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Does Erased Have The Most Controversial Anime Ending?

Crafted by Kei Sanbe, Erased stands as a cherished manga that garnered an anime adaptation even during its serialization. Like many anime adaptations released concurrently with their source material, discrepancies arise in the endings, stemming from the studio’s inability to foresee Sanbe’s intended conclusion. Consequently, the ending of Erased sparked controversy.

Erased can be swiftly consumed within a single weekend, providing ample opportunity for manga aficionados to scrutinize the anime’s narrative. In the manga, Satoru possesses the ability to time travel to rectify tragedies. Initially, his journeys into the past are brief, often spanning mere minutes. However, following his mother’s demise, the 29-year-old is thrust back to his elementary school days with the mission of preventing a classmate’s murder. Both the manga and anime adhere to these core elements until Satoru returns to the present, where their paths diverge significantly.

While both the Erased anime and manga enjoyed considerable popularity, spawning various offshoots, the anime, in particular, garnered significant attention, albeit marred by controversy surrounding its conclusion. Although the manga and anime share similar resolutions in certain respects, deviations introduced in the anime left a bitter taste for fans of the source material. Unfortunately, such discrepancies are not unique to Erased alone.

Erased - The Ending In The manga

Emerging from a 15-year coma, Satoru embarks on a journey of rehabilitation, encountering Kumi, a young cancer patient, during physical therapy. Memories of Yashiro, the assailant, and his pre-coma life remain elusive until a reunion with Airi. It’s during this time that Yashiro resurfaces, plotting to “eliminate” Kumi and incriminate Satoru.

Fortunately, Satoru, along with Kenya, Sawada, and Sachiko, concocts a strategy to safeguard Kumi during a camping excursion. Over several chapters, Yashiro and Satoru engage in a strategic duel, culminating in a climactic showdown on a bridge. Here, it is unveiled that Yashiro harbored no intention of harming Kumi, instead seeking to lure out Satoru for a final confrontation. As Satoru reveals his foresight in outmaneuvering Yashiro, the former teacher ignites the bridge in a bid for mutual demise. Determined to thwart him, Satoru leaps from the bridge, dragging Yashiro down with him into the lake below, where Kenya, Sawada, Sachiko, and Kumi await in the denouement of the Erased anime.

Erased - The Ending In The Anime

In the Erased anime adaptation, Yashiro and Satoru’s climactic confrontation unfolds within the confines of the hospital. As Satoru progresses through his physical therapy, he becomes the target of intrusive paparazzi seeking to capture his image. Yashiro intervenes, erasing any incriminating footage and directly engaging with Satoru rather than observing from a distance.

Subsequently, Yashiro leads Satoru to the rooftop, where Satoru unveils his complete recollection of past events. It is revealed that Satoru has confided in Kenya and Hiromi regarding Yashiro’s true identity as the killer.

Yashiro demands an explanation for Satoru’s ability to foresee the future, to which Satoru responds by exposing Yashiro’s nefarious scheme: sabotaging Kumi’s surgery to incriminate Satoru for her demise. Yashiro intends to push Satoru off the roof, staging it as a suicide, but Satoru deduces that Yashiro has spared his life because he still holds significance to him. Yashiro confirms this revelation before allowing Satoru to plummet.

However, as Yashiro prepares to take his own life, he realizes that Satoru has orchestrated the entire sequence of events. Miraculously surviving the fall, Satoru emerges victorious as Yashiro is apprehended, and Kumi is rescued, thereby bringing an end to Yashiro’s deadly game in the Erased anime adaptation.

What makes Erased's ending so controversial?

While the overarching narrative beats remain consistent between the Erased manga and anime endings, involving Yashiro’s capture before further harm can be inflicted, the prevention of crucial deaths, and Satoru’s attainment of a more fulfilled existence, the anime adaptation rushes through its conclusion due to its limited episode count of 12. In contrast, the manga spans 44 chapters, allowing for a more nuanced exploration of Satoru’s rehabilitation, the gradual return of his memories, and the meticulous setup of pivotal elements leading to the final confrontation. Moreover, the manga extends the cat-and-mouse dynamic between Satoru and Yashiro, showcasing their cunning in greater detail, whereas the anime resorts to exposition rather than demonstrating their intellect.

A significant deviation lies in how Yashiro utilizes Kumi. In the manga, Satoru believes Kumi’s life to be in jeopardy for several chapters, prompting his fervent efforts to safeguard her. Conversely, the anime reveals the true danger to Kumi’s life amidst the final confrontation. This distinction accentuates Satoru’s heroism and Yashiro’s cunning more prominently in the manga compared to the anime.

The creative liberties taken in the Erased anime ending were necessitated by the ongoing manga serialization, a common circumstance seen in adaptations like Soul Eater and Fullmetal Alchemist. Given the necessity to conclude the anime without knowledge of the manga’s ending, an original conclusion was crafted, catering to viewers unfamiliar with the source material while providing Satoru with a satisfying resolution and addressing his complex dynamic with Yashiro within a constrained timeframe.

However, some fans of the original manga found the anime’s simplified approach to the murder mystery to be lacking, as it didn’t fully capture the depth of the plot. Additionally, the 2017 live-action Netflix adaptation garnered praise for its faithfulness to the manga, offering more character development and improved pacing due to longer episodes. Another point of contention among fans was the unresolved romantic subplot, particularly regarding Satoru’s future partner. While the anime hinted at a potential relationship with Airi, their significant age gap remained a concern. Many fans hoped for a resolution with Kayo, given Satoru’s efforts to protect her, but her decision not to wait for him during his coma added complexity to their dynamic, leaving some viewers disappointed with the anime’s handling of romantic elements.

Other ANime With Controversial Endings

The Erased manga diverged significantly from its anime counterpart in terms of the ending, a phenomenon not uncommon in the world of anime adaptations, particularly within the realm of shonen manga. This discrepancy often arises due to the faster pace of anime production, leading to alterations in the storyline. Notably, studios like Bones tend to maintain fidelity to the source material until the conclusion, a trend colloquially referred to as the “Bones anime ending.” However, other studios also encounter similar challenges necessitating changes to the original story.

This situation isn’t unique to Erased; other popular franchises like Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Tokyo Ghoul, and more have undergone significant alterations in their anime adaptations. The Tokyo Ghoul anime, in particular, sparked controversy and even influenced perceptions of the manga negatively. Over time, many of these franchises have seen new adaptations emerge, benefitting from improved fidelity and pacing. Notable examples include the faithful adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and recent remakes like Fruits Basket and Shaman King (2021).

Generally, these new adaptations are regarded as superior due to their adherence to the source material and refined pacing. However, some remakes suffer from rushed execution, undermining their purpose. Given the divergence of the original Erased anime ending and its age, a remake is warranted, especially considering the live-action adaptation is almost a decade old. With the passage of time and advancements in animation techniques, now would be an opportune moment for such a revitalization of the series.

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