Book Review: Erased Volume 5

October 31, 2017

Erased Volume 5 cover.

I hope that everyone is having a good, and are looking
forward to a fun night, if you celebrate Halloween.

Things have been going pretty well, even if I almost had no
break before preorders arrive and new episodes of simulcasts go up, and I can
still do the things that I enjoy.

Speaking of preorders, the last two titles that I have been
expecting to arrive this month finally came, and it is time to get my butt in
gear, before things have a chance to pile up dramatically.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is
called Erased Volume 5 by Kei Sanbe.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier
post
, I will not go over it again.

With Hinazuki away from the danger of both the serial kidnapper
and her abusive mother, things seem to have come to an end, as Satoru and his
friends can now have a peaceful life, or so Satoru's friends believe.

However, knowing that the case is not over yet, Satoru
starts to make a move to prevent the other victims from falling prey to the
same man who killed his mother in the present, even if it means putting his own
life on the line.

Well, I have to say that I really liked this book.

Just like many of the other volumes in the series, I found
myself so engross with the volume that I did not want to put it down for any
reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as every other human being
out there.

In works of fiction, including those that have works that
span multiple installments, like this series and many other manga, this is
usually done by piggybacking off a cliffhanger or just easing right into
things, like what can be seen in many of the installments of the Spice & Wolf novels, and seeing as
the previous volume ended with a happy ending for Kayo Hinazuki, the fact that
this volume started off slow, while reminding the reader that the incidents of
1988 were not over yet.

While Kei Sanbe does deserve some credit for doing something
right in these beginning chapters, by not letting things end after the events
surrounding Hinazuki were resolved, thereby not confusing the readers or making
this look as terrible as the anime turned out to be, the real credit goes to
Kadokawa Shoten or whoever they had compile the chapters into these volumes
that Yen Press are releasing digitally and print, via the two-volume
compilations that seem to allow a relatively decent pacing of this series.

If things had not started here, they might not have quite as
bad as my experience with the 63rd
volume
of Detective Conan, which caused me to grow bored because the
cases that started it off were rather dull, but I do not think that I would
have been quite as interested in reading this as I was because the way
installments begin and end plays an important role in how much enjoyment a
reader can get out of it.

For example, even though the first
volume
of Yoshiki Tonogai's Secret was not that bad and did give me
a few incentives to read, my interest in it waned because the first murderer
was revealed and they confessed, before having him jump off, thereby creating
one of the worst ways to end the first installment of a series.

However, the way that the eight volumes, or if one is
following this series via the printed compilations that Yen Press releases,
four installments, have been put together, my interest has yet to falter in this,
and not just because I am a fan of series, and the fact that the people who put
these volumes together are able to stay consistent on a regular basis makes me
feel like giving them a major round of applause for doing something that is not
quite so easy to do over and over.

Hopefully, this consistency can be maintained over the
course of remaining three volumes of the series, the last of which are expected
to come out in February of next year, according to the product
page
on Amazon, because that is the only way that this series can end as
well as I remembered it.

Then again, everyone involved in making our favorite manga
titles and getting them out to the public are only humans, so I do have to keep
in mind that things could go downhill quite quickly too.

I also liked the funny moments in this volume.

While they were not that unique to the series, or even manga
and anime in general, things were executed well enough that they still ended up
being funny.

One of the best things about this series is how the children
here come across as actual children, with the same thought processes and behaviors
that many children would have, especially Satoru, who is pretty much doing a
bad job of keeping his true age underwraps, and that has allowed the series to
have quite a few fun and memorable moments, in spite of the fact that this
series is targeted towards adults.

And because the current cast of characters are mostly
children, I kind of expect to give a few good chuckles here and there, so that
I know that I am following actual people and they are not the stereotypical
children that are seemingly more capable of solving problems than adults that
would be found in these kinds of scenarios.

Fortunately, Kei Sanbe recognizes this important element for
the story and includes a few moments that made me feel like laughing out loud.

The funniest of those events happens when Satoru and the
gang try talking to the criminal's next target.

After Satoru and the gang figure out the girl's schedule,
and determine when she might be the most vulnerable, they try to strike up a
conversation that does not go anywhere other than what could be considered
small talk, seeing as they fail to keep the conversation going, which does
create a few moment where I found myself chuckling, and then Aya finally
remembers that the boys are the same ones she sees going in and out of building
and calls them childish, when they realize she can see their hideout,
suggesting that they should do something that sounds more childish to them, and
finally tries to leave after saying that boys are quick to berate girls, but
then gets stopped by Kazu saying that hideouts are a boy's dream.

Even though this exchange did happen in episode
10
of the anime, and was kind of funny there, I found it funnier in this
volume because it seemed to be closer to that of a kid's argument and felt like
it had better timing than it did in A-1 Pictures' anime adaptation.

If things like this were not included, I would have been
mad, because things would not have felt as realistic or believable, because the
kids here are actually children in every respect, and that would have shown
that Kei Sanbe forgot about what made this series truly stand out.

Fortunately, he did not forget any of that and was able to dissipate
the tension, while still allowing the story to continue on its path, which
makes me want to give him a big round of applause.

Another thing that I liked was how there were some true
moments of happiness in this volume.

Even though the story is obviously not over yet, since the
criminal has not yet been revealed, it is nice to see moments where characters
can get to experience some joy, as it allows the audience to relieve themselves
of the tension, and possibly make them less aware of anything that might be
suspicious.

After all, there cannot be a good thriller or mystery, if
the readers are constantly paying attention to the details that a work presents.

In the case of this volume, that feeling of happiness comes
when a character that even I thought was never going to show up again,
especially with my knowledge of events that are to come, returns to Hokkaido.

While Satoru was going about, trying to figure out how to
get Aya Nakanishi, the second victim in the 1988 incidents, off the criminal's
hit list, he looks over at a bus stop and sees Hinazuki and tries running
towards her, which gave off the feeling that things were the way that they were
supposed to be, as Hinazuki starts hanging out with everyone again and tells
Satoru that she admires him as her hero while thanking him for what he did.

Seeing these events playing out, I truly felt like Satoru
and the gang were finally achieving their goal and it made me a little less aware
of the possibilities that may end up occurring.

I might hate society's constant focus on positive thinking
and expecting the good to happen with little to no reason, because it makes
people blind to all the bad things that can happen, yet are preventable, but I
still enjoy seeing happy moments, especially when it is a happiness that was
earned and deserved, as opposed to a happy moment that was put in for the sake
of having a happy moment.

If these moments had not happened, I might not have been too
upset about it, seeing as things the way things were going was still quite well
before Hinazuki reappeared, but I do not think I would have been as impressed
by the best thing about this volume, as it really threw me off guard.

Kei Sanbe might not have made this series a good mystery
series, as I still would not consider it a mystery series, but he sure knows
how to get the audience to lower their guard enough to make a good thriller,
and that alone makes me want to give him another good round of applause.

Speaking of how the happy moments played a role in making
the best moment of the volume even better, the thing that I liked the most was
how this volume ended.

Just like how episode
4
of Wit Studio's anime adaptation of The Ancient Magus Bride ended
so well that I was looking forward to seeing the next one, the way that this
volume ended made me want to start reading the next volume of this series, even
though I already knew what would happen in the future, which I thankfully do
not need to wait for, since Yen Press releases this series two volumes at a
time.

After Satoru finds out that Misato, the girl who accused
Hinazuki of stealing money back in volume 2,
may be somebody that he and friends may have to help, from his conversation while
walking home with Hinazuki in the penultimate chapter of the volume, Satoru and
Hinazuki spend the time in the final chapter of the volume trying to get to
Misato before the kidnapper can and Misato seems to take a long time in the
bathroom during a hockey game, which worries him and eventually forces him to
ask for help from Yashiro, who just shows up.

However, while trying to track down the vehicle that may
Misato, and Satoru, while conversing with Yashiro, decides to get out candy, he
finds out that he is not in Yashiro's car and Yashiro starts showing his true
colors.

Now, some of you guys might be mad that I just now revealed
the identity of the criminal, seeing as there might be some reading this series
for the first time and/or have not seen the anime, but this is something that
everyone should have been able to see, as there were no other good suspects and
everything surrounding Yashiro was pointing to him being the criminal, enough
so that people thought he might be a red herring.

In the case of this series, however, which is obviously not
a mystery series right now, this reveal felt like it was on a whole new level,
because Kei Sanbe did a good job of not making the criminal be so obvious by
not raising my suspicions too much, as well as making the possibility of him
being criminal be too obvious to be the right answer, that it actually
surprised me, even though I already knew he was the one.

Not only was the fact that Yashiro turned out to be the
criminal surprising, seeing as he would have been too obvious, but the fact that
the final chapter ended showing the expressions of the two characters in the
car also made me start wondering just where things were going and feel the
strong urge to just stop typing right now and get started on reading the next
volume.

Good works of thriller need the right cliffhangers and both
Kei Sanbe and whoever Kadokawa Shoten had put these volumes together ended both
the chapter and the volume in just the right spot to create that perfect
cliffhanger that gives me all of the feelings of a good thriller.

If things had not ended like, I think that I would have
probably been done with this series, just like how I should have stopped
watching the anime after the 10th episode, because, until this
point, there would have been good reason to believe that this series was a
mystery series and a simple reveal would have left me as disgusted as many of
the works in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres that failed to
live up to my expectations.

Thankfully, this volume did not end up that way, and I feel
like giving Kei and the people who put this volume together in Japan a good round
of applause.

Nice job, guys. This is a perfect way to lead into the
events of the antepenultimate volume, and they delivered.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that could either stand out as much as what
I talked about already or not spoil things any more than I already have.

Because my attention was captured quickly and held right until
the end, there were things that were incredibly funny, even one that was
funnier than it was in the anime, the moments of happiness really felt like
happy moments, and this volume ended on such a great cliffhanger, this was one
of the best books I have read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, nothing really bothered me all that much.

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

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, especially
the great cliffhanger, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of thrillers, Boku Dake ga Inai
Machi
, and possibly fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, as the
first two might really enjoy reading what happens and fans of the latter three
might actually be impressed about being tricked by seeing how the obvious can
be used to create a good twist.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, just
because of the cliffhanger, but it might be best to read the earlier volumes
first, in order to be able to really enjoy this one.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you would like a copy of the reviewed
title and the next installment, buy Yen Press's third compilation of the series
from Book
Depository
, so that I can find out if the manga truly has a better ending
and possibly find some more worthwhile reads for you guys, and do whatever you
do when you find something that impresses you.

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