Drip Drip is traumatic, graphic, and an extremely well-explored take on love and sexual intimacy. A manga one-shot from Paru Itagaki, the creator of Beastars, Drip Drip is a very human story that showcases Itagaki’s skill in handling darkness, emotion, and more. The one-shot is published in English by VIZ Media through their Signature imprint. The VIZ Signature Edition is translated by Tomo Kimura, and features an English Translation from Shaenon K. Garrity, with touch-up art and lettering by Stephen Dutro.
Embodying folklore elements and horror, as well as romance, Mako Higari has become a myth in her town. A bleeding woman with “drip drip,” blood coming from her. In a graphic image. The one-shotbegins with a young schoolgirl, Mako, shoving her face into a trash can, blood erupting from her face. A jarring way to open a one-shot, the context makes it even more intricate and unnerving. When Mako comes in contact with something she perceives as dirty, she gets a massive nosebleed. Drilled into her by her mother who made her obsessively clean with bleach, everything from her body to money, Mako can’t live a normal life.
That thing is, she desperately wants to, or specifically, she wants the physical intimacy and relationship she can only have with a loving partner. Trying to sleep with the men around her, she takes them back to a motel, bleaches herself clean, and tries to get over hang-ups. But two bodies meeting isn’t a sure romantic experience. When touching alone makes her nose bleed, sex paints rooms and her partner with blood. And the fact that she can only seem to meet sleazy creeps makes it all the worse.
This is a focused and explicit one-shot that explores sexual encounters, how we construct people as good or bad, or in this case clean or dirty, and ultimately, the way love can be a tool of manipulation as much as a way to grow. There is a lot to love about Itagaki’s exploration of connection and striving to disprove your mental illness, but it’s superb because of how it comes back to focus on Mako in a positive light. Throughout the one-shot, Mako wants to undo the trauma her mother caused her and stop the bleeding. She wants to be normal, but in the end, love isn’t something you find in other people.
Drip Drip is a truly stunning work. Paru Itagaki embraces intimacy, sexuality, mental illness, and ultimately the way we form connections and she does this by rooting her narrative deep in horror elements. The way that Itagaki is able to spin an urban legend and give Mako a mythic quality throughout all of the blood fountains, misfortune, and even joy is so extremely unique. Itagaki never once loses sight of her heroine’s agency, and instead of having her change who she is, Itagaki gives Mako the assurance that her nose has never in fact been wrong. Beautiful as it is haunting, Itagaki’s storytelling is on another level than anything I’ve read this year.
Drip Drip is available October 18, 2022 wherever books are sold both physically and digitally.
Drip Drip is a truly stunning work. Paru Itagaki embraces intimacy, sexuality, mental illness, and ultimately the way we form connections and she does this by rooting her narrative deep in horror elements. The way that Itagaki is able to spin an urban legend and give Mako a mythic quality throughout all of the blood fountains, misfortune, and even joy is so extremely unique.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.