By Q Hayashida. Released in Japan by Shogakukan, serialization ongoing in the magazine Ikki. Released in North America by Viz.
It’s really amazing how much I still enjoy every page of this series, considering that there’s so little forward progression in it. Those who get frustrated by a lack of plot are going to get very annoyed very fast reading this volume, which contains a baseball game featuring our heroes, two of the villains, and various zombies… apparently because Hayashida felt like it, who knows? But the game is still a lot of fun.
That’s not to say there’s absolutely nothing happening here – there’s a ton going on. It’s just not immediately plot-oriented. Caiman has figured out by now that Nikaido is actually a sorcerer, and though conflicted, he’s trying not to let that destroy their friendship. Fujita discovers that he can get revenge on Caiman and Nikaido, who killed his partner (remember that opening scene in Vol. 1?) and goes out to do his best, along with tag-along Ebisu. Fujita’s on the cover this time, so seeing him get more to do makes sense, even though he still tends to be a bit of a sad sack who is there for bad things to happen to. Which makes him a good partner for Ebisu, come to think of it, as that’s what she’ there for as well.
Speaking of Ebisu, we continue to discover little bits about her past before getting attacked by Caiman. Turns out her magic is connected to lizard people, so she too could be the one who created Caiman… except that doesn’t appear to be the case. Her magic appears to be quite dangerous, taking over Noi and transforming her into a rampaging lizard woman as well, forcing Shin to take measures against her. Then they have to go find En’s partner in order to save her, in what might be the shippiest scene in the manga to date. Fans of Shin/Noi (of which I am one) will be delighted.
We also get some development of Risu, the guy walking around wearing Caiman’s face. But the big development here is Shin, whose backstory is given here. As one might expect, it is rather tragic and filled with blood and gore, but it does serve to underscore how determined Shin can get whenever he’s after something. It’s getting harder and harder to see who the good and bad guys are in this series… there’s just a bunch of guys doing mostly bad things.
It’s not a perfect volume by any means. The baseball game was fun, but does meander a lot. And the way that they got Noi to be attacked by Ebisu’s smoke, with an assistant coming along, tripping, and dumping it all over her, is the worst of sitcom cliches. Still, Caiman’s off to the Sorcerer’s World by himself now, no doubt because a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. I look forward to seeing what happens. Dorohedoro is a series that requires a lot of patience, but I feel that if you hang in there there’s a lot of reward to it.