For fans of anime, Erased Season 2 is desired but will it ever happen? The final episode of the Boku dake ga Inai Machi anime was released by A-1 Pictures in the winter 2016 anime block and it was very popular at the time. The anime was based on the Erased manga series written by Kei Sanabe and the good news is that there is more to the story since Sanabe released Boku dake ga Inai Machi Gaiden manga in addition to a novel. The bad news is that if we ever expect to watch a second season, then audiences will need to wait on the author.
A-1 Pictures does have a financial incentive to release Erased Season 2. The anime ranked in the top 100 on MyAnimeList and the Erased Blu-Ray sales in Japan were in the top 10 during the spring of 2016. In fact, if you take into account most forms of media sold, then the Erased anime placed in the top 30 for all anime series during the 2016 time period according to Anime News Network.
Overall, the Erased series produced about 1.8 billion yen just in Japan, which is almost $1.7 million USD, and that’s before counting any international sales. To put things into perspective, the Erased series generated almost as many sales as the One Punch Man and Harry Potter series in Japan, with the Boku dake ga Inai Machi anime beating out other popular franchises like Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma and Fairy Tail (which just had a movie released and even Fairy Tail Season 9 is upcoming). The full potential isn’t even realized since the English translation of the eight manga volumes only started being released in 2017.
Thus, if money is not the issue, the only major barrier to making the Erased Season 2 anime happen is the source material. Even before the Erased anime aired in 2016, director Tomohiko Ito tweeted out that the 12-episode anime would portray the ending from the Boku dake ga Inai Machi manga. Since Erased Volume 7 was released in December of 2015, and the main story has yet to be continued by the author, there is not enough source material to create Erased Season 2. Or is there?
A Novel Sequel The Closest To Boku dake ga Inai Machi Season 2 We’ll See?
As mentioned up front, there is good news but not for anime-only watchers. Author Sanabe did continue the story but not in a direct sequel. Instead, Sanabe allowed for another author, Hajime Ninomae, to fill in some of the gaps in the main story by writing a novel called Boku Dake ga Inai Machi: Another Record. To a certain extent, it could be considered a sequel since the book takes place after the anime and it tells audiences the true motive behind the killer’s crimes.
[Warning: The following contains major spoilers.]
What makes the book interesting is that the murderer is the protagonist in this strange tale. Think of it like the Screwtape Letters of anime serial killers. The novel takes place two years after Gaku Yashiro was arrested. The killer has gone to trial, been sentenced to death, but his attorney hopes have him declared not guilty because the killer’s writings reveal him to be incapable of normal moral reasoning. Regardless, Yashiro fires his first lawyer and the court assigns lawyer Kenya Kobayashi, a childhood friend of main protagonist Satoru Fujinuma, to fulfill the role.
The novel takes place in two parts, with Kenya narrating most of the dialogue from his point of view. In the other half, readers get to peer into Yashiro’s deranged mind by reading a series of letters addressed to an unknown person named Spice. The lawyer finds these letters confusing because Spice was the name of Yashiro’s hamster, but since the killer wrote about feeling Spice’s “presence” the court believes this person exists only in the murderer’s head.
Through these letters, we can see how Yashiro became obsessed with the boy Satoru after the two lock eyes in that dark storehouse in the anime. Yashiro even asked, “Was that boy you? Spice. It was you, wasn’t it?” Once Satoru went in to a coma after being plunged into the icy river, the obsession did not end since Yashiro made sure to keep close tabs on the hospitalized boy, even going so far as to break his serial killer pattern by targeting adults who got in his way.
Similar to Dexter, the methods of the serial killer are revealed to be based on a set of rules, with the first being to only target girls and the second required him to find a societal outcast to serve as the scapegoat. When Yashiro kills, he believes the victims are released from a hellish world to go to heaven. People who are destined for heaven have a spider’s thread hanging above their heads and after Yashiro killed his fiancee he saw a spider thread hovering from his own head.
So, in Yashiro’s head, he was living in his own personal hell where there was no one else to release him by killing him. Satoru is different because Yashiro does not see a spider’s thread above the boy’s head, which is just another reason the killer was so obsessed with the boy. The end game was to die with Satoru and then the two would supposedly go to heaven together.
Now, the Spice letters would probably be very difficult to adapt into Erased Season 2, but the chapters coming from the viewpoint of lawyer Kenya are more straight forward. The storytelling at that point is standard narrative in addition to dialogue and events take place in a chronological fashion.
The story definitely could work as an anime sequel since it shows the aftermath. An adult Satoru even enters the picture, telling his friend Kenya to abandon the case, claiming that the Spice letters were only a backup plan created by Yashiro to make himself sound mentally unstable if he were ever caught. But Kenya points out that the Spice letters were hidden away securely and written as if they were intended to be a message to someone. The two old friends argue over whether Kenya should take the case, with Kenya arguing that he could get his client the death penalty even as a defense lawyer, but needless to say Satoru isn’t happy.
Boku dake ga Inai Machi Gaiden Manga Fills In The Gaps
The problem with the novel is that it would only be enough source material for an Erased OVA, not a full second season. However, it would be the perfect launching platform for Erased Season 2 since the story offers a starting point. By the end of the novel, Kenya does have his own ideas about what Spice is but readers are never certain.
Another interesting point is that Yashiro becomes semi-aware of Satoru’s “Revival” power in an indirect manner. The killer experiences deja vu when planning out his victim’s deaths, remembering how he’d killed them in other timelines. These flashes of memories feel real to him, as if they’re actually occurring, and so when he sees his intended victims still alive, he felt a chill run up his spine. This is only speculation, but since Satoru experiences Revival similar to deja vu, you have to wonder if Yashiro may develop his own powers in the future. The murder mystery is already over, but a cat-and-mouse game between an adult Satoru and a powered serial killer would certainly make for an interesting Erased Season 2.
In the meantime, Sanabe is still working on the Boku dake ga Inai Machi Gaiden manga, which started serialization on June 4, 2016. The story of the new manga focuses on other Erased characters like Kenya and Kayo and some of the events take place in the long time period when Satoru is in his coma. Could the combination of the novel and the manga series set the story foundation for an Erased Season 2 with Kenya as the lead detective/lawyer? Only the author knows, but let’s hope one day we’ll be able to watch a second season of Erased.
[Featured Image by A-1 Pictures]