Mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Goodbye, Eri one-shot is just as effective as his ongoing Chainsaw Man manga, and there are no absurdities.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Goodbye Eri!
Some critics are either unable or refusing to grasp the depth inherent in the mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto chainsaw man. This could be because they can’t see past the amount of blood saturating each side, or the fact that Denji’s head turns into a chainsaw. Something so ridiculous can’t be profound, can it? But Fujimoto’s latest one-shot titled Goodbye Eri explores similar and divergent themes just as effectively, if not better, without undue violence – and the only gimmick Fujitmoto deploys occurs at the very end. But even then, readers aren’t sure if it’s even real.
In Goodbye Eri, Fujimoto explores the power of cinematography through the experiences of a middle school student named Yuta Ito, who is forced to capture two traumatizing events on camera. Either way, readers only have access to what Yuta is filming or wanting to show them when he’s not rolling. These scenes are taken as fact since Fujimoto doesn’t suggest otherwise until other people later tell Yuta in the 200-page one-shot how different he portrayed the characters he filmed from how they actually are in real life. Readers eventually learn that Yuta either chose moments that made the characters in his film look friendlier than they actually are or changed their wardrobe, even though these projects were meant to be rooted in reality. In any case, these choices not only alter the reader’s understanding of the subject being filmed, but also how they actually affected Yuta off-screen in real life.
Then there are times when Yuta incorporates distinctly otherworldly elements into his films. This video technique accomplishes two things. The first causes the reader to wonder why they have deviated from reality in these particular instances, making these realizations much deeper in many cases than Yuta actually explains them herself. The second is that readers end up questioning the final scene of Fujimoto’s one-shot manga, which of course leads to speculation and further reading. Essentially, Goodbye Eri leaves fans wondering if the last panel is just a figurative device, mirroring his first film, to illustrate how he feels, or if it should even be taken literally. The latter probability implies that what just happened was just part of another film that he orchestrated without readers realizing it. However, the inclusion of non-realistic elements represents Yuta’s need to provide excuses for not facing trauma. Introducing an outside force beyond his control, Yuta is unable to face these harsh realities instead of him Select not to.
Meanwhile, all of these artistic choices are tied to reality, with the one-shot’s eponymous character explaining cinematic techniques and strategies as simply as possible with cold facts, effectively stripping the magic out of cinematic art. Aside from the questionable ending, there’s nothing supernatural or overly gory, but the impact is just as profound. Essentially, these are the same issues explored in chainsaw man like manipulation by a loved one resulting in severe trauma, or the troubling inability to discern what is actually real. Both chainsaw man‘s Denji and Goodbye Eri‘s Yuta are affected in this way, and each employs disturbing coping mechanisms to deal with the deception in painfully heartbreaking ways.
The effectiveness of Goodbye Eri proves that mangaka Fujimoto never had to take in all the bloody madness chainsaw man to deeply shake the heart of every reader. He was just using it to get her attention. But now he doesn’t have to. Each of them is eyes and ears for whatever chainsaw man Creator Tatsuki Fujimoto makes next.
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