Friday, July 17, 2009
Dororo, vol. 3
The story: Our intrepid heroes, Dororo and Hyakkimaru, continue their journey to find the treasure Dororo's father buried and regain Hyakkimaru's body parts. Only this time, they have to contend with killer sharks, armies, bandits, a possessed horse and a wandering ronin! While people from their past are still hunting them down, Hyakkimaru's and Dororo's adventures do come to an end in this volume.
Reaction: I was so sad to see this series end, especially on the note it did. It felt like it came to an abrupt halt and left both Hyakkimaru's and Dororo's stories unfinished. I also felt like the twist involving Dororo was completely unnecessary and didn't add anything to the story, except for giving a reason for the split with his "bro." But, I also found the stories involving the sharks and the possessed horse interesting and providing dual sides of man's relationship with animals -- while one animal is abused, the other sought to protect. Honestly, I could have read several more volumes of this series had Osamu Tezuka saw fit to continue. But, I'm glad it lasted at least this long!
Deep thoughts: I've always found Tezuka's moral stories involving animals fascinating. Much like Walt Disney, who he was strongly influenced by, Tezuka anthropomorphized the animals in his stories, oftentimes giving them the gifts of emotion and rational thought. Much like Mohandas Gandhi's quote, "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated," I feel there is something almost esoteric about Tezuka's stories involving animals. By calling attention to how his characters interact with animals, he seems to be calling to attention some very specific points about humanity's treatment of animals. Specifically, Tezuka seems to be saying in this work and others that how we treat animals is a direct reflection of our humanity. I can't say I disagree.
Artwork: After watching Hyakkimaru gain several body parts back and observing how he can lay waste to an army, I'm actually quite thankful for Tezuka's art style. If this was done in a more realistic style, I don't know that I would have been able to enjoy this series as much as I have. By using what most would classify as a juvenile, cartoonish style, I think Tezuka makes it that much easier to see the deeper message behind his work, as opposed to focusing on the gruesome and grotesque.
The verdict: Required reading. This is a great series for anyone new to manga, or to convince others that comics aren't just for kids. Tezuka is the "godfather of manga" for a reason! It's just too bad this series ended -- I would have happily kept on reading until Hyakkimaru's quest was finished. Dororo is available in the U.S. from Vertical.