The combination of many artistic techniques rarely seen in manga makes Tatsuki Fujimoto’s one shot Goodbye, Eri special and impressive above all.
After an emotional “Look Back”, Tatsuki Fujimoto (the creator of Fire Punch, Chainsaw Man) is back with another one shot called “Goodbye, Eri”. This may be because I personally like Fujimoto’s storytelling, but I think Goodbye, Eri is my favorite one shot of all Fujimoto’s works to date.
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1. Main idea
After reading Goodbye, Eri, readers will realize that Tatsuki Fujimoto just told a very very simple story: Yuta – a teenager who was assigned by his mother to record the last moments of her life. And when he showed the resulting film to the entire school, the reaction was so critical that it led Yuta to suicidal thoughts. At this point, Eri, a stranger who claims to have watched thousands of movies, thinks Yuta’s filmmaking mindset has potential and is worth developing. Eri wishes Yuta would make another such good movie. After many long months, the two have completed a wonderful film that cannot be “erased from memory”. It’s just that it’s always lacking a bit of “fantasy” – Eri had always said that until Yuta realized…
All the hallmarks of Fujimoto’s authorship are here: enigmatic female characters, gorgeous art style, cinematic frames that you’d expect the series to be. The manga gets an anime adaptation. More importantly, a sense of humor to the point of being crude but incredibly charming.
Fujimoto has always shown his talent in capturing the mundane beauty of everyday life with its messy and fast-paced spin. Goodbye, Eri is a one shot that combines the rhythm and visual language of Look Back, Fire Punch and Chainsaw Man. All in all, it really feels like a great encapsulation of all that’s good in Fujimoto’s storytelling. There’s something about the way Goodbye, Eri messes with the reader and takes them on an emotional roller coaster ride. It was all so real that I couldn’t help but be captivated by the frankness of the story.
I love the topic of how the media manipulates modern people in Goodbye, Eri. It is both manipulative and a powerful tool for dealing with the complex emotions of today’s people. Fujimoto understands on a profound level the human emotion in a way that very few other storytellers can. Goodbye, Eri takes you through all of the horrible and happy events in the life of a strange character and at times you start to think to yourself “which of these events is real? ?”
There’s always no definite ending in most of Fujimoto’s one shot, at least in my opinion. The ending obviously doesn’t matter, or maybe, Fujimoto wants you to be the one reading the story so feel the way you want. Saying that doesn’t mean Goodbye, Eri tells a vague story. Obviously it’s on purpose, the more you read, the more you make sense of everything. But it only gets you to the point near the end, leaves an impression on the reader and then leaves them to think for themselves however they like.
2. The Art of Repetition
Another interesting thing I would like to mention is Fujimoto’s use of “repetition” in his one shot stories. While I’m not sure if there are any interviews where the author explains the reasons for using this narrative, it’s clear that it leaves quite an impression. In my opinion, Fujimoto uses repetition in his manga for two things. The first reason is to evoke a feeling of nostalgia in the reader’s heart. Second, repetition is there to enhance the realism of a particular scene, immersing the reader more deeply into the lives of the characters.
Let’s take this page as an example:
The change in Eri’s face is so subtle that at a glance, you sometimes won’t be able to notice. However, small changes in expression are picked up by your brain and registered. At some point, you’ve seen slight variations in the two main characters’ emotional expressions, and while your sane mind can’t explain why, those images have subconsciously created impression in memory.
The frequency of the use of repetition art is greatly increased by Fujimoto in the segments where the two main characters watch the movie together. They are also extremely long. It’s strange that there are dozens of continuous frames of Eri and Yuta just sitting there, looking at the reader, sometimes blinking, tilting their heads and… silent. And it’s also strange that we are always tempted to continue reading with a mindset of wondering what these static scenes mean, why does the author emphasize them so much? A sense of mystery always pervades until the end of the story, which gives weight to every word the two main characters say to each other. I believe you won’t want to miss them!
3. The art of imitating camera shake and fixed frame layout
Another factor that I would like to bring up is how effectively Fujimoto mimics the image shake effect of smartphone cameras. It might be easier for the anime to depict the effect, but conveying that “shaking” motion into a static manga page is a whole different story. Fujimoto has done it brilliantly with the choice of a simple 4-frame-a-page rectangular frame – a rarity in manga. The layout of the story frames in Goodbye, Eri reminds me a lot of the Land of the Lustrous series.
Fujimoto mimics the feel of a smartphone camera through things like often blurred close-ups or selfies, or even aimlessly turning once someone isn’t looking into the lens. There are also bokeh effects, the same way a camera would. It’s such a simple thing, but works really well with a storyboard layout like this. It feels like watching a film reel that Fujimoto himself takes real pictures and then just redraws them.
Fujimoto continues his trend of bringing “odd” types of people into his stories. Fujimoto’s characters are usually quite one-dimensional and think quite… negative. Especially with the theme of a teenager assigned to record the last moments of his dying mother’s life, it makes the first minutes of reading the story even heavier. But all the characters are so well represented, as the story goes on you really don’t know any of them are acting and vice versa. You feel like you’re looking at them through the prism of the smartphone Yuta uses, but at the same time it doesn’t feel like that.
With that said, the lives of the Yuta and Eri are purely fictional and any emotions we feel from them are purely one-sided. The big theme of manga is often how creators put a lot of heart into their work and embellish it as a way to deal with their own complex emotions. It’s a weird kind of socialization because the creators themselves don’t represent who they really are, it’s just an idealized (or incomplete) version they want the audience to see.
Goodbye, Eri is a beautiful story about media influence. The idea of ”getting to know someone” never really met and the fragile beauty of life that people try to capture through film. Combined with a unique performance with many artistic tricks rarely seen in manga, it makes Goodbye, Eri by Tatsuki Fujimoto more special and impressive than all of the author’s previous works. If you’ve been waiting for Chainsaw Man Ss2 and love Tatsuki Fujimoto’s storytelling, what are you waiting for without trying Goodbye, Eri?
>>> See more: Look Back excellently portrays the most touching and heartbreaking story in the manga/anime industry
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