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REVIEW: ERASED, Vol. 1 by Kei Sanbe

REVIEW: ERASED, Vol. 1 by Kei Sanbe

Author’s note: This article contains spoilers for the manga and anime ERASED.

Anyway, I’ll try to put it into words… I… want to change the future.

ERASED centers on Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old mangaka cum pizza deliveryman who possess a unique ability he calls “revival.” Revival allows Satoru to time travel, albeit for only a few seconds, into the immediate past. It’s also a random power that only sparks whenever something bad is about to happen to someone around him, and usually, Satoru tries to change whatever that thing is, often at the detriment of his own physical well-being.

Similar to the manga and anime Orange, Satoru’s revival ability is never explained. The fantastical elements of the story are simply accepted as reality. Satoru has always had revival; it’s one of his many characteristics, like his black hair and glasses, although it’s a characteristic that none of the other characters knows about.

After witnessing the murder of his mother by an unknown attacker, revival sends Satoru further back than it ever has before, from 2006 all the way to 1988, to when Satoru is 10 years old. The serial deaths of a number of his classmates in 1989 appear to be somehow related to his mother’s death, and revival sends him back to stop them!

If you’re like me and like to read a good amount of manga in one sitting, the first volume of ERASED is sure to please. This hefty, hardcover is 384 pages long, and the plot moves forward quickly. Once the ball gets rolling, you’ll want to hang on for the entire ride!

When I watched the anime for the first time, I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen. I had the same feeling as I flipped through the manga, going back and forth between the present and the past, wanting to know what was going to happen next, staying up late into the night reading.

As I said in my Best of 2016: Anime post, “Suspenseful, thought-provoking, and full of twists and turns, ERASED is a binge-watch-worthy show that will have you hooked from the start. You’ll get to the end of an episode and need to know what happens, and before you know it, you’ll have completed all twelve…If this is any measure of how much I enjoyed ERASED, I ended up yelling at my computer screen during the last couple of scenes in the final episode. I won’t reveal why, but in the end, my emotions were acknowledged, and the show ended just as it should have.”

The same can be said for the manga; however, I feel that if you’ve already watched the anime and try to read the managa, or if you’ve already read the manga and try to watch the anime, you may be disappointed. ERASED is the kind of story that will only pack a punch once. It may be fun to watch it or read it a second time, to catch anything you may have missed the first time around, but if you’re already familiar with the story, then the twist ending is not going to be nearly as satisfying as it was the first time.

As I said, it’s the plot of ERASED that makes it worth reading, especially if you’re looking for a suspensful story with a smart main character. A content warning, however: this story contains instances of physical and emotional abuse, as well as violence.

Still, the art is also fun to look at; it may be simple at times, with some scenes feelings as though they could be eaten up by white space, but Sanbe excells at drawing action scenes. They catch your eye and are dominated by lots of chaotic pen strokes, movement, and sound effects. And Yen Press does a great job of translating every single sound effect and background sign or text, so you won’t miss anything.

I want to go far, far away.

ERASED was originally serialized in Young Ace magazine in Japan from 2012 through 2016. It is available in English from Yen Press, and ERASED, Vol. 2 is set to be released on June 20.

Story: 5 out of 5 stars
Art: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

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Rine Karr
Anime Writer at Girls in Capes
Rine Karr is an Anime Writer at Girls in Capes. She's a writer and aspiring novelist by moonlight and a copyeditor by daylight. Rine loves good food, travel, and lots of fiction, especially novels, anime, manga, video games, and films. She's also the Chief Copyeditor and an occasional contributor at Women Write About Comics.
Rine Karr
Written by Rine Karr

Rine Karr is an Anime Writer at Girls in Capes. She's a writer and aspiring novelist by moonlight and a copyeditor by daylight. Rine loves good food, travel, and lots of fiction, especially novels, anime, manga, video games, and films. She's also the Chief Copyeditor and an occasional contributor at Women Write About Comics.