There will be spoilers, you have been warned.
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, or Erased in English (even though the actual translation is more like “A Town Without Me” so how it ended up with Erased is beyond me) is a decent show. I know a lot of people were hyped for it, and it had an interesting premise but ultimately it just sort of fell flat as time went on. I’m not saying it was bad, because it isn’t, it’s just not that good either. Erased does some interesting shit, both from a technical standpoint and a narrative one. For example overlaying the 29 year old Satoru’s voice or thoughts with the voice or thoughts of 10 year old Satoru or visa versa was a cool technique. Or just the entirety of episode eleven, where Satoru wakes up from his coma and thinks he’s 10 year old Satoru and forgot all about his 29 year old Satoru memories. In fact episode elevn really brought me back into the story after episode ten, which I thought was a huge let down. And since everything wraps nicely, the ending was a nice feel-good episode, well except for people who wanted Kayo and Satoru to end up together. Also I thought it was great that the cold and collected middles chool girl ended up with boisterous chubby guy, that was a surprise. Anyway the point is the ending didn’t totally suck, which was sort of impressive all things considered. By far the most interesting bit was how Yashiro and Satoru had basically the opposite supernatural power and I like the spider web vs butterfly dichotomy. Which leads us to the bad stuff.
It’s hard to say what the biggest problem with Erased is but if I had to pick one thing in particular I would say poor writing. Yashiro was so obviously the bad the guy that his reveal was thoroughly underwhelming. And that bit at the beginning of episode 11, where Yashiro explains how he drowned a bunch of hamsters while he was in grade school was the edgiest shit I’d seen since Akame ga Kill. Speaking of which I think one of the weak points of the show was that it lacked subtlety. Setting Yashiro aside, a lot of the characters were taken to cartoonish extremes, like Kayo’s mom or the pizza delivery manager, and that struck a fatal blow to this show’s tone. What really could have saved Erased for me would have been nuance and grit. The characters needed to be more realistic and multi-layered to help draw the audience away from Satoru’s clearly supernatural ability. It would have made the mystery better if all the players in the field were more complex and deeply involved as well. Instead most of the characters are pretty one note and only serve one purpose in the story, which is just boring and unimaginative. There were also some plot conveniences that pissed me off. For example in episode one Satoru’s mom figures out who the killer is, calls her former co-worker about it, and doesn’t bother to fucking tell him who the killer was before she was stabbed. I mean we only found out about that in episode five or so, but that still doesn’t make it any less stupid. Likewise I don’t understand why Satoru didn’t call the cops when they had found Yashiro’s murder gear, that was a load of evidence and even if nothing could have been linked to Yashiro himself, the fact is was in bus next to a middle school would have put the police on high alert. Despite all the problems Erased is still okay, which is a testament to the good aspects of the show and the premise, but it did not live up to the hype at all and I’ve no doubt that many people are very disappointed in the show. As someone who expected less of it, I’m not too disappointed, but if it had been better then it could’ve been a really noteworthy show and that’s what bums me out the most. Anyway that’s about all I have to say about Erased, mediocre effort and mediocre results, but it certainly isn’t terrible. Hope you enjoyed this and I’ll see you in the next one.