Episode One-Derland | Erased

Plot: Satoru is a 29-year-old who seems more bothered by life than anything. He has a job as a pizza delivery boy and doesn’t have many people he would consider friends. However, one thing makes his life extraordinary – the power of what he calls ‘revival.’ Every now and then, Satoru will suddenly be jolted back in time about one to five minutes in order to stop something terrible from happening. Problem is, he usually doesn’t know what it is he’s stopping or what to look for. All he knows is that something is ‘off’ on the replay of events after he goes back in time. He has saved numerous people this way, but it’s just another thing he lives with.

One day, Satoru’s mother is mysteriously murdered in his apartment by a man who seemingly has ties to the murder of a young girl back when Satoru was a child. Satoru, locked in a panicked state at the sight of his murdered mother, runs away from the police when they try to question him. As he runs, he triggers another revival, only this time he goes back much further than one to five minutes. He goes all the way back to 1988, when he was a child, seemingly propelled back to find the one who will murder the young girl, save her and hopefully save his mother in the process.

Breakdown: I was very sick, tired and medicine’d when I first started watching this, so I didn’t watch as closely as I would normally, but I still very much enjoyed this first episode. The concept of time travel is always kinda iffy, though. I didn’t think I’d be bothered since he travels in such short bursts, but now that he’s traveled back around twenty years, I think I’ll become a bit more confused. Hopefully, they’ll be able to handle it well.

As a first episode, they do a good job setting up the world, story and characters. Satoru’s power is kinda introduced out of nowhere, but we’re given a sample of it in such a way that it had a point and allowed for some development with other characters.

The characters are fairly interesting. I really liked Satoru’s mom, even if it is really weird that this 50+ year old woman looks like she’s in her mid 20s at most. I also liked Satoru’s young co-worker, Airi, even if I find it a little weird that it seems like they might be setting up a romance between Satoru and Airi considering she’s in high school and he’s nearly my age.

Satoru himself is rather lackadaisical, but he’s not a bad person. He always tries his best to save whomever he’s supposed to save when these revivals happen. He just also happens to be rather closed off and abrasive.

I really like this murder mystery we have on our hands here. The fact that someone seemingly innocent was framed for the murder is also really intense. I’m very intrigued to see where this mystery ends up.

Verdict:

Continue Yes

I’ve heard some pretty good things about this show before I checked it out, and now that I have gotten a taste I am very much looking forward to the rest.

Note: I wrote this quite a while back. It somehow got filed on my computer as something I’ve already posted. And, being honest, I really did think I really did think I had posted it, but I can’t find it. I’m posting now just for completion’s sake. Since then I have watched and written a review of the rest of the series that will be posted in the near future.


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The Bride of Deimos Review

Plot: Based on a manga of the same name, The Bride of Deimos is a one-shot OVA chronicling one story of the manga – the story of a brother and sister who grow beautiful and rare orchids out in the middle of nowhere. However, anyone who visits their house seems to vanish suspiciously. What is the secret of this orchid house?

Breakdown: This OVA feels like it’s one episode out of the middle of a longer show. Since it’s portraying one story from a semi-long manga, that makes sense. Because of this, however, you’re left feeling very confused.

The basic idea is that a woman named Minako has been chosen by the demon, Deimos, to be the new vessel for his dying lover. However, she has to agree to the process before the transfer can start, and she refuses to do so. This really doesn’t have any bearing on the story at hand, though.

The actual story is that her friend, Hisamatsu, is a bit of a flower enthusiast who brings her to a flower competition. He says it’s pointless to enter in these competitions because a woman simply named Tohko always wins and never shows up. In this particular contest, she has presented a Blue Lady Orchid, said to be nearly impossible to grow.

Enamored by her work, Hisamatsu goes off to speak with Tohko and is never heard from again. Minako goes off to Tohko’s house to investigate. Despite Tohko’s brother’s insistence that no one has been to the house in years, Minako spots Hisamatsu’s notebook on the ground and decides to get a police escort and come back later.

The rest of the episode unravels the mystery around Tohko and her brother, Kaname, as well as what happened to Hisamatsu.

I would say this is a mystery as a whole, but it’s really not. We know the instant we see Tohko and Kaname that they must’ve done something with Hisamatsu, most likely killed him. The only question is why and what’s the story behind these two? That is plenty to hold one episode out of a full fledged series, and even a short OVA, but the fact that it draws attention to the fact that there’s a main plot of which this story has nothing to do with makes it feel unsatisfying in the end.

Art and Animation: The art is reminiscent of Vampire Hunter D without so much pointiness. It’s okay, and the animation is fair.

Music: The music is dated, but okay.

Voice Acting: Japanese – Very good, but sometimes a little boring in their performances.

Bottom Line: I will admit that the story is creepy and very interesting, though there are some confusing aspects and plot holes, but the problem is that it feels like an episode you’d find in the middle of an anime. It gives off an episodic show feeling, doesn’t resolve anything in the main plot, introduces characters and plotlines like you’re already meant to know them and just seems unsatisfactory. I know this was probably meant as a promotional OVA for the manga or something, but why not start at the beginning instead of slapping us in the middle?

If you have intent to read the manga or already have, then this might be a good and short watch for you. However, if you don’t intend on reading the manga, prepare to be unsatisfied in regards to the main plot.

Additional Information and Notes: The Bride of Deimos was based on a manga written by Etsuko Ikeda and illustrated by Yuko Ashibe.

The OVA was animated by Madhouse and directed by Rintaro, who also directed Galaxy Express 999, The Dagger of Kamui, Reign: The Conqueror and Metropolis. There is currently no English dub available.

Runtime: 30 Minutes

Year: 1988

Recommended Audience: No nudity, no sex, no real gore, but several people are Robin Hooded to death. Scary imagery?…….10+


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30DAC – Day 9: Favorite Anime Villain

This one was difficult not because I had too many choices but because I feel like my pool of villains that I like is surprisingly low. If a villain is good at their job, then you’re basically supposed to hate them. If you have a villain that is too sympathetic, it’s difficult to leave them with the moniker of ‘villain’. And then you have my pool of possible candidates, which mostly amounts to bad guys who eventually went good, so that kinda blew up in my face. I needed a villain who was evil, yet likable, funny, yet not stupid. And then I remembered Danganronpa the Animation and the delightfully evil little teddy bear known as Monobear.

A little background on the anime/game that he originates from, Danganronpa is about twelve students who are all exceptional at something. They get recruited into a supposedly prestigious academy called Hope’s Peak, but it turns out that the school is merely a front for a deadly survival ‘game’. The goal of the game is to get away with murder. If you do, you’re allowed to ‘graduate’ and leave the school. If you don’t or end up choosing the wrong suspect as a group during a murder investigation, you get killed.

The host of this little game and the principal of the school is a psychotic robotic teddy bear that is half white and ‘good’ while the other half is black and seemingly evil. Monobear brings a lot of twisted humor to the table in this show. He gets really irritated when a murder has not occurred in an extended period of time and he loves to taunt the crap out of the students with incentives to murder their classmates.

He also DRINKS IN SCHOOL! The fiend!

He’s also perfectly fine with killing people when prompted. In fact, he seems to enjoy it quite a bit while creating ironic deaths for the students who lose the game. If you attack him, you’ll also be horrifically murdered in some way.

Monobear is not just villainous and crazy, but he’s also the funniest character on the show. And he’s such a cuddly psychopath. Just look at him do his wittle dance.

*enter CanCan music here*

This one can be seen as cheating a little bit because Monobear is not the one actually pulling the strings. Another person is controlling him, but I see Monobear and this specific person as two completely different entities. Plus, it is hinted that Monobear just might be sentient, so who knows.

Monobear is insane, hilarious and as evil as villains get, as he deserves the title of my favorite anime villain.

Besides, if I didn’t give him the spot, he’d just keep beating up fish.

The salmon run was quite odd this year.

Tsumi to Batsu: A Falsified Romance (Chps 1-69) Review

Plot: Inspired by the book Crime and Punishment, Miroku Tachi is college dropout who has spiraled into depression. He holds no job, barely leaves his apartment, has poor social skills and no hope for his future. His mother and sister, mostly his sister, have been supporting him financially while believing he is still in college studying to be a teacher like his deceased father.

In what Miroku believes to be an effort to marry into money to support Miroku’s ‘dream’ further, Miroku’s sister announces that she’s marrying a man that Miroku despises. He concocts a plan to become financially stable so she won’t need to marry him – a plan involving murder.

Breakdown: This was one of those manga that I really got into and had to keep reading chapter after chapter. It is an incredibly interesting read that gives us a take of the old tale of a regular guy eventually being lead to murder in a fairly different way.

It’s hard to say that Miroku’s really likable. He’s actually pretty much an asshole, but the weird thing is that he’s an asshole for seemingly good reasons. He hates that his family has all of these expectations for him, yet feels like he can’t reach these goals. He really doesn’t seem like he wants to either, because his mother is fixated on him becoming a successful teacher like his father, but he deplores his father because he cheated on Miroku’s mother with one of his students and ended up committing suicide alongside his lover.

He eventually falls into a deep depression and becomes a NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) with the only people he really sees or talks to being a neighbor girl who has a crush on him and occasionally his sister.

Miroku’s sister Yoshino is the only one in the family with a stable job, and she provides Miroku with money to help with school and his everyday needs. However, it seems like she may not make enough to support herself, Miroku and possibly their mother.

She announces that she plans to marry a successful businessman, and Miroku believes she’s doing this purely for his money so she can support them all and Miroku’s supposed ‘dream’. Miroku despises this engagement and his suspicions about the reasons behind the marriage, so he becomes hellbent on becoming financially independent so she won’t have to marry him. The problem is that he has to do it in a short amount of time, and he won’t find financial success so easily in his actual dream of becoming a writer.

In comes Hikaru Baba, one of the most sociopathic bitches this side of Japan. She’s evil to the core, and runs a prostitution ring at that. She manipulates young girls into joining the ring and is even perfectly fine with setting up rapes in order to hook in girls and drum up business. Despite not even being out of high school, her business is incredibly vast and successful even tying into the yakuza.

Realizing how horrible of a human being she is and the money that she has, Miroku believes it to be justified and in his best interest financially to kill her and take her money. He’d be doing the world and possibly the girls a favor, and he’d be able to at least get enough money to be stable for a little while.

He eventually does succeed in murdering Hikaru, but before he even leaves the apartment things start unraveling fast. He has blood on his hands, the police on his tail and his sanity continues to fall apart every day.

The main reason this seemed more interesting to me than most murder stories is that this isn’t some master murderer who knows he can get away with it. He researches Hikaru and her routine extensively before he even finally decides to kill her, but every step of the way is filled with doubt and confusion about his actions, and this gets worse and worse after he does the deed.

There are many steps along the way where you can see flaws in his operation, especially if you have a thing for procedural dramas like yours truly. He wears gloves, he takes some precautions with the cell phones, but he still makes various mistakes, and you know that within those mistakes will eventually lie his undoing.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about this manga is that Miroku is incredibly weak and a total wimp. It’s obvious that Miroku must have some psychological issues, but what exactly he has I am at odds to figure out.

He definitely has depression, I know that much, but that alone doesn’t explain his other behaviors. Sociopathic tendencies as well? Schizophrenic? He doesn’t meet a lot of the criteria for the latter, but maybe some for the former. It’s a difficult area to analyze. I don’t want to straight out say he’s a ‘wimp’ or a ‘loser’ or whatever other insults were flung his way over the various comment boxes I read because it’s obvious that there’s more to it than that.

That’s not to say that these factors don’t make him annoying. They do, especially when he gets into a monologue, but there’s reason for it. The tone does get a bit overbearing because there’s hardly a person in this manga that’s likable. There’s about….eh two maybe three people who are likable in this manga, and even some of them get on your nerves. The odd thing is that the tone makes you get used to that fact and even strengthens the dark and psychologically stressful air about the entire book.

The manga has a bit of a slow start as it takes quite a few chapters before we even get to the murder, but I am more or less forgiving about that since they really wanted to firmly establish the background behind the murder instead of just explaining it later. I’m cool with that, but they still could’ve shaved off a chapter or two.

The real kicker in the pacing is in the title. See that? A Falsified Romance? Yeah, well, they only barely get into an actual romance at around chapter 65. Even though I haven’t read the rest, the manga is a full 93 chapters long. That means that two thirds of the book are over before we get into any romance at all let alone a ‘falsified’ one, so it makes you wonder why it’s titled that to begin with.

The way the investigation is handled is also quite interesting. By all intents, Miroku shouldn’t have much problem getting caught. The fact of the matter is he mixed his decent intelligence with incredible luck on whom he chose as a target.

Hikaru was a high profile murder victim because of her parents, so the police had complications from the get-go in investigating this murder, especially given that Hikaru was running the prostitution ring.

If that wasn’t enough, the yakuza being involved made it even more complicated, and eventually they even gave Miroku an out by purposely sending one of their lambs to the slaughter and forcing him to confess to the crime so the investigation would stop.

In addition, there are only two people in the police department who really believe Miroku is connected to begin with so that already starts off the investigation on rocky shores.

This manga seems to be unfinished in English with new translated volumes coming out arbitrarily. However, if I can determine what would be the best end, Miroku really just needs to be caught or turn himself in and go to jail. I don’t want him to get away and live happily ever after, he’s still a murderer after all, and he doesn’t seem in the least bit interested in pursuing psychological help with this either, so I really think his best end would be to go to prison. I hope to see if the story heads this way in the future, but for now I can only surmise.

I don’t really want to see Miroku die at the end, but if it had to end that way, it would probably be understandable.

Art: The art is very detailed and sharp. Everyone has a very distinct and easily recognizable character design, and the backgrounds are great. I think Miroku’s expression gets a little tiresome. The guy always looks like he’s going to vomit, pass out or reveal a supervillain outfit, but it’s nothing too annoying.

Bottom Line: It’s an interesting look into the mind of a murderer. There are various flaws from story to characters and even pacing that can gnaw on you, but it was never overly irritating for me to stop reading.

Recommended Audience: There are graphic depictions of murder and sex. There’s a rape scene, implied gang rape, prostitution, nudity of course, uncomfortable atmosphere altogether, creepy situations. 17+


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