September 25, 2007
You know, there are some compelling articles at the Overlooked Manga Festival. I was disappointed that this series is out of print though. I checked a couple comic stores when I couldn’t find it online, including two failsafe comic stores which… they always have everything, and I was sure they’d have Domu. I’ve… I bought Heartbroken Angels at one recently. I’ve bought things like Xenon and Baoh at these locations. I found the hardcover to Buddha 6 at one, for God’s sake! That just doesn’t exist anymore, not even used on the internet. So I had to suck it up and order an expensive used copy of Domu. Not too expensive, I only paid a few dollars over retail, and it was totally worth it.
I had actually read quite a bit about the epic psychic battle in this volume… I believe I ran across praise more than once in Animerica Extra, but the article I remember in particular was an article about “art manga” or something like that which also featured Tokyo Babylon. I could have totally made that up just now, and my issues aren’t with me at the moment, but I’m pretty sure that was it. I knew the battle was big, but I had no idea it lasted about 2/3 (a slight exaggeration, but it is a little more than half) of the volume. This thing is incredible, and I’m not going to do it justice. It is a psychic battle between an old man and a little girl in the largest public housing complex I have ever seen. They have a couple small showdowns before the large one, and the final standoff is a surprisingly small affair, but this one psychic battle (which involves an old man, a little girl, an alcoholic, an outcast little boy, a mentally handicapped grown man, and every child in the building along with dozens of police officers and firefighters) blows every other action sequence I’ve ever seen totally out of the water. Though I’ve been told about it many times, I did not believe it would appeal to me. The only reason I wanted to try it this time was because I wanted to read something good by Katsuhiro Otomo that wasn’t Akira, and since this was out of print, I thought I should snap it up before it got too much more expensive.
I actually liked the beginning a lot, too. The story is set up as kind of a drama/mystery kind of thing. There are some abrupt jumps from scene to scene that are hard to piece together sometimes (especially the flashbacks, which are noted by slightly rounded corners on the panels), but it was easy to picture as a film technique, and I kind of liked that about it.
It was also a simple story. Old man murders people in his building, little girl feels this isn’t right and tries to stop him. That’s almost literally all there is to it, along with some cop stuff. This and the most amazing battle ever is really all anyone asks for in a manga, isn’t it?
So yes, definitely a classic. I’ve been ignoring this title for, like, ten years or however long I’ve been reading manga. I actually was ready to hate it, because I tend to hate epic psychic battles, and I still really liked it. It’s just so short and so awesome it’s hard not to like, even for a girly girl like me.