After watching the first episode of Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the amazing Erased, I was left pleasantly surprised. I found myself as enchanted and pulled in as when I first watched the anime, and I can honestly say that this is one of the better live-action adaptations I’ve seen – so far, at least, and I’m hoping Netflix keeps this up throughout the rest of the season.
From here on out I’ll try to make as few comparisons to the anime as possible, as this show needs to hold its own as a series and should hence be reviewed as such, but I do think it’s important to reference the source material and see how well (or not well) it’s been utilized.
Thankfully, the first episode 99% follows that of the anime’s first episode with regards to plot progression and character development. In case you haven’t read my preview of the series, the following is a summary of the first episode’s events:
“Satoru is a 29 year old part-time delivery-man and struggling Manga artist. He sometimes experiences this strange phenomenon which he labels ‘Revival’, which sends him back in time anywhere between 1 and 5 minutes when something awful is about to happen, so that he can discover and prevent it. A visit from his mother reminds him of a string of murders that occurred in his hometown when he was a child, and reminds him of how while the case was ostensibly solved, he never believed that the apparent culprit was capable of such deeds. While visiting, his mother begins digging around about the murders again, and shortly after is murdered in Satoru’s apartment. When he comes home he’s traumatized, and knowing that he’ll be pinned as a prime suspect, attempts to run away – and the next thing he knows, he’s staring up at his primary school, from the perspective of a young boy, 18 years in the past.”
Hopefully that should convince you to try the first episode out, but other than the interesting premise, I can assure you that the other elements of the first episode make it worth the watch. While lacking any standout initial impressions or performances, the characters are well acted and the actors both embrace and suit the roles of their respective characters – besides one poorly acted tripping-sequence, the acting is decent, and actor Yuki Furukawa does a good job at displaying Satoru’s pain, loss, and confusion when discovering his murdered mother. He also does a perfect job at portraying Satoru’s general character – he’s sullen, a loner, and isn’t particularly comfortable with the thought of spending a weekend with his mom. Satoru’s mother is also played well, but I have slight issues with actress Mio Yuki’s portrayal of fellow delivery-person Airi Katagiri – initially she looks as though she’s trying too hard, and throughout the episode I found her expressions exaggerated and unbefitting. However, Airi is a super optimistic character, so an animated and expressive portrayal is needed, but I hope Mio tones it down a small bit as the series progresses.
Cinematography and effects wise, I like how the episode is shot. The settings are near identical to those in the anime (it makes me wonder whether the anime setting was modeled after a particular town, and then the adaptation was shot there), and Satoru’s apartment is well set up to emphasize his character and living conditions. The nice thing about an adaptation is that while an anime or manga has to work with limited drawings to progress a sequence, a real camera can record and shoot as many images and shots as possible; this allows for more angles on a particular scene, and allows suspenseful or action-packed scenes to flow more smoothly (there’s a bit of both action and suspense in the first episode, by the way). I also like how the special effects of ‘Revival’ are done. Instead of showing rewinding camera film as is done in the anime, Satoru warps directly into a position he was earlier walking or driving in, as if he’s been jerked straight back into the recent-past, which is great for flow and allows the viewer to easily follow the scene.
All in all, I’m pretty impressed with the first episode. It stays faithful to the anime (which is a good thing), and I wouldn’t be disappointed if it continues to do so without veering from the track – conversely, I also wouldn’t oppose the show veering off and doing its own thing, so long as it does a good and worthwhile job of it. Stay updated for future reviews, and feel free to leave a like or comment.
Best Dialogue from the Episode:
Satoru’s mom: “Invite some people over then. Like your friends or a girlfriend.”
Satoru: “I don’t have any. I only have my manga.”
The Musical Side of Things:
While lacking an opening theme, the adaptation has credits, and with those credits comes a brand new ending song. It’s quite a goodie actually. Check it out below: