By Q Hayashida. Released in Japan by Shogakukan, serialization ongoing in the magazine Hibana. Released in North America by Viz.
Well, I said last time that I thought Dorohedoro might get a little more gory in the next volume, and I was not wrong. Dorohedoro is something of a horror-fantasy-comedy, and frequently the horror elements take precedence, as they do in this volume big time. It mostly plays out with the fates of Shin and Noi. Noi’s love for Shin has seemed a bit one-sided at times, but we no know that he does want to protect her, even if it means slicing her brain open and inserting Sho’s ‘thingy’ into her head. (I’m sure the sexual implications are intentional.) Of course, he should maybe think about protecting himself, as somehow (as always, it can be difficult to follow chains of events without a reread) Shim ends up in a corpse factory, and seemingly killed and turned into a murderous zombie. Whoops.
Not that things are any better with the other groups. Fujita’s invisibility has worn off, and he’s forced to make an uneasy peace with the cross-eyed guy, though we hear both of them ;planning to double cross each other later. (Fujita is good at being idealistic and self-sacrificing, less good at scheming.) Of course, given they run into zombie Shin, neither plan is really going to come off. Noi, once she recovers from Shin’s lobotomy, ends up finding a trail of body parts, Hansel-and-Gretel style. And Nikaido’s group is torn up as well, as the department store is going to hell – possibly literally – and Risu and Asu both end up getting taken out over the course of the volume. This may not, admittedly, matter much to Nikaido, who is getting more like a Devil than ever, and spends most of the volume with a giant :D expression on her face.
In between all this gore, there is still something of a plot, most of it taking place with Kasukabe, who through a wacky set of circumstances ends up inside his wife Haru’s devil body, as the devils attempt to figure out what the hell is going on with Ai. Your guess is as good as mine, but we do see that Ai and company apparently have a revolving set of heads, although some are already dead. Whatever it is, it leads to a cliffhanger that I wasn’t expecting, as Nikaido discovers Caiman – with his lizard head, and seemingly with his regular old gyoza-lovin’ memories. The reunion will have to wait for next time, though. Oh yes, as an added bonus, we see what’s happening with En in hell, and it’s not pretty, though it is pretty funny.
I’ve often said Dorohedoro is not for the squeamish, and this volume proves that more than ever. But if you don’t mind blood, gore and dismemberment in graphic detail, it’s hard to think of a title out there with more style than this one. Which, as anyone will tell you, is far more important than pesky things like a coherent plot.