Du Ming, young anaesthetist in a big Chinese hospital, is haunted by the memory of Zhang Qian: a young lady coming from the same school as him , who bewitched him by the sulphurous beauty and the aura of strangeness she emits.
After graduating, Du Ming stayed in touch with Zhang Qian, who writes him. Now a terrible piece of news arises: the young lady is said to have committed suicide.
Du Ming, jeune médecin anesthésiste dans un grand hôpital chinois, est hanté par le souvenir de Zhang Qian : une jeune femme issue de sa promotion étudiante, qui l’a envoûté par sa beauté sulfureuse et l’aura d’étrangeté qui l’accompagne. Devenu praticien, Du Ming est resté en contact avec Zhang Qian, qui lui écrit de loin en loin. Or une terrible nouvelle survient : on dit que la jeune femme s’est suicidée…
I've liked this manga a whole lot- especially the art and the psychology of the characters. Many people would criticize this manga for the complicated, psychological story, and also the way it continuously jumps from the present time to the past. In my case, I'm fascinated by how complexe the characters are- meaningful dialogues, where you have to read between the lines to realize what it really means that they're trying to say, the cruel realities that are confronted, and a little bit of over-dramatizing.
For people who don't like guro/gore, then I suggest you don't read it, because you won't like it. It's not
a scary story per-se, and although it's a work of fiction, it's not exactly a sci-fi story. A lot of anatomy- if you're sensitive with death aspects and corpses, STAY AWAY. I mean it. It can get a bit too much and a sensitive stomach may have problems with it. But if you're tolerant of gore, then by all means try it. There is a whole alternate universe here, one that could be viewed as a variant of future, even. The conflict between morals, ethics and how imoral the world actually is makes the main character grow with every chapter. The realization drives him to take some extreme decisions, and certain convictions of his really match the phrase "the end justifies the means"
Du Ming can be easily viewed as an anti-hero/anti-villain, with harsh decisions that actually do some good despite how wrong the means are. The drop of insanity each character possesses makes Du Ming seem 'pure' at the beginning but as the series goes on, we discover that he is no exception to the inconsistencies of the world. Immorality, murder, deceit, sex, Du Ming goes through them all, maintaining a borderline sanity that every once in a while goes overboard. As a doctor, he is somewhat insensitive, but in fact his personality can be layered like an onion- read to know more.
As a conclusion, it's one of the best mangas I've read, and I'm sorry that so many people find it hard to cope with the fast-moving action and changing panels between present and past. Tip: try to figure out what each line means. The dialogues aren't there just to fill the space. They mean more than they seem. If you have patience you'll see the real psychology behind the apparently gore and strange story. Good luck!
This manga is all about subtle misdirection. It doesn't outright lie to you, but it tries to deceive you by careful omission and double-meanings. You can't even trust the synopsis, and you must pay attention to every panel and its possible double interpretations.
Although, in contrast to fiction that is all about twists and turns of plot, nearly all the revelations in Doctor Du Ming are psychological ones. It's your understanding of the characters and their motivations that will shift drastically, and that would color the few important events in the manga in a different light.
The art is distinctive and realistic, to the point where some
panels look almost rendered from pictures. It's not to my taste, but I'm sure a lot of people would appreciate it and find it refreshing.
It's a character-driven manga, so I can't write much for them either without spoiling too much. I can say at least that the characters here are intriguing and believable, and that their secrets and complexities are revealed at a tantalizing, measured pace.
The setting - a communist, highly patriarchal society is also consistent and realistic, and influences the characters' fate a great deal. I live in a post-communist country, and while I'm too young to have a personal experience of it, the manga seems scarily consistent with what older people have told me about it. I'm not sure if the setting will resonate the same way with Western-European or American readers, though, who might find it too removed from their own experiences.
All that said, I can't say I enjoyed this manga, exactly. I respect it and I think it has great merit as a story, but the implications of the ending were too cynical for me. I prefer my psychological horror with a bit more hope.
Overall, provided you like your fiction unflinchingly dark, and don't mind wracking your brain a bit to keep up with events, this is very much worth the read.
As far as I could gather, this manga is an adaptation of a Chinese novelette. And this fact of trivia is surprisingly relevant – you’d need to adjust your expectations accordingly to get the maximum enjoyment from this manga. What do I mean? Well:
A novelette is limited in volume, its story won’t and can’t explain everything, and the story in this manga is highly schematic as well. But thankfully its length is proportionate to the adapted content, 15 chapters, a read for one night, so you’ll hardly have time to ponder over background details. Anyways - mind it, you’re reading more of a poem than
A short literary work usually explores one idea and this manga is one-trick too, or, if we look at it positively, very focused. It is centered, as another reviewer aptly said, on misdirection – it changes the way we see the events in a series of well-calculated plot twists. Perception games is, probably, what you should read this manga for.
It’s very literary. The flow of the narrative is non-linear, as most of the modern prose is (so keeping track of things can be difficult at times). But the payoff is that the quality of the text is on a very decent, non-amateurish level. The manga starts with a poetic love talk, and I expected it to devolve in the usual stifling swamp of pretentiousness, but the haughty confessions were balanced into something palatable with lifelike mundane interactions and gory medical topics.
As far as for the art, the mangaka uses the interplay of semi-realistic detailed backgrounds and idealized main characters, especially the titular Du Ming, who is all fine chisel, white porcelain, huge black eyes and silky eyelashes (of course there’re gothic motives, see that Louis XIV sofa on the cover?). I also liked the less polished drawings on the covers of some of the chapters. The art may be not to everyone’s liking, but I find that it suits the story well.
The story is dark, one of the darkest manga I’ve read, and I am not new to disturbing comics. It’s subtly uncomfortable, and while it has some artificial, forced bits it compensates for it by finding a psychological angle rarely explored. The most unnerving thing is that it doesn’t bother with morals at all, even in the form of the jolly teenage denial – it just paints a dark picture as an artistic exercise.
Oh, and I have to disagree that this work has something inherently Chinese in it, I think the topics are universal.
All in all, on its own merit I’d rate this manga with a 7 – it’s good, but the plot is not entirely clear (there’re at least two explanations among the readers), it’s short and not groundbreaking in any way. But I also can’t help but feel that it is a manga I will remember and reference for a long time, simply because there’re few works like it, and it understands the strengths and limitations of its format well. So – an 8.
The story surrounds a Dr. Du Ming (am I wrong when I say that the name, well, part of it, sounds French? Come on, he's Chinese! Please guys!) who is currently working in a hospital on a mountaintop and throughout the story, we jump between the present and his college years.
Okay, first off I wasn't going for the sick and disgusting when I started reading this. I was thinking maybe a tragic love story or a guy suffering from hallucinations however, what I came to witness was a dark Manga with a serial-killer-esque plotline and characters.
LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, DO NOT BE FOOLED BY AWESOME
I know, bad habits are hard to break; look at me and where it got me.
The art was kinda mainstream with a touch of shading; not celebration worthy and you could easily just place it under mainstream. But it does have its moments of extreme detail, which I think were made that way on purpose in the interest of emphasising the plot.
Brother, this story has twists up to the last page! And ALL the characters suffer from some kind of mental inconsistency and for me, that's not something I'd promote a Manga with. Even so, it has to be said (as a warning, if foolish readers insist on reading this Manga looking for light comedy. I pity the fool). The plot isn't for the light-hearted or for readers that aren't into character analysis because this story's plot isn't linear (which is a pain in the ass) and the point of this story concentrates on mind-set and personality. Not on shallow giggles.
The bottomline, there's a lot of mind twisting and moral/ethical stimulation in this Manga. Had I known exactly what I was getting myself into, I probably wouldn't have read it: honestly speaking. If you're looking for a blue-hued (not literally, man), smoky, obscure reading. Tread cautiously.