Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

16 February 2016: I bet that truck in ERASED was going 88 kilometers per hour

The only thing more dangerous than a Japanese truck would be two Japanese trucks.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi (literally The Town Where Only I Am Missing, but officially ERASED or commonly Bokumachi) is widely regarded as one of the best shows this season, just behind Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū. I rank ERASED quite a bit lower because of problems I had with the end of its first episode and because of issues I had with its fifth and sixth episodes. This blog entry includes some spoilers (nothing explicit), but my view through six episodes is that the ERASED viewing experience wouldn't necessarily be diminished by spoilers. I think a viewer can know in advance what happens (at least through six episodes) and still enjoy watching the show. This is partly because a number of twists are easily foreseeable for anyone who puts a little thought into the matter or pays attention to how many episodes remain in the series.

Satoru has a lot of stuff in a small space, but at least he's not a slob.

I have two major problems with ERASED. First, Satoru makes an enormous error in the past because he relies heavily on a number of assumptions that shouldn't withstand scrutiny if he had considered the situation more carefully. Bear in mind, that while Satoru is somewhat unsuccessful in his adult life, he's not a pathetic idiot who's incapable of framing the bigger problem correctly. He tries to interrupt a set of falling dominoes by pulling a piece out of line without thinking about who it was that pushed them over in the first place or wondering if someone could simply restart the stalled set.

Sachiko and Satoru
It also bugged me how quickly and easily everyone decided to lie about the truth.

My second major problem with ERASED regards an unfortunate trope which reappears time and again in anime. Namely, the first person arriving at the scene of a crime will be immediately suspected of being the perpetrator in the eyes of the second person on scene. Any attempt to clear up the confusion is futile because everyone—especially law enforcement—will believe without question that Second Person caught First Person red-handed. If apprehended, First Person will be brutally interrogated and beaten into confessing. I don't know that this is an anime trope necessarily or part of a greater indictment against the quality of Japanese police work. None of the analysis I've seen on the matter comes from reputable sources, but there does seem to at least be a sizable contingent of bewildered Japanophiles who believe Japan's under-worked police force is grossly incompetent, attributing the nation's high conviction rates to coerced false confessions and outright miscarriages of justice. Like I said, I don't know if there is anything to this at all, but it at least matches up with the "guilty until proven innocent" doctrine common to Japanese anime and video games.

Co-Worker Visit: Best Case Scenario.

So yeah, the fugitive plotline from the end of the first episode reappears in the fifth and sixth episodes and basically drives me nuts. I'm particularly annoyed by the efforts of side characters to enforce this narrative even when they must certainly see the flaws in their convenient conclusions. Certainly, we are meant to feel this annoyance towards them, since they're obviously perverting the truth we know as the viewer. Nevertheless, I can't help but feel this attempt to make the falsely accused more sympathetic this way is hamfisted and unworthy of a show which is otherwise excellent. It's the detective show misunderstanding equivalent of a harem comedy lead who sees a rainbow assortment of teenage girls naked because a monkey switched the signs at an onsen.

Maybe it's in 2.35:1 because kids are too short to see the top of the screen.

Is Boku dake ga Inai Machi still good? Yes, but it's not an unqualified yes. The chart I use as the basis for determining semi-objective scores severely punishes good shows with flawed episodes. It's not a great system, but not inaccurate in this instance. I have enjoyed watching Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū, Dimension W, Dagashi Kashi, and Konosuba all so far this season more than I've enjoyed watching Bokumachi. Your mileage may vary. Still, ERASED is good enough that I recommend watching it if you haven't started it already. I think most other anime fans recommend it as well. Just bear in mind a lot of anime fans also recommend Hai to Gensou no Grimgar. There is some real crap in that show.

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