First Impressions of Netflix’s Erased

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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Karandi James.



19 thoughts on “First Impressions of Netflix’s Erased

  1. As someone who could not stand the anime (and hasn’t read the manga), I was incredibly cynical about this new series when it was announced. And while I still don’t quite enjoy it after watching the first few episodes, what I can say is that I thought it was a substantial improvement over the anime. Although perhaps the last handful of episodes will change my mind.

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  2. I finished watching the series for a second time yesterday or the day before that. I really loved the anime, but I was severely disappointed with the ending. I will say that the execution for the finale in the live-action was much better and complimented the intensity of the suspense from the story much better. This was my first live-action (first J-drama actually) and I felt the acting was pretty good. When Airi first got screen time, she really creeped me out, to be honest. I’m not sure if it was her huge smile, or just the strange expressions she had with some of the lines she said. But eventually I kind of got used to her and it didn’t feel as weird to me. I also really liked the younger Satoru. I felt he was a great fit, but that’s probably more to do with my inexperience with J-dramas and live actions, lol. Looking forward to your review.

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  3. I was never the biggest fan of Erased, but I did always think it might lend itself to live action pretty well. I was skeptical at first, like with most anime to live action adaptations, but reading your thoughts I feel like there is potential here to end up being one of the better ones. It certainly is a hard one to pull off as you touched upon the differences in performances for the child actors, and the show hinges upon their ability to convey a bevy of emotions especially Satoru. It is more demanding to have a child act older than to have someone who is older sound like a child in voice acting.

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      1. I think the story wasn’t so bad, but rather moments of execution. It had some solid scenes of course that brought a tear to the eye because their animation, but others I felt could’ve used a bit more polish. So a different director’s take on the series could prove to be quite interesting and could change my mind.

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  4. I’ve been hearing lots of good things about this series, so I really need to find time to watch it…

    But from what I understand, it’s not an adaptation of the anime, it’s an adaptation of the manga. (Which itself is an adaptation of a LN.)

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  5. I completely agree with you on everything that you wrote here. As you know I quite enjoyed the series myself. Having of course seen the anime, I think if you might not have watched it, the series might have made a bigger impact (as you now know what to expect). Despite that fact, I think the series has been made pretty well, and for a live action adaptation was just incredibly good. I had the same complaint for Airi though, she was the only character that I did not enjoy in certain scenes because of the actress over acting. Great post, can’t wait to see your final thoughts on the show 😊

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    1. Glad someone else feels that way about Airi. I wondered if I was just being picky but her lines just don’t come across naturally in too many scenes and that smile of hers is really over the top at times. Hopefully I’ll finish this up today or tomorrow and get around to a full review of it.

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  6. I think the only live action I’ve seen so far was Nana… It wasn’t terrible… But it wasn’t good also! From your post it seems they really did a decent job with this one! Which is not that normal

    Liked by 1 person

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