In terms of anime being broadcast and streamed this season, most of the offerings have not struck an interest with most viewers. However, there has been one series which has attracted plenty of praise.
ERASED (the English title is normally written in block capitals), known in Japanese as Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (The Town Where Only I am Missing), began as a manga comic in 2012 by Kei Sanbe, and is due to end in March. The anime series on 8 January, will be 12 episodes long, and will also conclude with the same month with some chapters that have yet to be published. A live-action film will also be released next month. It is a mixture of sci-fi, murder mystery and thriller, noted for its gripping storylines.
The story begins in the year 2006. 29-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is a struggling manga artist who works part-time as a pizza delivery boy to make ends meet. Satoru has a strange ability which he calls “Revival”. Whenever a life-threatening incident is about to occur near him, he can jump back in time a few seconds and prevent that incident from happening. He has experienced plenty of tragedy before, but he has trouble remembering it as his mother Sachiko tried to make him forget about parts of his past. However, Satoru slowly comes to remember that when he was aged 10 three children were kidnapped, including classmate Kayo Hinazuki. Satoru partly blames himself for Hinazuki’s death because he could have interfered and possibly prevented her death, but he didn’t.
While out shopping together, Satoru and Sachiko witness a failed kidnapping. Later that same day when Satoru returns from work, he walks past a stranger, and in his flat he finds a dead body. When a next-door neighbour spots Satoru and the body, she automatically assumes that Satoru is a murderer. The police come to arrest him, but Satoru instead flees, and as he does so undergoes his Revival.
When he has travelled back in time, he discovers something very unusual. He is in the company of children that he knew from his childhood, walking on his way to school. Satoru learns that rather than jumping back a few seconds in time like he normally does, he has travelled back 18 years into the past, to winter 1988, and is now in the body of his 10-year-old self. Satoru decides to use this opportunity to prevent the kidnappings that occurred and prevent the deaths that happened in 1988 and 2006.
At the time of writing this article ERASED has broadcast five episodes, and so far people have praised the dramatic plot. The time travel aspect of the story is not the major element here. Instead it is Satoru trying to prevent a terrible act from happening. The story features plenty of things that are disturbing, including murder, kidnapping and child abuse. It would be easy to make the story to have over-the-top violence and to be sensationalist, but it doesn’t. Although this is a time travel story, there is still an element of realism in it.
Whether it continue this pace remains to be seen as the series continues, but the popularity of the show is so great that a British anime distributor has already picked the series up for a Blu-Ray release, which is something of a rarity.
ERASED is currently streamed on Crunchyroll. It will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray by All the Anime at an unspecified date.