Anime at a Glance: Erased

Fujinuma Satoru has a run of the mill life for a 29 year old, working day to day and trying to write manga serializations in his off time, with the exception of one phenomenon he calls ‘Revival’. When something bad is about to happen he sees a strange blue butterfly and his life rewinds by a few minutes. In the next few minutes he has to figure out the problem and try to prevent it, though it usually evens out or even negatively impacts him slightly. As he’s delivering a pizza and driving down the street when he gets a Revival. He manages to barely spot a driver of a truck that was unconscious and turns around, barely saving a young boy from being killed at the cost of a minor hospital visit. He wakes up to find his co-worker, a high school girl, sitting by waiting for him to wake up. She explains that she told their boss what happened and despite wrecking the delivery vehicle, he was welcome to come back to work for saving a boy’s life in the process.

When Satoru gets home his mother greets him as she’s let herself into his apartment and is making him some dinner, informing him that she’s going to stay for a bit to make sure he’s okay. During an outing to the grocery store with his mother he has another Revival and looks frantically around in the parking lot to find out what’s going wrong. He asks her to look around and if anything ‘feels wrong’. She starts to look as well and catches a glimpse of someone that almost looked to be responding to her gaze walking away with their child. As he approaches his vehicle he gets in and drives away, leaving the child behind. While Satoru doesn’t realize what happened, his mother realizes that the man may have noticed her watching him. She started to think back on an abduction from when Satoru was younger involving one of his older friends and started to think he wasn’t lying, that his friend was innocent.

While trying to find information on the old kidnapping, a knife digs into her side and she sees someone dressed in all black. She falls to the ground and reaches for her phone on the table, but the person takes it and leaves. As Satoru is walking up the stairs he sees a man dressed in black leaving the complex and sees his door open. He doesn’t think anything of the door being open and assumes his mother left it open haphazardly. That’s when he finds her on the floor and goes into shock. The next few moments are a blur as the police get called and a neighbor sees the blood on his hands from trying to help his mother and mistakes him as the murderer. In a panic he misses the butterfly and finds himself going back for a Revival.

Where is Satoru right now though? He wasn’t here that day, there is snow on the ground, and it isn’t even his neighborhood. More importantly a student calls out to him with a backpack on and they race down the street towards a school. He’s running late, and it’s apparently no longer 2006, but 1988. How did his Revival take him so far back? Why is he all the way back here? Is this when his mother’s murder is set in motion?

A co-worker actually had referred this show to me when the season began, and like many other mysterious anime it has ended up being a very captivating show. It ties into the kidnappings back when he was a kid involving a classmate in the next few episodes as well. While most of what happens so far has been predictable, since it would make for a poor mystery if it gets resolved in the first few episodes. It has been really enjoyable to continue following. It’s also not common for the person trying to resolve a mystery to have essentially traveled back in time by nearly 20 years and be in his own young body with all of the knowledge he had up until his mother’s murder too. I’m looking forward to finishing up the rest of the season to seeing how everything turns out.

It’s airing on Crunchyroll here for those interested in checking it out.

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