Everyone it seams is talking about it, Boku dake ga Inai Machi – ERASED. This show has hit me emotionally in a place where no anime ever has before. Usually I’m a sucker for the damaged hero who has to learn to open himself up to the heroin so he can find redemption – then the girl dies, and it’s a tragic mess. I go nuts for that kind of emotional damage. But the pain presented in this anime is different from any kind of emotion I’ve felt before. It’s the pain young children have to go through when they shouldn’t have to.
(Spoilers up to episode 9 ahead)
As I watch ERASED, I’ve found that watching little kids redeem each other, is some kind of beautiful I’ve never known. It’s the innocence of the children backed up against the harsh reality of the adult world working with the blessing of one man who is forced to live somewhere in between the two, that makes this show special.
The will of a child is strong and unique. It doesn’t care about the details, it just does what it believes is right. Men aren’t born perfect, but they’re born with less influence from the corrupted world. This is what we call innocence, and it’s a sacred time, and a special tool of storytelling to convey the moral to our hearts.
When I think of the innocence of Satoru and Hinazuki, I’m reminded of the story in Mathew when Jesus pointed out the importance of child like faith.
One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.
Although Satoru is a 29 year old adult in a 10 year old’s body when he’s thrown back in time, he still has child like passion and curiosity. It’s like his younger body is a vessel for him to have that kind of faith, it’s appropriate for him to peruse his mission to protect Hinazuki. As an adult male he wouldn’t be able to harbor a young girl away from her mother without making the show weird. But as a child, Satoru can actually be the hero needed to save the day. This is especially so with the motherly help of his mother who actually seams more on top of things then he is, especially in episode 8 and 9. The team of the 10 year old boy with his mother is what really drew me into the story.
Something that kills me when I watch shows is when the children don’t ask for help when they need it. They have too much pride, and they want to do it all one their own to prove something. Satoru isn’t like this. He is humble even thought he is technically in his 20s. He accepts his limitations as a child but becomes powerful because the adults help him work around them.
Although Satoru’s communication skills with his mother are not perfect, especially when he’s an adult, at least his mother is active in his life and his personal quest. Sachiko is a beautiful character, strong and confident, who has motherly instinct has the power to heal many wounds. She reads the situation and acts quickly. Even though as an adult, she’s more capable then her son, but she still acts as his back up because she believes so much in him. Sachiko is a character you fall in love with, but the more you do the more it hurts because you know she’s dead.
That just adds to the dire-ness of it all, two very painful murders are presented in the beginning, it’s a classic way the start a tragedy. I can think of a number of stories that begin as such, Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, Wicked the musical… When you kill the characters at the beginning, it makes their character in the middle of the story development excruciating. That is why we root for Hinazuki’s life so much.
Watching the character development of a child, Hinazuki, pulls at your heart strings as you claw at the plot praying it provides a way to keep her safe. Watching Satoru develop his character as a man in the body of a child is equally as enchanting. Even his own life is in jeopardy in the future, as moments before he traveled back, he was arrested for arson the murder of his own mother. However, Satoru is safe as a child, and Hinazuki is safe as long as she’s with him. It’s an on-the-edge-of-your-seat story that is most painful for me to watch.
I believe the show sucks you in especially because of how Satoru uses his innocence as a weapon to save Hinazuki. He has incredible faith that he can save Hinazuki. He believes that she will follow him is he shows her kindness. He knows that Jun “Yuuki” is innocent. Of course he plans it out because he as a twenty plus year old brain, but he uses the child like-will to peruse whatever he believes is right to his advantage.
Why is this the attitude Jesus wises us to have as he calls us to have child like faith? This is still something I’m trying to discover. It has something to do with being humble, like a child. Look what the bible says…
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
Jesus wants us to become like children. For Satoru that is quite literal. Back in Bible times, and most everywhere really, children were not seen as very important. This doesn’t mean we aren’t unimportant, but it does mean that as Christians, we need to not think of ourselves as such grand folks in this world as we tend to.
Pride often keeps adults away from God, but it’s those who has humility like children. Humility is not something I care too much for, but I’m going to have to put my pride aside and look at what is really important in life – like how Satoru did. Look at all what Satoru accomplished because he was in humble boundaries of a 10 year old body.