Paru Itagaki – known for her award-winning manga Beastars, has a new non-manga titled “Drip Drip” – but this time the main characters are humans. Since we got used to seeing Beastars everywhere during its 21-volume run, I was rather curious to see how Drip Drip would turn out – this is actually the first time I saw the mangaka draw a human. It’s interesting to note that some characters have seemingly animal characteristics and that kind of gives a nudge to her most popular work. But this is not to say that Drip Drip is a cheap copy counting on Beastars’ success to propel it. No, the story is truly beautiful and filled with allegorical interpretations and open-ended outcomes.
The Premise of Drip Drip
Drip Drip follows the story of an extremely germaphobic woman Mako Higari, who gets a massive nosebleed whenever she touches something “dirty.” Unfortunately for her, the objects she perceives as dirty are very common everyday items – such as money. Being touched by random people also triggers her condition. Because of this, Mako has a hard time forming intimate relationships – trying to sleep with men causes them to flee in horror after being covered in blood.
As a woman approaching her early 30s, Mako feels like she’s missing out. She has been unable to have sex and relationships. Most of the time, she tries to overcome her situation by trying to sleep with almost every man she can find. Whether it’s her co-worker or a man she just met in the bank, Mako literally tries to sleep with everyone. To one extent, she even took down an old building just to trap herself and a random guy walking across just to get a shot at love and physical touch.
Her desperate attempts lead to her being viewed as a “dripping woman” who is often covered in blood and on a rampage. However, her luck turns around and she reconnects with her high school friend Ryunosuke. The two end up hooking up and Mako finally loses her virginity – a happy ending, as one would say. But the tables turn and Mako’s life is once again shaken to the core after she learns about Ryunosuke’s true personality.
Somewhat Weird, But Impactful
Was this a way for the mangaka to imply that all men in Mako’s world are disgusting and filthy animals? Perhaps, but jokes aside, Mako’s hopeless romantic personality keeps this story going. She struggles with her condition and she is shunned by the community she lives in, so she settles for less than what she deserves. Psychological elements of the story provide a thought-provoking insight the modern society, especially when it comes to single women who are open with their sexuality.
The nosebleed aspect is very weird but also a clever one: nosebleeds in anime and manga are generally associated with sexual feelings (a common trope, especially in older manga). Yet here the nosebleed represents a completely different thing and it is happening to a woman, as opposed to the turned-on male character who is ogling a female interest. Beastars also dealt with similar topics, so it is not really a surprise to see Drip Drip go in this direction while seemingly focusing on something else. The story is short, but the topics it covers and the art style manage to make it very impactful. When you combine it with the disgusting nosebleed factor, it definitely gets seared into your memory.
English release of Drip Drip is available to purchase in VIZ Media.
© Paru Itagaki / NIHONBUNGEISHA
Anime Corner received a review copy of Viz Media’s release of the Drip Drip manga for review purposes.
Additional writing, editing by Tamara Lazic.