Almost two thousand years ago, a cavernous abyss was found on a remote island, delighting explorers near and far who had already explored the known world. A shanty town sprung up on the edge of this abyss, and an explorer caste system was created. Several layers of the abyss were explored, but people quickly found out that there were unavoidable sicknesses from ascending, similar to "the bend" on deep sea diving. The farther down one got, the worse the sicknesses get as you ascend. A young orphan named Rico wants nothing more than to become the top explorer, a white whistle. to follow in her mother's footsteps, another white whistle, and discover amazing things inside the abyss. One day, she comes across a robot boy whom she names Reg, and her desire to explore the depths of the abyss becomes a reality.
This story has a really interesting premise and some great world building, but there are so many flaws that it is hard to overlook them and continue reading. Tsukushi repeats the "curses of the abyss" throughout the volume, and I'm not sure that it’s because of the serialization (the fact that this was published originally as individual chapters separate from each other) because this is the only thing that is repeated (usually, character introductions are also repeated so readers can remember who they are). I never understood the "fan service" concept until this title. Fan service is when creators add elements to the story that are guaranteed to please an audience, and usually they're sexual in nature. In this title, several times we see Rico strung up naked as a punishment for not following instructions. Also, when Rico first finds Reg, she reports to the other children what she's found out about him while he's unconscious, including probing his rectum and penis. Reg contemplates his existence as a robot, and pulls open his pants, wondering why he needs that if he's just a robot. None of these were really necessary bits of information that furthered the narrative. Why would a little girl think to probe a robot's private parts in order to learn more about him as a robot?
The art is really interesting. The pages all have a grey hue to them, and the characters are all drawn in a chibi style. The monsters are still frightening, so not everything is cutsy. This whole volume would look great as a watercolor.
It's all very unfortunate that there are so many problems because, while I would like to see what Rico and Reg find in the abyss, I won't be continuing on.
Sara's Rating: 4/10
Suitability Rating: None
Publisher: Seven Seas
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
ISBN: 9781626927735 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 4/10, Manga, Action Adventure
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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