One man and one act can change the world. That man is Seto Hajime, and the act is prostrating himself on the ground. This simple act can change so many important things. It can save a girl from the yakuza or convince a stubborn chef to change his time-honored menu. Seto will also use his ability to affect change in his work as a high school teacher. After encountering Seto and his overwhelming humility, the world will never be the same!
There comes a time, maybe in every Japanese person's life, when he needs to get down on his knees, cry manly tears, and blurt out a heartful apology, or rather roaring out "moshiwakegozaimasennn!" at such an alarming volume that it threatens to stop the busiest Tokyo streets. This is the custom of Dogesa, a Japanese jedi mind trick where a person crumbles down to their knees and offer a sincere apology for their past wrongdoing. Of course, cutting a finger off won't harm either, and might even help the wrongdoer.
Now, this custom is twisted in the manga Dogesen, where it almost, affirmatively mocks and even criticizes the flaws of Japanese society. This manga takes on a Japanese personality to the extreme. What we have here is a character named Seto so fed up with the structure of the Japanese system that he is willing to make a joke out of it. This is also a character who has mastered the art of Dogesa, or artform of Japanese apology, and he uses it to get exactly what he wants, in any situation. The manga is made up of 27 short stories in which we see the character in action. Of course, being drawn by the same artists who drew Baki the Grappler, we will expect to see awesome, macho artwork plus hoodlums and gangsters appearing out of the wood works too.
This manga's sole strength is in the storytelling, there are more than a handful in which there is just masterful plotting at work, it has some of the best stories I've seen yey, not to mention they are also straight up hilarious. The most memorable chapter has to be the one where a gangster was caught having sex with the boss' daughter in a hospital, the problem was that the boss himself was dying of a gunshot wound on the floor below. The gangster needs to come up with a good explanation why he was banging the daughter, and this is where
our character Seto comes in, he teaches the gangster how to perform the intricately layered dogeza process, and the result is nothing short of genius.
The other story that stood out was when Seto had to go up against the undefeated master in apologists. A man whose apologies are so strong that no one can resist, the panels in this chapter filled with genuine hilarity, and we see a complete caricature of a Japanese company where the sly boss uses dogeza any chance he can get to improve his business.
Dogesen is an extremely original manga that can also be very alienating to anyone in its concept of storytelling, using a dying Japanese artform, bringing it into present life and trying to make some sense of it. The main character, Seto, is seen to be an old-school traditioned Japanese male, mixed with a sprinkle of eccentricity. He does make an interesting character, however since the stories are so short, there isn't enough time to develop characters, even though the characters appear repeatedly throughout the manga. But that is just a minor quip that can be easily overlooked. With the story stories, the in-your-face artwork, the original concepts, Dogesen is a strong manga that never stayed past its welcome, and what we got was something very enjoyable, funny, and genuinely touching as well.