Dorohedoro vol. 2 by Q Hayashida (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 16, 2011 by  

“Dorohedoro” is full of intrigue!  If I were to live in a world where demons abound, sorcerers travel to a different dimension to test their powers on human playthings, and violence is the order of the day, I believe it would look as Q Hayashida depicts it.

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MANGA TITLE: Dorohedoro (ドロヘドロ)



RATED: Explicit Content

RELEASE DATE: August 17, 2010

Once a year, hordes of the dead rise and roam the streets of the Hole, hungry for live flesh. And every year, Caiman and Nikaido sign up for the local zombie-killing contest! Whoever sends the most zombies back into the ground will win some fantastic prizes. But the fun ends quickly when En’s cleaners finally track down Caiman and Nikaido. Somebody’s going to lose their head. Literally.

“Dorohedoro” Vol. 2 by Q Hayashida continues the story of Caiman and Nikaido as they search the Hole (a dimension where non-magic using humans live and sorcerers come to play) and the Magic User World for clues to who murdered Caiman.

“Dorohedoro” is the third title from famed “Maken X Another” creator Q Hayashida. Q Hayashida is known for her bold style and seamless creation of alternate universes. Q Hayashida made her manga debut with Maken X Another, which ran in Magazine Z and was subsequently adapted into a video game for the Sega Dreamcast. She followed this series with a sequel, Maken X Another Jack. “Dorohedoro” is her latest series.

“Dorohedoro” centers around Caiman who is a human who was transfigured by a sorcerer into a lizard man. He has no memories of who he is or who transfigured him and is searching for the sorcerer who did this to him. He lives in the Hole with his companion and friend Nikaido. Nikaido owns a restaurant in the Hole and works along side Caiman hunting sorcerers in the Hole and killing them. Caiman hides her sorcerer secrets from Caiman and others.  What would Caiman do if he found out his partner was related to sorcerers?

Sorcerers manifest their powers by producing black smoke. The black smoke can be harvested from sorcerers and sold. This same black smoke can also be used to power different machines like riding brooms.

Sorcerers also don unique mask. These masks are acquired by offering a gift to the Devil. The devil in turns makes the gift giver a mask.

Throughout this manga I got the impression that the devil and demons are greatly connected to the sorcerers power. I can not yet confirm this but, the characters from this story see demons and interact with them quite often.

During Caimans search for his memories and the sorcerer who transfigured him, Caiman and Nikaido come into contact with En the sorcerer and his “cleaners”. En is a corporate boss for a company in the Magic Users World that sells “brooms” and other gadgets.

En has been through a lot. After being sold for his magic smoke at a young age, being cast into Hell and surviving on the mushrooms his sorcerer power creates, he is sent back to the Magic Users World . Upon his return to the Magic Users World, En exacts his revenge on his past oppressors and starts to build his criminal empire.

En, being a corporate boss and a sorcerer in the Magic User World,  has quite has an entourage.  His entourage consist of other sorcerers he calls cleaners. His two most powerful cleaners are Shin and Noi.

Shin is a powerful fighter that uses a regular hammer. His sorcerer power is able to produce smoke that can chop you up without killing you. Shin wears a mask that looks like a human heart with eyes cut out so he can see.

Noi is a amazonian build female and a great fighter. Noi’s magic ability produces smoke that can heal any injury short of death. Noi wears a mask that resembles a Mexican wrestlers mask.

Also in En’s entourage is two low level magic users, Ebisu and Fujita. Ebisu is a young woman and wears a mask of a skull and is skilled in reptile formation. She was saved by Fujita from being killed by Caiman.

Fujita wears a tengu mask and is not very skilled at using magic. He has at one point created a doorway from the Hole to the Magic Users World, which is not easily done. He is given orders by En to find the one who is responsible for Caimans transformation. His search has led him to Ebisu.

“Dorohedoro Vol. 2” features the following chapters (spoiler-less summaries):

  • Spell 7: Night of the Living Dead– Caiman and Nikado participate in a yearly zombie hunt and end up meeting En’s cleaners.
  • Spell 8: Bloody Battle in the Central Department Store – En’s cleaners are fighting Caiman and Nikado. Nikado let’s the cat out of the bag and Caiman ends up seriously hurt?!
  • Spell 9: Dances with Lizards– Caiman is out to use his jarred head to get some information regarding his past.
  • Spell 10: Roast Duck a la Sorcerer – En and his cleaners visit a sorcerer who can create wonderful dishes from your memories
  • Spell 11: The Sorcerers’ World Tournament- Nikaido needs money to keep the gyoza shop open and enters a tournament. Her opponent Red Break proves to be invincible.

While reading this manga you may notice that there are a lot of panels on each page. I found this to be a positive aspect of Hayashida’s work.

Using so many panels allows Hayashida to show us detailed aspects of the battles that Caiman and Nikaido fight and the powers of the magic users. I also feel that the use of so many panels allows Hayashida tell the story without having the reader assume what happens between the panels.

If I had missed something in the story I was able to go back and review the panels to find the missing information.  I found this to be a very accommodating and a helpful in deciphering the story.

The artwork in “Dorohedoro” is very gritty and rough. This gritty and rough style fits the story well. The artwork has a heavy sketch look to it. Fine lines are everywhere to help give detail to the backgrounds and especially the characters. Q’s inking style uses blacks and various shades of grey generously and the detail is abundant.

If I were to live in a world where demons abound, sorcerers travel to a different dimension to test their powers on human playthings, and violence is the order of the day, I believe it would look as Q Hayashida depicts it.

The story in “Dorohedoro” is full of intrigue and has a lot of aspects to soak in. Good thing that I am a sponge who doesn’t mind absorbing it. The two worlds that Q Hayashida has created and her take on magic have captured my interest. From the smoke aspect to the magic the characters use to the motivations for the characters involved, have me looking forward to reading the next volume of this manga.

I am looking forward to finding out who Caiman really is and if Nikaido’s secret will ever be exposed to her partner? What is it that En the sorcerer really wants? Where does he plan to take his criminal empire? Will low level Fujita become more powerful? Will Ebisu’s memory be recovered? Are Shin and Noi really that powerful?

These questions and more are looking to be answered when I open the next volume of “Dorohedoro” and explore the Hole and the Magic Users World.

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