Last January, Fuji TV (Japanese network) launched the anime version of the manga Boku dake ga Inai Machi, otherwise known as Erased in English.
To be honest, I'm not following a lot of manga, my knowledge is pretty limited to Dragon Ball and Detective Conan, that says a lot. The fantasy you can find in mangas is not something I'm usually fond of. By contrast, Erased is a very grounded manga, even if its story leans on the main character, Satoru, being able to rewind time. Here's the synopsis:
The story follows Satoru Fujinuma, a man who somehow possesses an ability that sends him back in time moments before a life-threatening incident, allowing him to prevent it from happening. When his mother is murdered by an unknown assailant, Satoru's ability suddenly sends him back eighteen years to when he was still in elementary school, giving him the opportunity to prevent a kidnapping incident that took the lives of three of his classmates.
Erased is a thrilling story, intriguing in every ways possible. For proof, I began with the anime and continued with the manga right after so I was hooked by the story. From a storytelling point of view, Erased is a jewel. In my opinion, Kei Sanbe the creator of the manga is a tremendous writer and deserves praise for the universe he has been able to create. Ironically, we see Satoru growing as an adult in a kid's body and this change not only impacts him but all the people he encounters during his journey.
I didn't expected the manga to be so mature in the themes it adresses. Satoru tries to prevent three little girls murders and goes back to the time he was a child. One of the girls being a victim of child abuse, the depiction of this real and serious issue is taken seriously and not grossly represented. That's an important point as the manga subsequently feels even more real, emotional and grounded in reality.
The identity of the killer remains a mystery for most of the manga's run. A lot of suspects are thrown at us throughout Satoru's investigation and every episode will leave you breathless, as you genuinely feel for the characters. It is probably the best show I've seen this past few years, all medias combined and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I found myself shedding a tear watching it.
Even if Erased is set in a kid's world, it doesn't shy away from the reality of the world and is a real emotional roller-coaster.