Review | Erased / Boku dake ga Inai Machi (2017)

December 15, 2017 (Last updated: January 1, 2023)
Daniel Hart 21
TV, TV Reviews
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Netflix Original Erased / Boku dake ga Inai Machi 

What’s this?

Once upon a time, amongst the thumbnails,  Netflix offended an entire group of people by releasing Netflix Original Death Note (2017). The term whitewashing came to the surface. Even streaming services are not dissolved from social responsibility. Luckily for Netflix, Death Note (2017) was horrendously bad. It was forgotten within a day of release.

It is obvious that the leading streaming service wants to appeal to everyone globally. Their mission is more or less achieved, but Manga adaptations need work, especially in Western form. Netflix has their work cut out. Erased, also known as Boku dake ga Inai Machi, is their second throw of the dice, and it is not a careless attempt.

What is Netflix Original Erased / Boku dake ga Inai Machi?

Netflix Erased / Boku dake ga Inai Machi is a Manga adaptation of the same name that has already been banded together into different media forms. It has established itself a growing pop culture with spin-off novels and a film adaptation in 2016. It is not to be rudely mistaken for Erased (2012) starring Aaron Eckhart. The mistake I nearly made.

The story is about Satoru Fujinuma, as an adult and as a child. After a series of ill-fated and grief-stricken events (one being the murder of his mother), he uses his new-found ability to go jump back in time to prevent this murder from occurring. The opportunity is forced upon him because he is the unlucky prime suspect. He comes to realise that the murderer has been around since his childhood, kidnapping children and murdering them. Everything links. By jumping back in time he has reverted back to child form. He makes it his mission to stop the children from getting kidnapped, preventing his mother from getting killed and working out who the murderer is. Satoru has his work cut out.

In a nutshell, he is going back in time to change the timeline?

Erased / Boku dake ga Inai Machi initially places the time travel premise as the main story and at the crux of it, that is the concept. This is a twelve episode TV series, splitting out the story into 30-minute segments.

First of all, Netflix has appeared to learn from their mistakes and avoided whitewashing, which is an immediate approval. The streaming service has also made sure there is time for the Manga adaptation to breathe and give the story time – a criticism for Death Note is that it was awfully rushed. There is a real focus to maintain the importance of the characters. Whilst Satoru is clearly overcome by his investigation, the movie becomes about the true value of family and friendship. The two-story arcs come together marvelously well in a majority of the short episodes. The Netflix Original is almost a coming of age story, except it is forced within the realms of time travel.

So the relationships between the characters are the true driving force?

Once you get by the slow and often dull opening episode, you realise that Satoru is much more interesting as a child. He spends a healthy portion of screen time making sure that the other children are okay, which in turn creates a solid friendship group. His courage is trial and error, where on occasions he has to start the timeline again. One plot point, in particular, is touching: his determination to avoid the kidnapping of Kayo Hinazuki is heartwarming. With his conversations with her, there is a growing connection that is felt through the screen. There is an obvious intention to provide the understanding that these two characters are heavily introverted. This is replicated slightly between Satoru and other characters too.

Erased / Boku dake ga Inai Machi really does show the importance of family and looking out for each other. There is a whiff of IT or Stranger Things sold to the audience here, especially when the children realise the danger and what is at stake. Overall, the TV series is articulated well.

But what about the time travel, isn’t that cool?

I’m reviewing this on the basis that I haven’t read the Manga. The time traveling aspect is not sold well. There is not a grand moment where he realises that he can do it and nor is it impressive either. In fact, everything involving the change of the timeline is unimaginative. The concept is there and you recognise it, but the movie does not hone in on the concept as much as I would have liked. Whereas in Netflix Death Note, they could not wait to reveal the first gruesome moment. They went too far.

What about the performances?

No performances really stand out as inspiring, however, there is nothing that sticks out badly either. The adult/child cast do equally well.

Anything to specifically criticise for the Netflix Original?

Netflix barely gave any time for Death Note to breathe. Unfortunately, they have given Erased / Boku dake ga Inai Machi too much time to breathe. It does not spoil the progress of the story but each episode moves at the same tone. Quite honestly, some episodes could have been avoided. Aesthetically the movie does not sell warm colours and as a picture, it is colourless throughout, which does not help at all considering it is already too long. It forces the brain to sag, and by episode ten you are really wanting the conclusion to come to the table. Again, I appreciate that this is adapted, so my observation may be from the original source. I welcome any comments.


It is worth the watch. As a binge watch, I would avoid. Netflix Original Erased / Boku dake ga Inai Machi sells a time-travelling story of a young man who is trying to protect his friends and family in dangerous circumstances. There are relationships to be desired in this story. Netflix is not out of the woods yet but this is a start.

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18 thoughts on “Review | Erased / Boku dake ga Inai Machi (2017)

  • December 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    I believe you missed the whole point of the show. First off, this wasn’t a lesson that learned from white washing because, Death Note was created by American producers and directors based on the manga. That was a tragedy within itself. (SMH) Second, yes time travel is cool, but time travel wasn’t suppose to be “cool” here. Neither was the main character suppose to learn how to use the power correctly. The whole point was, he was suppose to live out a certain timeline as well as the other characters. The reason why he kept going back was because he needed to live out his correct timeline. He was meant to be in the coma and xyz. As he said in the end, after the coma he never has a revival again. That was the point, it wasn’t time travel, it was a way to correct the time line. So everyone should live the way they were meant to live. Now if you want to ask why was the time line messed up in the first place, now we wonder what that all was about.

  • December 17, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    As someone who watched the anime. I think you would prefer IT because the mystery is more mysterious and the style more profound. They also hit the emotional keystrokes better. But after saying all that, if i was going to give a real recommendation I would say watch episodes 1-10 of the anime, then 8-12 of the live action. Because Satorus post coma story is handles much better in the live action. It was only two episodes in the anime and it focuses solely on Satoru and never leaves his hospitol.

    • December 17, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Thank you for the recommendation. I have been tempted to watch the anime since watching the live action. I am intrigued.

      • December 18, 2017 at 2:07 am

        I personally thought the anime was much worse than the live action series, the anime was not as consistently well directed and they try to force Satoru and Kayo’s relationship way too much.

      • December 18, 2017 at 8:12 am

        I agree with the opinion of minod.
        I always recommend manga.

      • December 21, 2017 at 8:35 am

        I liked the live action but prefer the anime. Left me with that warm feeling that you get when you feel nostalgia like you watched something really meaningful you could show your children one day even though there were a few stupid moments and lack luster episodes but that is just how anime is. Live action is definitely a step in the right direction from death note and ghost in the shell.

  • December 17, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Netflix did an amazing job with Erased. This was way better than the live action that came out a few years ago where Satoru actually dies. They didn’t follow the manga at the end and I thought it was terrible. I read the manga, watched the anime and i can tell you this was amazing. Satoru doesn’t know how to control revival it just happens. He says he called this phenomenon Revival he doesn’t know why and how it happens but he know its right before something bad happens. He says he feels as if someone is forcing him to prevent the bad from happening. This could be due to the fact that he feels like he could have helped his friends in the past and he never did. Satoru’s regrets are what powers his revivals. He is constantly regretting not saving kayo, Yuuki, Hiromi and the other kids in his past. You guys need to know that a lot goes missing in translation just like Kimi No Nawa where if you don’t know much about Shinto you don’t understand many of the things that happen in the movie. I grew up my younger years going to my grandparents house every weekend and I know a thing or two about shinto. To the japanese a lot of the things that happen to them every day is because of the Kamis (gods) so this power that Satoru develops to us needs a more rational explanation but to them is just Kami.

    • December 18, 2017 at 8:10 am

      Well. I have a different view of his ability.
      But if you have not read the manga, it can be hard to understand
      Do you want to hear that view?

  • December 18, 2017 at 1:06 am

    I will summarize it briefly.
    Manga(Original): Everything is enough
    Animation: Focused on the past only
    Drama: Focused on the part after ‘Coma’ (relatively)
    Movie: Everything is lacking

    • December 18, 2017 at 11:46 am

      What are you talking about? It’s a Series not a movie and it’s not lacking, it has even more information for the after coma story then the anime! It’s different from the anime, but so is the Anime from the Manga, wich is a good thing it’s like the same story just different point of view.

      • December 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm

        I separate ‘drama’
        Erased was produced in four media
        Manga (original) / Drama / Anime / Movie
        I have mentioned both drama and movie separately.

      • December 21, 2017 at 3:06 am

        The movie is total crap !!! he is talking about the movie starting Tatsuya Fujiwara.

  • December 20, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Before I watched this drama, I’ve already watched both anime and the movie. I’m happy that the Netflix’s adaptation remained 90 percent faithful to the original. We binge watched it for just a day and I can’t move on. But I must say that I didn’t like the hanging bridge scene part near the ending.

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  • December 22, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    I think this is fantastic. I’ve waited a long time to see the movie, to no avail. The anime was gripping, and could have been longer, following the very dark parts of the manga which were excluded. Both my wife and I watched the anime each week, we found it compulsive viewing.

    This series adapted into live action very well. The unfortunate part is knowing what’s going to happen. Even so, it is really scary in parts.
    If you’re new to manga adaptation, this is definitely a good place to start. There are loads out there, so come on Netflix, let’s see some more, please.

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