Intro: The 2016 year starts off strong with Erased, a roller coaster filled with mystery and emotion.
Story: We follow our protagonist Satoru Fujinuma, a 29 year old manga artist who has a weird, specific form of time travel which he calls “Revival.” When a tragic event or accident occurs, he is forcefully sent 1 to 5 minutes back to prevent the event from happening, making him pretty much a superhero despite him acting indifferent towards it. One day, his mother was murdered in his own home with policemen suspecting him to be the murder, so naturally his powers sent him back to prevent his mother’s death but he is actually sent back 18 years. Now in his child form, he is looking to prevent the murder of Kayo Hinazuki, a girl of his age that was a part of a serial abduction case.
Characters and the Voices:
Satoru Fujinuma: Our main protagonist, he has an indifferent attitude to his own life compared to when he was energetic as a child. His 29 year old self is voiced by Shinnosuke Mitsushima which is his first voice acting role in an anime, he portrays the almost emotionless Satoru with a calming, monotone voice and I wish to hear more of him in the future. His 11 year old self is voiced by Tao Tsuchiya, also her first voice acting role with also an excellent performance of an adolescent boy.
Kayo Hinazuki: The main focus for the majority of the plot, she is a shy and quiet girl that has a mysterious aura around her. Voiced by Aoi Yuuki who has done many roles like Tooru from A-Channel, Victorique from Gosick and Diane from Nanatsu no Taizai.
Music: The opening for the show is absolutely lovely, might be my favorite of the year even sung by the nostalgic sound of Asian Kung Fu Generation with a song dating back to 2004 which rounds up nicely on the “date” the anime ends. The soundtrack was composed by the famous and my favorite Kajiura Yuki who has composed music for Fate/Zero, Puella Madoka Magica, Kara no Kyoukai, Baccano, .hack// and much more. The ost is beautifully done for this show that excels this anime’s quality even further.
The artwork is done by A-1 Pictures which means the production quality is going to be high. Their previous works are Ao no Exorcist, Anohana, Sword Art Online, Black Butler, Your Lie In April, Magi and so much more. As usual their quality is very, very high up there. The use of the camera angles and lighting used in this anime range from foreshadowing the killer to a vibrant setting to colorfully represents a scene. The use of subtle colors repetitively are even used as symbolism.
Erased is surely a strong start for the 2016 year being a possible contender to being anime of the year, even though it’s a bit early to say that. The artwork and soundtrack dancing with each other very well, creating beautiful scenes that very well memorable. The voice acting is excellent, especially to the first time voice actors for Satoru with a superb performance, an excellent dynamic between his indifferent self and his childlike self.
One of the problems the show has is never discussing nor revealing the motive of the killer, the use of the fact that there is a killer at large just seemed to be a plot device to progress the plot even further. The show even makes it clear and apparent who the killer is judging by his actions and how he appears in the show which ruins the mystery. As for Kayo, the whole arc was about saving her but nothing else was really done to expand her own character compared to the inner monologues and thought process of Satoru. After saving Kayo, it was if she was passed off like another graded essay and the story moved on.
The use of Satoru's power to suddenly go back 18 years is never explained in depth either considering all of his Revival encounters beforehand were a couple minutes. I suspect it to be the fact that the killer's origin or root of him was a serial abduction murder that occurred 18 years ago, but even then he could just go back a couple minutes to stop the culprit and have it focus on present time.
The children like Kayo and a side character named Kenya act far past their age, while majority of the children act like normal kids which ruins the fact that the show takes place in elementary.
Though despite these hindrances, I still enjoyed the show thoroughly. Not a “anime of the year,” but a strong start for the winter season.