Fist we get to open with a ridiculous monologue in which Yashiro describes his psychopathic hamster-killing past and how it somehow led to him being able to see ‘spider threads’above certain peoples’ heads – apparently representative of the folk tail in which a spiders thread is lowered into the underworld to save one sinner for his single good deed. He decides that the people with these threads are the people he needs to kill, which makes as little sense as that explanation. Eventually, Satoru had one of these threads too.
However, Satoru didn’t die – despite what the edited opening in which he is missing completely may imply. When he eventually wakes up, he’s back in the ‘present’…and this time, it’s a brand new present and he’s been in a coma for fifteen years while Sachiko took care of him.
Life had continued without him – his friends are all grown up, Kayo and Hiromi are married with a child with no knowledge of their original fate. Satoru, meanwhile, is having a difficult time recovering his memories, and seems to possess a child’s mind to begin with – not understanding how it is that he can read difficult kanji or draw so well. Everyone is glad to see him finally back with them, though – they’ve all been waiting fifteen years for him to wake up after all.
Perhaps one person more than the rest…Mr Yashiro. Having apparently fled and changed his name to Nishizono, he had decided to observe Satoru while he can’t remember what happened.
Holy shit Erased, what happened? This episode was comically bad. I liked the edited opening sequence and how weirdly surreal it gets when you remove Satoru and nothing else, but that was pretty much it. I already vented my frustrations on everything that was wrong with the big reveal in the last episode, but that was just bad writing. This episode, on the other hand, actually felt insulting with how ridiculous it was. Where to even begin with this mess.
The bullshit beginning is probably the best place to start, and boy oh boy is it stupid. Look, we didn’t need a reason for Yashiro to have started murdering people. Serial child murderers pretty much never have reasons for doing things like this beyond ‘Í just felt like it’, and there was no justification, none whatsoever, for invoking a paranormal reason. Bullshit aside, it just…doesn’t make any sense. Is the spider thread supposed to represent the fact that someone up there is giving that person a chance, and Yashiro wants to be the one to crush that hope? It’s really unclear on what it’s meant to represent other than the fact that it ties in with the ‘spiders thread’ story, which is really not applicable to any of the kids situations. Unless the thread appears because of Satoru saving them, which would imply that he’s created some kind of time paradox, and him going back to save them is the reason Yashiro wanted to kill them at all? Or are we just supposed to deduce that Yashiro is insane, and sees the children as ‘sinners’ who do not deserve to have the spider’s thread lowered for them? Whatever it is, it’s bullshit. It’s a confusing, convoluted and just plain idiotic justification for something that could have easily been explained away as ”because he’s just a psychopath’. Unfortunately, that’s not all that’s wrong with this episode.
From the beginning, I had been wondering how the narrative was going to handle Satoru eventually returning to the present once he changes it. After all, it’s not like he’d just flash back to it – since he would have changed everything, he would probably have to live out those fifteen years all over again. The narrative gets around this troublesome fact in possibly the most laughably lazy way – by putting him in a coma for fifteen years. I actually said “oh come on” at that reveal because…because come on. I mean, it’s nice to see the kids as adults, given that in the original present they were either dead or just weirdly absent in Kenya’s case. Kayo and Hiromi being married is weird – although I guess that’s the point – a lot can happen in fifteen years and everyone has kind of moved on without Satoru, and it’s also a way to emphasize that in the original timeline their son Mirai would also not exist and that Satoru saved an additional person. (The weirdest thing by far is the oddly disconcerting adult Hiromi, though). There’s this implication that everyone knows something and that Satoru isn’t allowed to know yet, and it’s pretty annoying, but not as annoying as this narrative decision. I realised after a while that one of the reasons it’s all so annoying is that Kayo just doesn’t really seem to matter anymore. Back when I started watching this show, I always assumed that she was the most important character in the show, and for the first half or so it definitely seems that way. As soon as I realised that no, actually the narrative is far more interested in Satoru…the show just lost a lot of its appeal.
And then there’s Yashiro, who was Nishizono all along and there never were two people…which also seems like a cop-out to me. I have no idea what he’s doing, and what his creepy interest is in the random little cancer patient, but he still seems dangerous and it’s implied that he intends to do away with Satoru before his memories return. Which brings me to the most unintentionally funny moment of this episode – Satoru’s memories do return, and he decides to tell Yashiro this when they are completely alone on the hospital roof and he is in a wheelchair. Well done, Satoru. It’s good to see you’re just as smart in your adult body.
I’ve seen a few people on twitter saying that the anime has changed some important things from the manga and even left out other important things, and i’m willing to believe it. But the bottom line is that this episode was a complete disaster in so many ways (It also was just animated really badly, did anyone else notice that?) and this is not remotely the same show it was in the beginning. It’s a huge shame that would could have been one of the shows of the years went and blew it all. Who knows, maybe it can redeem itself in the final episode, but that’s a pretty big maybe.
Out of 5,