The penultimate episode of ERASED has come and gone. With the mystery portion of the show completed, how did Episode 11 turn out? Was it good? Bad? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. Let’s run through the events of ERASED Episode 11 and see if a conclusion can be made.
Note: The following review contains spoilers of the eleventh episode of ERASED. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please watch the episode before you continue reading. If you haven’t seen the series, be sure to check out our first impression here (Spoiler-Free).
The episode begins with a narration by Yashiro: he informs the audience that he has enjoyed asserting power over others since at least the sixth grade. Since that time, he has had a knack for noticing individuals who have been struggling to stay afloat, like the character Kandata in the story “The Spider’s Thread.” While it isn’t the deepest of character exploration, it does provide interesting imagery and not only portrays him as someone trying to gain power over the weak, but as an individual who is fascinated by those who are lost in their own desperation, like Kayo with her abuse and Satoru with his need to save the children and, ultimately, himself.
The opening sequence for the episode immediately intrigued me: Satoru is completely removed, and the potential suspects eyes no longer are blacked out. Another figure missing from the opening sequence is Yuuki: he is no longer in the jail cell. This indicates that Satoru has successfully prevented the crimes from occurring and freed Yuuki from his tragic future, but at the cost of something major to Satoru. Another interesting change is made regarding the clock and the bullet: the bullet no longer smashes into the clock, cause it to break into pieces. The clock could represent Satoru’s Revival ability, but then what does the bullet mean? Time will no longer be destroyed, perhaps? His ability has allowed him to destroy and rebuild time in terms of events, so maybe this means his Revival will no longer work. Perhaps the final episode will make this imagery a little more clear.
The scene following the opening immediately had me confused: Satoru’s mother working at a convenience store? Has she always worked here? With the lack of Satoru’s presence apparent, the notion struck me that he might be dead. One possibility that crossed my mind was that she might use the Revival ability to help Satoru, but it soon became clear just what took place: Satoru had been in a coma since the incident with Yashiro, and he has finally woken up. This took me by complete surprise and marked the beginning of my unsure opinion of the episode. I was reminded of the opening sequence again: his absence felt very apparent and jarring, and it may represent how his conscious absence effected not only his mother, but his friends, too.
Before I examine my own confused feelings, allow me to quickly summarize the events of the episode: Satoru has awoken from his coma in the year 2003. He is still at home in Hokkaido, and his mother takes him to the hospital, where he begins physical therapy. While there, his old elementary school classmates pay him a visit, including Kayo. Kayo is now married to Hiromi and they have just had a child together. Yashiro also visits Satoru, and informs him that he has also gotten married and has changed his family name to that of his wife, Nishizono. Satoru has no recollection of his time investigating the abductions as well as how he ended up in a coma. He does notice that he knows kanji that should be impossible for him to read, though. He regains his memories at some point in the middle of the episode (likely around the time he decides to double his physical therapy; the way he looks down when Sachiko mentions that Satoru likely doesn’t remember her co-worker is also telling).
Is it possible that this surprising turn of events has left me unsure? Maybe. In all honesty, the idea of Satoru falling into a coma never crossed my mind. I had assumed that someone would find him and he would be saved, with events proceeding forward in his childhood. It was also possible that Yashiro might drag him out of the water, if only just to understand what Satoru meant when he said “I know your future.” This did possibly happen, since Yashiro mentions observing Satoru. Beyond the surprising turn in plot, there were elements of the episode that left me on the fence. Satoru being comatose means that so much of his life has been taken away from him. Anything wonderful that had been part of his childhood after the abduction cases is gone: he never had a chance to experience growing up with his friends. Along a similar line, he never got to see Kayo again. The meeting between them in this episode is their first since she was sent to live with her grandmother. Discovering that she ended up marrying Hiromi was another shocker: sure, she spent some time with him, but certainly not nearly as much as she did with Satoru. The show had depicted such a strong trust between the two because of Satoru’s determination to protect her, that finding out he would never even have a chance pursuing a romantic relationship with her in their adult lives left me a little saddened. Satoru’s folly in trusting Yashiro not only damaged him physically, but left him with a gaping hole in his life. Essentially, it looks like he gets completely screwed over.
Those were my initial thoughts after finishing Episode 11. With all of these things bothering me, I decided to take a step back and think about the show as a whole: what is this show about? Perhaps a bit of a general question, but I needed to see it as it was instead of as I thought it was supposed to be. Is ERASED a mystery? Well, it definitely has mystery elements to it; preventing the abductions and finding the true culprit are two mysteries Satoru tries to solve. How does he go about solving them, though? Does he act like a true sleuth, following all of the clues he finds? Not necessarily. Sure, there are moments throughout the show in which Satoru is trying to put pieces together. But, what does he do most of the time? He spends time with the victims, particularly Kayo, but also Hiromi and briefly Aya. He gets to know them and ensures that they are never alone. Not really how mystery stories usually play out, is it?
Along with his method of socialization to prevent the crimes, Satoru’s love of superheroes gets brought up a lot. That’s the kind of person he idolizes, and it’s the kind of person he wants to be. When he talks with Kenya about what he’s doing, he brings up being a superhero. While he tells Yashiro in Episode 10 that him and his friends “play detective,” Satoru in actuality “plays superhero.” This led me to think about Satoru’s Revival ability. Unlike other people with powers in various forms of media, Satoru doesn’t discuss his ability very often at all. The first episode is where we get the most information from him regarding it. He makes it a point to mention that, when Revival occurs and he tries to help someone, the outcome is usually even. However, every now and then, a negative outcome occurs for him. Despite the fact that acknowledging it and trying to fix the situation doesn’t offer any benefit for him, he always helps, anyway. That is one of the foundational aspects of a hero: helping others no matter what may become of you. That is exactly how he moves through solving the cases, as well: he puts his own safety on the line, whether it’s his physical safety or even social safety, like when he tells Kenya what’s going on and his general behavior around Kayo. Thus, rather than the show simply being a mystery, it proves to be more like a study of a hero acting in the real world and the consequences such a person may face.
With all of that taken into consideration, how does Episode 11 look? Yes, I am upset that Satoru doesn’t end up with Kayo, and yes, I’m upset that someone who worked so hard to protect others from meeting an untimely end winds up sacrificing so much of his own life. But is Satoru upset? It’s hard to say. The episode shows him struggling with learning to walk again, but he genuinely seems happy for his friends and their accomplishments. Now, it’s also worth mentioning that he doesn’t remember that he sacrificed much of anything for most of the episode. Does that make this talk of sacrifice null and void? Not necessarily. He could still have been bitter and angry about missing out on so much. Instead, he becomes focused and determined to get his physical strength back, and he also seems more interested in finding out what Kenya and the others want to talk to him about more so than wallow in depression over what has happened to him. That being said, I do think he has some residual feelings towards Kayo. The way he talks to her when they meet, trying to lessen any guilt she may have over entering a relationship with Hiromi, seems to indicate that he’s okay with how things turned out. Him choosing to draw a picture of her and her baby, though, as well as making sure his mother doesn’t see it, seems to show that there’s something else going on. As mentioned, he doesn’t remember things right away, but he does regain his memories at some point during the episode. That certainly doesn’t mean he can’t feel regret or sadness upon such a realization.
Were there any aspects I definitely enjoyed? Yes, quite a few. Aside from the nice touch of the opening sequence changing, I liked how the episode changed Satoru’s narrative voice from his adult voice to his child voice. Considering he lost his memories of his time using Revival, as well as the fact that he’s been in a coma since he was 11, it makes complete sense that his mind’s voice is the voice from his childhood. Despite my confusion and surprise, the moment Satoru awakens from his coma is touching: the music is soft, and seeing tears come to Sachiko’s eyes when he wakes up is affecting, especially when you take into account that she purchased and played an album from his favorite superhero show for him, let alone all that she goes through to care for him. She’s been one of my favorite characters from the show, and her continued dedication to her son’s well-being only made me love her more.
So things didn’t turn out like I wanted them to. Does that make this a bad episode? No, I don’t think it does. The episode coincides with what the rest of the show has tried to explore: what it means to be a hero. I think that the episode was smartly written and hits a number of points that the show has brought up time and again, including the question of “can everyone be saved?” After all, Kumi, the young girl Satoru speaks with during his hospital stay, may have been successfully killed by Yashiro. So, does that make this a good episode, then? Well, I’m still not sure. Just because there’s logic to what occurs doesn’t mean it’s satisfying. The more I think about everything, though, the more I seem to like how the show’s progressed. Things don’t always turn out perfect, even if that is what Satoru strove for most. He already knew that Revival had the potential to cost him something, and though it may hurt, I think he ends up mostly okay with it. Did he lose a lot? Sure, but he achieved his main goal and became a hero, through and through. I’m eager to see how it all ends in this week’s finale.
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