Title: Erased Vol. 4
Author: Kei Sanbe
Publisher: Yen Press
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Publication Date: April 10, 2018

The Story

The final omnibus volume of Erased has finally arrived! Satoru was saved by AIri from some meddling photographers and my greatest fear was the inconsistency of the time travel aspect by reintroducing Airi’s character, but thankfully, I had nothing to worry about. Airi was simply a passerby and didn’t know who Satoru was, but there was a nagging suspicion within Satoru that he just couldn’t shake. He felt like he knew Airi from somewhere before and that triggered a relapse within Satoru.

Satoru collapsed and fell back into a coma for the next 386 days. During his time asleep, he regained a couple of fragments of his memories of Airi, but he also began to remember both of the timelines that he had lived through. Those conflicting memories confused him but served as the key to figuring out what had happened to him. Satoru felt that he had to see Airi again and even convinced his doctor to let him wander outside with the use of crutches. His doctor even noted that his unusually rapid recovery defied all medical science. Satoru ventured into the city where he happened to catch a glimpse of Airi, but couldn’t say anything. This ended up triggering the last remaining memories.

Kumi, a girl that Satoru talked to a year ago after she needed surgery, ends up visiting Satoru during her monthly checkups at the hospital. She feels bad that Satoru seems depressed and wants to cheer him up with a fun activity. She suggests that they go to the Sansaqua Gathering, a BBQ and Fireworks festival sponsored Nishizono, a city councilman and someone who has invested time and money into the growth of the hospital that Satoru was being treated at.

The festival ends up being a clever ploy Nishizono, who is also known as Yashiro. Yashiro had waited fifteen long years for Satoru to waken so he could kill the one that got away from him. However, Satoru ended up regaining his memories before the event and knew that it was Yashiro that tried to kill him. Together with Kenya, they formulate a plan to try and bring Yashiro down once and for all.

As someone who watched the anime, I vividly remember that the anime was timed to end at the same time as the manga, making me believe that the anime’s end and the manga’s end were one in the same. Now that I’ve read the manga for the first time, I soon realized that the ending was completely and totally different. In fact, this entire volume felt like all new material for me as the Sansaqua Gathering arc was completely cut from the anime as well as any involvement Airi had. The fact that they even teased a romance between Satoru and Airi ALMOST makes up for the fact that Hinazuki completely ditched Satoru for someone else. I still won’t forgive that, though…

After reading the manga, I actually enjoyed the manga’s ending better. It felt more fleshed out, albeit, still a little rushed. Even still, Satoru got his Happy End and when everything was said and done, the world in which Satoru wanted was the world he received.

Characters

There really wasn’t any character development here nor did I expect any as this was the final volume. Satoru’s journey to regain his memories didn’t really count as development for me as we were simply treated to flashbacks of already established lore in order to try and fill in the blanks that were missing inside of his head.

Yashiro received a little development as we caught up with what he had done once he failed to murder Satoru. I found it a bit symbolic of how he tried to kill Kumi as it almost seemed like he chose that method on purpose as a way of taunting Satoru. Still, Yashiro was still one sick, perverse character… even his final wish fit him perfectly. The fact that he was robbed of it was a pretty fitting end. An end that you could only imagine is driving him insane as he sits behind bars.

Final Thoughts

This final volume of Erased made me fall in love with this series all over again. It was a series that was bittersweet for me on a personal level and after reading the “new” material in the final volume, it triggered some of those bittersweet moments that plagued my mind a couple of years ago.

To expound on what I mean, I began formulating an idea to write my own original English light novel. I called it Final Hope. Since I am an anime watcher first and a manga reader second, I was unaware of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi at the time I began formulating this idea. I began writing the novel in November of 2015 and lo’ and behold, in January 2016, Boku Dake received a television anime. When I watched it, my heart sank because the story was way too similar to my own. I became afraid that if I had continued writing my novel, people would think that I was ripping this show off… that it would be unoriginal. I stopped writing.

What made matters even worse was that I felt Erased took my story and did it better than I could have imagined. That only poured salt into the wound because I enjoyed this series so very much, but at the same time, I hated it for existing because I felt like Yashiro. I felt that Erased was Satoru who did everything he could to ruin my plans. I had all but given up until my friends encouraged me to finish writing the book. As of November 2017, I completed both volumes and I’m even working on my next series, A.R. Dragonfly. Looking back, while the premise between Final Hope and Erased were the same, the ended up becoming two vastly different stories.

It’s very rare that I get to review a series that has had a deep, personal connection to myself. It’s a very rare treat, indeed. Even though this series affected me on a personal level, it didn’t stop me from enjoying it for what it was. Erased is still a very well-crafted story from beginning to end that Kei Sanbe should be very proud of. While some of the plot points were a little too obvious, it didn’t stop the series from being highly enjoyable. This is a definite must-read for those who like a bit of murder mystery twisted with science fiction.

The characters are some of the most well-crafted that I’ve read. I haven’t seen characters this meaningful since Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist… and that’s saying a lot. None of the characters really felt wasted as they all had their own unique personalities and they all contributed to the story in impactful and meaningful ways.

There was a reason why Erased was my choice for anime of the year in 2016… and this manga only echoes my reasons for making that choice. Do yourself a favor and pick this series up… it will be well worth your time!

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This item was provided for review by Yen Press

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.