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While the nail-biting cliffhangers and Satoru’s mounting desperation to avert the tragedy he has lived through kept me on the edge of my seat every week, the emotional payoff when Satoru sees a smiling, healthy Kayo with her baby boy was, for me, the highlight of ERASED (Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, lit. “The Town Without Me”). After the never-ending nightmare looping over and over, the burden of his failures, of the lives he was unable to save, Satoru finally finds release from his torment and finally bears witness to his triumph, the fruits of his toil and suffering. In this moment, when Kayo introduces him to her baby boy, appropriately named “Mirai”, or “the future”, a brand new life denied existence in the life before, we have no need for laughter to signify happiness. Two hands, young and old, reach out and connect for the very first time in a moment of sweet victory. The scene radiates complete and perfect joy, the lifting of the heavy veil to a room of light, of love, of the satisfaction of a good deed long overdue, but very well done.

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