Erased: Time Travel and The Absent Butterfly


It seems my foray into the cheery sunshine of  innocuous slice of life anime was a bit short lived because this week I’ll be reviewing the gritty, time-traveling, murder mystery thriller, Erased.

Erased centers around struggling manga artist, Satoru Fujinuma, who has a tense and unhappy relationship with his mother and is damaged by the tragic and traumatic events of his childhood involving the murder of two of his sixth grade classmates by a serial killer and kidnapper. We meet our protagonist in a depressive, indifferent funk, numb to all around him and generally unhappy with the way his life has unfolded thus far.

Except Satoru has an ability he has kept secret. He calls it Revival, and it is essentially his ability to detect pivotal moments in his timeline and relive them sometimes hopping back and forth between past and present. He has only been able to move backwards a few minutes at first, but when his past returns to haunt him he resolves to solve a fifteen year old mystery.

This show is really well put together for so short an anime. The entire series is 12 episodes beginning to end which makes it highly watchable and easily binged on a Saturday afternoon. You may find it difficult to turn off because the show has scares, twists, turns and emotional drama by the bucket load. The characters are painfully real and vulnerable as is the development of Satoru from despondent loner, to  courageous hero.

I do recommend caution if  severe child abuse is something that deeply moves you. The family situation of one of the characters was deeply upsetting to me and a few times I had to take a break to just get my breath.

I have two issues with the show. The first is that I wish there was more of it. I felt that the resolve was a bit rushed towards the end and that the game of cat and mouse between Satoru and the killer could have been more extended considering there was some alluding to collusion on the part of one of Satoru’s friends that was never really developed further. I don’t know why that was dropped or if maybe I just misinterpreted the scene itself but it seems like the story had a little more to tell before  we spiraled quickly into the rush to reveal the killer and bring them to justice.

The second issue with the show is both a plus and a minus. The time travel aspect. It’s tricky enough to do right but the effects of the time travel back and forth while well done for the most part seems oddly contained. Changes to the timeline affect only the small microcosm of people involved in the story and basically no one else. Considering the whole idea of the “butterfly effect” where one small change can have a lasting major impact on future events, it seems Erased has forgotten about it’s butterfly altogether.

As it is a murder mystery thriller there is some violence in the show. I would say it was appropriate and not over done or grotesquely gruesome. It is not a show for young children, as I would guarantee it would most definitely give them nightmares.

If crime drama with a light sci-fi touch ignites your curiosity, then Erased will most definitely be a must watch for you.