After One-Punch Man ended, I took a break from anime. I wasn’t sure how anything I could watch would top it in my heart, so my anime watching slowed down to a trickle that eventually halted when I started getting more into Korean drama. That took me away from anime watching, but I did still check the season lineup every so often, and most of the stuff before this present season looked really underwhelming.
And then I saw Erased. Or more accurately, I saw what Erased had accomplished.
Somehow, this new series that wasn’t even finished yet had beat out both Steins;Gate and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood on MyAnimeList and taken the #1 anime spot.
From that point on, I pretty much just had to watch it. Any show that manages to beat out two of my all-time favorites without even being finished deserves at least a few minutes of my time. Or a few hours.
And after watching it, I’ll admit that it’s a pretty good show. Not quite as polished or cohesive as Steins;Gate, its main comparison, but it present a fairly unique and interesting story that will pull you in and get you interested in the characters, albeit without bringing too many surprises your way.
For those of you who don’t know, Erased is a story about a young man named Satoru who has the ability to travel backwards in time. He has no control over when this happens to him, but every time it does he is able to prevent a dangerous accident or incident from occurring to people around him. Despite his power, Satoru lives a fairly average life as a pizza delivery man until his mother is murdered by a mysterious figure from his past, and he is framed for her death. This leads to him somehow making a much larger time-rewind, ending up 18 years prior in his hometown. Given his unusual new circumstances, Satoru makes it his goal to find the killer and protect those he’s targeting in hopes of stopping him before the future murder of his mother (and several other victims) can come to pass.
(After writing out that entire paragraph, I just realized how anime it sounds. XD)
Time travel fills him with…determination.
The show sets up an interesting, if already done, premise: go back in time, figure out who the bad guy is, and stop him. What I appreciated the most about the show was not Satoru’s powers, however, but rather his reaction to having those powers. The gift given to him was outside of his control, acted seemingly at random, and constantly placed him in dangerous situations. To be honest, I don’t think I’d really appreciate being randomly thrown backwards in time to fix other people’s problems. But Satoru doesn’t hate his abilities or look at himself as less or more than human because of them. He really just takes it in stride and uses the opportunities it presents to help people whenever he can.
Satoru’s acceptance of his circumstances and his reaction to them is something that I think we as Christians can really learn from. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking less or more of ourselves because we’re Christians rather than focusing on how to live as a Christian, and both views are detrimental to our spiritual health. Just because we’re saved doesn’t make us into a special kind of human as compared to the rest of the world, and being saved doesn’t make us an automatic doormat for others either.
As God’s children, we are given specific gifts to live out our lives in the unique ways God has given to us. Some of us are gifted at writing, some at acting, some at business, but all of our talents are to be used ultimately for the glory of God and to spread to Gospel to the world. Like Satoru, we’re given our gifts in order to change the world for the better, to influence the people around us to look towards Christ. But a lot of times we tend to find it easier to ignore that and to live for ourselves. It’s a lot easier to ignore the suffering around us than it is to find a solution.
But we don’t have to find a solution when we already have it.
Like Satoru, we have been gifted with the knowledge of the final outcome of our enemy’s schemes. But where Satoru doesn’t know how to beat his villain, our Enemy is already defeated. Christ has already defeated sin and death and hell and Satan, and we don’t need to be afraid of failing. He has already given us the grace to repent from our sin, and the strength to resist sin and to live for Him in the midst of a world that is oblivious to the spiritual murder that has occurred in their hearts.
Christ has given us all a second chance. A chance to help save others from the inevitable pain to come and to give them comfort that will never leave them. He’s given us the power to be true heroes in a day and age where people aren’t sure how to define good and evil
How can we refuse?