Alan Smithee

Dorohedoro Volume 1 – Review

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I’m taking it that many of you have never heard of the name Q Hayashida before, that’s ok because I’d rather keep this future Masamune Shiro skill level artist all to myself. But if you’re in a market for a fantasy manga set in a seemingly post-apocalyptic world with a main character that has a lizard head, then this is the book for you.

The series takes place in a universe where there are two types of people in the world, those that can use magic and those that are to be victims of magic users.

The people who can use magic live in a world where just about anything abnormal is accepted as normal and wear masks that are crafted by the devil himself. They frequently visit ‘The Hole’ where humanity that has no magic powers or want to hide their powers reside. When they come to The Hole, it’s usually for the purposes of testing their magic on unsuspecting victims that have no defense against their powers.

One such victim is a man who calls himself Caiman. At some time that isn’t determined in this volume, Caiman was a normal person who had a spell cast upon him that turned him into a lizard-headed person complete with head spikes that reflect his mood.

I had no clue that this book’s main character looked this way and was pleasantly surprised because on the cover and for a big chunk of the manga, he hides his appearance by being fully clothed and wearing a gas the only bit of him that you can see is the back of his head.

Caiman is on a mission to track down the person who turned him into the abomination that he is now in order to force them to change him back or in most cases kill them. Upon the death of a magic user, the victims of their spells are restored to their former selves IF they’re still alive.

Accompanying Caiman on his mission to restore himself is his companion Nikaido, the owner of a restaurant in The Hole called the Hungry Bug. Nikaido is a very adept fighter and is apparently a great cook with how often Caiman eats at her establishment.

The story is violent, messy, absurd, and a ton of fun to read. I knew I had something special when on the first page we see Caiman with a magic user in the mouth of his giant lizard head…I won’t tell you why, but it’s not for the reason you might think.

STORY: 95%
ART: 93%

It’s hard for me to describe the art for this manga. It’s a very exacting yet messy, thick-lined and detailed…in other words it’s a living contradiction to itself. But as I said at the beginning of this review, I swear that there are pages where I forgot I was reading Q’s work and felt as if I were reading an Appleseed alternate universe that never made it into publication…her work is just that awesome.

I had a hard time putting this book down and will definitely be picking up the rest of them as soon as I can. This has jumped past Toriko for me as the manga series to read this year, thankfully there’s another 14 of them after this.

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