By Joseph Gray IV
Erased (Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi) is originally a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Kei Sonbe from 2012 to 2014. In 2016, Erased was given an anime adaption that only lasted 1 season that held 12 episodes, but was completely finished. Netflix released a live-action adaptation in 2017 that was screen written by Tonomi Okubo, but live-action adaptations have a horrible reputation for butchering the material. Erased is a mystery, Sci-Fi thriller that takes place in 2007 and 1988 in beautiful Industrial Hokkaido, Japan from the perspective of Satoru Fujinuma (Played by Yuki Furukawa).
Satoru Fujinuma is a 29-year-old failing manga artist who cannot seem to catch a break, his projects always being rejected all the while he works a dead-end job as a pizza delivery driver. Satoru is very reserved and almost complacent, having no real goals in life. An unwanted and uncontrollable ability suddenly comes into Satoru’s possession, time travel, or as it’s referred to as, “Revival.” Revival occurs whenever something bad happens around Satoru, sending him back randomly 1 to 5 minutes until he fixes it, usually with no benefit to him, and his possible injury. After an accident seen by his co-worker, Airi Katagiri (Played by Kasumi Arinuma), Satoru’s Mother visits Tokyo from Satoru’s home region of Hokkaido to take care of him.
On this visit, she speaks to Satoru and reminds him of a suppressed memory, true trauma. When Satoru was younger, 3 Children were kidnapped and killed, a man named Jun ‘Yuuki’ Shiratori was charged for all 3 of the murders, but still swears his innocence 18 years later. Satoru had known Yuuki, a name given to him by Satoru, and went to class with 2 of the 3 victims. After Revival strikes once again, Satoru ends up stopping a kidnapping, and his Mother (Played by Yuriko Ishida) begins to suspect Jun Shiratori is indeed innocent, as kidnappings seem to spread across Japan from town to town, but a person is convicted every time. After making a call and wishing to discuss her theory with Satoru, she is murdered by the same man who tried to abduct the kid in her own home, and Satoru is set up as the main suspect. Returning home, Satoru returns home to find his mother dead, but Revival seems to awaken for the first time for his benefit. Satoru opens his eyes in 1988 Hokkaido in an 11-year-old body with all the memories from the future. Stuck in the past, Satoru must stop the kidnappings and reveal the killer to save his mother and the victims of the serial kidnapper.
The Erased live-action is an absolutely beautiful show, filmed in actual Hokkaido, is packed with beautiful imagery, very realistic dynamic characters, and actors that depict the characters amazingly. Erased has many lone shots of Hokkaido’s industrial shores and skies that are transitions that you can’t help but find amazing.
One scene that sticks with me is the scene in the first episode where Satoru finds his Mother dead, Satoru’s actor gives it his all. His cries and screams are filled with true anguish, as though he had lost his mother in that moment, it was heartbreaking. Another thing that must be addressed is that this does differ from the anime greatly, with many added scenes that build certain characters more as well as an entirely different ending circuit that is quite enjoyable. The music is very fitting and leaves me with a feeling of happiness to despair.
I love this adaptation of Erased, it is amazing and beautiful. With that said, this adaptation does indeed have its flaws despite how much I love it and hold it on a pedestal. Being a live-action, the show’s characters have fewer signature looks, which can be good and bad, but for the average viewer, it is bad as one may mess up characters. Another flaw is that the show is quite entertaining, but is much harder to begin than the anime. My final flaw is the largest as one of the main characters, a victim of the kidnapper, suffering, and abuse is not as apparent as it is in the anime, making much less urgency to save her than in the anime. Overall, I adore this show and every adaptation I have seen, and I would suggest this to anyone, but my main suggestion is to watch with no knowledge of anything past episode one, which I have made sure to not steer far from.