This is a story about a boy who comes down with a strange disease that is slowly killing him, having until his twelfth birthday until he dies. The reason its so strange? Practically everything that the boy sees that can be related to a person, be it their faces, names, pronouns, or anything else, is obscured, as if scribbled out.
However, the boy does not mind that his life is cut short by this disease. In fact, hes thrilled with this idea, for his illness will bring him attention and his death will bring him fame, to the point where the disease will be named after him when he dies. But more importantly, his disease would make him a unique individual. So long as this disease can grant him that individuality he had always wanted, he doesnt care about his life.
And then a girl enters his life. A girl who he could see the face of. A girl who has the same disease he has. To make matters worse, she has a shorter time than he does. This doesnt sit well with the boy. Especially since her death will be more focused on than his. So, he concludes that, in order to preserve his individuality, he must kill her before the disease does.
And thus begins Ill Boy, Ill Girl, a manga written by NisiOisiN and illustrated by Akira Akatsuki, the pair's second team-up since Medaka Box. The manga began in January of 2016 and underwent a monthly serialization in Jump SQ. It officially ended in April 2017, with its fourth collected volume printed in May.
This manga provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Implied to be the case for the girl, given how theyre known serial criminals.
- Ambiguous Situation: Because of how twisted the boy is, its unknown whether he was putting his plan into action and stabbing the girl to death or if she died of the disease and hes just angrily stabbing her corpse.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The girl. While shes very happy and energetic, she manages to have her Ax-Crazy tendencies.
- Establishing Series Moment: The first page pretty much shows that this is not going to be a vanilla Boy Meets Girl kind of story.
- Foil: The boy and the girl have contrasting personalities. The boy is a jaded cynic and tries to use the disease as his own advantage for fame. The girl is more cheerful and upbeat despite having the same disease and her own background.
- Genki Girl: The girl, despite being afflicted with a disease and having a very short life, is very chipper and peppy.
- The Glomp: The girl gives the boy this upon seeing his face.
- How We Got Here: The story opens up with the boy stabbing the girl. The only thing preventing this from being a Foregone Conclusion is whether or not she was already dead by the time he got to stabbing.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Mirroring the diseases nature to obscure names, the chapters dont offer names, but rather different scribbles.
- Ill Girl: The basic premise of the story focuses on these two ill children.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A rather dark take on the trope. The girl has all the makings of one, though her psychotic tendencies and her upbringing put her in the creepy pile.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Discussed in the first chapter when the boy theorizes that if the girl dies before him, hed become a footnote at best while everyone focuses on her death.
- Nameless Narrative: Given the premise of the manga, none of the characters in this manga are named. The people do have names, in-universe, but they are scribbled out.
- The Only One Allowed To Kill You: The boy pretty much has this feeling towards the girl. Hes not even going to let the disease kill her.
- Punny Name: A doctor appears in the fourth chapter and gives the boy a vial of poison. He says to call him Doc, which when spoken in Japanese is similar to doku, which is poison in Japanese.
- Pun-Based Title: Wouldn't be a Nisio series without a pun somewhere. The title's actually pronounced "Shounen Shoujo" in Japanese,note referring to both the nameless protagonists (who've pretty much been referred to as "I" and "That Girl" courtesy of the Boy) and their ailments.
- Talking in Your Sleep: This is what causes the boy to stop his first attempt at murdering the girl: she cries out to mommy and daddy to stop.
- Wham Line: The girl gives an odd order to the nurse to set up a watch for her and the boy. When shes asked why, she says:Isnt it obvious? To make sure I dont kill this cute boy.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Both the boy and girl have until their 12th birthday before they die from their disease.