Boku Dake ga Inai Machi
Adapting the “僕だけがいない街” mystery manga by Sanbe Kei into anime form, “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi” or “Erased” is a true masterpiece, one of the best anime that aired these past years.
With its excellent use of suspense and mystery, outstanding character development as well as science-fiction/fantasy elements that enable key plot events, “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi” felt similar to “Steins;Gate”, most definitely in terms of involvement as this show too takes viewers on a roller-coaster ride of powerful emotions.
There are those who voiced valid critical opinions about “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi”, referring to various plot holes, unrealistic coincidences and the regrettable fact that the anime’s finale was rather rushed and did not develop the antagonist’s character as much as in the manga.
Nonetheless, having watched the final episode just last week and thinking back on the terrific, entertaining journey full of suspense this show offered throughout the season, my personal opinion is that “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi” really is one of the better anime of recent times, deserving such praise and a place among other outstanding shows like “Elfen Lied”, “Death Note”, “Steins;Gate”, “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” or “Code Geass”. (Shows that had their own share of flaws too.)
Next to good pacing, excellent character development, solid dialogue, and sublime suspense, the marvelous animation by studio A1 Pictures and visual direction too deserve praise. The overall visual atmosphere, clever use of framing, angles and superb lighting in “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi” are key factors that help elevate this anime to the top.
While some regretted that the science-fiction/fantasy element of Satoru’s ability to travel back in time is never truly explained except the basic exposition in the first few episodes, I actually appreciated they left it a mystery. Some things are better when they remain unexplained or left up to the viewer’s imagination.
The criticism that the story’s antagonist is not as well developed compared to the manga is understandable, however the anime still paced and wrote the final confrontation between Satoru and the antagonist brilliantly. Especially noteworthy is how the anime avoided painting an overly simplistic black & white image of its hero and nemesis, but through clever visual clues, key dialogue without indulging in too much exposition, they reached a satisfying conclusion with sublime catharsis.
Could mention more things I appreciated or noticed in “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi”, but that may spoil the story for those who have not yet watched the show. Instead, I wholeheartedly recommend you watch this anime, you will definitely love it.
You can watch “Erased” on Crunchyroll.