“The Demon Slayer” – Dororo (manga) – 7/10 Atoms

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.  ~Muhammad Ali

Mangaka: Osamu Tezuka

Genre: Action/Historical/Supernatural

Review Status: Complete (3 volumes/3 volumes)

Licensed: Yes, this manga is licensed by Vertical in the US.

Art: Typical Tezuka, with dramatic shading and darker panels since it’s more of an action title, with a dash of horror thrown in.

Summary: A samurai lord has bartered away his newborn son’s organs to forty-eight demons in exchange for dominance on the battlefield. Yet, the abandoned infant survives thanks to a medicine man who equips him with primitive prosthetics – lethal ones with which the wronged son will use to hunt down the multitude of demons to reclaim his body one piece at a time, before confronting his father. On his journeys the young hero encounters an orphan who claims to be the greatest thief in Japan. (Amazon.com)

Review: Dororo is actually the name of the kid that ends up joining the mysterious swordfighter, not the name of the limbless man himself. What makes this unusual is that it centers more on the man than the young child, unlike what the name would imply. Dororo becomes embrioled with him after an incident with the Lord of Death, and soon after Dororo becomes as much a target as the swordsman, witnessing the ghouls and demons that plague the swordsman enough to be commonplace in his search for his missing pieces.

Along the way, Dororo sees how the swordsman is treated, with hatred and fear and distrust. They don’t trust him since they don’t know why he’s missing pieces, and to have so many false parts makes them scared, especially since they were just plagued by horrific happenings and discover these things while he’s protecting their villages and people. Dororo sees a lot of suffering. He isn’t a stranger to it himself, having been born to parents that were just as outcast as the swordsman and needing to take care of himself after their deaths. This turns into an adventure where Dororo becomes aware of his duty towards the people, to end the injustice that they suffered and find the money that would help fund a revolt.

As dark as this can be, it chooses to linger on the swordsman instead of Dororo, and that means the ending feels more than a little incomplete. The implication of whether he succeeded in his goal is given at the end, and yet there are many questions left about his life, about Dororo’s especially, and the fate of Japan and whether the plot thread about her past was of any mportance. Considering how much of the story this took up, I’m less than impressed by it.

Overall, this is not Tezuka’s finest work. Great if you’re just looking for an action/adventure, but not so good if you’re looking for a complete story.

Recommended: 18+. Innocent people are killed because of war and from the demons feeding on them.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Kekkaishi (anime or manga)

Shaman King (manga)

Blue Exorcist (manga or anime)

Arago (manga)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. MightiMidget
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 10:55:50

    I haven’t read Tezuka yet. (I’m such a newbie) So your reviews are proving most fascinating! Looking forward to tracking some of these down. =) Thanks for the excellent reviews!


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