I Wanna Be Literated #264

I Wanna Be Literated #264

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Sunday, 28 May 2023
BOOKS

Dorohedoro
The Complete Collection (Vol 1-23)
by Q Hayashida

I’ll never stop singing Dorohedoro’s praises. Something about the 2020 anime struck a chord with me with its colorful characters, rich story, and peculiar setting. It’s been years and I still find myself looking up clips of it on Youtube. The anime has only had one season, and looks like it’ll stay that way, so to quench my thirst I turned to the manga. I didn’t know what I was going to find, but I didn’t think things would get so deep.

The story of Dorohedoro is hard to explain and things get even more complex in Q Hayashida’s manga. The anime season that encompasses the manga barely scratches the surface of this layered and complex story. Interestingly, the manga spanned 18 years since its first chapter until the end of the story and, as one would expect, Q Hayashida’s art style develops a lot in that time, from a raw and rough character design to a more polished look which the anime adapts. Characters who look downright evil and perverse get a smoother edge to them, not to mention the consistency from panel to panel. Throughout the span of the book, Q Hayashida’s art becomes grander, more compelling, and her characters more “human” (her ladies even become “babe-ier” as time goes on), and the whole look of the manga starts to resemble Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, which is high praise in my book.

One of the draws for me of Dorohedoro is how this colorful cast of characters gels and works together whenever they need to, and the players expand greatly in the manga. Believe it or not, they are all downright lovable (with the exception of Ebisu who can be pretty annoying) and their own personal stories are intricate, touching, and compelling. Each person has a specific role to play that helps develop this complex story. Speaking of which, the layers of this mysterious onion get peeled, only to reveal several inner onions with their own layers to be peeled away. I don’t know if Q Hayashida had this story planned out in advance (some of it reads a little like introducing a new concept just to tie up a loose end then disposing of it), but plenty of characters and elements introduced early on keep recurring and are brought back in a way that is relevant to the story. We get plenty of questions answered (and the reader is constantly reminded of these revelations, which I am very thankful for), which feels incredibly satisfying. Still, I’m not completely sure how Caiman, Risu, and Ebisu are fully related in this story.

I don’t know what to say at this point about Dorohedoro except that I am pleased the story is at an end, even though I will seriously miss these characters. The end verdict is simple: Dorohedoro is masterpiece.

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