Fun with existentialism: ‘Erased’

The premise of this anime is that a 29-yr-old man has moments of literal deja vu, where he experiences resets of time, and it’s usually because something is wrong and he feels compelled to fix it. He does stuff like saving a kid from a wreck with a truck where the driver died of a heart attack.

And then (mild spoilers) his mother is murdered and he’s rewound in time to when he was 11 years old. And when he was 11 years old, a two of his fifth-grade classmates when missing and were found dead, along with a girl from another elementary. He was the last to see the first victim alive. He’s forgotten about most of it in the last 18 years, but it may be why his mother was killed.

It’s pretty horrifying to watch an 11-year-old, even one with the retained memory of his 29-year-old self, trying to simultaneously solve and prevent serial child murder. Kids are pretty powerless to do anything, and it dredged up memories of how powerless I felt when younger and how much I fucking hated it.

So this is an anime that fucks you up right in the feelings, but for additional, existential reasons besides all the flavors of horror they offer.

Basically it’s a question of what you would do if you could start your life over, bringing all your experience with you. Never making mistakes, never suffering or being disadvantaged because of them. If I could copy-paste some knowledgeable old person’s memories into my head, I’d probably do it, because I would feel safer from fucking things up. There would be less Unknown to fear.

But what can you really do when you’re fucking eleven? Could I have realistically changed anything about how I grew up? Could I get away from living in a rural hellhole? Could I have done anything to change how convenient it was for my parents to teach me through neglect to not bother them with my wants and needs?

Would I have been able to not throw up nearly every morning from the stress and anxiety of going to school, from seventh grade through sophomore year? Could I have gotten my parents to give a shit that I threw up nearly every morning? Could I have gotten my older brother to be less of a verbally abusive fuckstick, or gotten my parents to care that my brother was a verbally abusive fuckstick?

I hated, hated, HATE how helpless I was, how small I had to make myself to subsist on the bits I could scrape together.

And watching a fictional mother’s support for her weird 29-in-an-11-yr-body son has me grieving for the support I rarely, if ever, got. And that he was able to support and protect his friends by means of the support she gave him.

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