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This review is written by Justice
Paru Itagaki, the mangaka of the popular series Beastars, already hooks an onlooker with the title of Drip Drip. When discussing the physical side of this release by Viz's Signature line, the human mind is automatically attracted to the onomatopoeia (the sound of blood dripping). The cover and spine of this manga are clean, smooth, and include the unique art style of Itagaki-sensei. It is safe to say that Viz's release of Drip Drip has lived up to the aesthetic that their Signature line carries. However, as the classic saying goes, you cannot judge a book by its cover.
Without spoilers, Drip Drip is a story about self-discovery, loving oneself, and the overcoming of a personal trauma. The main protagonist, Mako Higari, is unable to touch something she sees as dirty due to the fact that she proceeds to get a "nasty" nosebleed after touching said dirty "thing" (object, human, or otherwise). This unusual condition makes it nearly impossible for her to have a stable social life. Mako's greatest wish is to have an intimate relationship with someone. The story of Drip Drip relays Mako's struggles with this condition and all of the ways she tries to overcome it, even though she sometimes takes two steps forward and one step back. It is an appealing premise because we as humans will have, if not already, these same personal trials in one way or another.
As for the evaluation side of this review I, like many others, have some thoughts. I have a unique point of view on this manga as I have not read Itagaki Sensei's most popular work Beastars, so this review will be a fresh take on Itagaki-sensei's story writing and art style. The art style of Drip Drip is very similar to what I have seen of Beastars on social media. I will preface the upcoming passage by saying that the overall theme I attribute to this manga is "It might be off-putting for some people." The characters look almost humanoid as they have distinct human traits, but also an artistic flare that separates these character designs from those of other well-known mangakas such as Inio Asano, Jiro Taniguchi, and Minoru Furuya (who are all known for their realistic human designs). However, I do not see this as a hindrance as the expressions of the characters are clear, and the art itself can be both beautiful and rugged.
As for the story, as I stated earlier, it may be off-putting for some people. Drip Drip has a presence that reminds me of works like Downfall, Nijigahara Holograph, and The Karman Line. The summary seems straightforward, but the execution and writing of the story are done in a way that many may dislike. The characters all have a bizarre trait in one way or another; our main character is sometimes hard to root for, and the end arrives relatively quickly too. These factors prevent the reader from finding solid ground while reading. Drip Drip's reviews online are pretty mixed as well, and like the stories I mentioned earlier, it would not be a stretch to call this work a bit esoteric. That being said, I would not call Drip Drip a "bad" or "mid" work of art. Like all esoteric works, Drip Drip may not appeal to the masses, but this is also what makes it special. The subject matter already requires a reader to analyze the characters and how they go about their interactions. Due to the eccentric nature of Drip Drip, a reader must truly think and try to find the reason behind a character's nature.
In regards to the pacing issues, this is a one-shot after all. It is EXTREMELY hard to get attached to or even feel any feelings towards characters in one-shot stories. This is due to the nature of a one-shot story. They are often short and do not have enough time to create a deep backstory and fluid worldbuilding. That is why Drip Drip, and one-shot stories in general, try to get the reader to understand the general lesson or idea that the story is attempting to convey.
To put it simply, one could read this manga, finish it in roughly twenty-five minutes, and say to themselves "…ok… it was alright". However, the reader who takes their time to contemplate character motivation, and the human psyche in general, may find a deeper meaning in the life of Mako Higari, and the story of Drip Drip. This immersive reader may see genius in the unique story that Itagaki-sensei has created or not… stories, reviews, and experiences are subjective and different after all ;)
PS: Also, the 1 chapter long shot story at the end is one of my favorite parts. It is very wholesome, you should read it
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Whenever Mako Higari comes in contact with something she perceives as dirty, she gets a massive nosebleed. How can she find a loving partner and commit to a meaningful intimate relationship when just touching another person makes her bleed out? Especially when most of the men she meets are sleazy creeps! Her first challenge might be learning to love herself… Plus, a short story starring Santa Claus as we've never seen him before!Add to CartLearn More