By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Manga-turned-superhero tale is intriguing but dark.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This series is in essence a superhero tale, with somewhat simplistic messages about heroics and bravery. There are also culturally specific messages that may confuse Western viewers, such as when a childhood friend of Satoru's advises him to become more popular by imitating the outgoing, good-at-sports kids in his class.
Positive Role Models
Above all, Satoru longs to save others from distress, pain, and death; in day-to-day interactions, though, he is blunt, blank, sometimes even rude. He also dislikes being labeled a hero, as he feels forced to relive moments. Airi Katagiri is a brave and bold girl who has a dream she's working toward; she's often an easier character to like than Satoru.
Violence & Scariness
Show centers on a series of child murders (not shown) and kidnappings; expect to hear about and see scary visuals like children being led away by creepy guys. Satoru's time-shifting powers always involve a dangerous event; in one, Satoru collides with a car when on a motorbike and his body flies through the air (he's ultimately not seriously hurt). A woman is stabbed viciously on-screen; we see pooling, spurting blood and hear meaty noises. When her son discovers her body he cries and screams in agony.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Satoru's mother urges him to date and get a girlfriend; she thinks at first that Katagiri might be his girlfriend but decides she's "too young" (she's still in high school, while Satoru is 29). Satoru dismisses the idea: "She's just a kid I work with."
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One "damn," and Satoru says, "for God's sake."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mrs. Fujinuma drinks beer while watching TV; we see her opening up her fourth. A villain wakes up next to half-empty liquor bottles and a full ashtray.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Erased is a live-action adaptation of a Japanese comic book story; like the original manga, it's in Japanese (with English subtitles). The series centers on the murder of one character's mother and a series of child murders. One murder takes place on-screen: A woman is stabbed while she gasps and cries. Her blood flows and pools as stabbing noises fill the soundtrack; later, her son discovers her body and screams "Mom!" Other disturbing images show children in danger: A strange man leads a young girl toward a van, and children are alone and vulnerable in snowy, empty fields. A man in a car accident flies through the air (he's not seriously hurt). Other than the violence, this drama contains only one "damn" and no sexual content. But a woman drinks multiple beers, and a villain wakes up in bed with half-empty liquor bottles and a full ashtray beside him. Some culturally specific messages may mystify Western viewers, such as when a young boy is urged to make friends by imitating the popular kids in his class.
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What's the Story?
Adapted from the manga series of the same name, ERASED catches up with Satoru Fujinuma (Yuki Furukawa) as a 29-year-old pizza deliveryman and struggling manga artist who has a strange power: He experiences what he calls "revivals," in which he travels back through time just a few moments, long enough to sometimes prevent tragic accidents. But when one of Satoru's revivals causes his mother (Tomoka Kurotani) to notice a kidnapping taking place nearby and she's later murdered, he's returned to 18 years in the past. That's when an incident occurred that has haunted Satoru his whole life: the disappearance and murder of three of his fifth-grade classmates, including his friend Kayo Hinazuki (Rinka Kakihara).
Is It Any Good?
Dark and intriguing, this tale of an ordinary young man with out-of-the-ordinary powers is meaty, suspenseful, and fascinating, if too grim for young viewers. Satoru, all staring eyes and blank expressions, is a difficult hero to get close to, particularly at first. He barely speaks to his fellow humans; even ebullient coworker Airi Katagiri (Mio Yuuki) has trouble getting more than a few words out of him. But we already know his secret: As he tells us in the first moments of the series, Satoru is "scared to find out I have nothing to offer the world." In his dreams, he's a great manga artist who touches emotions with his work; in reality, he's a pizza delivery guy who lives alone in a dank apartment on a dead-end Tokyo street.
But unlike most guys in dead-end apartments, Satoru has a little something extra. What he calls a "revival" usually returned him just a few minutes into the past before, but here he's gone hurtling back 18 years. It's 1988 all over again, before Satoru's classmates were killed, and before his childhood friend was sent to death row. There's something Satoru has to figure out, something he has to fix before terrible things happen. Satoru does have something to offer the world, it turns out -- and to offer viewers who are willing to give this twisty drama the time to let things play out. Erased doesn't move quickly, but it does cast a spell, and it's deliciously different from a bright, brash Western superhero tale. Anime fans take note: This is one live-action adaptation worth a look.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Erased's setup. Characters who have supernatural powers are common on TV shows and in movies. Why are viewers attracted to this type of narrative? What is the appeal of extraordinary powers for ordinary people?
This show was originally a manga, then a Japanese animated TV series, then a live-action movie. Have you seen any of the other adaptations of this story, or read the original manga? Do you think that would deepen or lessen your appreciation for this version?
Female characters often don't fare well in superhero tales -- they are killed, raped, attacked, or otherwise harmed, which gives male heroes a reason to fight with villains. Are the female characters in Erased given more depth? How many female characters are there compared to male characters? Are their roles as central?
- Premiere date: December 15, 2017
- Cast: Yuki Furukawa, Reo Uchikawa, Mio Yuki, Tomoka Kurotani
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: NR
- Last updated: April 13, 2023
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