Anime & Manga, Reviews

Goodbye, Eri Review: A Pinch of Fantasy

See life through the lens of a budding filmmaker who meets a girl that completely changes his perception of life and love.

Goodbye, Eri Review Cover
Image: VIZ
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:06 AM

Goodbye, Eri

Review
Rating
10
Excellent
Goodbye, Eri Full Cover

Writer: Tatsuki Fujimoto

Artist: Tatsuki Fujimoto

Publisher: VIZ

Release Date: June 26, 2023

Page Count: 208

Format: Manga

"Goodbye, Eri" is a short and impactful story filled with small moments that are heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Tatsuki Fujimoto is an oddity of a mangaka. Who would have guessed that the story of a man who transforms into a demon with a chainsaw for a head is one of the most popular mangas currently running? It’s through Fujmoto’s distinctly insane creativity that he can tell incredible stories regardless of how strange the core concept is. In his latest one-shot, “Goodbye Eri,” we see Fujimoto go in a completely different storytelling direction. Where Chainsaw Man excels at being a blood-soaked, action-packed romp, “Goodbye, Eri” is a heartfelt character-driven story about love, tragedy, and personal growth. But remember, this is a story written by the creator of Chainsaw Man, so there’s much more to “Goodbye, Eri” than what appears on the surface.

Yuta gets a smartphoneImage: VIZ

Story overview

Yuta is a middle schooler who has a passion for filmmaking. It all started when he was gifted a smartphone for his birthday. His terminally ill mother asked him if he could record their daily lives together and make a movie in case of her death. She believes it would be a great way to remember her after she passes away. Yuta loved his mother dearly and recorded everything they did, but he could not come to grips with filming her final moments. So, instead of a somber ending, Yuta filmed himself running away from the hospital with explosions in the background.

The ending did not sit well with Yuta’s schoolmates and teachers. Many of them felt it shamelessly made light of his mother’s passing. But the project was something Yuta put his heart and soul into making. The embarrassment he experienced pushed him to the point of considering suicide. But just as he was standing on the edge of the hospital’s rooftop, a young girl pulled him aside and dragged him to watch some movies with her. That girl was Eri, and she had some ideas about what Yuta’s sophomore film could be.

Meeting EriImage: VIZ

Review

Something that I’ve always appreciated about Fujimoto’s work is his strong character writing. Coming from Chainsaw Man, he’s shown that he can create and meaningfully develop characters even within such an absurd plot. With “Goodbye, Eri” being a much more grounded story, the focus is fully on the growing relationship between Yuta and Eri. Fujimoto brings these characters to life through a story that beautifully blends reality and fiction. Whether it’s through their conversations or a montage of dates, the story gets very intimate with expressing the little quirks of these two odd characters. “Goodbye, Eri” also feels like Fujimoto’s most personal work to date, as Yuta reflects the mangaka’s own lifelong passion for films.

As much as I adore Fujimoto's writing, his art direction in this manga is truly something special. Most of “Goodbye, Eri” is told through four horizontal panels per page to simulate Yuta’s perspective as he films on his phone. While the paneling looks simple on paper, it toys with your perception of reality within the story. There’s a scene early in the manga where Yuta gets scolded by his teacher. The panels are framed in a way that it looks like Yuta positioned his phone somewhere in the room to record the conversation. This subtle artistic treatment makes you question if what you’re reading is happening in the story’s reality or if it’s just another part of Yuta’s movie magic. If you look at the whole story as part of Yuta’s movie, it’s ironic that his schoolmates consider such beautifully framed panels as bad filmmaking. Regardless of what you believe that’s happening within the pages, Fujimoto’s art makes “Goodbye, Eri” feel more like you’re watching a film than reading a manga.

While Fujimoto is known for delivering bombastic action scenes, “Goodbye, Eri” showcases how nuanced he can be in using facial expressions to tell a story. There are plenty of scenes where multiple panels hold a static shot of characters just having a conversation. These conversations can run for several pages with only minute changes in their faces from panel to panel. Even when the characters speak very little, Fujimoto's art still manages to say so much.

Yuta and Eri watching moviesImage: VIZ

Final Thoughts 

At just about 200 pages, “Goodbye Eri” takes you on a concise and emotional journey that makes you laugh, cry, and say “wtf” in equal parts. It's a beautifully made oneshot that showcases the strange and endearing brilliance of Tatsuki Fujimoto's creativity. For a story with plenty of emotional twists, “Goodbye, Eri” leaves a big impact once you turn its final page.

Why You Should Read Goodbye, Eri

  • It’s a short, sweet, and heartwrenching story about love and movies
  • Fujimoto’s character writing shines through
  • It’s told from a unique perspective 
  • Beautifully detailed facial expressions
TAGGED: Viz
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