Title: Erased Vol. 5
Author: Kei Sanbe
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
The Story & Characters
The fifth and final volume of Erased is a collection of short stories involving Hinazuki, Kenya, Sachiko, and Airi following the events of Satoru going into a coma. Since that sentence pretty much explains the entire “story” of the volume, I’m going to combine the story and characters section for this review.
We first start out with Hinazuki’s story. When Yashiro-sensei announces to the class that Satoru is in a coma, Hinazuki goes to see him at the hospital every day. Even when they move onto middle school, she refuses to join a club in order to pay him a visit. This continues until Sachiko moves Satoru to a better hospital on the mainland for better care. She leaves Hinazuki a note explaining that this was for the best and to thank her for everything that she has done for Satoru up until now. She also did this because she feels that Hinazuki was living her life for Satoru instead of for herself so she encouraged her to do just that… to begin living for herself and to build herself a new future.
This explains why Hinazuki and Satoru never got together. If you recall, she ended up marrying Hiromu and having a child with him. After everything that they did to build up the relationship between HInazuki and Satoru, I never really understood why she did that. Now we know that Sachiko was the culprit behind the unforgivable crime!!!
Seriously, though… it does put everything into perspective and explains why HInazuki went down that path but it doesn’t really justify her not waiting for Satoru. If she cared for him that much, she would have waited… at least that’s how I perceive it based on everything that happened. Oh well, I guess I’m just a bit bitter because I still think that Hinazuki was the best girl for Satoru.
Next up was Kenya. It starts off showing how he excelled at his grades as well as sports. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps in being a civil servant. When Satoru fell into a coma, he wanted to know more about what happened. He recalled how Satoru noticed something going on with Hinazuki and how he boldly interjected himself into her life. That gave birth to his desire into finishing Satoru’s work to find the culprit behind his attempted murder. When he tried to search, his father found out and admired him for trying to do some detective work but felt that he wasn’t ready.
Kenya continued on with life, became a lawyer and continue researching the case. The big reveal came that all of these memories, all of this backstory was Kenya telling Satoru while sitting beside him at the hospital. This was actually touched upon in the original manga but it was never really fleshed out. It was nice to see all of his backstory as we got to know Kenya a bit better and it was great to see him not give up on attempting to solve the case!
Next up we had Sachiko. This was a really unique tale as it was simply a bunch of memories and flashbacks to when Satoru was still a child; however, in between the scenes we got to read excerpts from a journal that Sachiko kept. Reading the notes further solidifies Sachiko as, quite possibly, the greatest mother in all of anime and manga. The level of details that she didn’t spare in order to retain memories of Satoru’s life showed the level of love she had for him.
It was still quite scary the level of details her journal contained about Satoru. She noted everything from his eating habits down to whether or not she thought he loved Hinazuki or not. No wonder Satoru always referred to her as a yokai (ghost). There really was no detail she left unnoted in her journal. Still, as scary as it may seem, you have to admit… that’s dedication to your child!
Finally, we have Airi. Since this took place in the timeline where Satoru grew up for the second time, Airi and Satoru never met at the pizza parlor. In fact, it explores how Airi wanted to be a photographer and even a job as such. The downside was that Airi wasn’t good at taking photos and ended up getting fired from her job. Even her friend, who she leaned on for moral support, agreed that her photo-taking skills weren’t exactly on par with that of professionals. Even still, Airi decided that she wasn’t going to give up and would continue to move forward towards her passion.
The volume closes with Airi using her fingers as a camera and framing a scene with a man standing under an overpass, taking shelter from the falling snow. She runs over and makes small talk with the man who ends up being Satoru post-coma. In other words, we’re brought to the end of the original manga with an explanation as to how we ended up there.
I really enjoyed all of the short stories that this volume of Erased brought to the table. It filled a lot of the gaps left in the main story during the time Satoru was stuck in the coma. While, on the outside, this just looks like a collection of character stories, the overarching story here is just how much Satoru’s actions ended up touching others. Kenya even noted that Satoru was a guy who really kept to himself but he began to notice a change in him. Of course, this is eluding to the fact that he used Revival and leaped all the back to 1988. Of course, Kenya doesn’t know anything about that so it was interesting to see his thoughts on the change in Satoru’s persona from his perspective.
Each one of these stories validates all of the changes Satoru made. Not only did Satoru, in a way, sacrifice himself so that those around them could live on into the future, it explored how all of those changes had a profound impact on everyone around him. His impact gave rise to Hinazuki’s decision to forge her own path, Kenya’s determination to finish the work Satoru started, the impact he had on his mother’s life by simply existing, and the fact that Airi never met him until she found him during the snow. While that last one can’t really be counted, you are left wondering what impact Satoru will continue to have now that the two of them have met in this version of the world!
Still, this was a nice little epilogue of one of the best stories I’ve read in a while and is the perfect compliment to the main story! Be sure you pick this up and check it out for yourself!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press