Boku dake ga Inai Machi (BokuMachi) or Erased follows the story of a 29 year old manga artist Satoru Fujinuma, who experiences a phenomenon where he is sent a few minutes back in time whenever a tragedy is to occur. He calls this phenomenon ‘Revival’ and has used it many times to prevent accidents and save lives.But, one certain day, someone close to him is murdered and he is accused of committing the crime.
Instead of going back a few minutes, Satoru is sent back 18 years back in time to the year 1988. Confused for a moment, Satoru soon realizes that the future is connected to the abduction and murder of his quiet and lonely classmate, Kayo Hinazuki, along with abduction and murders of 2 more kids in the same town, for which one of his friends was accused and imprisoned. Now, he must find and stop the real culprit from abducting the children, saving multiple lives including his own.
Now before I go on with the review I will make it clear that all the negative remarks that you might find on other sites come from the last 2 episodes, Erased fucked up the ending, in a way that was really painful to watch.
Now lets begin, the story of Erased is really captivating. I was highly impressed with the innovative ideas the creator put into it as I was expecting something more like The Girl who Leapt through Time. I was completely blown away after watching the first episode and at that moment I knew this anime was going down in history. We have Satoru, a 29 year old struggling Manga artist who witnesses murder of someone close and also gets accused of murdering that person. The close person has a very big role in the story. But lets not get much deep into it for the sake of avoiding spoilers. Now Satoru unintentionally travels back a couple of minutes back in time whenever an accident or tragedy is about to occur near him. He usually has to play close attention to his surrounding as he has only a few moments to find and stop that tragedy from happening. He has saved many lives using his ability and has now become accustomed to it until one day he is sent 18 years back in time. The real fun starts when he is sent back to 1988 as he has to now think of the relation between his school life and the murder of that ‘someone close’. He finds out that the year he is in was the one where his classmate Hinazuki was abducted and murdered and one of his close friends was accused for it. He has to now befriend Hinazuki, who actually has no friends and is a mysterious girl and has to stop the serial abductions and murders.
Frankly speaking, no matter how much they messed up in the end, I really loved the highly dynamic story that Erased has. It has a certain mysterious air to and we all do love occasional detective stories.
The real gem of Erased are its characters. Now there are lots of characters in this anime (still less that Baccano) and each one of them makes a huge impact on the story. For the sake of keeping the review short, I am going to discuss only two of them as rest might result in leaking of some spoiler level material. The characters in Erased are well developed and multi dimensional instead of some mindless unidirectional idiots. At least they seem real.
Now our main character is Satoru, he is a struggling Manga artist who works part time in a pizza shop. In the current timeline, he is more like an introvert and doesn’t has many friends at his workplace. Still, he is hero material as he generally risks his life to save others whenever Revival takes place. He is tall and wears glasses and has a realistic approach towards life. The Satoru of 1988 was a fun loving kid who had a nice friend circle and always tried to make his friends happy. Satoru is very close to the “Someone who got murdered”. He is quite witty but there are smarter people than him in the show.
The other character of interest is Hinazuki who is Satoru’s classmate in 1988. Now they were not friends back then and Hinazuki was quite a mysterious girl as she didn’t talk much with others. She has some family problems that are responsible for her being and introvert. She usually wears a red coat and a scarf and is quite unapproachable. She is shy, obedient to her mother and has a calm personality. After getting befriended by Satoru, we get to see her true nature as in reality, she longs for some good company that can save her from what she has to face everyday. To say that she was one of my favorite characters in the show is not a small thing considering that we have a set of some strong and well developed characters.
The art was quite beautiful and was really a calming experience for the eyes. I skipped the opening and ending so I can’t say much about the OST.
Now, I watched Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi) while it was still being aired and as someone who has a hard time sleeping whenever there is a suspense at the end of episode, it was quite painful waiting for the next episode but it was absolutely worth it. I was hyped up after reading the summary and gladly, Erased did live up to that hype. The story and characters were well made. All the clues and hints were unfolded in a well planned manner to the audience. I don’t know about you but I usually instinctively guess the Culprit whenever I read criminal or detective novels or watching such show and for as long as I remember, I turn out to be right every time. In the case of Erased, a name came up again and again in my brain and it turned out that the same person was the murderer. After watching around 7-8 episodes, you are given some very strong evidence but based on your deductions from the previous episodes, it might help you to guess the culprit or make you diverge from the conclusion even more.
Now, as I said earlier, Erased fucked up in the end, does that mean the ending was bad? I would answer that with a no as the ending was good, the problem was the way in which it was presented. I know they tried to make the characters even more deep and subtle in the last episode but frankly speaking, it destroyed their individual character traits. It was a happy ending for everyone, even for the culprit but it was something unnecessary. It was like the whole story meant nothing as the way in which the ending was handled was very much detached from the original setting and pacing of the anime.
That being said, I still loved Erased and gave it an 8 which is a very high rating coming from me. I do see a lot of hate comments on forums and blogs but I think you can’t probably ditch an anime for one fuckin episode and ignore all the nice aspects of it that the rest of 10-11 episodes carried. Moreover, I enjoyed Erased, to the point that I re-watched it again. Its simple for me, if I enjoy something from my heart, I give it a good score and only I know how closed Erased was from a perfect score if it approached the ending in a better way.
Who would watch Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi)?
Psychological, time travel, mystery and detective fans will find Erased a nice experience. People who want some nice characters put in a well made story will also like it, atleast the first 11 episodes.