Book Review: Erased Volume 1

February 25, 2017

Erased Volume 1 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good weekend, and your plans did not fall through somehow.

As many should know, I have been waiting for some books to arrive for some time and they finally did this week, but there were some problems encountered which prevented me from getting to them too quickly.

Fortunately, Amazon support was a huge help and I can finally read those books.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those preordered titles, which is called Erased Volume 1 by Kei Sanbe.

Satoru Fujinuma is an individual that comes off as a normal and responsible member of society, who is struggling to make a name for himself in the manga industry.

However, his life is not quite so normal because he has been bestowed the blessing, or, in his view, curse, of being able to repeat things that have recently past and try to bring about a better outcome than how it originally ended.

One day, the ability kicks in and Satoru's mother notices an attempted abduction and ends up being killed when she realizes that it may be related to a case that happened almost two decades ago.

Upon finding her corpse, Satoru believes that the killer is trying to frame him and attempts to go back to the time his mother was killed, but he is sent too far back and he must now get involved with the case from 18 years ago, in order to bring the real killer to justice.

Some of you guys might recognize this summary from when I reviewed Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, the original title of Erased, last year, but I decided to visit this series again to see if the greatness of this series some some fluke or not.

And after reading this book, I can say that really enjoyed it.

From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading it, I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as everyone else.

I know that I have said this with quite a few of the books I have read recently, but it takes a lot of talent to capture a reader's attention from beginning to end, and Kei Sanbe has been able to do that fairly well in each of the works he has produced.

In the case of this work, I found myself just as interested to find out what was going to happen as I was when I read Hohzuki Island and Cradle of Monsters, and what kind of story Kei Sanbe was trying to tell, even though I already knew how this series would end.

If I have to say why, it is because I had more than one chapter to evaluate the story itself, and I remember having a really difficult time getting into this series from only one chapter, since the pacing seemed too slow and that this series was going to rip off Bakuman,much like how Loss+Brain ended up being just a Death Note rip off.

Here, however, the pacing feels just right to the point where I actually got to know the characters and feel for them, and that is what readers want to be able to feel while reading a story.

After all, would you really remember a story if there was nothing to make you feel invested in it? I sure would not.

I also liked how Revival was demonstrated a few times in this volume.

Back when I reviewed the first episode of the anime, I praised it for focusing more the mystery side of the series, even though we all know now that there was no mystery and I was right to not call it a mystery series, I had an inkling that I did not know exactly how the ability worked and why Satoru seemed to view his ability as more of a curse than a blessing, since the repeats from Revival only occurred once each of the times it occurs.

Here, however, the repeating scenes made me sympathize with what Satoru was going through because he was forced to notice and take care of things, not because he wanted to change things like the anime made things out to be.

Seriously, as good as A-1 Pictures' anime adaptation was, it might have been a whole lot better if it stayed truer to the manga than it did, even if the adaptation was at least more faithful than the early episodes of the Detective Conan anime, since Boku Dake ga Inai Machi retained many of the hints featured in the manga, whereas Gin and Vodka were removed from episodes 5 and 13 of Detective Conan, which meant that it was mystery how Jimmy knew who attacked him and Haibara's introduction got delayed.

If it did stay true to the manga, I would have had no problems calling Boku Dake ga Inai Machi the best anime of 2016, and Revival would not feel like it was something for the writers to move the story along, not that Kei Sanbe actually explained how Satoru got this ability in the first place, so I can see how Revival can be something that Kei did just that.

Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where the popular opinion of the original source being the best version is actually true, as opposed to just an opinion, and I feel like giving Kei Sanbe some major applause.

Thank you, Kei, for giving readers some necessary details, and I hope that this version of the series ends as well as I remembered it, which was a whole lot better than how the final episode of A-1 Pictures' adaptation ended.

Another thing that I liked was how there was quite a bit to laugh about.

While the anime was not entirely devoid of humor, there were not really that many times where I felt like laughing before Satoru ended up back in 1988, and it made the series seem a little too serious, though not enough to actually hurt the quality of the show.

Here, however, I actually felt like chuckling quite a few times, most of which involved Airi Katagiri, and it help me too relax a bit before the story really got started with the event that occurs at the end.

Speaking of the end, the thing that I liked the most was how this volume ended.

Not only did I get the feeling that I was watching a two-part murder mystery, even though I know full well that this is not a mystery series, but the death of Satoru's mother seemed to have a lot more emotion in this volume than it did in the anime.

In the anime, there were a few flashbacks and memories that showed how much she cared for her son and that she was a good mother, but the sadness of the moment was only present because of a mother's love for her child.

However, towards the end of this volume, I was not only feeling sad because Sachiko was a loving mother but I also could see a deep bond between her and Satoru and that her death really did affect him.

This is what I expected from the first episode of the anime, as Sachiko Fujinuma's death was important to the story, but A-1 Pictures did not deliver, whereas Kei Sanbe did.

Honestly, if the people producing adaptations of works of fiction understood the importance of things like this, the adaptations would at least be able to match, if not become superior to, the original work and people would not be continually saying, "The book was better than the movie," or something similar.

Unfortunately, that will not happen unless movie and television studios sit down and actually look through the original source, much like what Kyo Shirodaira says that Chashiba Katase did with In/Spectre, so we must all live in a world where an adaptation being as good as, if not better than, the original is the exception, instead of the norm.

Still, that does not mean that Kei Sanbe should not be praised for doing something right, especially because Studio Pierrot outdid Yoshihiro Togashi with their adaptation of Yu Yu Hakusho.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least if I do not want to spoil things too much for those that have not read or seen Boku Dake ga Inai Machi.

Because my attention was held from beginning to end and I felt like I got to know the characters their relationship, which helped bring out more emotional feels than the anime, and that I was able to find things to laugh about, this was one of the best books I have read so far.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from issues too minor to talk about, such as things usually present in the first book of a series, nothing really seemed to bother me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was more to like than hate, especially because the author was able to bring things to the table that A-1 Pictures did not, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of Kei Sanbe, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, and those that want a decent story.

As for everyone else, this is definitely worth giving a try, but because the series has things that you might not want children to see, though it is not pornographic or as raunchy as many of the shows rated TV-MA in the US, I would recommend that only adolescents and older check out this series.

If you read this book, what are your thoughts on Erased Volume 1? Please leave a comment and let everyone know why you liked or hated this book, especially if your reasons differ from mine or you disagree with me.

Also, if you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, so that I can find more worthwhile reads and follow great series like this one.

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