With its first collection, Erased wowed audiences by weaving a tense and engaging narrative with its blend of cold-case mystery and sci-fi time travel. The series started out strong, but can it keep that level of excitement through to the finale?
For those who missed the first installment, Erased follows the chrono-hopping Satoru, a pizza delivery man who also happens to have the uncanny ability to involuntarily jump backwards in his own timestream, usually to right some predestined wrong. When Satoru is wrongfully accused of his mother’s murder, he finds himself undertaking his biggest leap yet – all the way back into his 11-year-old self! With his adult brain, not to mention knowledge of the future, Satoru must solve a seemingly open-and-shut serial murder from his childhood, in the hopes that it will somehow rewrite his future predicament as well.
As you might have guessed, this ain’t your usual kind of whodunit. But much of Erased’s charm and tension come from the ways in which it dispenses with the old tropes of the genre, instead opting to develop its characters, which actually ends up heightening the tension even more. Even the most pleasant or peaceful scene could be interrupted by the grim events that Satoru – and the audience – know are lurking around every corner, and the fact that the characters, most of whom are adorable and likeable kids, could well be in constant mortal peril from an unseen murderer means you can never quite relax.
Of course, this being Erased’s second – and final – collection brings things inevitably to a head by the season’s end. It’s almost impossible to talk plot specifics without major spoilers, but suffice to say that events proceed in a similarly nail-biting fashion right up to the show’s excellent conclusion.
A-1 Pictures, the studio behind Erased and such visually astounding new releases as GATE and Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga, continues to do a fantastic job with the art and animation. While the story itself is adapted from Kei Sanbe’s original manga, the studio takes it to new heights with lovingly-crafted art that really adds to the atmospheric setting of Satoru’s sleepy rural hometown.
All too often, series without a lot of action will end up having corners cut when it comes to the quality of their animation, with lots of slow pans over nominally still images as characters converse. However, that simply isn’t the case here – in fact, people’s movements add almost as much as the script does when it comes to character development.
In case you hadn’t gathered, there’s very little to fault here – Erased is simply one of the most original and gripping series to be released in a long time. If you watched the first half, waste no time in picking up this collection, and if you didn’t – well, pop back in time yourself, because you’ve got some catching up to do! Reviewed by Jacob Boniface
RELEASE: 30 April 2018
FROM: All The Anime
FORMAT: DVD & Blu-ray
PRICE: £29.99 (DVD), £39.99 (Blu-ray)
AGE RATING: 15