cover image Boy’s Abyss

Boy’s Abyss

Ryo Minenami, trans. from the Japanese by John Werry. Viz, $12.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-974736-68-3

Minenami (Hatsukoi Zombie) lends an elegant drawing style to soap opera–level last-chance love drama in this manga. Reiji feels like he has nothing to live for: he’s trapped in a backwater town, forced by his stressed-out mother to take care of his sick grandma and shut-in older brother. His luck seems to turn, though, when he meets Nagi Aoe, the leader of rising pop group Acrylic, who is, oddly, working at a convenience store. When he unloads his woes on her, Nagi abruptly and flirtatiously proposes a suicide pact as “a cool way to go.” First, though, she suggests, “Wanna come over to my place?” Their intense, mortality-inflected sexual tension (and explicit sex scenes) are shot through with angsty dialogue—and then Nagi’s husband appears. The drama keeps pages turning, though Reiji’s passivity and overwhelming life circumstances can feel almost too perfectly miserable. Nagi’s allure comes across in Minenami’s delicate rendering—with Reiji’s best friend Chako a cute, spunky foil (and better-realized character). This meet-cute gets darkly erotic about the will to live—and love. This one’s for adult readers, but those who were formerly moony teens will swoon. (Apr.)