Author’s note: This article contains spoilers for the manga and anime ERASED.
What’s really scary to me… is the thought of someone not believing me.
Satoru Fujinuma’s time traveling adventures continue in ERASED, Volume 2 by Kei Sanbe.
After witnessing the murder of his mother by an unknown attacker in the first volume, “revival”—Satoru’s unique ability to travel back a few moments in time—sends him back further than it ever has before, from 2006 all the way to 1988, to when Satoru is 10 years old. The serial deaths of a number of his classmates in 1989 appear to be somehow related to his mother’s death, and revival sends him back to stop them.
Believing that saving Kayo Hinazuki, a quiet girl in his class who doesn’t have any friends and becomes the first victim of the serial kidnappings, will end the murders—including his mother’s—Satoru befriends Kayo and decides to do a few things differently than when he was a kid.
These minor deeds, he hopes, will help to change the future. In particular, he invites Kayo out to a museum on a quasi-date, as well as to his birthday party, but in the end, Kayo goes missing again, and the first volume leaves readers wondering how and why she disappeared.
Did her abusive mother kill her? Or was it Jun Shiratori (a.k.a. Yuuki)? Or is there another person involved whom we haven’t met yet?
At the beginning of the second volume, Satoru is sent back to the present because of his failure. He spends a large portion of the volume outsmarting the police and doing research on the murders with Airi Katagiri, a high school student who works at the same pizza delivery place.
But Airi’s involvement ends up being a dangerous mistake, and Satoru finds himself having to fix the errors he’s made in the past, once again, after being swept away by revival to his childhood in 1989.
Like the first volume in the manga, the second volume ramps up the suspense with every page turn. You soon begin to wonder if Satoru should trust anyone, both in the present and in the past. Unfortunately, as I wrote before, I feel that if you’ve already watched the anime and try to read the manga, or if you’ve already read the manga and try to watch the anime, you may be disappointed. I already know who the murderer is, so that particular character’s words and actions stick out to me more than many of the others.
One thing I am enjoying, however, is the heftiness of each of these volumes—there are going to be eight in all published from now through 2018—as well as the action-packed art. Sanbe’s style may not be anything unique or extraordinary, but it is consistent. And he continues to excel at seinen-style action scenes, with lots of hurried penstrokes and prominent sound bubbles.
One panel, from early on in the volume, instantly comes to mind as one that particularly struck me. It shows Satoru’s middle school-self running away from the reader and the word “dokun” (the sound of Satoru’s heartbeat) in scratchy text next to the image.
This alone isn’t all that interesting, but the fact that either Sanbe or one of his assistants made the decision to invert the colors—so that the image and the words are in white while the background is in black—really makes the image feel as though Satoru’s heart is beating in his ears, and the reader is right there with him.
Satoru, who the hell are you?
ERASED was originally serialized in Young Ace magazine in Japan from 2012 through 2016. Volume 2 is now available in English from Yen Press.
Story: 5 out of 5 stars
Art: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
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