By Q Hayashida. Released in Japan by Shogakukan, serialization ongoing in the magazine Hibana. Released in North America by Viz. Translated by AltJapan Co., Ltd. (Hiroko Yoda + Matt Alt).
In general, one does not really read Dorohedoro for the romantic pairings. That isn’t to say there aren’t any in the fandom, or even in the manga itself. Noi pretty clearly has a giant crush on Shin, though it’s uncertain if it will be requited. There’s something going on between Ebisu and Fujita, though given the way the author uses Ebisu as sort of a walking disaster, I’m not certain if that will go anywhere either. And then there’s Caiman and Nikaido, which honestly has gotten the least attention. Yes, Caiman has a lizard head, and they’ve spent a great deal of the story separated from each other for one reason or another, but the writing of the series also seemed to indicate that these two were more “best buds” than anything else. But romantic or no, the two have one of the strongest bonds in the series, and the events of this volume try their damnedest to strengthen it and tear it to bits.
Actually, Nikaido gets more to do here than in any of the volumes since we found out about her backstory. She’s finally fully evolved into a devil, and is ready to take on the massive sorcerer-killing THING that’s walking all around the Hole and its environs ramping up the body count massively. (Yes, despite the fact that I say this literally every review, a word of warning: this volume of Dorohedoro is astonishingly violent and gory.) But even the Store Knife that cuts everything may not get them out of this one. The creature (which Chidaruma, who spends the entire volume essentially being Deadpool, nicknames “Holey”) has a one-track mind, immense powers, and the ability to defend itself to a ridiculous degree, which includes making miniature rainstorms to wipe out a group of sorcerers who took shelter in the hospital. It’s really not a good volume to be a sorcerer, and lots of the future corpses mention that they’re connected to En’s group. That said, the characters we actually know from said group seem to be OK for now.
As for Nikaido, she does an awesome job, but let’s face it, by the end of the volume she’s been killed, used up her time travel abilities, is no longer a devil, and then is killed AGAIN. It’s just not her day. The most interesting part of the volume may be her discussion with Asu and Caiman about the way she views time-travel, which doesn’t quite mesh with most time-travel narratives a reader may have come across before. It’s always nice when Dorohedoro slows down long enough to have these conversations. Of course, the question now is whether they’ll be much of a cast left to deal with things after this. I’m taking a wild guess that Caiman will be able to do something about Nikaido, but that likely doesn’t fix the overall disasters that are befalling this entire world, and En and company aren’t in good shape either. Can Dorohedoro ever get back to some sort of equilibrium by its finale? Dunno, but I’m in this for the long haul.