A lot happened in the seventh episode of ERASED: Satoru is back in 1988, and he’s going full-throttle in his attempt to save Hinazuki once and for all. Did he take the right steps, and did the show hit all the right notes? Let’s take a look!
Note: The following review contains spoilers of the seventh 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 beginning of this episode goes through Satoru being taken away and his Revival kicking into gear. Unlike the previous episode, though, we are shown that it isn’t a matter of a Revival just happening: Satoru calls upon his power, asking for another chance at saving Hinazuki. This is something that has never happened to Satoru before as far as we know; when we first saw him use his power, it was just a matter of him noticing the butterfly, and when he explained his power in the first episode, he never mentioned being able to willingly use it. At this stage, I’m not sure we’ll learn how he acquired this power or its limitations. I’m not sure if this bothers me all that much, though, since the main focus is the mystery behind the abductions and murders rather than his Revival ability. However, him just being able to go back is a bit of a Deus Ex Machina, so, while I don’t necessarily think the origin of his power needs to be explained, a bit of an explanation for that aspect would be nice. I doubt he’s ever tried to go back a second time, so it’s possible he could always do this, I suppose. In any case, he’s dropped back to when the two of them were exploring the town’s science center, and he expresses an even greater sense of determination, since he believes this is his final Revival (I’m not sure how he knows that, though).
Satoru’s efforts involve more risk-taking. He walked with Hinazuki to school a day earlier than last time, and he’s even enlisted the help of his somewhat mysterious friend Kenya. There’s definitely something going on with him. To begin with, why would he ask Satoru about borrowing a book and imploring him to read it when he already knew it didn’t exist? How is he able to almost exactly hit the nail on the head with his observations of Satoru, particularly when he mentions that it’s almost as if another personality was added to him? A part of me thinks it’s possible that he might also have the Revival ability, or at least know about it, but I can’t be too certain about it. Whatever the case, I’ve definitely gotten odd vibes from him. Whether they prove to be unfounded it still up in the air.
The title for Episode 7, “Out of Control,” seems to work on a couple of levels. As mentioned, Satoru is doing anything he can think of that will keep Hinazuki safe. While that includes confiding in Kenya with regards to his knowledge of Hinazuki’s death, that also means putting himself in danger and going to extremes: he not only vandalizes Yuuki’s house by throwing a rock with a note attached saying “I’ll kill you” through his father’s window, but he also attempts to attack (and possibly kill) Hinazuki’s mother. While he desires to create an alibi for Yuuki and wants Hinazuki’s abuse to end, these methods put him in danger, as well. On the other hand, he also acknowledges that if things change too much, he won’t have a clear idea as to what events will transpire. This turns out to be part of the problem: on the one hand, he has to take risks and do whatever it takes to make sure she doesn’t die this time, but if he takes too many or if his actions are too risky, then he could potentially ruin his chances of being able to save her, thus wasting his new-found opportunity.
Side note: this scene was pretty interesting. Satoru’s eye’s are colored red, just like the eyes of the man he knows is the true suspect. I’m not sure if I should read too deeply into it: on one hand, the image could just mean he’s willing to do villainous things in order to accomplish one good thing. On the other hand, it could suggest that the man he keeps seeing is a version of himself. There’s a section of the opening animation that has Satoru’s figure turn into that of the man’s. Considering this show is planned to conclude with the twelfth episode, attempting a twist like that would most likely be messy. For the sake of the show’s quality, I hope this doesn’t prove to be true.
After talking with Kenya and directly asking for his help, a plan is hatched: Satoru takes Hinazuki to an old school bus near Izumi Elementary School. As mentioned in previous episodes, though, a student from this school ends up being abducted and murdered in the original case, so there’s already the possibility that this may not be the safest place to hide Hinazuki. Another image shown throughout the scenes at the abandoned bus are the children’s footprints and sled imprints. While they feel confident about their plan, they are still being far too careless. Since Kenya mentions that the school kids play near the bus and that it’s used for storage, perhaps they figure those markings aren’t too big a deal. However, with how determined the perpetrator has been in the past, not taking the utmost precaution is a foolish decision.
There is also a moment during one of these scenes that caught my eye: when Satoru and Kenya are heading home, Satoru tells him that if what they did goes public, Kenya should pretend he doesn’t know anything about it. After he agrees, the shot shows Kenya’s face go from a smile to a frown. There’s also when Satoru leaves in the middle of night to stay with Hinazuki: we’re shown that his mother wakes up and catches him leaving. Then, after the teacher notices Hinazuki doesn’t show up at school the next day, he makes a phone call. He only states his identity, and the person on the other end seems to be able to help him with whatever he needs, since his response is only “Yes, please.” That, paired with the image of the streetlights superimposed over the shine in his own eyes, creates a powerful image rife with interpretive possibilities. There are so many little things like this in ERASED, and it’s hard to know where exactly things are going from this point. Just as you think progress is being made, there are still indications that the whole story is far from completion. These small “signs” are one of the show’s strongest features, and they continue to keep me intrigued.
All of this begs the question: is that the murderer who enters the bus at the end of the episode? To be honest, it might not be. While the figure does appear to be male, it could be still be someone like Satoru’s mother, or perhaps even her former colleague Kawada. This episode gives enough evidence for it to either be an ally or a foe, and, honestly, that makes the ending even more effective. You aren’t left with a firm take on the situation, and that feeling of complete uncertainty makes it even more intriguing, since you can’t make a clear guess as to what’s in store for the next episode. Despite a few hiccups, Episode 7 was well-paced and nicely directed. There is, however, one thing that I noticed that just wasn’t on par with the rest of it.
These eyes should not have happened, A-1 Pictures. Let’s try to keep a nice consistency going, okay? Emotionless faces like these are a major turn-off.
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