Title: For the Kid I Saw in My Dreams Vol. 1
Author: Kei Sanbe
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Kei Sanbe, the mangaka behind the hit series ERASED (Boku Dake ga Inai Machi), is back with his newest series, For the Kid I Saw in My Dreams (Yume de Mita Ano Ko no Tame ni). Upon picking it up and turning to the first page, you will see many similarities between the two series in terms of art style. The main character Senji looks nearly identical to Satoru from ERASED while Enan looks almost identical to Anri with Sachiko’s lips. Consistency is a good thing, I guess but I would have liked to see a little more uniqueness in the character designs.
As for the story itself, Senji grew up in a broken home. His father was an alcoholic who would beat their mother any chance he got. His twin brother Kazuto would often go in and interrupt the beating, only to get beat himself. Kei Sanbe has been known to throw the supernatural into his stories and there’s no exception that here. Kazuto and Senji share a special bond in the fact that when one feels pain, so does the other. They can also share vision with each other from time to time. Whenever their father beat Kazuto, Senji would feel the pain as well.
One day, a blinding pain shot through Senji’s arm. When he went to find his brother, he was missing. Instead, all he found was his parents murdered in cold blood. Senji was then sent to live in an orphanage where he stopped feeling his brother’s pain but the bond between them told him that he was still alive somewhere… that is until a new vision came and Senji’s body went completely numb. Eventually, his vision faded to pure black and he went into a deep sleep. After he awoke, Senji realized that his brother was killed. The final vision he saw was a man with a mark on his arm which was the symbol for fire. Now, Senji is dedicating his life to finding the person who killed his family.
I have to say that Kei Sanbe has done it again! While he’s sticking with the murder mystery realm, he’s not resorting to science fiction this time. I mean, there was a bit of sci-fi with Senji and his brother but when Kazuto died, that ceased altogether, leaving us with a dark and gritty murder mystery tale. So far, the story is highly intriguing and volume one already throws a nice plot twist in there for you. I’m happy to say that unlike ERASED, I didn’t really see this plot twist coming at all!
First, we have Senji. After coming out of an orphanage, Senji has become short-tempered. He can’t hold down a job and usually goes and gets himself beat up to get back people’s money, taking a cut for himself. It’s a bit of a dirty job but it keeps him funded pretty well. I didn’t understand why Senji didn’t mind getting beat up all of the time until the explained his past with his brother Kazuto, then it all made sense. He feels that getting beat up is his way of owing his brother for all the times Kazuto stepped in and took a beating from their dad. Mix that with the pain of not being able to find his brother before he died, it seems like this is the punishment that Senji has decided to give himself to atone for his mistake. Senji is similar to Satoru from ERASED in the fact that both of them were motivated in solving a murder mystery but their personalities are polar opposites. While Satoru was a caring person who wanted nothing more than to see people he cared about getting saved, Senji is trying to fill a personal void inside of him that is the source of malice and hatred. It’s like both characters have the same goal but different motivations and because of that, Senji feels like a fresh character you don’t see too often in stories anymore.
Often times, a protagonist is rather timid or falls on a bunch of dumb luck while side characters with more personality carry them through the story. Here, you don’t get that… you get a main character who can stand on his own two feet but he is a bit naïve by letting his hatred guide his decisions. As we see at the end of the first volume, that blind hatred got the best of him and now we have to wait until volume two to see just how Senji is going to deal with the situation he just put himself in. So while he is a fiery main character, he’s no Ash Lynx… in other words, he’s not exactly a thinker who can use that rage intelligently.
Enan Kotokawa is kind of like Senji’s voice of reason. She works a part-time job and is Senji’s friend from the orphanage. She was orphaned because the authorities took her into custody after her father was a convicted murderer. Everyone hated her because of that except for Senji who said that her father was a murderer but she didn’t do anything wrong. That’s all it took for the two of them to become friends. Since then, Enan has done her best to try and get Senji to think rationally about his decisions but her efforts are always in vain because Senji ends up doing whatever he feels like anyway.
Because of their friendship, I can see Enan ending up becoming another weakness for Senji. Something is going to eventually happen to her and, of course, we will see Senji get into a situation because of it. The way that Kei Sanbe has set up their relationship makes this situation almost too predictable. Then again, Enan could just be a side character that disappears for a while like Anri did in ERASED and I’ll end up being completely wrong!
The first volume of For the Kid I Saw in My Dreams hit everything on the head that a first volume should. We got introduced to our main characters and the world they lived in, got their backstories to help us understand why they arrived at this point in their lives, established a conflict and ended the volume on a cliffhanger after escalating that conflict. The only thing that threw me off guard was that plot twist at the end of the volume. I think it was a little too soon to pull something off like that but I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t make things interesting!
If you loved ERASED, you’re going to love For the Kid I Saw in My Dreams. It has a similar premise but a completely different setup and story. The artwork will make you think that you’re reading ERASED 2.0 but that’s not a bad thing. There’s still plenty of original artwork in the book to set it apart from his other works. The story seems fresh but it’ll be interesting to see if Kei Sanbe takes any of the lessons he learned with ERASED and applies them here. He made the killer in ERASED a little too easy to figure out. I’m hoping that’s not the case in this series. Guess we will have to wait and see!
Highly recommended to check out!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press