Dorohedoro, Vol.1 (2002) by Q. Hayashida

“There’s some nutjob sorcerer out there turning people into bugs. I just saw a couple of victims. Crude stuff. This guy’s a total amateur.”

Publisher’s Synopsis

“In a city so dismal it’s known only as “the Hole,” a clan of Sorcerers have been plucking people off the streets to use as guinea pigs for atrocious “experiments” in the black arts. In a dark alley, Nikaido found Caiman, a man with a reptile head and a bad case of amnesia. To undo the spell, they’re hunting and killing the Sorcerers in the Hole, hoping that eventually they’ll kill the right one. But when En, the head Sorcerer, gets word of a lizard-man slaughtering his people, he sends a crew of “cleaners” into the Hole, igniting a war between two worlds.”

-VIZ Media

My Thoughts

I discovered this manga after watching the anime series released in 2020. That series caught my eye with its colourful, almost psychedelic style, and the weird and cool character designs. It stood out from a lot of the popular anime streaming at the time. Halfway through watching the anime, I ordered an English copy of the first volume of the Dorohedoro manga. There are 23 volumes in total.

This is the first work I’ve read by the Japanese manga writer Q. Hayashida. She both writes and illustrates the comic book. Her style is eye-catching with its rough, scratchy lines and detailed shading. I’ve read about comparisons to early Simon Bisley, and I can see it. Her dark and gritty style suits the story well, adding to the book’s overall atmosphere. So, what is Dorohedoro’s story?

Caiman’s “kiss”

Caiman, a man with a reptilian head, a severe case of amnesia, and a craving for gyoza, is searching for the sorcerer who transformed him into his current state. If only he could remember who it was. When he encounters a sorcerer, he takes their head in his mouth and something very bizarre happens. A strange face appears from deep inside Caiman’s throat and speaks to the sorcerer, revealing if they are “the one” or not. Still with me? Then, Caiman releases the sorcerer’s head and asks them what this mysterious figure said. Depending on their answer, what occurs next could have very serious consequences for the sorcerer.

The title “Dorohedoro” can be translated as “muddy sludge” or “sludgy mud”. This may give you an idea of the kind of weird, almost surreal story contained in its pages. It is rated “Mature” and includes moments of bloody violence not for the faint-hearted. What impressed me about it, apart from the intriguing and inventive story, were the characters and humour. I don’t want to read a story made up of only violence and gore. There has to be more than that to pull me in and keep my interest. Caiman and the other characters we meet in the book are strangely compelling. There’s something about them that makes me want to follow their weird adventures and discover more about them.

As you can probably tell from my review, Dorohedoro is not for everyone. I really enjoyed it, probably because of its weirdness. The art won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but I found a lot to like in its rawness, its scratchy energy. With this being volume one, the story is only just getting started, and I’m up for the crazy ride.

Poster for the Dorohedoro Anime Season 1

Thanks for reading!


13 thoughts on “Dorohedoro, Vol.1 (2002) by Q. Hayashida

  1. I’d not heard of this before. Normally this is one I might have passed over but your thoughts on it have me curious. Not sure I’ll get to it but I hope it holds on to the entertainment value as you work your way through it.

    Liked by 1 person

          • So far I’m really enjoying it. Next up is book 5 which covers issues 31-36 of the 100 issues. It starts with an interesting premise of this strange guy who gives you a briefcase with a gun and 100 untraceable bullets and incontravertable proof of who did some wrong to you. And you’re free to use the gun and bullets without any repercussions. Then we see what folks do. But the more I read the more I learn about a larger story, of who the person is who gives out the briefcases, who he used to work for and what he might be doing now, with many others in this world all linked together. Granted, the whole idea of being able to use some special gun/bullets and there being no consequences is extremely far fetched, but it does make for some entertaining reads. Have you read it?

            Liked by 1 person

    • I saw you were flying through Dragonball on Goodreads. I’ve only read the first volume of it. This one is a bit of a weird one, but I like the art. Manga is a vast cave I hesitate to enter. But I’ve been losing my love of American comics, so I might try manga instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Guerilla YouTubing – Made With Your Smartphone – Wakizashi's YouTube Journey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s