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Manga / Boy's Abyss

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"Your life is your life"

Reiji Kurose has had a hard life. His mother is torn between looking after his senile grandmother and NEET older brother; he's being bullied by his former childhood friend; and worst yet he feels listless and anxious in his small countryside town. While he figures he can get by living like that, everything changes once he meets his favorite idol, Nagi—and she offers him a way out in death.

Shounen no Abyss, also known as Boy's Abyss, is an ongoing manga written by Ryo Minenami (previously known for Hatsukoi Zombie and Himegoto - Juukyuusai no Seifuku). The manga currently runs in Weekly Young Jump, and has been there since 2020.


Boy's Abyss provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Very few parents in the series are all that great to their children. Reiji's childhood was contaminated with a physically abusive father and he's been manipulated and groomed into a passive and dependent young man by his mother for his whole life; Chako's parents don't care for her beyond her good academic standing with her father hitting her after her date with Reiji gets found out; and even Yuko and Esemori had rotten childhoods thanks to their parents.
  • Adults Are Useless: Practically every adult in Reiji's life is worse than useless. They're actively harmful and toxic towards Reiji. The parents of the other kids aren't much better; Chako's father washes his hands of her and her mother goes along with whatever he says, for example.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Chako eventually tries to sleep with Reiji in an act of desperation, feeling like his unwillingness to have sex with her compared to Nagi and Shibasawa meant that he didn't look at her as a woman. Reiji explains that he considers her special because she hasn't had sex with him yet, but also warns her that he'll stop giving her special treatment the moment they do.
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  • Barefoot Suicide: Several times both Reiji and Nagi are barefooted on the bridge talking about committing suicide together and almost do.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Thoroughly disappointed and disgusted by Ms. Shibasawa's behavior, Reiji tells her that he would like "Ms. Shibasawa" the teacher back instead of "Yuri" the lover. She answers this request by going to Chako's school and reporting her near-sexual assault of Reiji to them, under the guise of a good teacher protecting her student.
  • Driven to Suicide: Almost every character in the series has thought of this or attempted this over circumstances in their life that gives them a seemingly hopeless future. A famous novel in the story called Spring's Coffin, which is about two lover's double suicide due to the village not approving of their love.
  • Dysfunction Junction: None of the named characters in the town can considered well-adjusted or truly happy with currently life. Many are deeply troubled individuals that mask their feelings as they go about their daily lives.
  • Elemental Motifs: Water. The town's biggest attraction is a river that acts as the set piece for an infamous town suicide and the backdrop of Esomori's most famous book; rain is a constant presence in the story; and more than once water relates to the animal imagery of fish, best associated with Nagi, Reiji, and those on the volume covers.
  • Extreme Doormat: According to Esomori, Nagi is actually an extremely dark example of this. Due to the fact that she doesn't know how to live for herself, she will basically capitulate to any demand made of her until somebody else steps in to override that initial commitment. Even her Sexless Marriage to Esomori only happened in the first place because he basically asked her point blank to marry him, which Nagi accepted without a hint of resistance.
  • Generation Xerox: A lot of Esomori and Yuko's backstories are mirrored in Reiji's. Like Esomori, he has a chubby glasses wearing female friend who wants to support him, doesn't have a good relationship with his schoolmates, got bullied on the regular, and was a withdrawn, passive boy. Like Yuko, his older brother doesn't have a good relationship with his parents and isolated himself, his mother is always working, and his father was abusive.
  • Incest Subtext: Yuko is never actively incestuous to Reiji, but as we slowly learn over the course of the series, her obsession with him can rival a lover's sometimes. Everything she's done up to this point was part of a twisted desire to keep him in the town with her, and she fully intended on dying together with him akin to a lover's suicide. She gets pissed off when Reiji calls out for Nagi before he stabs himself, and Esomori pretty much confirms that she was using Reiji as a substitute for himself when he couldn't die with her as teens.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: What makes Shibasawa so effective as a toxic influence is the fact that she's right about a lot of the things she says to Reiji. She agrees with the notion that he needs to get out and away from the town, that Reiji thinks too little of his entire living situation, and that he needs help. However, she thinks that all can be fixed if he simply stays by her and never pursues other girls.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Played for Drama. Everybody in the story uses someone else as this, but nobody is better off for it. Reiji has expectations put upon him by his mother, Yuri, Gen, and even Chako for various reasons, but he feels used and unseen for this, eventually realizing how much everyone relies on him emotionally. He also unknowingly does this to Nagi; As Esomori puts it, Reiji never asked Nagi what was troubling her, and only came to her when he was in need of comfort.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Ms. Shibasawa goes from a mild mannered teacher who feels the mild need to get married, to a full blown toxic manipulator who wants to keep Reiji for herself and "save" him from his depressing life after they have sex for the first time.
  • Love Triangle: Reiji's childhood friend Chako likes him and wants to leave their hometown together. Reiji likes her back and also wants to go together to a university in Tokyo. While his homeroom teacher/girlfriend Ms. Shibasawa falls for him hard enough to get Yandere over him, stalking him and refusing to accept his break-up attempt with her. Meanwhile, he dismisses them both for his infatuation with Nagi.
  • Red String of Fate: One cover has Nagi and Reiji connected to one.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Reiji goes over to Nagi to confess all of his anxieties, he is framed in shadow. It's meant to invoke his confessional game with Chako, where both wear cloth over their faces so they can safely confess their worries. As Reiji took off his cloth and left before he could ever tell Chako anything, his obscurity here shows that he feels safer talking to Nagi about things.
  • Small Town, Big Hell: The manga takes place in a small countryside town, but it is a dreary, soul sucking place. The residents don't take kindly to outsiders and bully them relentlessly, their biggest tourist attraction is a river where two lovers committed suicide together, and it seems like everyone is up in each other's business, as they are wary of the main character because of his mother's promiscuous background and abusive father. Everyone stuck there wants to either leave or make the most of their situation, but they get by on doing this my developing toxic, codependent relationships with each other.
  • Small Town Boredom: The story loves to play with the idea that the town itself is a soul-sucking place. There is very little to enjoy there besides a convenience store and one tourist attraction, the population is aging, and the youth is either unmotivated or trying their hardest to get out of town when they have the opportunity.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: There is no one to really turn to in their town. Reiji couldn't get any help dealing with his toxic household, his abusive father had to be run off by the local gang rather than the authorities, and other signs of domestic abuse, like Shibasawa's financial and emotional hold on him and Chako's father's abuse of her mother, go quietly past the rest of the town.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Shibasawa, at first, struck up a sexual relationship with Reiji that was only to last until he graduated high school, but as she grows more obsessed with him we see that she really does crave his affection, but justifies it with her martyr complex.
  • Victim Blaming: Gen tries to guilt Reiji into staying in town by naming him as the root cause for his mother's prostitution.
  • Wham Line: When Rei's older brother makes his first present-day onscreen appearance, his immediate response to Yuko coming home is to beg her to allow him to use the bathroom on his own. This immediately implies that his Manchild outbursts in the earlier chapters weren't him being a spoiled older brother— he was instructed to be so by Yuko, for whatever reason.
  • Wham Shot: Gen has one when he's shown in his room—it's filled with all the cigarette boxes he forces Reiji to buy for him, and he cradles the latest one affectionately, hinting that his behavior towards Reiji is much more than a friend turned bully.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Chapters 49 and 50 focus on Esomori's adolescence, and how he came to fall in love with Yuko.
  • Yandere:
    • Ms. Shibasawa slowly becomes a rare analytical version. When she becomes obsessed, she stalks her student/sex friend Reiji Kurose, constantly tries to persuade him to leave his family and friends behind so he can live with her. However, she knows that her behavior will come off as inappropriate, so her attempts to isolate Reiji include taking official means and convincing others to rid of her perceived threats to their 'relationship'. When he attempted to break up with her, she invited his mother to a parent teacher-conference in an attempt to separate them by having him agree to go to an outside university. Shibasawa also destroyed Chako's last ticket out of town by informing her school of her attempted sex attempt on Rei, which kicks Chako out of the student council program she needed to qualify for a prestigious university and demolishes her teacher's recommendation for said school. Even Shibasawa's bold and blatantly suspect move of attempting to buy Reiji outright from his mother for ten million yen, comes with the caveat that the mother must use some of the money to find a facility or shelter for Reiji's grandmother and older brother respectively as well as move out of their original home. This plot ensures that whatever family ties or concerns keeping Reiji bound to the town are safely severed, leaving herself as the only person in his life he can lean on.
    • A non-romantic example is Gen, Reiji's childhood friend, when he learns that Nagi tried to have a double suicide with Reiji but was Interrupted Suicide. He threatened her, telling her to stay away from him and to leave. Gen told her that he won't allow Reiji to leave, not even by dying and that Reiji was his. He keeps a pile of cigarette packs in his bedroom when he forces Reiji to buy for him every morning.
    • Reiji's own mom gives off vibes of this, considering she stabs herself after he does while saying they'll always be together.

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