A live action adaptation of any anime is something of an occasion as it brings out the usual arguments about whether something follows source material, whether the characters ‘look’ right (though why any real human would want to look like an anime character is a bit beyond me), whether it can live up to the anime version and so on and so forth. Usually there’s quite a bit of pessimism in the community with some cautious optimism. Erased wasn’t all that different and I must admit I was kind of trying to avoid having any kind of expectation for the live action.
So a few days ago I had a chance to catch the first two episodes and now I’ve managed another handful taking me to the end of episode 5. What do I think? I’m actually pretty impressed.
One thing Erased had going for it when they were adapting it was that for the most part the story is a straight drama/mystery and it didn’t have too many over the top, that works only in anime moments to try to make work with real life. I’m sure they are probably actually adapting from a manga and not the anime but as I’ve never read it I have no opinion on that one.
Viewing this as a separate entity, my biggest complaint in the first five episodes would be Airi. She just comes off too young and her smile and up-beat personality come off borderline creepy rather than supportive. Maybe they were going for that but to be honest she’s my least favourite character so far in this adaptation and she hasn’t had that much screen time. A smaller complaint would be directed at the younger version of Satoru as some of his expressions aren’t quite as nuanced as they might be but it isn’t terrible. For a child actor he’s not doing too bad a job holding up the tone of the show so his less stellar moments are fairly understandable and aren’t really all that bad.
On the other hand, Satoru’s mother and Kayo have so far been pretty solid in their performances and the cast as a whole has been working fairly well.
In terms of the story I’ve come to realise how much I will forgive in an anime over live action. There’s one encounter in the story where a character says something to Satoru with a ‘don’t tell anyone’ but all I could think was why would anyone say that in the first place. Given the situation it was a massive breach of confidentiality and Satoru was a child. Why on earth would you reveal that kind of information to them? It is amazing how when two anime characters have a fairly similar conversation I don’t get the same ‘no way’ response to the scene.
Despite that, the first five episodes have been excellent in setting up the story and the mystery. It isn’t having quite the impact that the anime had on me but that’s probably because I’m now familiar with the story. Yet some scenes and sequences have been pretty brilliant such as viewing the night sky through the tree in winter and Airi’s apology to Satoru.
I’ll definitely be finishing this series soon (hopefully later today) and I’ll try to write a review that isn’t a comparison to the anime. Still my first impressions are that this is an alright series. It isn’t going to change the world but it is quite engaging and watchable. As an adaptation of an anime I loved, it is also pretty good. Very little to complain about so far.
Thanks for reading.
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