Goodbye, Eri is an outstanding piece of literature that takes the readers on a journey of emotional turmoil and it does so with a remarkable beauty.
Goodbye, Eri follows the story almost entirely through the lens of a camera. Written by Tatsuki Fujimoto, Goodbye, Eri explores the themes of complex human relationships, loss, and of resilience with a great deal of sensitivity and depth.
It is a story about a boy tasked with filming the last moments of his dying mother. After her passing, Yuuta, her son, complies with her life into a movie to screen at his school.
Following the backlash caused by his film, Yuuta decides to take his own life and in the process of doing so meets a girl named Eri. Captivated by his film, Eri asks Yuuta to make a film of her that could blow his previous work out of proportion.
Goodbye, Eri stands out as a manga that breaks the boundaries of traditional storytelling with its cinematic narrative and masterful panelling. Much more than a mere manga, it resembles a captivating movie unfolding before our eyes.
Through clever techniques, the author, Fujimoto, skillfully utilizes blurry line art, speed dashes, and limited panelling to create a visual experience that mimics the dynamic nature of motion blur and the perspective of a camera recording a scene.
Narrative and Direction:
One of the manga’s most outstanding features is its innovative panelling. Fujimoto’s expert use of repetitive panels from the same perspective brings a sense of continuity and depth to the storytelling.
Goodbye, Eri excels in its ability to immerse readers through meticulous detailing and nuanced visual storytelling. With a keen eye for capturing subtle changes in character expressions, Fujimoto employs multiple panels and closeups to gradually unveil the emotional depth of the story.
Additionally, the manga dedicates pages to portray seemingly mundane activities, such as a shared meal, which might be easily overlooked. However, it is these very details that enhance the readers’ immersion in the world of Goodbye, Eri.
An outstanding example of one such moment:
As Fujimoto illustrates in the panels, the people sitting on the far right or left of the screen all have their heads turned to the the direction of the screen. A small detail which many artists just tend to ignore.
Another example was Eri and Yuuta’s father sharing a meal, in that scene, Eri slightly raises her arm to lower the bowl whenever she goes to pick up the food with her chopsticks, and she doesn’t lean while eating it.
Yuuta’s father on the other hand keeps his bowl straight when he picks the food, but he leans his head down a little when he ingests it. In addition to showing their eating mannerisms through repetition, this page also displays an air of tension in the scene.
Yuuta’s father has something to say to Eri, but he has trouble confessing it, while Eri is keenly waiting for the conversation to start, but she is hesitating to speak first.
Fujimoto’s artistic finesse shines through in his portrayal of characters’ expressions. Through close-ups in multiple panels, he masterfully captures the minute variations in their facial features, allowing readers to witness the subtle shifts in emotions.
These gradual changes serve to deepen the connection between the reader and the characters, drawing us further into their personal journeys.
The attention to detail in rendering these expressions is a testament to Fujimoto’s ability to convey complex emotions through visual storytelling.
Goodbye, Eri showcases Fujimoto’s remarkable talent for infusing his illustrations with the authentic feel of a handheld camera. With an astute understanding of cinematography, the manga incorporates artificial blurs, mimicking the visual style of a camera capturing the scene.
It almost feels as if Fujimoto takes screenshots and transforms them into captivating drawings. These clever artistic techniques, inspired by his love for films, are scattered throughout Goodbye, Eri, adding an extra layer of intrigue and visual appeal to the manga.
Story and Characters:
The story is just as captivating as the artwork. Each character’s personality and struggles and portrayed with a vulnerability that it feels impossible not to connect to. Their interactions feel authentic and make the readers feel like they are a part of their lives.
Goodbye, Eri characterizes human emotions with raw honesty. Fujimoto somehow makes unbearable relatable characters.
Characters that make you feel like you know them so well and yet you have never met them. And something about it conflicts with the readers.
It takes them on a rollercoaster of emotions without giving them no context until after the event has already occurred.
This keeps the readers on their toes as they never know what to expect from the story. It is so blunt and direct with its themes that it has a charming quality to it.
Beneath the surface, Goodbye, Eri grapples with profound themes that deeply resonate with the readers, the fleeting beauty of life that we so desperately try to capture through film. It’s also a subtle nod to how the media tries to manipulate emotions but at the same time, how it’s such a strong tool to understand the intricacies of human feelings.
It asks you the question, are you okay with these events occurring? Even though, you know that they are not real.
But you don’t mind if they are real or not, because they are entertaining. It does not matter how your emotions are being manipulated, because the job of the story is to make you feel things.
And at last, is it even a Fujimoto manga if there isn’t something, no matter how small it is, outright bizarre in it? Fujimoto refers to this as adding a ‘pinch of fantasy’ in Goodbye, Eri.
Not only has he always dubbed down on this, but he has also perfected the formula. More than anything, Goodbye, Eri feels like it’s a deeply personal story, a reflection of his own psyche.
Fujimoto’s stories aren’t just black and white drawings, they are living and breathing adventures consisting of shades of grey, all because of how he intertwines fantasy with fiction.
Goodbye, Eri is a powerful and emotionally resonant piece, it leaves you inspired and reminds you of the impact that human relationships and loss can have on your life.
With its captivating characters, evocative writing, and thought-provoking themes, Goodbye, Eri is a testament to powerful storytelling. If Look Back was Fujimoto’s tribute to his love for manga, then Goodbye, Eri is his tribute to his love for movies and storytelling. And perhaps even, a soliloquy about himself.
Suffering from a terminal illness, Yuuta’s mother asks him to film her last moments, which he does. From her radiant smile when she is with her family to the times when sickness ravages her body in the hospital, he records hours upon hours of footage.
After her passing, Yuuta compiles her life into a movie to screen at his school, deciding to add a bit of fantasy to the ending of his film, Dead Explosion Mother, with a literal explosion!
Following the backlash caused by his supposedly tone-deaf portrayal of his mother’s death, Yuuta trudges to the hospital roof to take his own life but there, he meets a girl named Eri.
Captivated by his film, Eri requests Yuuta to make a new one that will blow the previous one out of the water and prove his critics wrong.
The movie they set out to make will stand apart by blurring the line between fact and fiction. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Yuuta film if it didn’t have his personal flavour just a dash of fantasy.