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Review: Dorohedoro (Vol. 04)

Dorohedoro (Vol. 04)

Manga-ka: Q Hayashida
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: August 2011

Synopsis: “Caiman and Nikaido return to the Hole, where Doc and Kasukabe manage to cure Nikaido of her deadly fungal affliction, but a prowler outside Central Hospital is watching and waiting for an opportunity to steal her away. Fujita returns to the Hole to finally kill Caiman himself. He gets close when he’s recruited for a baseball match between Central Hospital and Hole Peace Hospital, but his plans change when he spots an old friend. Meanwhile, in the Sorcerer’s dimension, a little accident transforms Noi into a hideous monster. It’s up to Shin to stop her before she kills everyone.”

Dorohedoro remains a wonderful mixture of delightful humour and ultra violence. It’s one of the best series of the past year and more fans need to be checking out. The franchise continues to counter your expectations as the entire cast indulges in a game of baseball, gives use insight into Shin and Noi’s pasts, and divulges more revelations as we learn about Caiman and Nikaido‘s respective ties to the Sorceror‘s realm. Meanwhile, horrible things continue to occur to Ebisu… or rather because of Ebisu in this volume.

Nikaido and Caiman’s fixation on food continues with several scenes set in restaurants. Most of the cast partakes in some form of eating throughout, whether it’s a delicious recipe to save Noi from killing them all, or a giant cockroach doing the unpleasant things one would expect of him. The series grounds itself in everyday events, making the chaos and horrific events seem mundane in the context of the Hole’s society. Caiman and co. fight for survival, but it’s more of an everyday occurrence, and the villains are never quite as evil as one would expect.

Ebisu in particular comes across as more of a spoiled, ditzy teenage girl, though perhaps that’s more of a sign of her continued magical brain damage. This element of the series comes to the forefront as we learn the sinister yet sympathetic origin of Shin and why he employs a hammer. His familiarity with the Hole becomes clear in this volume also, and his origin is a haunting tale straight out of any revenge manga, yet balanced by softer moments with Noi later on. Well, as soft as you can get with a woman who accidentally gets transformed into a horrifying monster.

Dorohedoro

The baseball game continues the strange breakdown of manga genres in Dorohedoro, which already squeezes in those food manga elements (I’m always hungry after reading it, even with the gore, because those Gyoza dumplings sound good!). With Ebisu and Fujita undertaking a sinister scheme to kill Caiman by joining the opposing team, the series fails yet again to take itself seriously. Like the previous boxing chapter, it still takes the baseball game quite seriously, with Fujita getting distracted from his mission and his and Ebisu’s status as a threat decidedly tossed aside. I continue to enjoy how Hayashida handles her female characters too, with Nikaido’s baseball skills just being a part of who she is. Ebisu continues her strange mixture of cute, evil and awful as she takes on the role of a baseball mascot.

Meanwhile, more mysteries of the series are solved. We get answers about Caiman, the Black Powder and more – yet they’re not quite what we expect, or aren’t as important as what they once seemed. More questions emerge about the characters’ past and relationships, as Hayashida creates a fun, engrossing read. One would of expected her to stretch these elements out, yet instead she deftly balances them and builds upon them, giving me a good feeling we’ll continue to enjoy this series throughout it’s run.

Currently it’s exceeded past ten volumes in Japan. I hope fans will support Viz Media’s edition, which has been solicited through to volume six, so we can continue to enjoy this mixture of food, gore and friendship. The publisher’s presentation continues to be solid. Though there are no colour pages as there were in the previous three volumes, the paper is still above average, thick and white. French flaps add a bit of class to the presentation. Combined with the larger SigIkki trim, it’s an excellent presentation and value, providing a better view of the detailed artwork and priced at just a dollar or two more than the majority of current manga releases.

Q Hayashida’s art continues to astound. Every page is Richard Scary-esque in it’s detail, as the cast scampers about the rundown Hole or explore the Sorceror’s realm, teaming with background characters and objects. The details never become overwhelming, instead presenting themselves in a balanced fashion that adds to the series’ mood and themes.

The excessive strangeness of Dorohedoro combined with the slice of life elements makes for a great experience, a definite break from the usual package of manga tropes. It’ll defy your expectations. Miss Hayashida, we hope you continuing your excellent batting average!

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Book bought from Strange Adventures

Andre Paploo

About the Author:

André is a long time comics and animation fan who draws assorted webcomics like Jeepers, and designed the mascots for the Maritime provinces' anime convention, Animaritime. He has a scary anime collection including about 900 dvd’s and tapes, and has been reading comics for 15 years. Somewhere in there he got an English degree, but spend most of my time now reading comics and fantasy novels. He's a fan of cheesy anime, Disney, X-men stuff, Transformers, and CLAMP.



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One Response

  1. […] of Bokurano: Ours (The Comic Book Bin) Rebecca Silverman on vol. 2 of Border (ANN) Andre Paploo on vol. 4 of Dorohedoro (Kuriousity) Kate Dacey on vol. 1 of Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll (The Manga Critic) Julie Opipari on […]

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