This week’s episode of ERASED changes things up a bit by showing Kayo’s perspective in a few scenes. What did that add, and what do other details indicate about the murderer? Let’s go over what went down in ERASED Episode 8!
Note: The following review contains spoilers of the eighth 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).
Episode 8 starts off right where the previous one ends: someone is entering the bus that acts as Kayo’s hideout. While I thought it was possible that this intruder might not be the suspect, this episode quite clearly proves otherwise: Kayo tells the boys about what happened, and they discover a backpack full of the items used in the the report of the case Sawada told Satoru before he went through this second Revival. This scene acted like proof for me: from it, I gathered Jun “Yuuki” Shiratori was truly innocent. It wouldn’t make sense for him to include his own boots in a backpack full of items intended for murdering a child. He could have just kept those at home. To me, their inclusion indicates that they were stolen and placed in the backpack. We are given both the shoes and the footprint of the actual perpetrator, as well. An item not mentioned in the case report is a briquette that Satoru finds in the box with the footprint. Satoru believes this would have been used to suffocate Kayo, enabling the murderer to use the freeze in the spray bottle and carry out the rest of his plans.
My question is: was the box kicked on purpose? This individual came in from the snow, so he would certainly have wet shoes. A marking from the shoe is guaranteed to appear on the box, and I would think the killer would want to be as careful as possible. This leads me to wonder whether the shoes the killer is wearing are actually his shoes. He did steal Yuuki’s boots, so who’s to say he didn’t steal Yuuki’s, or even someone else’s, shoes? Kayo thought he kicked the box because he was mad, but I can’t think of why the killer would be, and even so, why would he kick the box that contains the briquette he’s putting in the bus? Leave it to ERASED to give us a potential hint while also tossing in a few questions.
As mentioned in my review for the previous episode, I am leaning towards Yashiro being the culprit. However, this episode complicates that belief. Let’s begin with the scene in which he goes to Kayo’s house with the social workers: he mentions knowing where Kayo is to them. Interestingly enough, we are shown that Satoru is watching them enter the house and look for the mother. While he’s listening to their conversation after Yashiro leaves the house, we see he’s gone by the end of the conversation. Did he leave right before the teacher mentions knowing where Kayo is? I believe so, since Satoru didn’t mention it to anyone when they were at the hideout. Since he indicates he knows her location, he certainly could have been the person who entered the bus the previous night.
We also discover that Sachiko has been in touch with Yashiro, and from their conversation we can assume they have been corresponding for most of the time Kayo has been in hiding. Was it her that he called in the previous episode? I believe this to be the case. Their correspondence with one another is interesting: the episode’s ending suggests that their plan is to confront Kayo’s mother. But, their correspondence also has me thinking about events in the future: Sachiko’s involvement at this stage would certainly put her in jeopardy of being killed if Yashiro is, in fact, the perpetrator. Is she a forced ally, since he suggests that he knows Satoru is involved with Kayo going missing? She does work in journalism, and she’s a rather perceptive person, so keeping her close could be both a good and bad strategy. I also looked to see if his shoes make an appearance, but the only shot of his feet in the episode is when he’s walking through Kayo’s house without his shoes on.
This leads to the big question of why he would want Kayo dead. The murderer is going to great lengths to kill her. If he knew that Kayo was in the bus, why have the briquette there? Why not just use the spray while she was asleep? Is there something going on that we haven’t been made aware of yet, or is there some sort of odd (and perhaps faulty) quirk to the murderer’s plan? One thing I’ve wondered about is whether Kayo is Yashiro’s daughter. Kayo doesn’t look like her mother or her boyfriend, and while Yashiro and her share the same hair color, their eyes are also a similar slant to them. That just complicates the matter of him being the killer: why kill his daughter? Wouldn’t the rest of the town know of their relation? Maybe, but it’s possible that Kayo is an illegitimate child and the mother doesn’t know who the father is, or even that they are related to one another in a different way. There are many possibilities and not enough hard evidence for any strong conclusions, including whether or not these “hints” are leading us in the right direction.
Leaving theories aside, this episode had some interesting scenes with Kayo while she stayed at the Fujinuma house. One scene that got me thinking was the bath scene between Sachiko and Kayo. While it’s a nice moment for Kayo, experiencing a fun bath time with a kind-hearted mother figure, Satoru’s reaction is the one that interested me more. “Get a grip, you’re 29!” thinks Satoru, after hearing the giggles from the two. Is it odd for Satoru to feel an attraction towards Kayo, since he has the consciousness of a 29-year-old man? From what we’ve been shown throughout the series, I would argue that it isn’t. While his body is decidedly that of a 10/11-year-old, his mind isn’t decidedly that of a 29-year-old. There are moments when he says things or behaves as a child would. One moment that comes to mind is his first trip to the science center with Kayo: he jumps behind a statue and pretends to hide. It shows a playfulness that 29-year-old Satoru lacks. Instead, it seems almost as if his 29-year-old self shares his body’s brain with his 10/11-year-old self. His reminders to himself about being 29 make more sense with that interpretation. If he was decidedly 29, he likely wouldn’t feel embarrassed at times or think more romantically-inclined thoughts towards Kayo.
The breakfast scene that occurs the next day is not only another interesting scene, but one that I was (and still am) impressed by. Sachiko makes the kids eggs, bacon, and a few side dishes. Kayo’s past breakfasts are shown in the place of her current meal through her blinking: one blink turns it into a cup of instant ramen; then next blink, a slice of bread; and the final blink, money to buy breakfast herself. By moving the camera to a first-person perspective, it creates a sense of being inside her mind.
Beyond that, it characterizes the dissatisfaction she has with her home life: the basic role of a parent is to provide for their child, with the most basic provision being food. Each blink shows less and less effort. I also really like how, when she’s shown eating in the park, the cloud from her breath travels up the screen, and when the scene cuts back to the present, the steam from her food is in the same vicinity. It’s a very powerful scene, and when I saw her sobbing, I was quite moved. This stands out as one of my favorite scenes from the show thus far: it goes beyond trying to create suspicion related to the case and instead opts for artfully conveying a character’s memories of the past alongside the reality of the present.
While I’m still unsure about the killer’s logic and motive for wanting Kayo, in particular, as the first victim in a series of murders, I still enjoyed the episode. There are so many small details to get lost in with analysis, but that’s what makes watching this show so rewarding. Is Yashiro just trying to do what’s right, or does he want to make sure others perceive him that way? Is the show purposely leading us to believe he’s the culprit, or are there other details I’m missing that leads elsewhere? With the confrontation coming up in the next episode, I’m excited to see what else ERASED has in store.
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