There are very few anime that I enjoy after it’s been over-hyped to me. Because I’m hypercritical of anything considered ‘one of the best anime of the year’, I usually go over them with a fine-toothed comb whenever I watch them. For some reason I didn’t do that for ERASED. I don’t know if it was because I was being lazy at the time or if the story was just so engaging that I forgot to do it, but if I seem like I’m partial to this anime, that’s probably why. For this reason alone, I’d say ERASED mostly lives up to its hype. Saying that, there are a few ass-pulls and obvious twists, but nothing to really get hung up about.
The story is about Satoru and his ability to rewind time and attempt to change horrible events while lacking the information to do so. At first the rewinds only go for a few minutes but the series really begins when he goes back to his early childhood and starts trying to prevent the death of a girl from his school. My biggest gripe was that he never learn to control and goes back and forward at the most convenient times, hence ass-pulls. This eventually leads to him find out who the murderer is and yada-yada-yada. With the butterfly effect, Satori changes both his relationships and future events.
What makes the show so great is its progression. At no point does it feel like the character doesn’t have a motive, he’s always looking for clues and trying to make relationships for the point of keeping friends close enough so he doesn’t lose them. Although the he doesn’t use the most obvious path to find the villain, using the victims as bait, you get the feeling when he returns to his present again that there’s nothing he could have done to them anyway. In a way, this makes the path he takes, trying to save the victims, seem the most rational, despite how frustrating his first failed attempts might be.
Although all this good storytelling is expected from the director of Death Note, the element that is criticized the most is the whodunit element, for, as most of the people have watching anime will tell you, it’s pretty obvious whodunit. That being said, the utter obviousness of it might have you guessing throughout nevertheless. Thinking them to be a too-obvious red-herring the whole time might actually be more of a twist than those waiting for a real twist when you realize you were right all along (I don’t think saying a twist is obvious is a spoiler, is it?).
The animation is really pretty as well, and consistently good throughout the series. There’s something about using three dimensional animation only for perspective shots that it really made it effective for seeing a new settings and showing intense emotions, and I can’t think of an anime that’s done it better. Although some of the character designs were odd, they were all unique enough for it not to bother me. The snow covered settings are pretty and even the scene transition helps with the feel, the altered shots allowing the revelations to really hit the marks despite having guessed it previously.
I don’t think there’s much to say about BGM, and although I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the OP, I don’t think it really suited the tense atmosphere of the story. Like most of Tomohiko Itō’s stuff, the dub was great from what I watched of it (yes, I ended up watching both after I realized the dub wasn’t finished yet). That says more about this anime than anything, I was not patient enough to wait for the rest of dub to come out, I wanted to finish it that badly. That being said, the way a lot of the episodes ended on cliffhangers could attest to the reason I decided not to wait.
For an anime of only twelve episodes, not a moment is wasted and it makes me think that a lot of good anime would be great if they only lowered their number of episodes. Remember that I’m the kind of guy who liked My Hero Academia more than One Punch Man, and although they came out in the same year, I think ERASED would have given it a run for its money. They really are for different audience who bring out different emotions. If I was less of a “YES!” guy and more of “AWW!” guy, I probably would have given first place to this. In any case it gets a pretty big recommendation.
Total Rank: 8.5/10
It’s a time traveling whodunit, what’s not to like?