Goodbye, Eri

Goodbye, Eri

Dead Explosion Mother

Goodbye, Eri (Sayonara Eri / さよなら絵梨) is a one-shot manga by Tatsuki Fujimoto, the author of Chainsaw Man. It’s also only 200 pages long. That might sound long if you’re not used to reading manga. But, believe me, it goes by fast.

If you haven’t read the manga yet, you should do so before continuing this review. As I go through the three phases of this manga, there are going to be major spoilers.

With that said, let’s get into the first part of the manga that introduces the main character Yuuta.

Yuuta is a high schooler who filmed hundreds of hours leading up to his mother’s death. He did this at her request, which is pretty messed up if you think about it. But, he then turned his footage into a movie that he premiered at his school. The title of the movie is “Dead Explosion Mother.”

The premiere of Yuuta's movie "Dead Explosion Mother" from the manga Goodbye, Eri
The premiere of Yuuta’s movie “Dead Explosion Mother”

First of all, I loved this introduction to Yuuta’s character. It was pretty meta to have a first-person movie within a first-person manga. And, as Eri tells Yuuta later on, it depicts Yuuta in a positive light and makes him a likable character.

After the premiere, Yuuta gets bullied by the other students. They think adding in an explosion at the end of a movie about Yuuta’s mother dying was in poor taste. But, I actually support Yuuta’s decision here. It’s his movie, it’s about his mother, and it’s his way of coping with loss.

We’re told that Yuuta added the explosion because he likes to add in fantasy elements. But, I’d argue that while that may be the case, it was also a metaphor. The explosion symbolizes the impact that his mother’s death had on Yuuta. The impact he tried to run from.

The Mysterious Girl

As a result of the bullying, Yuuta decides to jump off the roof of the hospital where his mother died. But, before he follows through, a mysterious girl stops him. Her name is Eri, and she says that she enjoyed the movie Yuuta made.

Eri challenges Yuuta to make a sequel to “Dead Explosion Mother.” The plan is for this new movie to premiere at school the following year. And, this movie is going to be so good that it’s going to make all the students who laughed at him cry.

Eri and Yuuta watching movies in an abandoned building from the manga Goodbye, Eri
Eri and Yuuta watching movies in an abandoned building

This is never stated, but it seemed to me like Eri made up this challenge to save Yuuta. Sure, she stopped him from jumping off the roof. But, her challenge saved him in that it gave him something to work towards for the next year.

To make this new movie, Yuuta and Eri begin spending all their free time together. They watch movies, plan out Yuuta’s movie, and become romantically involved. But, in a twist that seemed obvious to me, it’s revealed that Eri has a terminal illness just like Yuuta’s mother did.

And, just as Yuuta’s mother did, Eri asks Yuuta to film her until her death. Again, it’s implied that Eri asks Yuuta to do this for his own good. He never got to film his mother’s death. By filming Eri’s death, he may be able to get some sort of closure.

The real twist came when Yuuta’s father gets involved, though. He points out that Yuuta’s mother was abusive and mean, but that’s not how Yuuta’s movie depicts her. It’s only at this point that we as readers understand the true importance of perspective. 90% of the manga is from Yuuta’s perspective. He chooses what we see.

A Pinch of Fantasy

You can’t tell, but I’m actually rewriting this section of the review. After rereading the end of the manga, I’ve come to some different conclusions. I liked it more the second time around, and so I want to explain why that’s the case.

Eri dies and Yuuta films her death. He then premieres his new movie about Eri at school and everyone cries. They loved it. And, that’s even considering that Yuuta once again added in a pinch of fantasy. This time around, he made Eri’s character a vampire.

Decades pass after Eri’s death and Yuuta gets married and has a kid. Then, one day, he gets into an accident with his wife, daughter, and father in the car. Only Yuuta survives. And, it’s at this point that the manga starts to circle back to the themes it’s built up so far.

An older Yuuta meeting Eri again from the manga Goodbye, Eri
An older Yuuta meeting Eri again

Once again, Yuuta plans to kill himself. But this time, his plan is to hang himself in the abandoned building where he watched movies with Eri. And this is where we get another twist, which I originally wasn’t a fan of. Eri, looking the same as she did decades ago, is sitting in the room watching Yuuta’s movie of her.

The big twist is that Eri actually is a vampire. She dies about every 200 years when her brain fills up with memories. After 3 days, she comes back to life with her memories erased. But what’s different this time around is that she has Yuuta’s movie of her previous life.

Remember how I mentioned that the filmmaker’s perspective mattered? Well, in Yuuta’s movie, we see the perfect version of Eri. And so as this new version of Eri watches the movie, she learns “what kind of person the last [her] was.”

Conclusion

Despite the fact that I liked the manga more after rereading the ending, my score didn’t change. Goodbye, Eri is a 9/10. I’m still not entirely sold on the twist of Eri actually being a vampire. But, I do think it played into some of the main themes of the manga well.

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