Does this second volume live up to its anime counterpart?
Title: Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi)
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten (JP), Yen Press(US)
Artist/Writer: Kei Sanbe
Serialized in: Young Ace
Translation: Sheldon Drzka
Original Release Date: June 20, 2017
A review copy was provided by Yen Press.
The first omnibus of Erased ended with Satoru’s failure: Hinazuki has died and Satoru is returned to the present to find that nothing about his current situation has changed from his revival. As Satoru continues to evade the police in the present day, he does find one thing about his last revival that gives him pause: Hinazuki died one day later than in his original timeline. This gives him hope that given one more chance, one last chance, Satoru can save her and change the timeline for good.
Erased is a suspenseful thriller, so for fans who saw the 2016 anime this volume loses some of its appeal. Even non-anime watchers are unlikely to be surprised by many developments if they’re savvy mystery readers; we’ve already seen that Satoru will be trapped in a revival until he manages to change it, so it’s no great surprise that he’s been given another chance to prevent Hinazuki’s death (and hopefully prevent the other deaths that happen after hers). Readers also know that this is far from the last volume, so clearly something else must happen. Also unsurprising is that Satoru is able to meet up with his mother’s old friend, whom she had been talking to on the phone shortly before her murder — not touching on that foreshadowing at all would have made for very poor writing. Due to Satoru’s unique position in this case — not only his miraculous revival ability but that he was a child and close to some of the victims of these crimes — he has a better chance than anyone else to guess who the perpetrator is. With his mother’s old friend’s help, Satoru is coming closer and closer to sussing out the suspect.
For me the most satisfying part of this book was watching Satoru help Hinazuki continue to open up and just how much happier Hinazuki is for it. I do have the question Satoru’s logic of “Let’s kidnap Hinazuki so that the murderer can’t find her!” (Logic that would make total sense for a 5th grader, but come on Satoru, you’re 29….) but I can’t deny that it was an effective move. With Hinazuki seemingly now out of danger and her murder interrupted, Satoru hopes that the two other victims he knows will be safe. But the murderer still isn’t caught and, with fewer murders for the police to actually examine, how will this end up helping out Satoru in the modern day? Will this be enough to keep him and his mother safe from the suspicious eyes that now haunt Satoru in the present?
As an anime-viewer it’s a bit hard for me to judge how effective or not this volume was — I already know the upcoming reveals after all. I will say that I am pleased with Yen Press’s choice to release this series in omnibuses since I think it really benefits to read the story in large chunks. I did enjoy this volume, but it was the very next set of events that tested my enjoyment of the story so I am apprehensively awaiting the third omnibus to see if Kei Sanbe tells a smoother story than the anime did.