Monday, May 12, 2008

Manga Monday: Dororo

Dororo (Volume 1)
Osamu Tezuka
The latest effort from Vertical to publish classic manga from master Osamu Tezuka is one of the creator's unfinished works, Dororo. The story follows a warrior who was born without many of his body parts, including arms, eyes and ears. His father made a pact with forty-eight demons, each taking a body part from his unborn child in return for granting him power. Now that child, Hyakki-Maru, has grown under a doctor who found him abandoned, and raised him as his own. With the aid of some prosthetic limbs and amazing abilities to compensate for his shortcomings, Hyakki-Maru begins a quest to track down the forty-eight demons and vanquish them, and in turn, receive his missing body parts. It's a really cool premise and it's a lot of fun to read. Dororo himself is a boy thief that Hyakki-Maru runs into on his voyages, with issues of his own. I'm not sure exactly why this series is named after what seems to be a supporting character, but this is only the first volume of three, and I'm unsure of how long this would have run had Tezuka seen it to completion. There's a little frustration in taking on a work that I know isn't finished from the beginning, but I just enjoy Tezuka's work so much that I could hardly stay away. If anything, I'm having a lot of fun reading a really neat story featuring all kinds of weird monstrous creatures, with some of the best art in comics period. So far, I love the designs of Tezuka's creepy demons, and the action is pretty damn impressive, with the main character whipping off his limbs and charging head-first into battle with sword-arms. It's pretty damn awesome. And I have to admit that the eyeless, noseless, earless caterpillar-crawling baby Hyakki-Maru is strangely adorable to me. I don't know why. And while the covers to these collections are a little out there, I do like the anatomy backgrounds and it has, at least, a unique look. A wonderful package overall. Dororo is another winning addition to Vertical's growing, impressive library of important, high-quality works from top-notch manga creators.

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