The hero of Chainsaw Man creator Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Goodbye, Eri may not have a chainsaw for a head, but he’s being tortured just like Makima’s Denji.
Warning! Big spoilers follow chainsaw man and Goodbye Eri!
Mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto’s new one-shot manga Goodbye Eri can’t be more different than its enduring and incredibly popular chainsaw man Series. But there are many chilling parallels between them Goodbye Eri‘s two main characters and chainsaw man‘s Denji and Makima, which suggests an underlining theme in both works.
Goodbye Eri follows middle school student Yuta Ito as he captures death on camera and translates those experiences into film. Yuta’s journey eventually brings him into contact with the one-shot’s eponymous character, Eri, who is trying to hone his craft. The connections between Goodbye Eri and chainsaw man become immediately apparent when Eri forces Yuta to watch countless movies with her, reflected in Chainsaw Man (aka Denji) being taken on a date that consists of watching a series of back-to-back movies with the love of his life, Makima , to watch.
On the surface, both moments are seemingly harmless and actually touching, but Makima and Eri’s true intentions warp each case into something unrecognizable. That’s because Makima and Eri each use Denji and Yuta for their own benefit. Makima reveals to Denji near the end of Part I that everything she’s done – including the film date – serves the diabolical Chainsaw Man, not him. Her acts of kindness only served to tear him down more effectively so that the real devil could thrive within him. The news is so devastating that Denji is forced to employ a rather unsettling coping mechanism. Meanwhile, in Fujimoto’s new one-shot, Eri is actually chatting with Yuta about his film with an ulterior motive. Her deception is particularly heartbreaking because it puts Yuta in a brutally unfair position, forcing him to relive a past trauma that clearly affected him deeply.
What is now considered a classic Fujimoto move, both stories feature a stunning twist that adds another layer of unhappiness to any experience. In chainsaw man, Denji has no choice but to kill his beloved Makima. Although this is difficult, he eventually comes to terms with his decision. However, he is later forced to face what he believed he had put behind him in a rather twisted turn of events. Since Makima was supposedly a victim, Denji has to reopen old wounds that made him capable of falling in love again and possibly being betrayed again, making Denji one of the most tormented manga heroes. In Goodbye Eri, Yuta learns that a terrifying development he believes happened decades ago – the prospect of him reliving past trauma – is actually a lie. As with Makima, Eri’s predicament is far worse than he initially thought. She needs what Yuta gives her not to ensure her legacy lives on, but to make her unique hell more bearable. The last scene in Goodbye Erichallenges reality and leaves readers wondering if the final panel serves as a pictorial reflection of how Yuta finished his first film, or if it is his example that illustrates one of the main themes of the one-shot – like a filmmaker has the power to distort reality by recording events.
Denji and Yuta do not leave these experiences empty-handed, no matter how they are manipulated. In which chainsaw man Manga, the movies Denji sees with Makima seem to justify his greatest fear that he has lost his human heart, but he can confide in Makima, who in turn helps him feel different. Meanwhile, Eri literally saves Yuta’s life and helps him win over the people who originally hurt him by shaping Yuta into a better filmmaker. These examples chainsaw man and Goodbye Eri prove the literary genius of mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto.
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