Manga Review: Boy’s Abyss

Details: Currently ongoing. Also known and Shounen no Abyss and 少年のアビス

Score: 7.2/10

Boy’s Abyss is a heavy, emo drama mostly about depression and suicide. It’s also got a lot of nudity in it. However, this is one of those stories where the nudity pales in comparison to the subject matter discussed. This is a sad story about people trapped in their circumstances and how being trapped can have extreme effects on people’s behavior.

Boy’s Abyss is about a high school student stuck in a dead end town in Japan. His family has no money. His grandmother is senile and needs constant attention. His father is no where to be found. His brother is a thirty year old shut in. And all these people are being supported by a mother who is just scarping by financially and emotionally. The student also has his own troubles as he is constantly bullied and will likely need to drop out of school to work and support his family. The protagonist fears he will forever be trapped in this abyss. One day, he bumps into a girl who asks him if he’d like to commit suicide with her. As the plot progresses, we learn about the abyss within many of the town’s residents.

This is a deeply depressing story. What’s interesting is that it reminded me a lot of independent movies from the United States. Many indie films cover the same type of subject matter like sadness and depression. There’s just something very artistically attractive about a story involving suicide and depression. Boy’s Abyss feels like one of these stories and follows very similar beats to one of these indie dramas.

The other interesting aspect is that there is quite a bit of nudity and sex in this manga. However, this story is one of the few times where I felt the sex and nudity actually served a narrative purpose. Sex in this story is simply an escape, a minor detour down the road of depression. For some characters, life is meaningless, so sex is just about as meaningless and numbing as any other action they can take in their lives. Most interestingly, sex is often engaged in only when the characters in this story hit absolute rock bottom. Instead of something relating to pleasure or joy, it’s often used in this story as a symbol of despair. When these characters have absolutely nothing else in life to look forward to, sex becomes the only thing left.

The art is fine, but it’s the plot that matter.

Overall, I enjoyed this story but was affected by it. It’s a sad story with really sad characters. There’s smut and sex here, but it’s depressing because sex is the only way out for these characters who have no way out. And yet, there’s an ordinary-ness to it all. It’s a very suburban look at depression and sadness. Even though these characters are suffering, they aren’t suffering in the way a child starving to death in a third world country is suffering. These characters are trapped in a way people from first world countries are trapped, which is not horrifically painful, but still sad in a quiet and relatable way.

TV Show Review: Rick and Morty, Season 4

Details: Official site is https://www.rickandmorty.com/

Score: 7.3/10

Rick and Morty recently finished its latest season and it’s about as good as it’s always been. Which is to say this season was great.

For those unaware of this show, Rick and Morty is a animated comedy that is meant for adult audiences. It stars Rick (the smartest man in the universe) and Morty (his grandson) and the adventures they get in. It is a very referential show that constantly draws from pop culture for its jokes. Specifically, it heavily relies on references to science fiction.

Overall, if you enjoy adult, potentially offensive humor and have a broad knowledge of science fiction oriented pop culture, this show is for you. This fourth season continues the success of the prior seasons and is as entertaining as everything that came before.

If I could have only one complaint, it’s that many of the jokes get too meta, too fourth wall breaking, and too self reverential. In many of the episodes, there is a sense that the show is often praising or admiring its own brilliance… which isn’t funny or fun to watch. I hope the show stays humble and spends less time in the future analyzing itself. There’s a balance between low brow toilet humor and needlessly complex jokes meant as commentary on story structure. Somewhere in the middle is where I’d like the show to be.

Comic Book Review: Punisher Max (2010)

Details: Written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Steven Dillon. More information of the collection can be found at https://www.marvel.com/comics/collection/49254/punisher_max_by_jason_aaron_steve_dillon_omnibus_hc_hardcover

Score: 7.4/10

Punisher Max is another very adult tale about the character of Frank Castle. Unlike Ennis’ run, Aaron’s tale of The Punisher incorporates very adult, realer versions of Marvel Universe characters.

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Comic Book Review: The Punisher (2004)

Details: Mostly written by Garth Ennis, but there are multiple writers and artists on this comic book run. All the issues are collected in six volumes/collections. More information about volume one can be found at https://www.marvel.com/comics/collection/67027/punisher_max_by_garth_ennis_vol_1_hardcover

Score: 7/10

Garth Ennis has largely made his name by writing extremely violent, gore filled comic books. It’s fitting then that he write The Punisher, one of the most violent characters that ever existed.

Additionally there is some confusion with The Punisher (2004) and Punisher Max since they are both named similarly and part of the MAX line of comic books. The Punisher was written by Ennis where Punisher Max was written by Jason Aaron. This is a review of the books written by Ennis.

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Comic Book Review: The Boys

 

The above trailer is for the show, not the comic book. This is a review for the comic book.

Details: Written by Garth Ennis. Initially published in 2006. There are seventy-two issues. More information can be found at https://www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/viewProduct.html?CAT=DF-The_Boys and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boys_(comics)

Score: 7/10

The Boys is a very adult series that indulges in constantly showing nudity, sex and graphic violence. The subject matter also lightly touches upon issues such as race, politics, and religion. At its core, this is a raunchy series that seeks to tell a very adult parody of a superhero comic book universe.

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