Friday, September 7, 2012

Review DOROHEDORO Volume 7


TRANSLATION: AltJapan Co., Ltd. (Hiroko Yoda + Matt Alt)
ISBN: 978-1-4215-3381-0; paperback; Rated “M” for “Mature”
184pp, B&W, $12.99 U.S., $14.99 CAN

Q Hayashida (Kyū Hayashida) is a Japanese female manga artist. Her best known work is the fantasy manga, Dorohedoro. A seinen comic (adult male demographic), Dorohedoro began publication in 1999 in the manga magazine, Ikki, where it is still being published today.

Dorohedoro is set in two worlds: the Hole and the world of the magic users. People who do not have the ability to wield magic live in The Hole, a dismal city neighborhood. The Hole is also the place where Sorcerers (or “Magic Users”) abduct people to use in their awful black arts experiments.

A young woman named Nikaido hunts and kills sorcerers. Her partner is Caiman, a male mutant with a reptile head and a bad case of amnesia. Caiman chomps down on the head of each sorcerer the duo finds, hoping to discover the one that transformed him. However, this couple has drawn the attention of En, the head Sorcerer and crime boss, who wants them dead.

As Dorohedoro, Vol. 7 begins, Caiman is trying to rescue Nikaido from En’s clutches. In order to break into En’s sprawling estate, he will have to don a disguise and sell President Tanba’s meat pies! And Caiman will need the help of the devil, Asu. Meanwhile, Professor Kasukabe and his companions escape En’s clutches, but drive right into the backwoods trouble of “Hydra Forest.” Now, Shin and Noi have to rescue them.

I have read countless manga that are strikingly similar to other manga, but each usually has its own idiosyncrasies and other elements that make it different from others. The Dorohedoro manga is so strikingly different from every other manga that I have read that I sometimes have trouble believing that it is a manga title, but is rather some strange Eurocomic.

I have noted Dorohedoro’s similarities to such international comics as the works of Moebius and the Jamie Hewlett-drawn Tank Girl comics. However, that does not come close to describing this crazy manga from creator Q Hayashida. I’ll say what I said before, that this is a gumbo of uncanny landscapes, kooky mushrooms, bizarre tattoos, a peculiar rookery of flying devils, and funky meat pies. As the series progresses, however, the characters become more developed, so I want another serving.


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