Erased Series Review – Weak Mystery But Powerful Story

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Erased Overview:

In Erased or Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, Satoru has a strange ability to go back in time moments before a disaster. After his mother is murdered and he is made the main suspect he goes back 18 years to when he was a child and finds himself trying to prevent a series of kidnappings and murders from his childhood.

There’s also a live-action version of this that has a slightly different conclusion if you are interested.

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Erased Review:

Erased is one of those anime that when it was airing everyone was talking about it. Some people loved it, some people thought it was overly hyped, and there were a few who really didn’t care but just got sick of hearing about it.

Given it’s a murder mystery with a supernatural plot device (though that aspect of it never get’s developed or explained), I was kind of sold on the series from the get go.

Erased - Key Visual

I’m going to try to keep this review of Erased short because most of what I’d like to say has already been covered a million times before and also,  and because it’s a mystery of sorts (though that aspect doesn’t work so great because you can pick the culprit one episode in after the time jump) so I don’t really want to spoil it for anyone who has avoided the internet for most of this year and somehow still managed to find my blog.

I’ve already said the mystery doesn’t work so well and the main issue is the lack of potential suspects. Really if you were playing ‘Guess Who’ and there’s only really one marker left you kind of know who it is without trying all that hard and while Erased isn’t that transparent there really aren’t a lot of options when you stop to think about it.

Plus, the story is told in a relatively straight forward fashion (strange for a time travel story) so it’s really easy to get a sense of where things are going and how they connect. That said, just because it isn’t really a guessing who the villain is kind of story, doesn’t make Erased bad.

The plot works really well and the changes Satoru makes in order to overcome the past tragedy have sensible flow on consequences. Though, without any real mystery, the plot could be accused of being a little bit dull. Which is a weird thing to say about a time travel story with murders occurring both 18 years ago and in the present time setting.

The kids from Erased

With Erased, it is the characters who sell the show. And even then you couldn’t point to anyone character and say that character is amazing.

A lot of people liked Satoru’s mum but I found her one of the least interesting characters because she really didn’t seem like a realistic mother and was more a plot device that existed only to Satoru the advice he needed when he needed it, cause him distress with her death in the original timeline, and filled in any parts of the plot that you really couldn’t expect a child to succeed at overcoming.

The friends Satoru has as a child are also a little off and at times serve no purpose. The first potential child victim is interesting but not overly believable as a character.

However all of these characters complement each other perfectly and create a show that has a lot of heart and at times emotional depth. Even if they don’t shut up and like to endlessly articulate things that really don’t need to be said.

Erased - beautiful

The opening theme to Erased is fantastic. On my first watch I wondered what that up-beat song was doing on such a show, but like the cast of characters, there’s a surprising amount of depth when you listen to it and by the second watch through you realise just how perfectly the music is for the story and its themes.

Erased is also beautiful. Whether we are focussing on a character or the night sky, everything is just really pleasant to look at and the animation works well.

I really enjoyed my first watch of Erased. So much so that I talked a friend into watching it with me about a week after it finished airing and we marathoned the series.

This is where I think the plot really succeeds. If Erased had been a guess that bad guy kind of mystery where the reveal at the end was what brought all of the plot threads together, I don’t think a rewatch could have been very satisfying. However, as a character driven piece with a steady and well thought out plot, Erased can be watched again and I actually enjoyed it more the second time through, because I knew what to expect and wasn’t trying to watch it as a mystery.


For people that might find endangering a child a bit confrontational, Erased probably isn’t their cup of tea. If you’ve been told it’s a murder mystery you may walk away disappointed. If you actually want to know why Satoru time travels and how that works, give up now.

But if you want to see the power of the human spirit and friendship overcome what seems like an insurmountable obstacle and you don’t mind an overly talky ending, Erased will be a rather enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

Images from: Erased. Dir. T. Itou. A-1 Pictures. 2016.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

16 thoughts on “Erased Series Review – Weak Mystery But Powerful Story

  1. I’ve heard so much about this, and it’s true it was hyped so dang much while it was airing. I’ve actually been able to dodge all spoilers and stuff from it and added it to my to watch list, but if it’s slow I might finish or continue it xD;

  2. Erased broached real world issues with such sensitivity that isn’t all that common in anime. It may even be a game changer.

  3. I heard a lot of good things about this one, a friend even recommended to me personally. It is on my list of queued animes to watch. Thanks for the review!

  4. I read the manga way before the anime came out. And I have to say, I’m disappointed with the anime adaptation. It would be better if the anime is longer, at least 2 season I think.

  5. It’s been a while since I saw Erased, so my memories are a little fuzzy. Not to mention the ANN reviews pretty much tainted my perception of the show, so who knows how much of my opinion is truly mine (if original opinions can even exist DUN DUN DUN).

    I will agree that I enjoyed Erased mostly as a character drama and not so much as a mystery thriller. The show was gesturing at greater thematic ambitions, and my hope that they would be fulfilled was why I kept watching. Unfortunately, it devolved into “stop the evil bad guy,” and the reveal scene itself made my stomach turn with its cartoonishly grim theatrics. However, the ending was as good as it could have been (I glanced at the manga ending, and I think the anime made a good choice of wrapping it up more quickly).

    Oh, and “a rather enjoyable time to spend an afternoon?” I wish I could watch an entire anime in an afternoon! Maybe then I’d actually update my blog!

  6. I’m on the camp that liked Erased in general but became very disappointed with its execution, particularly the last few episodes. The drama with Kayo is brilliant and moving. If that were the whole series, I may have been more overall positive. However, the way the villain was revealed just seemed to make both the villain and Satoru seem dumb. It wasn’t so much how it was revealed as how the characters reacted leading up to and following the reveal that upset me. The ending was okay, though this anime may have benefited from more focus or more episodes. The manga diverts near the end for this anime.

    1. I tried to avoid talking about the end here but I know I’ve previously commented elsewhere that I hate the last episode of this anime. I rarely say that I hate things but the last episode of this show is just a awful compared to the rest.

  7. I don’t think that Satoru’s mom is used as a plot device or anything and I view her as a great side character. She necessarily didn’t filled any releavent role plot-wise aside from her murder.
    Yes, it did seem hopeless for Satoru to solve the mystery by himself and the implications make no sense at all because I already knew who the culprit was when I saw he was an “old man” in his late thirdies, instant give away!
    I got hyped by my friend to watch it with him and I don’t regret ERASED being such a bad show cause we were constantly bickering about how stupid the writer must think we are. At lest the characters gave this a big chance(wasted in the end sadly).

  8. Enjoyable, but stupid. Such is the curse of many popular shows. So long as its entertaining, people will rate it high.

    I’ll be honest, when I saw that you reviewed this via Twitter, I was a little scared I would come into this and see you singing its praises without a second thought. But this is a well-established (albeit short) review that only turns abruptly positive by the end. Nice showing of thinking skills!

    Personally, I didn’t care much about this show based on the many inconsistencies with the plot. But I do agree that the cast of characters made this show more on the heartwarming side. Thanks for posting.

    1. I did really enjoy Erased but I kind of don’t get why it was so hyped. it was pleasant enough but it was one of those shows that even whileI enjoyed it I knew that it was full of flaws and holes. It made me wonder what show some of the other viewers were watching at times when I read some of their thoughts on it, or what I was missing.

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