Hole—a dark, decrepit, and disorderly district where the strong prey on the weak and death is an ordinary occurrence—is all but befitting of the name given to it. A realm separated from law and ethics, it is a testing ground to the magic users who dominate it. As a race occupying the highest rungs of their society, the magic users think of the denizens of Hole as no more than insects. Murdered, mutilated, and made experiments without a second thought, the powerless Hole dwellers litter the halls of Hole's hospital on a daily basis.
Possessing free access to and from the cesspool, and with little challenge to their authority, the magic users appear indomitable to most—aside for a few. Kaiman, more reptile than man, is one such individual. He hunts them on a heedless quest for answers with only a trusted pair of bayonets and his immunity to magic. Cursed by his appearance and tormented by nightmares, magic users are his only clue to restore his life to normal. With his biggest obstacle being his stomach, his female companion Nikaidou, who runs the restaurant Hungry Bug, is his greatest ally.
Set in a gritty world of hellish design, Dorohedoro manages a healthy blend of comedy and lightheartedness with death and carnage. Taking plenty of twists and turns while following the lives of Hole's residents, it weaves a unique world of unearthly origin and dreary appearance not for the squeamish or easily disturbed.
1. Comedy and Gore can become a good combo
2. An awesome protagonist doesn't have to be handsome
3. Heroine too can kick ass in an action manga
4. Nakama power isn't limited to "Heroes" only
5. Every character can be given proper air time without any difficulty
6. Magic isn't limited to Harry Porter only
6. Weird art does not mean Bad Art
7. Even in a weird series you can show emotions
9. If you are original, you may not get popular but you will always be awesome
8. Female mangaka can handle a fast action packed Seinen
All of this and more ....
In the most chaotic
This is perhaps the most original, trippiest, creepiest, and imaginative thing I've ever read.
The world is very well thought-out. It is primarily divided into the Hole, a place populated by humans, and the Magic Users' world, populated by human-looking beings with extraordinar[ily weird] abilities. These abilities range from your standard healers, to devastating mushroom attacks, and everything in between. The humans and the magic users don't like each other.
The plot is a lot harder to describe. I mean, saying "well it's about an amnesiac guy with a lizard head named Kaiman who wants his real face back so he's biting people faces so that the
guy inside his mouth can identify the person who may have did this to him" doesn't really cut it. There's A LOT more to it than that, but you have no idea what's going on until volume 7+, when it gets much darker and the real story of Kaiman's memories and identity starts coming together.
That's okay, though, because the series is very entertaining throughout with its hyperviolence and dark humor, and you really do need such a long introduction to get used to this world and its, err, "colorful" cast of characters. That's not to say that the first few volumes are irrelevant for plot progression. Pieces of the plot are sprinkled everywhere but you might not realize it at first. To fully appreciate this it's best to go back once you know all that you will later on, which makes for a lot of re-read value!
/Where else can you find the phrase "The Boss is no longer a pie!!"? XD
Dorohedoro, as a series all about the plot twists, is kind of hard to describe easily. It takes place in a gritty magic-punk dual world: The high-class world of the magic users, and the slum-like Hole, the world of the non-magic users. The story centers around Kaiman, a man with a lizard head and no memories. He hunts down magic users, eats their head, and then the person inside his mouth evaluates them, looking for someone. And that description does absolutely no justice to the series.
Q Hyashida loves 'er plot twists. Yes, this series is filled with twist after crazy
twist, but, and this is a big but, it feels coherent. In some series you get the impression an author came up with a cool premise and then basically made things up as they went along, but Dorohedoro, in all its twisty madness, feels like it's going along a very purposeful route.
It helps that the characters are great, and really hold the whole thing together. Despite Kaiman and his friend Nikaido ostensibly being the protagonists, the series spends about equal time with all of the important characters on the various different sides of the central conflicts. They're all well-developed and lovable, and you'll likely find yourself not quite knowing who to root for during the battles.
Now, the word people often use to describe Dorohedoro is "gritty" and, well, it is, yeah. Especially in the art, which is thick and dark, with lots of cluttered environments and greys everywhere. It might take a bit of getting used to, it's a somewhat unusual style, and some of the anatomy is a little weird early on, but once you do get used to it you'll grow to love it.
The series is gritty and violent, but it's not as bleak as you might expect. It's cut through with a REALLY goofy sense of humor to give things balance. I've always liked series that balance dark and light, and Dorohedoro pulls it off really well. Another slight break from traditional grittiness is that the characters are pretty much all lovable. They're pretty much all anti-heroes, but almost everyone has a good/adorable side to them. There's no real mopey angsty types or bad-ass murderers whose only thought is murderification. The creator describes it as "a song with really dark lyrics, but a melody that's so happy that you want to dance to it," and I can't really put it better.
Over all Dorohedoro is definitely one of my favorite manga series. If you like unusual worlds with cool art and an interesting story, definitely check it out. Apparently it's ending fairly soon as well, so that's something to keep in mind.
If you like a large cast of characters that have enjoyable and fun interactions, an intriguing mystery that is both haunting and complex, and have the stomach to handle gore then this is the manga for you.
There are no good guys. The best way to describe it is that the morality scale is incredibly gray. Almost everyone does something bad, usually with violence. Despite that the characters are still lovable and have humorous interactions with each other even in serious moments. There's also some subtle romance, mostly from Noi and Shin. Sometimes hinted at with the main pair, Nikaido and Kaimon, because their relationship is
built upon a close friendship that is very apparent throughout the story. They care about each other a lot so shipping or just platonic friends can go whichever way you want.
The gore in this manga appears consistently in each chapter and is always incredibly brutal. But the overall read is definitely worth sitting through all that. At most the gore is just body horror and sometimes there are dead bodies getting mutilated but everyone seems to come out okay from it because... magic. It's pretty easy to ignore it as you read. But it's impossible to avoid if you're still iffy about it.
It gets a little psychological horror-ish especially when we get closer to answering the mystery of Kaiman's identity and his origins. But not as bad as Silent Hill or Oyasumi Punpun or anything else in that genre. The gore is much more bearable because of that.
Art is pretty messy from the beginning but like most manga, it improves. The color pages look pretty nice too. Nudity warning because of female fanservice and also some from the male side of the cast.
The story is incredible. That's all I have to say about it. It's complex and details are fed to us every chapter as we get closer and closer to the end. The world-building is good and very nearly everyone gets a chance in the limelight, even though Kaiman is the main character. It might be a little confusing but hey, that's what a mystery is. If you want to find out the truth, you have to read. If you want to understand better, you have to read.
The BIGGEST NEGATIVE thing I have to say about it is... that it's not complete and that you have to wait at least a month for a new chapter. But that's pretty normal isn't it? If you choose to read, I wish you luck and patience when you read to the latest chapter :))