If you had the power to go back in time a few minutes to change something, would you do it?
This is the main premise of Erased. The main character Satoru has a power he calls “revival,” the ability to go back in time a few minutes. This power happens automatically and he uses it to prevent fatal incidents. As a struggling manga artist, this power becomes the more interesting factor of his life. Satoru tends to avoid social interaction with others as he doesn’t like to reveal his true self. This all changes when one of his revivals prevents a child kidnapping, but leads to the murder of his mother. Realizing his mom somehow knew her killer, his revival forces him back 18 years when there were a string of kidnappings in murders. Stuck in his 10-year-old body with his 29-year-old mind, Satoru attempts to prevent these kidnappings to change the future.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Satoru first focuses his attention on Kayo, a recluse classmate who is the first to be kidnapped and killed. Adult Satoru remembers how he wishes he could’ve helped her before, and now sets his sights on ensuring her safety. To do so, he becomes her friend after much coaxing. Kayo isn’t one to trust easily and has a dark secret of her own. This is the first instance of care and support the show presents. After Satoru discovers Kayo’s mother is abusive towards her, he does everything he can to make she she’s never alone. He shows Kayo that he does care for her, and even includes her in activities with his group of friends. The more time Satoru spends with her, the more Kayo begins to open up as the sweet girl she is.
Satoru is still only ten in this time and struggles to solve the mystery of the kidnapper while also protecting Kayo. This is where his friend group steps in. They are the ones that encourage Satoru to talk to Kayo, knowing he can be awkward. His friend Kenya is especially observant and becomes one of the few that know why he’s protecting Kayo. When Satoru becomes overwhelmed with wanting to do the right thing, his friends are right there to have his back.
Unfortunately, Satoru’s plans don’t work out the way he hoped. Kayo dies, and Satoru is suddenly thrust back into his present life on the run. As he reevaluates what he must do, he is assisted by his coworker Airi. At first he is resistant and doesn’t want her to involves herself. However, Airi explains to him the importance of having someone believe in you. When at least one person can believe and support you, then there’s a strength in you to keep moving forward. Without Airi, Satoru wouldn’t have the confidence in himself to make a difference. It’s her kindness and support that warms him even more. Airi inspires him to try even harder to save Kayo in his last revival.
Satoru’s mom, Sachiko, is the MVP of moms. She has a trusting and open relationship with her son where she helps him in any way she can. Additionally, she doesn’t pry into his life. Sachiko is constantly aware when Satoru is up to something; he refers to this as being a “witch.” But, Sachiko never forces Satoru to reveal his activities and encourages him. When he finally comes to her about keeping Kayo away from home, she says, “Way to go kiddo.” This kind of support allows Satoru to feel more confident in his efforts and even ask his mom what they can do.
Another thing about Sachiko’s character is that she helps show how jarring Kayo’s home life really is. Sachiko shows Kayo what a loving mother looks like by cooking her dinner and giving her a bath. Kayo can’t help but to smile as Sachiko gently washes her hair and even tickles her. What was truly emotional was Sachiko making the children breakfast and we see Kayo burst into tears at the gesture. Not only is Sachiko supportive of Satoru, but her love towards Kayo changes her.
Kayo grows tremendously as a person because of Satoru’s influence. With his decision to help her and be her friend, she slowly becomes her own person. When her abusive mother asks Kayo if she wants to go out with Satoru, she nods yes. This displays Kayo’s first instance of not being scared into obedience. When her mother goes to attack Sachiko, Kayo rushes to her and holds her back. Kayo develops throughout the anime because Satoru offers her the support from him, his friends, and his mom.
Erased fills you with a lot of feels. It has mystery and intrigue along with warmth and hope. The plot focuses heavily on what people can do when offered the right chances and support. Satoru is able to be honest with himself and others because he learns to allow people into his life. No longer does he feel the need to bury his true self. Satoru learns just as he can be a support system for others, others can do the same for him. As a result, Kayo realizes she can live the life she dreams of away from pain.