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Dororo Volume 1 (v. 1) Paperback – April 29, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A surprisingly bleak contrast to manga pioneer Tezuka's better known Astro Boy and Phoenix, this first of three volumes relates the horrific origin of Hyakkimaru, a teenage hero whose father sacrifices his newborn son's bodily components to 48 demons in exchange for unstoppable military power. What remained of the child is found by a doctor who fashions him artificial limbs, including prosthetic arms that house hidden swords, and when Hyakkimaru comes of age, he embarks on a mission to kill the demons, thus reclaiming his flesh-and-blood body parts. Early in his journey, Hyakkimaru encounters Dororo, a young thief, and the two becoming traveling companions. Facing and defeating all manner of inhuman threats, the pair is driven away by the very people they've saved, villagers who are either outraged by Dororo's unashamed thievery or terrified by Hyakkimaru's perceived strangeness. But with each supernatural set-to, Hyakkimaru regains another piece of his stolen humanity and moves on to take down the next demon. Marking Tezuka's move into edgier work, this series is riveting and utterly creepy, with Tezuka's signature cute style offering a welcome counterpoint to the visceral horrors depicted. (May)
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"Tezuka’s work is about as essential and far-reaching as manga gets, and Apollo’s Song only adds that much more weight to an already massive reputation. Start here, and if you’re intrigued, Ode to Kirihito and Buddha also await you. There’s never been anything like Tezuka’s body of work, and there probably never will be again." - Serdar Yegulalp

"Osamu Tezuka invented a whole new grammar of comics storytelling and his place in the history of Japanese comics is about as central as Siddhartha's place in the history of Buddhism." - Art Spiegelman

Sleek in design and swift in pacing, the story's blend of mayhem and laffs and depression creates a uniquely chaotic world... The monster designs are excellent, ranging from detailed etchings to gargantuan masses of doomy scribbles." --Jog-The Blog

"Tezuka's masterwork is an enlightening demonstration of the limitless potential of the comics medium."- Gordon Flagg

“It's the pioneer of the manga tradition wading neck deep into the mire of freakish swordsmen, ghouls and historical messiness: Kurosawa and Leone meets Romero... Dororo stands as a classic that showcases Osamu Tezuka's unique approach to manga and to the world.” —Ain't It Cool News

“Platinum Award. Tezuka blends high-adventure plotting with deep and thoughtful themes in his inimitable style... It seems a shame it's only all been in Japanese until now.” —Advanced Media Network

"The pacing is blistering...Osamu Tezuka’s ability to immerse his readers in the lives and hardships of his characters is staggering.At its core, Dororo is an awesome action/adventure title with strong characterizations and a gripping setting." — Manga Maniac Cafe

He (Osamu Tezuka) wasn’t only an artist, but a phenomenal story teller, director, and editor. I can’t say enough about this man and if you’ve never read anything by him, do yourself a favor and let this book introduce you to the world that he created. You can’t have a manga collection without this book in your library." —About Heroes

Simply put, Vertical's English translation of Osamu Tezuka's late '60s swords-and-goblins saga is a work of such genius that one must term it not only inspired but also inspiring--it's a reminder of why one reads manga in the first place. Exquisitely rendered and mind-bogglingly creative." --Firefox News

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Product Details

  • Series: Dororo (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Vertical (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934287164
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934287163
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #962,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Osamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was then a medium for children. His many early masterpieces include the series known in the U.S. as Astro Boy. With his sweeping vision, deftly interwined plots, feel for the workings of power, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. The later Tezuka, who authored Buddha, often had in mind the mature readership that manga gained in the sixties and that had only grown ever since. The Kurosawa of Japanese pop culture, Osamu Tezuka is a twentieth century classic.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. P. Glass on May 22, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first of the recent run of Vertical translations of vintage Tezuka to be in the original manga format. Personally I have been awaiting Dororo in English for close to four decades. I love that tag line [volume title?] on the back - NOBODY IS BORN WHOLE. The front cover is growing on me. The anatomical background not only reflects Tezuka's physician background, but it also reflects what was taken from Hyakkimaru by his father and the 48 demons. I will be eager to see what the image across the spine portrays when volume 3 arrives this fall.
Hyakkimaru's father promised 48 demons a portion each of his soon to born son then literally sends the result down the river in a basket. The basket is found by a doctor who cares for the baby. When the baby communicates telepathically with him, the doctor creates prostatic body parts to replaces those the demon took. Once he becomes proficient at propelling himself, Hyakkimaru leaves the doctor to find and destroy the 48 demons in order to reclaim himself. He is followed by death spirits that can take any form, but that deaf, dumb, blind kid sure wields a mean katana. He rescues and is joined by an even younger sidekick Dororo [the juvenile pronunciation of Dorobo - the word for thief].
Following just the cinematic visuals for forty years I thought that Dororo was a riff on Pinocchio. I was surprised that Hyakkimaru is a 14 year old telepath. Could Dororo in its Sunday Comics volumes and The X-Men at Marvel have reverberated on the same frequency when they first appeared in the 1960's?
This Vertical edition pretty much matches the Akita Bunko publication [minus the opening pages in color plus the creature from page 127 backing up the Table of Contents]. After re"reading" and enjoying Dororo visually for decades, I am eagerly await reading the entire saga "dubbed" with "subtitles".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joey on January 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Dororo is very exiting, with decent graphics and excellent writing. The book is interesting right from the start and really keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout the whole story. The title comes from the Japanese word dorobo which means thief, but children who cannot pronounce it properly often say dororo. Dororo's name fits him very well because he is both a young child and a thief.

Beyond Dororo, the other main character's name is Hyakkimaru. Before Hyakkimaru was born, his father Lord Daigo gained power by making an exchange with 48 demons, letting each one of them take a body part from his child in exchange for helping him to rule over the land. When Hyakkimaru was born he was missing his eyes, arms, legs, nose, and way more. His father abandoned him after birth, but a kind doctor found him and raised him like his own son.

To help get around, the doctor built prosthetics for all of Hyakkimaru's missing body parts. Many years later, monsters began taking over the doctor's house. The doctor then built new prosthetic arms with built-in blades so that Hyakkimaru could defend himself. The doctor soon discovered that the ghouls were after Hyakkimaru so he told him to flee from the danger.

During his travels Hyakkimaru met Dororo who he rescued from a monster. After seeing Hyakkimaru fight, Dororo decided that he must have Hyakkimaru's sword. He follows him around to steal it, but eventually they became friends. They travel to many different places and help many different people but keep getting shunned and forced to move on. For the most part people despise Dororo for being a thief, but they don't like Hyakkimaru for a variety of reasons.

Hyakkimaru and Dororo have many adventures together.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elijah on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
Sort of a segue between Tezuka's more lighthearted work of the 50s and 60s (plenty of which is still quite dark at times) and his very adult work of the 70s, Dororo is disturbing and horrifying at times but still couched in a (really genius) action plot, and still full of ridiculous puns and gags. What's more, Tezuka here is, in a strange way, at his most Jack Kirby-esque in that he merges goofy and fun old school storytelling with crazy ideas and incredible pathos.

Haunting and sickening, but also really great and fun and bad-ass, it's just a great read. The image of Hyakkimaru as a baby will haunt you.
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If you've never read a manga by Osamu Tezuka before, Dororo is not the place to start. Almost any of his other works-- Ode to Kirohito, Apollo's Song, Buddha, Phoenix-- will give you a better introduction to the artistic depth and range of the "godfather of manga."

If you already like Tezuka, you'll like Dororo. Will you like it as much as the many great Tezuka works released in English over the past few years? Probably not. The artwork in Dororo seems rushed and relatively simplistic by Tezuka's high standards. Its story hints at deeper meanings hidden beneath the surface (as the back cover says, "nobody is born whole") but doesn't pursue those themes with enough depth, at least not in this first volume. We've seen characters much like the wild young thief Dororo in many other Tezuka works (Buddha and Apollo's Song, to name only a few). And, finally, it's unfinished, as Tezuka never gave it an ending.

That said, there is something very unique and special about Dororo. It's set in Japan's feudal era and follows a wandering swordsman named Hyakkimaru and his companion, a scrappy thief named Dororo. Hyakkimaru has been cursed and must battle 38 demons to reclaim various parts of his body. Dororo, orphaned, follows Hyakkimaru in a search for a normal life. There is something quite moving about this duo's quest-- to be happy, to be whole, to be safe-- and the incredible obstacles and challenges each must overcome to attain those simple goals. The manga follows many of the feudal genre tropes-- the plight of the peasants, tryannical samurai, ghost and spirits-- but is much darker than the films of Kurosawa and other works I know that portray Japan's samurai days. Finally, without giving anything away, there's a very Tezuka-like chutzpah in the way Hyakkimaru fights.
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