Erased: Why the Anime’s Ending Is So Controversial for Manga Readers

Erased by Kei Sanbe is a beloved manga that got an anime adaptation while still in publication. Like a lot of anime that are going on simultaneously as their manga, the endings don't match since the studio could not predict what Sanbe had in mind for the conclusion, and this made Erased's conclusion controversial.

In the manga, Satoru can travel back in time to fix a tragedy, and prior to the main conflict of Erased, he mainly goes back in time a few minutes; however, that changes after a his mom's death, and the 29-year-old is thrown back to his elementary school days to prevent the murder of his classmate. Both manga and anime follow this story's main beats, but it's when Satoru returns to the present that the two versions differentiate in major ways.

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How Erased's Manga Ends

Erased Satoru and Kayo

Waking up from a fifteen year coma, Satoru goes through physical therapy, where he meets a young cancer patient, Kumi. His memories about Yashiro -- the killer -- and his life before the manga's main events are also locked away until he reunites with Airi. It's around then that Yashiro comes back into the picture with a plot to "kill" Kumi and frame Satoru.

Thankfully Satoru, Kenya, Sawada and Sachiko devise a plan to keep Kumi safe while they are on a camping trip. For several chapters, Yashiro and Satoru set each other up until their final confrontation on a bridge, and it's revealed Yashiro had no plans to murder Kumi, simply wanting to draw out Satoru to kill him. After Satoru tells Yashiro how he's been ahead of him, his former teacher lights the bridge on fire. He intends to die with Satoru, but Satoru jumps off the bridge with him, sending them plummeting into the lake, where Kenya, Sawada, Sachiko and Kumi await.

How Erased's Anime Adaptation Ends

In the anime, Yashiro and Satoru's confrontation is restricted to the hospital. After progressing with his physical therapy, some paparazzi try to take photos of Satoru, but Yashiro destroys the footage. He also directly addresses Satoru, as opposed to watching from afar. Later, Yashiro takes Satoru up to the roof, and Satoru reveals he remembers everything. The audience also learns he told Kenya and Hiromi the killer is Yashiro.

Yashiro demands to know how Satoru knew his future, and he tells Satoru that he sabotaged Kumi's operation so it'd look like Satoru killed her. He also plans to push Satoru off the roof so people think he killed himself ; however, Satoru pieces together that Yashiro has yet to kill him because he needs him in his life, which Yashiro confirms before letting him fall. Prepared to kill himself as well, Yashiro discovers Satoru organized this whole thing. Satoru survives , Yashiro's arrested, and Kumi is rescued, thus ending Yashiro's game.

Why Is Erased's Anime Ending Controversial?

While in both versions the beats are the same, with Yashiro being brought to justice, the key deaths being prevented and Satoru living a more fulfilled life, the anime rushed its ending. The adaptation only had 12 episodes, dedicating two to Satoru's return and his final confrontation with Yashiro. Meanwhile, the manga is 44 chapters, and Saturo's return to the present starts in Chapter 33, with Yashiro not coming back until Chapter 37.

This allows the manga to focus more on Satoru's rehabilitation, makes the return of his memories more organic and sets up some of the key variables for the final confrontation. It also extends the confrontation itself, giving audiences one more cat and mouse game between Satoru and Yashiro. In short, the manga's end shows how clever these two are, while the anime does more telling.

Plus, how Yashiro uses Kumi differs greatly. In the manga, Satoru believes for several chapters that Kumi's life is at stake, and he works hard to prevent that. The anime, on the other hand, reveals that Kumi's life is actually in danger in the midst of the final confrontation. The manga's approach highlights the heroic side of Satoru and the scheming side of Yashiro more so than the anime.

The ending takes a lot of liberties, but it's understandable why. Like Soul Eater and Fullmetal Alchemist, Erased's anime was happening while the manga was in publication, so by the time the anime needed to end, the manga's conclusion was unknown. The anime had to create its own conclusion, which can work well for those who haven't read manga, especially since it still gives Satoru a happy ending and addresses the complex relationship he has with Yashiro in a short amount of time. However, for some fans of original source material, seeing this murder mystery condescended so much didn't do Erased justice.

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