Drip Drip is a horror comedy manga written and illustrated by Paru Itagaki. It does not compare to the author’s other work, Beastars, in terms of popularity, but Drip Drip (BotaBota) is definitely not a manga that readers should be sleeping on.
With only 9 chapters, Drip Drip is perfect for a quick short read. It made sense to have a “blood dripping” tale on my read-list as Halloween approached.
The manga’s cover art and the protagonish Mako Hiragi’s character design, which is not the usual manga-esque one, caught my attention from the get go.
Is it just me, or is Mako’s design reminiscent of Morticia Addams from the 1992 television show, Addams Family?
Well, for those who are familiar with Itagaki’s art style, the unique designs are nothing new. The art does not stay consistent throughout the manga, swaying back and forth between detailed illustration and messy strokes to give the right feel to the story’s narrative. This is again something that I personally liked a lot.
As I started reading, I realized that Drip Drip is not your run-of-the-mill horror story. Heck, I didn’t even think of categorizing it as horror as I was done reading the second chapter. To me, Drip Drip is a story about a 29-year old woman who wants to get laid, to share her body fluids with someone, to find love and be just like every other person.
What is stopping her you ask? Her nosebleeds. Every time she sees something dirty, the protagonist ends up getting a massive nosebleed which scares people away. And by dirty, I mean anything that’s even remotely dirty.
Take this for instance, she can’t even touch the notes she withdraws from a bank without sanitizing them thoroughly, or kiss a man who just showered, because in her mind the act itself is dirty.
Now picture this. How well would you like being chased down the streets by a naked, bleeding woman with a manic expression on her face? Unless you have some weird fetishes, the answer would be a haughty ‘NO’. And this is the only horror element that the manga has to offer, in the initial chapters.
The bizarreness of her nosebleeds aside, the manga leans more towards humor rather than spooky.
The chapters detail how Mako tries to get over her nosebleed affliction in her own way, and yes, most of them involve jumping straight to the sex, without even the hint of foreplay. Does that explain all the bleeding?
Mako engineers scenarios in order to help her find the love of her life, and most of the time it fails spectacularly, with all her potential suitors ending up horrified by the blood and her obsessiveness.
A scenario that stayed with me was how she tried to recreate the romance from an action movie, and well, as you know by now already, it doesn’t end with Mako getting laid.
At a certain point, it felt that the story was taking a cliched romance route. A damsel in distress finally finding her prince charming. However, the author manages to mix things up a bit here.
Mako’s underlying skepticism, her outlook on relationships and her past are slowly revealed as the story progresses. In retrospect though, some developments could have been handled better and I’d shave a few points off the plot for this.
The climax is the closest the manga ever gets to being scary. The art here, Mako’s depiction in the scenes that lead up to the finale in particular, is just amazing. Can’t fool the nose.
The paneling and the way the manga is drawn makes it easy to breeze past the chapters without any issue. You won’t find yourself getting stuck on information dumps. The composition of some scenes will certainly make you linger there in admiration for a while. It’s simplicity at its best.
With only 9 chapters in the mix, Drip Drip doesn’t offer too much space to properly flesh out characters. I mean, Mako’s outlook just changes abruptly in the climax scene and I found that to be a tough sell. However, you won’t find the characters to be static either, unless you sit down and scratch your head too much about it.
The plot progresses quickly, and the characters too blend in with it. Aside Mako, Tokuma Ryunosuke is the only other character who makes enough appearances throughout to even warrant a proper fleshing out. So, nothing stands out too much here.
To round it up, I’d say that the manga made me laugh more than it made me feel the chills. It’s hard to guess what Paru Itagaki was aiming for with the story. If it was the scares, then Drip Drip desperately fell short.
It lacked all the staple elements of a horror manga. Blood flowing around incessantly did not make up for it. The psychological side of the manga too could have been developed in a better way. However, I guess that’s not what the author was aiming for in the first place.
Drip Drip is more of a manga that explores relationships and its nuances, disguised, albeit in an unsatisfactory manner, as a horror manga. The protagonist’s condition, though surreal, could allude to all those unlikeable traits that people tend to have. Some of these, as depicted in the manga, might end up putting off your partner as you climb the ladder of intimacy.
Though exaggerated and quirky, Drip Drip gives out a very different message towards the end, and it is certainly not your everyday horror story! Should you read it? I’d say, definitely!! Take in the surreal and bizarre setting. It is worth investing a lazy evening on.
Viz Media released Drip Drip’s compiled volume on Oct 18, 2022. Make sure that you check out the Santa bonus story at the end.
Viz Media describes the plot of the manga as follows:
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.
At the end of the volume Itagaki also reveals why she drew this one volume manga, which would explain why Drip Drip manga is a bit rough around the edges.