Minor Spoilers of the first chapters.
Picture it, you are a country bumpkin in a small ass town that will be your grave. You have little to no ambition, father walked out, grandmothers ill requiring around the clock care. You are graduating high school soon, not like It matters. Your mother takes care of her mother and a shut-in son during the day but she needs a break as well right? That is where you come in, providing night shift cover so she can finally get some rest. That is the life you were dealt, there is no way out of it, Reiji Kurose.
Boys Abyss is a publishing series that holy shit, blew my mind. It follows Main Reiji Kurose, a boy that wants to do anything he can to get out of his shit hole town, but as luck has it, that is a taller order than one would expect. Spending the latter days of his High School life listening to J Idol groups and hanging out with his best friend Chako. One evening he is tasked to go to the store to get some chicken for his shut-in abusive brother. Noticing the clerk taking out the trash he decides to help her. Somewhat repaying the kindness she offers Reiji a smoke, even though he doesn’t smoke he accepts it but struggles to light it.
Finding this humorous the clerk leans in with her cigarette, touching the tip of his as it ignites. It is at this moment Reiji gets a good clear look at her face. Standing mere inches from him behind this convenience store in the middle of nowhere is none other than J Idol Nagi Aoe, a beauty in her own right and Reiji’s favorite idol.
Whispering her name she simply replies that even in a small town like this someone knows her, before asking him to keep her whereabouts on the down-low. Agreeing, Reiji begins to make his way back home but is stopped by her once again as she asks a small favor. Would he make some time to show her around this small town she was unfamiliar with? Without giving it as much as a second thought he gleefully agrees and thus starts one of the most psychologically dark series I have read in recent memory.
What Boy’s Abyss does very well is painting the pain that each person carries within this town. And how Reiji being the poor sap in the middle of all of it tries to make the best out of the situation even though he simply wants to shed it all and never come back. This boils to a moment where suicide becomes a valid option, while showing Aoe around town they stop at a bridge. Looking out at the river she tells him about Lover’s Abyss, a location where two lovers forced never to be with one another killed themselves. Being painted in a popular fiction book about the town it has turned into a bittersweet tourist location that Reiji honestly doesn’t seem to care about.
Aoe’s follow up however set the tone for the rest of the series and what a bleak one it is. She acknowledges that Reiji is no one, a victim to a town and situation that will die in the background never obtaining anything. And due to this she offers him an option, die with her. If he, Reiji Kurose commits lovers suicided with a famous idol Nagi Aoe, this boy in the backwoods of Japan would suddenly, be someone much more.
Seeming to take her words to heart Reiji starts on a course of self-destruction that is suddenly stopped by his homeroom teacher Shiba. Promising to save him she does anything in her power to make sure her student is in the right mind, however as Reiji stays with her for a couple of nights it quickly becomes apparent helping a student wasn’t the only thing Shiba was interested in doing. Suddenly in a suicide pact with an Idol and a physical relationship with his teacher more and more compounding stresses pile upon the MC. A love triangle, getting caught up in an affair, discovering his mother’s dark past.
Boy’s Abyss reads a lot like a guy going around town slinging so much depression I wouldn’t be surprised if half the town offs themselves by the end, and I LOVE it. Boy’s Abyss is a very unhealthy look at someone that is a victim of circumstances, literally going to whoever will accept to help him. Sadly, those who do end up putting him in a worse spot as he jumps between two women who want to self destruct. Add in the fact he hates he is stuck in this town and has a childhood friend who wants to do everything possible to get him out of it, makes for some emotionally intense moments.
Overall I really like this series, it’s dark, suspenseful, ascetically pleasing, and just overall enjoyable to read. As of this post, I am on chapter 38 and eagerly waiting for the next volume release giving it a high 7/10.
As always, thanks for the read!