In the anime industry, there is nothing like a psychological thriller as your mate for the night. Ever since the 80’s, psychological thrillers made it to the top due to having the ability to set a creepy, enjoyable mood. Boku dake ga Inai Machi, The Town Where Only I am Missing, or in short, Erased. This anime instantly became a hit once it came out in 2016.
Erased started airing Jan 8 2016 until Mar, 2016. It immediately took a sharp turn and revealed itself as a hit series from the first episode. This anime has 12 episodes total, but they’re very sufficient to elaborate on every detail. Erased is all about mystery, psychology and supernatural, but that’s what made it rather intriguing. BokuMachi was taken from a series of manga, containing 44 chapters total. Sanbe Kei, the author of this manga, first published it in June 2012.
A-1 Pictures was the studio that made Erased a living masterpiece with their outstanding abilities to create suspense.
Erased delves into the little problems, more like guilt that eats up the main protagonist. Those factors changed the main character 360 degrees and he became a cold, distant person, almost to the point that he had no point in living anymore. Death certainly changes people, and it causes a huge trauma if that death was from the point of view of a child. A child of elementary school, no older than 11.
The main plot twist in Erased is time travel. There are certainly triggers, a blue butterfly that carelessly flies past the main protagonist and the time is reset. This aspect, time travel, is magnified by many concepts that help un-wrap the story. Seemingly, these random time travels are hit once a certain person dies in his life, a link to the previous deaths. Satoru then goes on a journey in the past to prevent all the misfortunes that happened in his life.
Story In Depth
As mentioned in the plot, the story in depth is a lot more intriguing and study-worthy. Satoru, the main protagonist, is able to travel back in time after the murder of his mother. He is sent back to his 11-year-old self to prevent a certain death from happening. In return, he’d get to have his mother back if he were to change time.
However, Satoru at first decides to protect his classmate that is the beginning of all his misfortunes—Hinazuki. Despite that being a good motive, he’ll still be in this loop, sent back to the same time and space. Then, the main protagonist decides to do what he’s supposed to do from the get-go—find the murderer. It all hit him once the murderer visited the crime scene, where he got arrested and hoped for a reset.
Unlike most anime that take way too long to build a momentum, this one took action immediately. It unravel the main story from the get-go, not waiting too long to try to pick up the attention of the viewers. Erased is the kind of anime that plays out its cards based on the psychological effect and mystery. Those are its trump cards whether it was successful or not. Erased is certainly the kind you’d impatiently wait for every week.
It sets the mind of the viewer focused on little details that will give away the plot. It’s the kind that magnifies everything in expressions and words to play tricks on the viewer.
Despite wrapping the view up in a bubble of immersion, it’s not sufficient concerning the mystery genre. Erased sure gets a different kind of immersion concerning not getting too mundane in the dialogue or events. But, it still lacks the major effect of mystery and suspense for a psychological thriller. Erased delves into some kind of realism in there, especially in traumatic experiences and family problems.
On the other hand, it has a bubble of immersion concerning the effects of everything on the psyche. The further it explores the problems of each character in the anime, the more immersed the viewer would become.
Sides of Enjoyment
Erased can be described as grim, dark, but that is what’s alluring about it all. Nothing can be considered a hit without delving into realism and drama that can be related to. Something to relate to is perceived to be one of the most important aspects in an anime. Based on the sides of enjoyment, Erased definitely succeeds on the emotional side. It’s not that gory, so it won’t kill your favorite characters brutally. However, that does mean the past given to the main character Satoru wants to protect. Hinazuki has the saddest background in the anime, relate-able, but still sad and tear- worthy.
Boku dake ga Inai Machi doesn’t have plenty of characters that play a big role. But there are two main ones worth talking about. Besides, there are the supporting characters that would certainly be considered as the best support for an anime.
First of all, the main protagonist Satoru. He is the center of the spotlight in the story. Satoru, portrayed as an adult manga artist with a supernatural power. His super power enables him or lets him focus on preventing deaths and catastrophes that plagued his mind for years. It sends him back in time, without any control of it, to avoid making the same mistakes over and over.
His personality during his older self is a stoic, distant, repressed one. That being due to his repressed memories and details of what happened in the past. However, his changes do not remain that long as he re-experiences the same incidents. He eventually alters himself, or rather reveals his true self as a caring person, who just wants peace in life.
Kayo Hinazuki is the second main protagonist of the story. Though the whole story revolves on saving her, she does not play a big role in altering details. Kayo ranks as a character that experienced plenty of hardships that made her look quite emotionless. She triggers everything in Satoru’s life, which makes him crumble like a wall. Kayo is abused by her mother, and despite everyone knowing, nobody does anything about it.
Due to that, Kayo became a social outcast, distancing herself from other people. Despite being rather young Kayo easily figures if one is faking or wearing a mask like herself. She reveals that when Satoru wants to be her friend to avoid her being kidnapped.
A known fact that supporting character don’t play much of role, but in Erased, they do. Plenty of characters like that exist in this anime, which eventually help out unravel the plot a lot more. Nobody can ignore Kenya, Satoru’s intelligent best friend, Gaku Yashiro, the teacher who plays a rather intriguing role himself.
On par with other anime animations, A1 Pictures did one hell of a good job. Erased clearly flaunts the art in many ways. The animation was well-done, displaying various themes and sets the anime had to offer such as isolation, happiness, loneliness. Pretty much anything related to expressions, it was well-done. Erased’s art is able to portray the different emotions constantly changing in the anime, in addition to physical conditions.
The background scenes are a masterpiece as well. Revival, the way it’s shown, a blue butterfly coming across the screen. In addition, these little details between the past and the future timelines can be considered quite well. however, one thing that fails a bit is the atmosphere set in suspenseful moments.
An anime with a dull, mundane opening or ending can be disappointing to the fans. They’re considered the heart of the anime and hearing them alone can make set you in the mood. Erased’s opening and ending are rather emotional and sad at times. They’re a perfect pick for such a dramatic anime.
Concerning the soundtracks of Erased, it uses a multiple variety to correctly portray the atmosphere. All intertwining with the dialogues and atmospheres of the show, whether piano, violin or gloomy tones all together. The classical choices of the instruments make a wonderful pick for the atmosphere and situations.
As for the voice acting, most psychological thrillers experience a thorough consideration before the final act. Voice acting plays a big role in anime, especially since they spread cards of expressions quite a lot. Whatever emotion it has; anger, sadness, despair, you name it this anime Erased has it. Voice actors succeeded tremendously in acting out depending on the various emotional states.
While Erased takes up a quite an enjoyable anime as a title, it still hasn’t perfected the art of a psychological thriller to the fullest. It still deserves all the credit for being a wonderful, enjoyable anime. However, they left too many things untold, unfolded, especially the origin behind Satoru’s ability. And it does not make sense that the only one who has that ability is Satoru. What if the ability was provided for other characters like Kayo? It would be rather interesting to see how she unravels the secrets of her being kidnapped.
There isn’t much character development in the anime concerning the main characters. And that is a huge let down if compared with other psychological thrillers. They also left the story of the serial killer behind;the explanation appeared only in the manga.
This anime has many realistic, relate-able, and thought provoking philosophical themes. It delves deep into family problems, mother’s love for her child, and vice-versa. In addition, there is the abuse of parents of children starting from a young age. The most important type of theme is human nature and its tendency to escape the hardships and problems.
However, it is everyday that we see a two-goody shoes character trying to save everything. Eventually, that character takes it all upon him/herself to alter everything, and experience all the problems alone. It’s a stereotype that exists in this anime, but it’s not that hated. As it explored, rather well, the other aspects of haunting guilt for life, not to mention the what-ifs of humans.
On the other hand, this anime certainly bestows us with plenty of lessons to consider throughout our lives.
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