Book Review: Erased Volume 7

April 11, 2018

Erased Volume 7 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good day, and making plans for the upcoming weekend.

Things have been going fairly well here and I can still do what I like.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had to track two titles that I had preordered myself, no thanks to my preorder being cancelled, even though the release date had not changed, and surprisingly, the titles I was looking for finally showed back up on Amazon, so I reordered them, which means that this month will not be as dead as I thought it would be.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Erased Volume 7 by Kei Sanbei.

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

After his chance encounter with Airi in the new present, Satoru has begun to see things in his mind that do not make sense to him, but other memories still elude him, and the questions just keep piling up.

However, he does not have much time to spend on getting his memories back, as his enemy, Yashiro, has also found out that Satoru has awoken, and is currently watching what he does.

While it has been quite some time since I read the previous volume, thanks to Yen Press moving the release date for volumes 7 and 8 more than once, though they might have had good reason to do so, it can be nice to take a break before the big finale, so that the horrible impressions of what came before would not affect the possible.

And after reading this, I must say that I really liked it.

From the moment I opened up and started reading this volume, I found myself very much engrossed with the book to the point where I did not want to stop reading for any reason.

In many works of fiction, how things start and begin is very important, because the reader needs to be pulled right into the world, or, in the case of a series like this, needs to pull reader back into the world and be reminded of what has happened before.

Here, in this volume, things start off quite well in that regard by showing Satoru shocked that Airi, the girl who used to be his coworker, appeared before his eyes, and he wonders how he knows her, which prompts him to try to keep her talking until he remembers her name, as well as a few memories from the old timeline.

This was the perfect way to start this volume off, because back in the previous volume, which I thankfully have on me right now because I have been buying the volumes of this series digitally, things ended right with Airi showing up out of the blue to deal with the annoying photographers and Satoru got up, as if he recognized her, before finally ending with Airi's smile, a lock that symbolized the obstacle between Satoru and his memories, and Satoru giving off an expression of remembering something.

By starting off here, it reminds me that Airi is somebody that is important to Satoru for some reason, and gets me interested in finding out why she was so crucial to Satoru's memories, though it is a bit obvious in this version of the series, as she actually helped him during one of his reruns, or, as it is called in the Aniplex dub of the anime and Yen Press's translation, revivals.

If this volume not started off the way it did, by having Airi recognize Satoru from the pizza joint they used to work for, or even just skip this moment and relegate it to a flashback moment, I would have been pretty disappointed because Satoru has been putting in a lot of effort into finding out how he got where he was and to have him regain his memories be glossed over like it was in the anime adaptation, that would have made his efforts to remember things seem like a waste of time and not something important, which was a very important factor in making how everything I remember about how this series ends so satisfying.

Thankfully, Kei did not forget that he left things off with some big questions and made sure, along with Kodakawa Shoten, that this volume had such a great start.

Hopefully, the final volume of the main storyline, seeing as the series page on Baka-Updates Manga says there is an additional volume, and there is a product page for a fifth compilation on Amazon that sounds like it is Boku Dake ga Inai Machi's Gaiden, will be start off just as well as this one did, so that the series can really go out with a much bigger bang than the anime did, but it could certainly be a bit disappointing, with only four chapters left in the series.

I also liked how Satoru did not get his memories back on his initial reunion with Airi.

Other than the final encounter not feeling like it was a true final encounter, the thing that I really hated about A-1 Pictures's adaptation of this series was how Satoru seemed to just suddenly remember everything when Yashiro came back into his life because it not only played out in a way that seemed very unrealistic and unbelievable, though that is what it would look like from the outside in real life, but it also helped to make sure that there was no tension during Satoru and Yashiro's final showdown, because he was not really working towards anything, thereby making it so that I could not even see it as being a contender for best anime of 2016.

This series is supposed to be a work of thriller, as it lacks anything necessary for it to be considered a mystery, such as a culprit that is not obvious, a method of committing the crime not being obvious, an airtight alibi that needs cracked, a culprit that needs to be proven guilty, or a puzzle to solve being a main focus from an early point of a series right up to the very end, and that means that the tension of the struggle between Satoru, who is determined to take down Yashiro, and Yashiro himself needs to be high enough to make a person have feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation, and anxiety, which are all important things needed in a good work of thriller, as noted in my review of John Grisham's The Whistler.

By giving Satoru all his memories back way too quickly, and without the audience seeing any effort put getting those memories back, the chance for the audience to get any of the feelings one would expect out of a great work of thriller would just disappear, seeing as we know Yashiro is guilty, the method of how he committed is crimes is not exactly a secret, and this current puzzle of how everything connects has only been going on since after Satoru succeeded in saving everyone, and, like the anime, there would be no tension when Yashiro and Satoru finally do come face to face again.

If that was the path Kei Sanbei took with this series, I would have been very disappointed, as I still remember to this day that this series ended in a way that could be consider a good work of thriller, though I would not put it up on the same kind of pedestal as Alfred Hitchcock's best works, and that would have meant that I was completely and utterly wrong about this series.

Fortunately, that is not what happened, and that makes me want give Kei a good round of applause for at least being able to give the series a chance at ending as a good, but not perfect, work of thriller.

Hopefully, Kei Sanbe will be able to continue on making the right decision during the last installment in the main story, because I and many of the other fans of this series want to see this end in a way that we can all have some satisfaction, but because he is human, and our opinions change over time, I would not be surprised if I end up being disappointed by how this series ends.

Another nice thing that I liked about this volume was how it was revealed how much of impact Satoru had on others and how those who he helped kept him moving forward, and gave him courage to confront Yashiro one last time, though he did forget that Yashiro was his enemy.

While the anime adaptation of this series did seem to have some sort of satisfying ending, even with the lackluster final showdown that seemed to come from nowhere, I hated how Satoru's impact became nothing more than a side note, by only seeing Kenya, Kayo Hinazuki with her baby, and Hiromi and hearing how he succeeded in saving so many lives. To me, that seemed to degrade all of the effort he spent to save all these people and actually taking time to form a strong bond with them up to the point where Yashiro tried to drown him, which made it even easier for me to label final episode a terrible finale.

However, in this volume, I can see that impact clear as day, through the thoughts of characters like Sachiko, who learned that her peaceful life with the son she loved so much was a treasure unto itself, after thinking about how empty her life was when Satoru went into a coma, Yashiro, who found purpose in his life by seeing Satoru stand against him and the regain consciousness, and Yuuki's letter thanking Satoru for what he did to prove his innocence and that his courage to move forward also gave him strength.

Seeing this, I was reminded of how much Satoru accomplished up to this point, and it made me want to see Satoru bring an end to everything all the more than just having my memories of how this manga ended way better than its anime adaptation, and helps to further establish the possibility having a satisfying end that came about because Satoru was still missing some memories, because it gave him the strength to go through with something that might once again put his life in danger.

If this had been omitted or made to look like a side note, like it did in the anime, I would have been mad, because this is supposed to be one of Kei Sanbei's best series, and by not making sure that Satoru, as well as the audience, knows how much of an impact he had on others and his experiences had on himself, this would have just disappeared into the sea of time like Cradle of Monsters did after I finished reading that.

Hopefully, this will help the final installment start things off on the right foot, because I and many of the other fans are already expecting a good ride from the finale, as that will mean that the time we spent reading this was well worth it.

The thing that I really liked the most though was how this volume ended.

Even though how things end is important, especially when it comes to a series, how the penultimate title in a series ends is the most important of them all, because it is supposed to get the readers excited for the conclusion of the series, by getting the characters to the final stage and letting the reader know what that the moment that they have all been waiting is at hand.

Now, as far as I can remember, the volumes released so far have not ended in completely horrible ways, thanks to Kodakawa Shoten, or whoever they had put these volumes together, making pretty decent decisions at where to end and begin each volume, but I think they should still get some praise for how this volume ended.

After Satoru gets most of his memory back, Kumi, a fellow patient at the hospital, decided that she and Satoru should go on the outing the hospital has every year, to help Satoru's recovery, and Satoru later confides in Kenya that he would go through with it, so that he can lure the person who tried to kill him out and finish everything.

Later on, Yashiro is seen with a smirk on his face, while looking at the list of people who will be going on the trip, and starts making his move on the day of the trip, with the final panels showing Yashiro's equipment and his excitement for what is about to come.

Seeing these scenes play out, I started wondering what exactly Yashiro has planned this time, and like my experience with volume 5, I have a strong urge to stop typing this right now and start reading the next volume, which I do not need to wait for thanks to the fact that Yen Press releases this series two volumes at a time.

If the volume had ended any earlier or later than this, I would have been mad, because it would not have delivered the kind of ending that the penultimate installment in a story is supposed deliver, thereby making my motivations to finish this series to be just so that I can be done with the series, instead of being excited for the grand finale.

Thankfully, Kei Sanbe and Kodakawa decided to end both the last chapter of the volume and the volume itself to end things at just the right spot for me to be excited for the conclusion, and that makes me want to give to them a major round of applause.

Here's to hoping that things will end just as well as this one did.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that stood out to me as much as what I already talked about.

Because my attention was captured quickly and held right to the end, by starting right off where the previous installment off, Satoru had strive to get more of his memories back, instead of getting them all back upon reuniting with Airi, Satoru's impact on others and their impact on him was explored, allowing for the possibility of a truly satisfying end to the series, and the ending of the volume has me excited to see how things concluded, as expected of the penultimate installment in a series, this was one of the best books I have read so far this year.

Although I did like the volume, there are some issues.

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

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

Considering there was quite a bit to like, such as all of the decisions made that give this series the possibility of ending well and be considered a good work of thriller, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, as they will be able to enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, I only recommend reading this if you have read the rest of the series already, because this is the second to last installment in the series and volume 9 is only bonus content for the fans.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or either buy the compilation containing the reviewed title or, if you are a fan of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, otherwise known as Erased, preorder the fifth compilation, containing the the Boku Dake ga Inai Machi Gaiden, from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can find more worthwhile books and manga for you guys to read.

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