Lauren Reviews: ERASED Episode 3 (Birthmark)

“Well, answer him, Kayo.”

This week we’re given a heavy-hitting episode of Erased where we learn more about the tragic life of Kayo, who her parents are, and possibly get a feel for who may have kidnapped and murdered her.

SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven’t seen this episode, I would recommend that you stop here. If you haven’t watched the series, please have a look at my first impression of ERASED (slight spoilers).

Editor’s Notes: TRIGGER WARNING (This episode depicts scenes of child abuse, which may be uncomfortable to some readers.)

Let’s dive into it shall we?

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The episode opens with an ice-skating match, at first it didn’t seem important, but I’m beginning to realize that nothing in this show is just there—it is deliberately placed and everything has a consequence. Satoru, whom I’ve become quite fond of now, is racing against Hamada—a well-known ice hockey player and supposedly the fastest skater in the school. Everyone is assuming that he’s going to win, and Satoru just decides that he’s going to do his best. We notice that Kayo is there, and she asks Satoru if he’s going to win and his response is “I’m going to go as fast as I can!” Kayo seems to like this and, as usual, pretends that she doesn’t care. The race begins and Satoru is winning, however he begins to think that he doesn’t deserve to win because he doesn’t practice as much as Hamada, so he throws the race and lets Hamada win. Kayo, being smart and observant, knows this and gets mad at him. Satoru realizes that he’s lied to her and therefore broken the promise that he made in the last episode; thus, begins his quest to make it up to her.
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We also learn something that is probably important to the story: Kayo’s birthday is the same as Satoru’s. We only know that Kayo disappeared the day of or the day before her birthday; Satoru tries to get this information by asking Kayo but she doesn’t tell him. He then attempts to find out by looking in his teacher’s book, during which he gets caught. The teacher is presented as an observant, caring figure but I can’t help but think that there’s something more going on. This show is going to have me suspicious of everyone I tell you!
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We are also introduced to Yuuki, the boy that befriended Satoru. In a scene that took place in Yuuki’s bedroom, we see that he’s portrayed as a stuttering, gentle person; however, when he goes to get a book off the shelf, Satoru, having an adult brain and perception, notices some adult magazines on his shelf peeking out from behind a small curtain. This makes Satoru visibly uncomfortable and Yuuki embarrassed—stating that they were “gifts” and he couldn’t just throw them away.

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Anyway I noticed, and Satoru too, is that when asked about Kayo he answers quickly. I can’t help but feel suspicious of him (this show man!) but we’re intentionally not given enough information, and the scene is kept short. I know for a fact that we most likely missed something though, because…anime.

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Now on to the more difficult part of the episode: The confirmation that Kayo is being abused. Satoru goes to Kayo’s house and finds tattered mittens covered in blood, and her backpack’s contents strewn about the yard. He immediately thinks that he’s too late, following the footprints to the dumpster and finding Kayo inside. To his horror, she is bruised and bloodied, and nearly motionless. She’s alive, but in pain from her injuries and most likely embarrassed—screaming at Satoru to leave her alone. Her mother comes out and acts as if nothing has happened, that this is normal and covers Kayo up with her coat, taking her back inside. Satoru attempts to confront the mother and asks how she got hurt—to which Kayo says in a small, pitiful voice: “I fell.”

I knew that was going to be the response, as it typically is for children who are being abused by their parents and are too scared to come forward. The next scene is incredibly disturbing as we have the mother dunking Kayo in ice water to reduce the swelling of the bruises THAT SHE PUT ON THE CHILD. She’s a coward and naturally doesn’t want to get caught. This was very hard to watch, and it was hard to pick out different things because one doesn’t necessarily enjoy watching children get abused. We also learned that the teacher is aware of the abuse, but because the mother is so sneaky – they haven’t been able to prove it. Satoru knows he’s running out of time and has to figure out what’s going to happen before it happens.

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Despite the darkness that we are plunged into by learning about Kayo’s terrible life, the episode takes a much needed happy turn towards the end. Satoru takes Kayo up into the mountains to see a “Christmas” tree. The setting is beautiful, and it’s one of the few times in the episode where the viewer can relax as it’s somewhat okay to feel safe here. This is needed because I think the show itself is emotionally exhausting. That’s not a bad thing, but if you’re going to tackle heavy subjects you have to have lighter moments in there too—at least that’s how I feel. Satoru and Kayo are alone and away from everything, they can just be free and be kids. There’s wonder in their eyes as they look up at the tree glistening in the moonlight. It’s really a touching moment as we see Kayo smile for the first time in the entire time we’ve come to know her.
Then they gotta ruin it with that ending.
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What is up with Kenya?! Anyway I give this episode four and a half out of five stars, I’m really liking how the show is pacing itself to be an excellent mystery series. It’ll be interesting to see where they go next.

What did you think of ERASED episode 3? Did you pick up on something I may have missed? Let’s discuss!

Check out the other Winter 2016 Anime season related articles!

(Screenshot Credits: QTPieCaps)



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