Hello, and welcome to this week’s manga review of my series I Read It So You Don’t Have To. In this segment, I’m going to review Shonen Jump titles that are fully available on Manga Plus, where you can read official releases for free. I aim to cover whatever fits this criterion in their library, whether I enjoyed it or not. I might compare the titles to well-known series, but it’s to give the reader a taste rather than pitting them against each other. The reviews will contain light spoilers. Hope you can come across a title you might enjoy.
After I made a call for guests to participate in this segment in my previous reviews, Moya from The Moyatorium kindly reached out to me. This is my first time having a guest on my blog, so I’m pretty excited and thank you Moya for making the time to do this in your busy schedule!
Hey, it’s Moya, and it’s my absolute pleasure to be doing this short review here, and I thank Nora for her infinite patience and generosity! It only took me 3 months to do this…
The manga Nora recommended to me was The Sign of Abyss by Maya Takamura, which I went into with zero expectations. Nora had asked me about my preferences, but I decided I wanted to try something totally new that might not have been on my radar! At this point, I’ve finished about a third of the 52 chapters.
It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a shounen/seinen fantasy. It’s not necessarily that I’ve “grown out of it,” but immersing myself in expansive fantasy stories with tons of lore feels like a bit more of a commitment than picking up a quirky slice-of-life. And the thing about something so firmly rooted in its genre is that it has the possibility of being… painfully mediocre?
After the first three chapters of magic and angst, I was frankly expecting to wrap up at Chapter 10 with a lukewarm review, but at this point, I’m quite enjoying what I’m reading.
The Sign of Abyss is a redemption story centered around Jord, a prince who annihilated his city in a childhood accident involving his special power. In a twist of events, he meets Meme, a peppy girl with a history of being used as a human USB for military intelligence (think A Certain Magical Index). The two bond in their quest to revive the lost city in a time of war and unrest.
The characters are kind of tropey, and I occasionally found some events to be questionable, but my experience thus far is rather positive. The story’s structure is familiar, but rather than compare it to a typical shounen/seinen, I feel like its treatment of the “tortured hero” reminds me more of Western YA novels. Instead of making romance a priority, however, the manga offers several strong friendships worth rooting for.
Even though the series had trouble capturing my initial interest, at multiple points, it feels just like the type of dark fantasy I’d daydream about as a teen. Perhaps it scratches a certain itch. If you’re a fan of court politics, redemption tales, or complex magical systems, perhaps The Sign of Abyss is worth a shot!
I’m going to have to read more of it before giving a final verdict, but for now, here’s some essential food for thought: