Trane's Reviews > Dororo, Vol. 2

Dororo, Vol. 2 by Osamu Tezuka
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's review
Aug 22, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: manga-and-comics
Recommended for: yokai lovers, Tezuka fans, anyone who likes samurais

** spoiler alert ** The second volume in Tezuka Osamu's Dororo series is just as good as the first. Of course we have Hyakkimaru, the freakish swordsman born missing 48 body parts, and Dororo, the miniscule child thief who he protects. As Hyakkimaru kills demons, his missing body parts are replaced with the real deal.

That's all well and good, but how about the yokai (Japanese traditional monsters) that we get in this volume? That's the most important thing after all, isn't it? First of all we get a horde of demon night foxes, led by a powerful nine-tailed fox (apparently the most evil and powerful type of fox found in yokai legend). We also get a fantastic demon that poses as a Buddhist Fudo Myo'o in order to lure unsuspecting ascetics so he can steal their faces when they train themselves by meditating under a powerful waterfall. Then there's the singular ghost who stands in for a murdered multitude of children and a demon moth woman who has hypnotized a local lord so that her and a host of other moth women can propagate their species.

But what about the family drama? There are two things that appear repeatedly in Tezuka's works, and one of them is the constant appearance of bizarrely dramatic family relations that would give Freud enough material to write case studies for 100 years. In this particular volume (spoiler alert!) Hyakkimaru comes face to face with his brother (who he never knew existed), his father (who sacrificed him to the demon world and wants to seem him dead now), and his mother (who still loves him). And at a critical moment he needs to decide whether or not he needs to kill his brother.

The other element that often shows up in Tezuka's works is a kind of populist notion of revolution. Tezuka himself was obviously more of a humanist than a genuine revolutionary, but his humanism often leads to an identification with oppressed classes and the revolutionary ethics of the 60s are sometimes evident in his works. In this particular case it turns out that Dororo's parents, who were peasant thieves that stole in order not to starve and who acted as a classic redistributive banditry, have marked his back with a map that leads to their hidden treasure cache. Before her death Dororo's mother urged him to return to this treasure cache and use the treasure to lead a peasant revolt.

Let's hope we see that peasant revolt in Volume 3! And some more great yokai too, of course.

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