During the past weekend, Tatsuki Fujimoto has struck again. You know the mad man behind such works as Fire Punch (which I haven’t read yet but really want to), Chainsaw Man, and Look Back. He dropped a 200 page short story and just left to bring is Part 2 of Chainsaw Man this summer. It feels like such a cliche considering how much he is one of the hypest people at this moment in regards to the manga world, but he is one of my favorite people to watch. All of his stories are interesting and come from points of view that no other mangaka seem to do. He feels like someone who has a lot to say in his manga as he pushes the medium further and further while the rest of the manga world tries to catch up. We don’t get people like this very often.
So Goodbye, Eri. What could this be about? Well, this is a manga where a boy named Yuta is given a smart phone for his birthday right as he enters middle school so he can film his mother’s life. Or should I say, the remainder of his mother’s life. She is slowly dying and she wants Yuta to record her so he’ll always have her voice and visuals to remember here by. So right out of the gate, the emotional punch is there. Then of course, the twist happens. He reveals hours of cut footage into a twenty minute short film for a school festival and it works out well until the end where his ending is the hospital explodes and he is given death threats for how he resolved his own mother’s death. About to commit suicide, he meets a mysterious girl named Eri who wants him to make another movie after watching hours and hours of other movies.
That’s all I am going to say about the story itself at that point, but it feels like a good draw into figuring out what the manga is trying to say. There are some really good twists here about how to capture drama. What is real, what isn’t? What do we do to escape the trauma that is in front of us? It is a very simple yet heavy short story that confronts that sort of tension. All in a very meta way too as there is the outside point of view of what so many people call disrespectful in portraying people’s lives to how Yuta felt it. He didn’t want to experience seeing his mother’s death so that explosion he put in at the end was a catharsis for him that no one else, besides Eri, could understand.
Then there is Eri herself who could be sonsidered a lot of things. I mean, she is a person after all but maybe she isn’t. I mean, she was on camera and had her own experiences with Yuta explored too and there was a classmate that liked Eri too. At the same time, maybe she is just the way that Yuta is exploring his trauma too because his mother’s death left a mark on him that he still hasn’t let go of. Maybe the movie he makes in the future will be that complete catharsis he needed after a tense moment he still can’t let go of until now. How else can one move on but to go about that in his own way? A very simple sort of arc in a short and fun way of doing it.
What brings the manga itself together in ways that some people would or would not expect is that its short like a short film. As you’ve seen from the two screen shots I’m showing you, it is shot like a 4 koma where every page has four panels. But those four panels represent the view of a camera. There are many panels of this manga where people are out of focus and I feel like you can see some film grain too. It is such a genius way to put together this manga about people making film together. It is that meta we don’t get to see usually, yet its just so good. The format is simple and allows the art to do whatever it wants in a way that gets the reader to easily understand it. Its simply genius.
The best think about this film is that its not all go, go, go. We aren’t constantly hit in the head with these plot twist and points in a way that makes them feel like they are coming out of nowhere. There are plenty of moments where the camera just sits there and allows us to just enjoy the life our characters are viewing. Or the meta element comes in and what a character says on camera was for the movie Yuta is making and then followed with “was my take good”. It’s incredible. There is just so much life into this manga that I just love. It all just works so well in this complete package. A great experience, a great 20 minute read, and just one of the most innovative stories to read over and over and over again to get something different from. It is just so good.
This manga is brilliant. I mean it, there is so much master craft behind its creativity and the pure sense of emotions in it that I can’t enough. It is a simple story with a small cast that has something very important and intelligent to say. It also uses the similarities between manga and movies from the way they both tell a story to both being what the head person behind a manga or movie wants to tell for the amount of time that is allotted to it to function. I’m sure there are so many elements in this manga that never made it to its final version that we will never see either. It is that meta element that is so much fun to this too. It’s not handled in a way that makes fun of the media, it’s done in a way that it adds value to the manga if you notice it. The best way to do meta in my opinion.