 1988 school teacher; characters are seldom included in a story if they aren't really needed, and his role seems largely superfluous to me.
I was surprised to see Satoru's struggle to prevent Kayo from being murdered yet again apparently declared over in episode nine. The implication is that she is safe now and he will move on to preventing another child's murder. I don't get it; I had thought this was the basic plot of the show and would extend to the final episode--because saving her would somehow break the causality chain (or whatever) and save the other two victims as well. Isn't it possible that, having had his plans disrupted, the murderer will now go after some unknown person who wasn't harmed in the original case? The carpet has been yanked out from under me, and I can only wait for episode ten to try to figure out what's going on.
I have mixed feelings about the final episode. The trick that was used to defeat the villain seemed kind of corny and hard to take seriously; I doubt if it would work in real-life. Likewise, the strange emotional bond that somehow developed between him and Satoru didn't make much sense to me. I didn't detect such a thing developing in any prior episode, but suddenly, here it is. But otherwise it was a moving and pleasing conclusion to a fun but slightly disjointed anime.
Last updated Wednesday, May 04 2016. Created Saturday, January 09 2016.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://bokumachi-anime.com/|