The Winter season 2016 is already a thing of the past, but there are some anime that we feel deserve a couple more minutes in the spotlight. One of them is Boku dake ga Inai Machi, better known as Erased.
If you are a fan of mystery, action and drama, chances are high that you have watched this little gem from the house of A-1 Pictures. What starts as a fun adventure of a guy who can travel in time ends as a suspense-filled race against the events of the past. Every good story stands and falls with its characters and Erased definitely features a dynamic main cast. What these characters have in common is the courage that they show while facing fate itself.
That is why we have compiled a quick list of the Top 10 most courageous Erased characters. Be warned, though, this list is not free of spoilers (and also takes away the final reveal of the story) so if you haven’t watched Erased yet, now would be the perfect time to do so. Everyone else, enjoy our trip back in time with Erased!
There is one childhood friend who turns out to play a more important role in Satoru’s life than many would have expected; that character is Kazu.
Kazu belongs to Satoru’s group of friends and is often seen hanging out with them inside and outside of class. He is depicted as a loud and outgoing guy and clearly has no problems befriending other people. Kazu becomes important later on in the story as Satoru tries to protect another girl once Kaya is safe.
That girl is Aya, a primary school student who is supposed to become the second victim of the serial killer. Satoru struggles trying to befriend her and is at a loss, not knowing what to do. That’s when Kazu steps in and manages to get close to Aya with his likable personality. Thanks to Kazu and his special charm, Aya’s death could be prevented and that’s why we want to give him the first shout-out on this list.
Here we have another character you might have forgotten about, but who plays an important part in the universe of Erased.
Sawada is a TV reporter who first shows up after Kaya disappears in the original storyline. Satoru catches him interviewing his mother for possible clues, but does not think much about him. He becomes important again once Satoru is grown up; his mother tries to contact Sawada to name the real murderer but gets killed before she can do so.
It already takes some courage to become a reporter in the first case and also to work on a case involving a dangerous serial killer. Yet, Sawada is never seen being afraid and quite on the contrary, he does not stop in his pursuit of the real killer. When Satoru visits him asking for help, Sawada gladly hands over a list of possible suspects. Even though he wasn’t the one solving the crimes, Sawada still supported the investigations with his courage.
8. Kenya Kobayashi
There is one character in Satoru’s elementary school class that stands out from the rest of the crowd and that character is Kenya Kobayashi.
Kenya is a mysterious child. He is friendly but doesn’t talk unless he actually has something meaningful to say. Similarly, he takes notice of what’s going on around him and thinks about everything he observes. His level of maturity is way beyond his actual age and he is also the only character who suspects that Satoru is involved in something bigger.
Despite his mysterious personality, Kenya is one of the closest friends of Satoru. He might not fully understand the scope of Satoru’s actions, but he understands that his friend is involved in something important and he’s not afraid of supporting him. His sense of justice might be even stronger than Satoru’s and combined with his will to help he is truly a courageous character.
7. Gaku Yashiro
Yes, we have decided to include the ultimate antagonist of this story, Gaku Yashiro, on this list. Keep reading to find out why!
Yashiro is Satoru’s homeroom teacher and is known as a lovable and kind-hearted man. He even supports Satoru when he finds out that the boy is trying to befriend and protect the lonely girls of his neighborhood. But as the story continues it becomes clear that all of that is just a mask to hide Yashiro’s true identity - the identity of a ruthless serial killer.
It might be rather morbid to say that it takes courage to become a murderer. However, that is not our main reason for including Yashiro; it’s the fearlessness with which he pursues his goal that makes him stand out from the rest of the cast. His reasoning might be questionable, but you do have to admit that he doesn’t stop before he gets what he wants. Yashiro is the strong-willed villain of Erased and seventh spot on our list.
6. Akemi Hinazuki
There are some unlikeable characters in Erased, but it is clearly Akemi who many viewers despised the most.
The single mother physically abuses Kaya, her only child. When she is not beating her, pushing her head underwater or leaving her outside freezing in a cold shed, she finds other ways to neglect her motherly duties. For most parts of the story, there is no glimpse of love inside Akemi and she seems to have no compassion or sympathy whatsoever.
Why would we include an abusive mother on a list honoring courage? No one is without a past and it is the things that Akemi went through that turned her into the woman she is today. After a bad breakup, she had to bring up her daughter on her own; alcohol and violence were simply her escape from a scary reality. In the end, Akemi might have chosen the easy way out, but it still required courage to get this far and to accept that she was wrong in the end.
5. Jun “Yuuki” Shiratori
Next up is Jun Shiratori, the friendly guy who was framed for a crime he didn’t commit.
Better known under his nickname Yuuki, he is often seen strolling around the neighborhood Satoru and his friends grow up in. He makes an effort to befriend lonely kids and talk to them whenever he has the time. During the day, he works as a food delivery worker with his dad or spends his time alone in his room.
It is not far-fetched to suspect a male loner might have killed Kaya and the other girls. But as it turns out, Yuuki is innocent. He simply cares about the kids around him and wants them to grow up to become happy adults. Yuuki encourages them to find friends and stand up for what they believe in. Unfortunately, it was this courage that sealed his fate. And as a sidenote: Yuuki means courage in Japanese, so there is no way we could have excluded him from this list.
4. Airi Katagiri
Satoru might not have many friends as an adult, but there is one girl who became more important to him than he would have ever expected: Airi Katagiri.
Airi works at the same pizza place as Satoru is known for always having a smile on her face. She is only a high school student so she has a rather childish and outgoing personality. While Satoru tries to keep his distance, Airi insists on getting closer to him and helping him out whenever she can.
Airi’s childish facade hides a more thoughtful personality. Her family split up because of a lack of trust and that is why Airi makes an effort to believe in the people she cares about. She is one of the few people who supported Satoru when he was framed for the murder of his mother. Airi might seem like an innocent child, but she has values that she believes in and is not afraid to fight for them. What a courageous character!
3. Sachiko Fujinuma
Satoru might not have a big family or a girlfriend, but there is one person who will always be part of his life: his mother Sachiko.
While some mothers might be smothering their kids, Sachiko encourages Satoru to do his own thing. Already from a young age she shows great support and simply wants her son to be happy even if she doesn’t really understand what he is going through. Satoru might feel embarrassed by her from time to time and wish she was more like other mothers, but the two of them still share a special bond that cannot be broken.
If we had to describe Sachiko with one word it would definitely be strong. Just think about it: she is a single mother, working full-time while also raising Satoru and teaching him important values on the way. On top of that, she also has a sense of what’s right or wrong and tries to frame the true murderer years after the killings. Sachiko is independent and truly courageous, that’s why she earns the third spot on this list.
2. Satoru Fujinuma
Of course, we had to include the hero of the story, Satoru Fujinuma, on this list. After all, his courage is the driving force of the whole storyline.
At the beginning of the story, Satoru leads a simple and rather dull life. He lives alone, doesn’t have a girlfriend and works as a pizza delivery boy. But deep down he cares about the people around him. He is kindhearted and wants to protect his loved ones. While his special ability to travel back in time is a nuisance to him, he still cannot help it but use this power for the greater good and save those in need.
What makes Satoru courageous? Of course, there is the fact that he has a little bit of a savior complex and wants to protect others. We are not only talking about his childhood friends but even as a grown-up, he puts the needs of others above his own. Most importantly, Satoru isn’t afraid to risk his own life. He doesn’t stop when a situation gets dangerous and certainly won’t rest until justice has been done. While Satoru’s courage is truly admirable, there is one last character we simply had to include on this list.
1. Kayo Hinazuki
Our final choice had to be Kayo Hinazuki, the girl who Satoru tries to save from her gruesome fate.
Kayo is a quiet and shy girl. She doesn’t have any friends, rarely talks and would rather stick to herself. Only after getting close to her does Satoru learn the reason for her behavior; Kayo is being abused by her own mother and lives in a world full of pain and suffering. Afraid of what might happen to her, Kayo doesn’t stand up for herself and accepts her fate in silence.
Of course, this isn’t the end of Kayo’s story. It already takes courage to endure physical and emotional abuse, but Kayo becomes even stronger after Satoru steps into her life. Standing up to her own mother and believing in a better future for herself made Kayo one of the strongest characters in Erased, despite her young age. It was her courage that truly touched us and that is why she deserves the final spot on this list.
The novelty and suspense of Erased surprised more than just a few viewers. Some were disappointed by how the story ended, but no one can say that the producers didn’t put a lot of thought into this anime. The characters we have presented above are the life of the story and make Erased one of the most entertaining anime of the Winter season 2016.
Do you agree with our picks for the most courageous characters? What is your general opinion on Erased? Share your comments, suggestions and ideas down below!