Good Morning, Dororo by Osamu Tezuka
Good morning. Last night on the train, I read Dororo. We have the first two volumes at our library. I put the third volume on hold. The author is Osamu Tezuka one of Manga's most famous writers. He is best known for Astroboy, and won the Harvey and Eisner Awards for his manga Buddha.
This ranks with one of the strangest manga I have ever read. Dororo is a young orphan thief and troublemaker who wanders around during the warring states period of feudal Japan. He meets up with a wandering Ronin, Hyakkimaru who is a very odd character.
Hyakkimaru was born without any body parts. His father gave 48 pieces of him to various mythological demons. A doctor found him, raised him, and replaced his parts with prostheses. Now Hyakkimaru is wandering the countryside seeking the demons and killing them. Each time he kills a demon, a body part grows back, and he no longer needs a prosthesis.
This makes for a very bizarre story. The two heros wander through the ravaged war torn countryside seeking out demons. The demons are all different. There is a moth demon, a demon that steals faces, a demon that grows as a face on peoples bodies, a fox demon, and many other strange creatures from Japanese legend. Dororo is always getting into trouble with the villagers stealing food and valuables and Hyakkimaru is always trying to make Dororo act good.
The art work is in black and white. It has a kind of cute quality to it with big eyed innocent looking characters. It is written for boys. There are allegories throughout the story about seeking to become complete. There is a lot of fighting and bloodshed in this manga.
The cover art is unique on this series. The publisher is Vertical, Inc. who publishes a lot of better quality manga that is not quite mainstream. I really enjoyed reading this. It may not be for everyone. I do not think this was originally written for export and translation.