September 9, 2012
Q Hayashida – Viz – 2012 – 18 volumes
This is literally one of my top favorites right now. Of all of them. I know I say that a lot, but it’s absolutely true for Dorohedoro. Q Hayashida builds a magnificent world, and the story is so silly and absurd, mixed with over-the-top violence that I can’t help but like it. But it’s still a massive story with a lot going on, and it’s unfolding slowly and is really pacing itself well. Plus, I’m growing fond of the characters, and she’s got amazing art as well. It’s what I’m looking for every time I pick up a comic.
This volume starts on a strange note, when Caiman infiltrates En’s mansion with his meat bun-selling sorcerer friends. His intention is to rescue Nikaido, but the story is sidetracked for a minute when the mean bun chef is engaged in a meat bun sell-off with an old rival for the privilege of selling meat buns to En. Strange magic is involved. It has absolutely nothing to do with the story, but is one of those wonderful kind of tangents I could read forever that Q Hayashida is so good at. It only helps to give the sorcerers character.
But Caiman does find Nikaido, and ultimately the two are helped by a devil, something else that could use an adequate explanation, but likely won’t get one anytime soon. They re-affirm their friendship, something that needs to be done after Caiman finds out Nikaido is a sorcerer. There are flashbacks to when they first met, and the whole thing is sweet and rather touching, something I didn’t realize Dorohedoro was capable of.
Meanwhile, Professor Kasukabe and company are being treated like guests of honor by Shin and Noi, something completely out of character for those two. That this is happening is still blowing my mind, even after the explanation. Everyone seems to take it at face value though. Professor Kasukabe escapes briefly to find his wife (something else that’s tossed off and not explained, Kasukabe looks like a small boy, but apparently isn’t), and is hoping she can find Caiman and Nikaido. This ends with Kasukabe and his terrifying cockroach monster Johnson stuck in a cabin in the middle of a woods with some deranged cross-eye gang members, Shin and Noi laying dead outside. It was messy. It may or may not have involved brain spigots.
I read it, and I still don’t know what’s going on. I don’t think Shin and Noi are really dead, though. It’s not really a cliffhanger, because I’m sure nobody reading this thought Shin and Noi were really dead. All the same, I desperately want to know what’s going on. Again, this is only one small chunk of a much larger story, and I’m going to have to wait for December for more. Tragedy.
One other absurd detail I liked: Professor Kasukabe keeps the cross-eye gang members back by siccing Johnson on them. They counter eventually with… wait for it… bug spray. Johnson runs away screaming “Shocking! Shocking!” over and over again.
I love that Johnson can exist, and be himself, with no explanation given. That is one of the absolute best things about Dorohedoro.