This review of ERASED Episode 6 means I’ve finally caught up with the series. Quite a bit happened in this episode: some of my questions from last week were answered and a couple others have emerged. What happened to Satoru last week? Let’s take a look!
Note: The following review contains spoilers of the sixth 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 scene before the opening credits clears up one of my issues from last week: namely, Airi’s story about her father stealing a chocolate bar. Her hearing her mother question her lack of faith in her estranged husband after the fact confirms the story to be true. While I’m still not sure if the story’s events are grossly exaggerated or if there’s some sort of cultural understanding I’m unaware of, the show at least makes it clear that we don’t need to take what she said with a grain of salt.
After the opening theme finishes, we’re taken to a scene outside of Airi’s burning house. Satoru has discovered the fire and enters the house to get Airi out of harm’s way. While we don’t know how Satoru found out about the fire, we can presume that either the fire was large enough for him to notice (the bridge they were near could be relatively close to her house) or perhaps Satoru wanted to talk with her again (although he didn’t really want to involve her anymore for her own sake). One little nit-pick I noticed was Airi’s position on the floor: in the beginning of the episode when they show her unconscious, she’s fully in her room, save for part of her feet. When he sees her, she’s half way out of the door. Considering she’s awake enough later in the scene to put her cell phone in his pocket, though, it isn’t unreasonable that she woke up enough to move a little.
The manager busting in to help save Airi was also slightly odd: was he still hanging around her house after she punched him out? Perhaps he was tipped off by the mysterious Nishizono. Even the line he says his kind of odd: “I’m getting the credit for this.” If he really cared about Airi, that wouldn’t be something to worry about. The manager may not be as innocent as I thought. While I don’t think he’s the suspect (not sure how they’d make that a worthwhile twist), he certainly could be more of an accomplice than I initially thought.
This episode gets us better acquainted with Sachiko Fujinuma’s former co-worker, whose name we learn is Sawada. This meeting fills us in on the details of what happened 18 years ago after Satoru altered the day of Hinazuki’s disappearance, and the events he describes represent the official version the police went with: Hinazuki’s mother and boyfriend beat her and locked her in the shed. Jun “Yuuki” Shiratori removed her from the shed, knocked her out, took photos of her, put her in his family’s business’s freezer room, and sprayed her with something to speed up the process. After she was brain dead, he returned her to the shed. Last episode, we were shown Hinazuki’s body in her apartment with both her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. That scene would have occurred on March 3rd in the afternoon, unless Satoru left in the middle of school, which then could make it morning. The story does seem to fit in with what we’ve been shown so far, though that doesn’t necessarily make it true. With how nervous the boyfriend sounded and how her mother likes to keep up appearances, I’m sure they’d go along with any story that would get them in the clear.
Airi being a target is also discussed: while Sawada initially believes that the text and fire would incriminate Satoru for arson, Satoru thinks that her involvement goes beyond that. His reasoning is that she likely would have seen the suspect’s face at some point, since he would have gone to the pizza shop to look at Satoru’s schedule in order to track his movements better and successfully frame him. I’m not entirely convinced that’s the full reason, though. In a previous scene, Airi is shown at the hospital. Some guards are discussing her involvement in the case, saying that she helped kill Satoru’s mother and then he set fire to her house in order to silence her. Would the suspect do that just because she may have seen his face? What are the odds that she would have connected him to her murder? Airi may have more of a connection to these cases than we’ve been shown. A curious thing I noticed about the hospital scene is that we are shown two faces of guards watching over her, but when it cuts to her listening from behind the wall, there are three sets of legs. Could one set belong to the suspect? It’s hard to prove, but rather interesting, nonetheless.
Satoru is given access to the suspect list while Sawada visits the hospital. The final list contains Jun Shiratori, his father, and three other suspects whose names Satoru doesn’t recognize. The possibility of Jun’s father being the murderer is an interesting one, though we haven’t seen much of him in the show thus far. Satoru also comes to the conclusion that his friend Hiromi Sugita was murdered in order to create a supposed pattern based on false knowledge: all the suspects are perceived girls, though Hiromi is actually a boy. Satoru concludes, then, that the true murderer knew Hiromi wasn’t a girl.
At this point, the most likely culprit is their elementary school teacher. We’ve already seen that he has the trust of the students, and he most certainly would know Hiromi was a boy. He also had intimate knowledge of Hinazuki’s abuse. The one thing that I am unsure of, though, is why he would involve young Satoru. Does his involvement give the teacher an advantage of some kind? Perhaps. By being open with Satoru and encouraging him to befriend Hinazuki, it would make it less believable that he would want any harm to come to her. He even mentions his efforts of having her abuse investigated. Was he telling the truth? If he was, then why would he do that, but later on murder Hinazuki? Perhaps so that there would be a record of her mother’s possible abuse, even if it never was properly investigated. His motive at this point isn’t clear, but there’s also no other character that we know of who’s as strong a suspect as him.
Towards the end of the episode, Satoru is reunited with Airi, who confirms that she’s seen someone a few times who likely could have found out his schedule: the mysterious city council member Nishizono. Airi also seems to believe that she was targeted because she knew his face. She confirms having seen him two or three times. We know she saw him briefly on the day of the arson, and she would have seen him when he came in to look at the schedule. The possibility of her seeing him an additional time is interesting: Nishizono seems acquainted with the shop’s owner, so it’s possible that he initially discovered Satoru working there by accident. Seeing him would have reminded him of the events from 18 years ago, with Satoru possibly being business that was never successfully taken care of. With his mother witnessing a potential abduction, Nishizono would have known exactly where to go to find out Satoru’s work schedule.
Satoru’s manga idea about the grim reaper mistakenly taking a child’s life and trying to rectify the error is a sad, but beautiful analogy to his own situation. He sees that his efforts haven’t changed the final outcome, and, as he continues trying to fix the past, more people are put in harm’s way. Him being portrayed by the grim reaper is very telling of his character: he sees himself as a taker of life, even though he’s never killed anyone, as well as a person who cannot seem to bring happiness to others. The grim reaper isn’t a figure of happiness, only pain. Satoru is characterizing himself in extremes: surely he’s been helpful in the past, when he used his Revival ability in other situations. However, he chooses to see himself through his failures, rather than his triumphs. Airi holds similar opinions and tries to encourage Satoru to have more faith in himself.
The episode concludes with the police discovering the two of them and Airi apologizing for both leading the authorities there and not being more careful. As Satoru is led to a police car, he notices the presence of the true perpetrator. It’s a rather nice scene with time slowing down to the point of almost being frozen, in parallel with Satoru’s feelings of shock and recollection. As time finally comes to a complete stop, the butterfly of Revival flies overhead, signaling yet another shift in time for the next episode.
This episode was a little stronger than the last one: some good progression was made with regards to the details of the case, and Satoru knows a lot more going into this Revival. There were a few scenes I really enjoyed, such as the two mentioned at the end. I was somewhat skeptical about Airi’s presence in the show at first, chalking her up as just another high school student that has to be included for some reason, but she’s proven herself to be rather helpful. At this point, it’s hard to say when we’ll see her again, and I think that her spare presence in the story’s narrative is actually to her benefit. This episode definitely was more satisfying than the last, and I’m excited to see how events play out when Satoru once again returns to 1988.
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