[Editor’s note: Your regular columnist is attending a convention this weekend, so please welcome Infinite Speech, who kindly consented to doing my Friday and Monday reviews.]
Being that this is my first time reading Dorohedoro, there were several things that I had to just accept. One was that I wouldn’t know what was going on, and the second was that that’s not always a bad thing. Well, once I was finished with my second read through of volume 4, the world of sorcerers, lizard-headed men, and talking giant roaches seemed more to my liking than expected.
The story opens with Nikaido undergoing surgery to have a large mushroom removed from her back. After the surgery is finished, the Professor and Doc go into a story about Shin a.k.a. the “Patchwork Kid.” After it was discovered that he is half sorcerer, he is hunted and his father risks his life to allow his son time to get away from the Neighborhood Patrol whose job is to kill sorcerers. Shin’s rage carries him through his revenge on the NP, and one night he’s found by Doc in Central Hospital after cutting off his own arms in an attempt to find the source of his magic. Much later after their story, Nikaido is kidnapped from the hospital and Caiman follows the mysterious figure into the sewers to save his friend. He runs into a pretty tough giant roach named Johnson. Turns out the man who kidnapped Nikaido was present when Caiman still had a human face and before he lost his memory. Unfortunately for Caiman, he’s also the target of Fujita’s revenge for killing his friend, Matsumura. So after making his way to the Hole with Ebisu to find the giant man with the lizard head, he gets his chance after being recruited by Hole Peace Hospital who needs players for their upcoming baseball game against Central Hospital. Sounds a bit sudden and weird, but believe me when I tell you that it totally works and is one of the best chapters in the book. However, Fujita has to put his revenge plans on hold when he sees what’s been done to his “dead” friend, and takes him back to the realm of sorcerers. Once back in their realm they run into a problem as they find out everyone is trying to stop Noi who has been transformed by Ebisu’s magic into a giant lizard and is on a murderous rampage. However, Fujita and Ebisu have more pressing issues as Matsumura has started to lose control and just might kill them both….
There’s so much originality in here that you can’t help but find a couple of things to pique your interest. The action is fantastic and the humor hits at just the right points. The artwork was very good, though at times in the later chapters it was a bit too dark and muddled most of the detail that we got to see earlier in the book. Now, jumping into this thing in the middle might have me at a disadvantage when it comes to connecting with some of the characters and piecing certain things together. Though I did find most of them quite enjoyable and written very well, I felt the book didn’t really pick up until the third chapter started. There were also several reveals throughout which I’m sure would have been more exciting had I been more knowledgeable, as well. But it was the uniqueness of the characters and their worlds that kept me involved in the stories. So, if you’re looking for something completely different I’d suggest Dorohedoro in a heartbeat.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.