Aug 6, 2019
ReaperOfHearts (All reviews)
(This review is free from other spoilers than a bit of the very first chapter)

Dorohedoro is a manga unlike anything else. It's something you get only once in a genre, or in this case, once in a medium. It's the same as say Death Grips is to rap/hip hop music or Philip K. Dick was to sci fi. It's something breaking all the stupid rules, crossing all boundaries. It's a rare and unique experience. A thrilling and grim world, born from the imagination of Q Hayashida.

So what makes Dorohedoro so special? By looking at the art, it may seem like it's going to be similar to many other art manga, like Nihei's Blame!. But the raw art style isn't all in Dorohedoro. The world, it's something else. It's quite hard, even impossible to categorize Dorohedoro or any of Q Hayashida's works into a genre. I myself call it cybermagic, since he takes large influences from cyberpunk works like Akira and Nihei's mangas as well as dark fantasy and horror like Berserk or even Lovecraft's stories. It's extremely hard to create almost completely unique and original world and style, but Q Hayashida has managed to do that more than well.

The art perfectly fits the world and story. It's rough and vivid. Q Hayashida uses strong yet detailed lines that bring life to the post-apocalyptic and surreal world. The story is very raw and violent, in a perfect symbiosis with the art style. I don't think there is about any story that is as literally in-your-face as Dorohedoro (maybe with the exceptionof Berserk). It starts right from the violence and gore. You see our lizard-headed protagonist Kaiman eat a weird masked guy. He doesn't do it just for fun or hunger, but because he must find someone. That guy is not the right one. Kaiman let's that masked guy go, but he and his partner Nikaido need to fight and kill them. Those guys were not humans, but sorcerers, from the Sorcerer's world (I like to call it the Sorcerer's home, even if it's not the official translation).

The world of Dorohedoro is two-pieced. One is the Hole, a gloomy and dystopian city where humans reside. The other is the Sorcerer's home, a somewhat similar, but much more lively and surreal place. The only way to traverse between those two worlds is through magical doors that only sorcerers can place. The winding, complex and puzzling Dorohedoro covers both worlds in a way nobody else than Q Hayashida could.
Since this review is spoiler-less, I can't really talk much about the characters or the story. Not even much of the world itself. But what I can tell, is that Kaiman is on a deeply personal crusade to find out what he really is. But he won't be let alone on that journey, as Nikaido and many others will support the seemingly desperate search for a mysterious character. Kaiman's character may remind some of Guts from Berserk, but I bet there isn't a single dark hero/anti-hero in modern animanga that hasn't been influenced by him.

The magic system in Dorohedoro is very unique and cool too. I can't tell much else other than that it kind of works through the masks that the sorcerers wear. If you want to start this manga, be sure to have an open mind, since it's probably very different from anything you've ever experienced. Close your seat belts and hold tight to your seats as you will dive deep into the grim and overwhelming world of Dorohedoro, a masterpiece of manga.