Erased (Boku Dake ga Inai Machi)

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Satoru considers himself to be no one special, but he has a special power that he refers to as “Revival”, which transports him back up to five minutes in time to prevent something bad from happening. When a tragedy from the past comes back to haunt him, he finds himself back almost two decades in time and inhabiting his former 10 year old self.

With his unique knowledge of tragic events and the ability to harness his adult knowledge within his childhood self, Satoru is determined to get to the bottom of a mystery that shadowed his childhood – the abduction of one of his classmates.

Reliving your childhood ain't all it's cracked up to be
Reliving your childhood ain’t all it’s cracked up to be

Erased takes on a mystery thriller style narrative, as Satoru recalls his childhood whilst he relives it, slowly piecing together the facts by weaving his way through his classmates and peers as he attempts to figure out who is more innocent than they seem, and who is less so. The fact that he has already lived his childhood in one linear timeline makes this all the more intriguing and unique, as Satoru can take what he already knows and try to tackle things differently, with the hopes of saving the people who were lost the last time.

If only that was tomato sauce...
Satoru really wished that was tomato sauce…

With mature character designs (nary a pink or green haired girl in sight) and adult themes, Erased offers a slow burn narrative that effectively blends Satoru’s quest for the truth and justice with his own personal journey as he explores what it means to be able to redo his life. All this combined with a bleaker colour palette and the darker elements of crime and human nature means that Erased can often be a stark and difficult watch, but Satoru’s hope and determination help prevent it from becoming relentlessly harrowing.

Erased is offers a unique approach to the crime genre, with some beautiful cinematic animation. It’s dark content makes it unsuitable for young or sensitive viewers, but anyone looking to mix up their anime viewing a bit might enjoy this one as an opportunity to step away from teen characters and linear storytelling.

 

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