Dorohedoro, Vol. 9

By Q Hayashida. Released in Japan by Shogakukan, serialization ongoing in the magazine Ikki. Released in North America by Viz.

This bright pink volume of Dorohedoro feels very much like the calm before the storm, or the sort of thing that ends with the tag ‘End of Part One’. There’s not as much pulse-pounding action here, and the revelations are still mostly hinted rather than stated outright. But we’ve almost got Caiman’s past, and we’re starting to learn Nikaido’s, and it’s going to turn out SO BADLY for both of them, isn’t it?


I especially feel as if I may have seem the last of Caiman, at least as Caiman, and that’s a shame, as he’s such a big, lovable doof. With a lizard head. But he’s always wanted to retrieve his memories, and is now starting to see the downside to all of that. Unfortunately, it’s not really something he can stop doing, either. Hayashida, by the way, does a terrific job of showing just how agonizing Caiman’s ongoing headaches are – including giving us an x-ray of his brain to drive it home!

Meanwhile, Shin and Noi are also hot on the trail of the cross-eyes’ boss, despite him possibly being dead. This leads us to the funniest moment of the series, where we meet the boss’ grandfather, and react to his appearance. Even in the most horrible moments, Dorohedoro still finds a way to be completely ridiculous, and it’s a big reason why I love it as much as I do. If this series didn’t have a high level of comedy and weirdness, it would simply be too bleak to function.

Meanwhile, I can’t really feel bad for Chota – who brought it all on himself, and makes things even worse towards the end. What we do get via his character, however, is the start of Nikaido’s backstory, as she began to keep a diary while at En’s so that she didn’t lose herself. (I’ll be honest, at first I thought the diary would be a giant fakeout, but the flashbacks do seem to make it genuine.) Little Nikaido is absolutely adorable, and you know her backstory is going to be amazingly wretched, so I’m just enjoying the tiny kid messing around with time magic while I can.

And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the omake chapter at the end. Shin and Noi are my favorite characters in the series, and I also tend to ship them. So far, though, any in-series romance has been just tease. It’s clear that Noi has a crush on Shin, but his feelings for her have been more ambiguous. Now we get a flashback to Shin from ten years ago, forced to attend a masquerade ball by En where he has to dance or get poked by devils with a pitchfork. (This sounds like most of the junior high dances I attended, only everyone usually chose the pitchfork over dancing with girls.) Shin looks adorably cute here, and his dance partner even more so. I love seeing side stories like this.

All in all, another solid volume of Dorohedoro. I see in addition to Scott Pilgrim’s creator giving a blurb, the man behind King City is also praising the series. Viz should be happy. It may not generate Naruto sales, but Dorohedoro has become one of their prestige series, and needs more love. And gyoza. It always needs more gyoza.

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