Book Review: Erased Volume 8

April 12, 2018

Erased Volume 8 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good day, and getting weekend plans finalized before it is too late.

Things are going fairly well here, with being able to relax in an environment that does not stress me out, in addition to being able to do what I like.

Recently, I found out that the books that I preordered and were cancelled by somebody other than myself got released on schedule, and I was able to get both of them.

So far, out of the two titles, which are the final two volumes of a series I follow, not counting a bonus volume, I have got one out of the way and only one remains.

Today, I will be reviewing that remaining title, which is called Erased Volume 8 by Kei Sanbe.

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

After arriving at the park where the retreat for rehab patients and elementary schoolers, things seem to be relatively peaceful for everyone there, but Yashiro is nearby and starting to make his move towards his final encounter with Satoru, and Satoru and friends are determined to finally put an end to this man's reign of terror.

I must say that I really enjoyed this volume.

After reading a few pages into into the book, I found myself so engrossed with it that I did not want to stop reading for any reason, though it did not happen as quickly as I had hoped.

In a series like this, the job of the end of the penultimate installment and the beginning of the final installment is to give the reader an incentive to see how everything will end, even if it is a little predictable, seeing as works of thriller are not necessarily known to have any surprise twists towards the end, as well as pull readers in quickly.

While the first chapter of this volume does not really do that good of a job in the department of pulling a reader right into the world of the series, only reminding me that Yashiro is nearby and is about to do something, before going into a peaceful setting, it at least does signal to me that the end is near and gets me kind of excited to see the inevitable final confrontation between Satoru and Yashiro, which is the most important aspect of the final volume, not to mention that there was not much else that either Kei Sanbe or Kodakawa Shoten could do with only four chapters left in the story.

Of course, that would be in the context of if I were reading this on the schedule of the Japanese releases, which can be found through the links to CDJapan found in an article on Wikipedia, as well as my own schedule, seeing as I did not start reading this immediately after reviewing the previous volume.

Over where I live, Yen Press has been releasing this series two volumes at a time in both print, in the form of two-volume compilations, and digitally, as individual volumes, and knowing that some people are getting these print editions and/or reading both volumes as quickly as they can, without stop, I can see that there is no problem here.

If Yen Press had released these volumes one at a time, I would have been angry, as this slow start would have been a real black mark on this book, even overshadowing what good there was to be found.

Fortunately, Yen Press made the right decision to release the volumes at a quick rate, and that helped to make the start of this volume better than it would have been by getting these volumes one at a time.

Hopefully, Yen Press can continue to make good decisions about how to release things, because they certainly deserved my money here, but seeing as they are human, I am certainly well aware that they can make mistakes like Viz Media has, in not realizing that slow releases of series that are 90+ volumes, such as Detective Conan, do not necessarily work out well, especially with how sore they left me about having my preorder of volumes 7 and 8 of this series cancelled, even though the print release was still listed for release this week and the volumes were released on time anyway.

I also liked Satoru learned things from the ability that he hated so much, which helped him outsmart Yashiro.

Throughout the course of this series, more towards the beginning, we see Satoru's experiences with revival, which was even more of a plot device in the anime than it was in the manga, and we get to really see how troublesome the ability really is, thus helping the reader understand why Satoru thinks it is a curse, and I was wondering why he had this ability.

Here, even though revival is not really explained, and only suggested that it existed because of Satoru's regrets that he no longer has, thanks to saving all the victims in the 1988 case and his mother, it still had some purpose in teaching Satoru something.

In each incident he was involved in with revival, such as the stuff that happened in the first volume, prior to Sachiko Fujinuma's death, the repeating would not spot until he noticed something and/or took action, and during the events of this volume, when he was trying to deal with the things that happened, in spite of the preparations made before the trip, he tried to find out what was out of place and think through or take actions based on that.

Seeing all of this go down, it showed me that revival did have a place in the story Kei Sanbe was writing, and it was not something that was just a convenience that A-1 Pictures made it out to be in the anime adaptation, as it did not seem to have any purpose other than to drive the story forward and then disappeared, and helped to make everything leading to final showdown an exciting sight, thus maintaining the necessary feelings of a decent thriller.

If Kei Sanbe had completely written off Satoru's revival ability, which never occurred again after Yashiro was confirmed to be Satoru's enemy in both the manga and anime, I would have been really disappointed, as Satoru would have come off as more a character whose flaw is being too perfect and the big moment of this volume would have been as annoying as the confrontation that happened in the final episode of the anime.

Thankfully, Kei Sanbe was not that incompetent, and it makes me want to give him a good amount of applause for a job well done.

Another thing that I liked about this volume was that Yashiro continued to give of the vibe of an antagonist that I expected.

One of the things that I hated about how the anime adaptation ended was that Yashiro was made to look like this super intelligent criminal, who is able to successfully frame others for his crimes, like making Satoru the prime suspect in his mother's death and the attempted murder of Airi, as well as Jun Shiratori and so many others, but when he faced out against Satoru, who was in a wheelchair, he came off as more of joke, because his successes in framing people appeared to rest more on luck that the careful calculation that Satoru's enemy was supposed to have.

However, in this volume, when Yashiro found out that his carefully laid plans were being ruined, which actually excited him, he already had another plan in place to lure Kumi out, with every intention of ensnaring Satoru into a trap that was different from what he planned, and made it so that Satoru would not recognize it right away.

This is how I envisioned Yashiro from the beginning of the series, even when I first read this manga, which was when I had no idea that Yashiro was the person Satoru was looking for, and even believed, like so many others that this was a mystery series, rather than a thriller series, and Kei Sanbe really delivered.

In fact, this is what makes Yashiro a good antagonist for a thriller series, because he lives up to his reputation of being a highly intelligent criminal that knows precisely what to do to frame people, without relying too much on luck.

If Kei Sanbe had not written Yashiro like he did, and made him out to be just as much of a joke as A-1 Pictures, I would have been mad, because this manga had done a really good job of delivering what people expected, and by making the audience feel that enemy only succeeded because they were lucky, there would be no excitement for the final confrontation that occurs in this volume.

Fortunately, Kei Sanbe remembered what kind of person he wanted Satoru's enemy to be, and that helped to make things much more exciting.

Of course, even though there was quite a bit to like already, there were two things that really impressed me.

First, the final confrontation between Satoru felt like a true final confrontation.

While it was not quite at the level of The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, where the final bout was so good, with two people who considered each other a friend, yet one was trying to kill the other, that I would want to see it all over again on its own, it still had the tension there that everything was on line, by having both sides trying to upstage the other, and Satoru actually seemed to be struggling against something, instead of being allowed to do whatever he wanted, except kill himself.

Not only could I feel this tension and that everything was on the line by seeing Satoru and friends interfere with Yashiro's plans and Yashiro changing things around, but I could also feel it right up to the point where Satoru moved towards Yashiro on his crutches and even foiling his former teacher one last time, by not letting him have his way.

This is the kind of final confrontation that I expect to have, at the very minimum, in this kind of series, and Kei Sanbe was able to deliver on that one.

If Kei Sanbe had not delivered this, I would have been disappointed, because I remember this ending being way better than what A-1 Pictures delivered in their anime adaptation, and it would have ended up making the volume, as well as the series itself a huge disappointment, regardless of Yen Press's release schedule.

Thankfully, that did not happen, and it allowed the emergence of the thing that really impressed me, which was how I actually felt like I actually got closure.

Even though A-1 Pictures did show the aftermath of the confrontation between Yashiro and Satoru in the anime, it felt more like they we saying, "It's over, everyone. We hope you enjoyed the show," than actual end, because I was left wondering what happened and if Satoru and friends really got the ending they deserved.

However, in the final chapter, Kenya and Satoru talk about Yashiro and what happened, as well as his ultimate fate, and that Kenya hoped that everything they went through alleviated the suffering of those framed by Yashiro, even though the time lost by Yashiro's victims and those that were falsely imprisoned, but after telling Satoru that he was sorry, realizing his role had taken so much from him him, Satoru thanked him for being there, giving him the courage to continue chasing down Yashiro, and that it seemed like they came close to being the superheroes they idolized as kids, and ending with a handshake with them agreeing that they wanted believe that, before going through a montage of what everyone was up to and finally ending with Satoru's happy ending of becoming a successful mangaka, thinking about what has happened in his life.

Now, there maybe some people that are not really satisfied with this end, as I have encountered people who were asking questions that did not make sense, which will get answered in volume 9, if I am right about it being the Gaiden, but as I read through the pages of the final chapters, none of those questions really popped up in my mind, because this was Satoru's story and focused on his struggles of saving the people he cared about, as well as his goal to capture the true culprit.

Knowing all of that, this was the kind of ending that this series needed, because I had no questions left from everything being wrapped up so neatly.

If things had ended right at Yashiro's defeat or by skipping right to Satoru's happy ending, I might have found it acceptable, as Yashiro's defeat in the manga was actually good enough here that Satoru had earned his happy ending, but it would not have stood out, or even made this series worth reading.

Fortunately, Kei Sanbe was able to end things on a much better note than just relying on a final confrontation that nobody would read through again without rereading the whole thing, and that makes me want to give him a major round of applause for the great ending.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could not be shoehorned in to what I talked about already.

Because my interest was captured well enough to be excited enough to see how things would concluded, even though it was not as quickly as would have liked, Satoru's revival ability played some sort of role in bringing down Yashiro, though it never made an appearance after Yashiro unmasked as Satoru enemy, Yashiro was able to live up to his reputation, the final confrontation felt like a final confrontation, and the end really felt like the end, this was a pretty decent book.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, and things that I made note of already, 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 quite a bit to like, and nothing to really hate, unless one gets only one volume at a time digitally, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, otherwise known as Erased, as they will be able to enjoy this the most and are likely to get more than one volume at a time.

As for everyone else, I would only recommend this if you just finished reading the previous volume because this is not quite as enjoyable without reading volume 7, and it is the final volume of the actual story.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me Patreon or buy the fourth Erased compilation from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can find more worthwhile reads for you guys, though I am not too sure whether or not I will bother with volume 9 of this series.

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