Languages Available: Japanese
Subtitles Available: English, Japanese, Polish, French and Arabic
I have never particularly been interested in live action adaptions of anime. I, like any other anime fan usually runs in the opposite direction when someone utters the words “live action” combined with “anime adaption”. Whenever I hear people talk or review live actions they are just giant disappointments that leaves the anime community feeling annoyed and questioning as to why people try to mess with things that are perfect as they are. So why did I decide to give the Netflix original Erased a go? The answer is I simply felt like giving it a shot. I just wanted to try it for myself and see if live actions are as horrific as everyone makes them out to be.
If you are unfamiliar with Erased (or Boku dake ga Inai Machi in Japanese) it was originally a manga which serialised back in 2012 up until 2016 and then received an anime adaptation in 2016. Now Netflix has taken the series and adapted it to a live action Netflix Original. The story follows Fujinuma Satoru who has the ability to travel back in time during moments in his life where something bad or life threatening is about to happen. His mother is murdered and he is framed for this crime and ends up being sent 18 years into his past in order to stop a string of kidnappings and murders within his class.
Now onto the actual review:
So this was my first live action anime experience…maybe I just got lucky. But this Netflix show is brilliant! I was so impressed and enjoyed every minute of it. I am honestly so sad that I have finished it! You know that saying if it’s not broken don’t fix it? I think the adaptors understood that Erased didn’t need to be fixed because it’s perfectly fine the way it is and no chopping or changing was needed in order to work well in a live action series. When watching the series I kept watching scenes and going “oh I remember when that happened in the anime” and when I thought “oh this will happen next” IT ACTUALLY DID! Although they did tweak a few parts for example instead of Airi’s apartment setting on fire she is thrown off her balcony. But overall this adaption actually stuck to the original story and progressed exactly how it did in the original work (thank the anime Gods…and the adaptors of course).
The only major change was the ending. Now I don’t want you to think that they changed the ending for the worse. No, honestly I really like how they changed the ending of the live action. I think the reason it worked well is because most of the episodes that lined up with the anime concluded around episode 10 and so they had an extra 2 episodes to fill up. Now in the anime if I remember correctly (it’s been a hot minute since I watched it so please forgive me if I mess up a detail or two) the sort of final showdown (for want of a better word) between Satoru and Yashiro took place on the roof of the hospital and could conclude within the last episode because it was a quick and easy scene to wrap things up. However, the live action had 2 more episodes to play with so they expanded on the concept of Satoru and Yashiro meeting alone and having their showdown but added extra parts in to make it more substantial and allow it to stretch over two more episodes. Although they changed the ending in terms of how it played out it primarily lead to the same conclusion as in the anime. So basically…THEY STUCK TO THE ORIGINAL! HALLELUJAH!
I think another reason this adaption worked so well is it is the kind of story that involves little to no CGI, no over the top costumes, settings or other wacky anime exclusive things that are practically impossible to recreate in real life. Everything in the series can be recreated perfectly with little to no hassle because the original material had more of a real life setting to it making it impossible to screw up in a live action adaption.
Although I don’t know any of the cast of the live action series I think they did a superb job and really brought the characters to life. I really believed that they were the characters! I loved how Yuki Furukawa who played the adult version of Satoru recreated the way Satoru spoke in the anime and they even kept in his inner dialogue with his habit of saying “oh I said it out loud”. I also loved how they kept in Kayo’s “you stupid” line and everyone acted exactly how they did in the anime. The costumes and even the locations were spot on. I have nothing but praise for this series and it has given me hope for the future of live action adaptions of anime! Maybe we’ll start to see more live actions like Erased shining through in the anime community and we can all finally breath a sigh of release that people are sticking to the original and giving the fans what they actually want to see! I think Erased would also be enjoyable as a stand alone series to people who haven’t watched the anime or read the manga!
Would I recommend: Most Definitely
Have you guys checked out Erased yet? If so what did you think? If not do you think you will give it a go?
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(All pictures are sourced from Google Images)