Review for Erased Part 2 - Collector's Edition
Back in August 2017, I had just finished reviewing Erased Part 1, and signed off with my usual whinge about Aniplex release schedules and price strategy, lamenting that it would be another whole three months before we got to see the conclusion to the story. Silly me! I forgot that we’re talking about All the Anime, who release some of the best anime in the UK market to be sure, but who also have made delays an art form. It’s been eight months since that review, and only now do we get Erased Part 2. I don’t remember a thing about part 1, and I lack the time to re-watch it. I just hope that the story comes back to me quickly.
Satoru Fujinuma is a 29-year-old manga writer with a unique ability. He calls it Revival. When something bad happens, some kind of accident, he leaps back to an earlier point in his life by a few minutes, enough time for him to spot what went wrong and correct it. Sometimes there’s a price to pay, as in when he save a boy from being hit by a truck, and gets hospitalised himself. When he is framed for a crime that he didn’t commit, he leaps back with a chance to prevent it. But this time he leaps back further than ever before, back to when he was ten years old, back to when his school was traumatised by a series of kidnappings and murders.
The concluding six episodes of Erased are presented on this Blu-ray from All the Anime.
7. Out of Control
Erased gets a gorgeous 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer, shifting aspect ratios to 2.35:1 when Satoru is in the past. The image is clear and sharp throughout with no signs of compression, aliasing or digital banding. There is usually an upside to Aniplex sourced transfers and the image quality is it. It’s an excellent animation too, detailed and fluid, with memorable character designs and a world design with an eye to realism. The animation is evocative and enhances the dramatic nature of the story.
The images in this review were sourced from the DVD and don’t reflect the quality of the Blu-ray.
You have the choice between PCM 2.0 Stereo English and Japanese with optional subtitles and a signs only track. The audio is fine, no drop-outs or glitches, at least not in the Japanese version that I listened to. The subtitles are in a nice, thick white font, accurately timed and free of typos, although the location on screen varies according to the on screen action, with a tendency not to overlay the mouth of whoever is speaking. The music suits the show well, if not exactly memorable, while the action comes across adequately given the stereo. What little I sampled of the English dub seemed more than acceptable, although I only watched some of the modern day segments, and can’t comment on the casting of the children.
Erased is an All the Anime/Madman co-author. The disc presents its contents with an animated menu. Missing from the disc menu are the episode titles, and missing from the episodes are the next episode previews.
There are four commentaries on this disc. The one on episode 7 features ADR Director Alex von David, with Erica Mendez (Kenya), Christine Marie Cabanos (Hiromi), Ryan Bartley (Osamu), and Bobby Thong (Kazu). Episode 8 sees Alex von David again, this time with Stephanie Sheh (Kayo), and Michelle Ruff (Satoru). Episode 11 has Alex with Sarah Cravens (Sachiko) and Ben Diskin (Satoru). Episode 12 sees Alex again with both Satorus, Ben Diskin and Michelle Ruff, as well as David Collins (Yashiro).
You get two textless openings, the textless closing for episode 12, and trailers for Shimoneta, Aoharu x Machinegun, Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace, and Snow White with the Red Hair.
I haven’t seen the packaging or the physical extras to comment.
Spoilers! Erased is a mystery show, and delving too deeply into that mystery will entail spoilers. I’m going to avoid spoilers, which means that this review will be shorter than you might expect. Erased turned out to be pretty good in the end, delivering a satisfying conclusion that made me appreciate the time I had spent watching it, and has convinced me to watch it again sooner rather than later. It’s not perfect, and it does stumble along the way to its conclusion, but they are stumbles rather than face-plants into narrative dead-ends.
Erased is about a man named Satoru Fujinuma, who has a ‘Revival’ power, the ability to time-slip to an earlier point in his life and to effect a change in history. The show has him sent back to his ten-year-old self, and given the chance to prevent a serial killer from preying on his classmates. When we left Satoru at the end of Part 1, it seems his efforts had come to naught, indeed had made things worse, the killer now aware of him, and now affecting his life in the present. Satoru was in dire straits at the end of Part 1. As Part 2 begins, we learn that he has just one more chance to succeed, although why this is remains one of those convenient plot holes that writers tend to rely on. But given the foreknowledge gained from his first attempt, Satoru tries again.
As is the nature of the beast, it becomes inevitable that we would learn the identity of the villain. This is Erased’s biggest stumble in my eyes. As I mentioned in my review for Part 1, Erased has been telegraphing the identity of the villain pretty much from the off, and the foreshadowing has dominated the storytelling to the point where it becomes a distraction. And when the villain’s identity is revealed, it comes with the least amount of surprise ever. Around about this time, I was sorely tempted to mark Erased Part 2 down, simply for its predictability.
But then it did something I hadn’t predicted, didn’t expect, and was somewhat blindsided by. The way the story seemed to be going, the general thrust of the character arcs, and not least with the subtitle for the show; I was fully expecting an ending inspired by Donnie Darko. Instead Erased pulls something completely different from the bag, which makes a different and imaginative use of the time travel conceit that drives the heart of the story, this time with the characters taking the long way around for the show’s dramatic denouement. It was certainly enough to make me forgive it for the earlier obviousness.
Erased is a solid mystery show with a compelling sci-fi twist. It’s entertaining, well worth watching, and more than that, it’s well worth re-watching. I’d recommend it in a second, were it not for the usual Aniplex caveats, bitty release strategy and pie-in-the-sky pricing. It may be worth watching, but only you can decide if it’s worth emptying your wallet for.