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VINE VOICEon February 11, 2002
I started reading Dark Horse's Akira reprints a few months back, and having enjoyed the first volume, figured I'd take a chance (I generally don't like Manga very much...) and order Domu, seeing as how it was also created by Katsuhiro Otomo....
Well, I managed to get all of 20 pages in before I was totally spellbound. Domu tells the story of an apartment block in Japan that has been plagued by suicides and disappearances. A senile old man, with tremendous psychic powers, has been using the buildings inhabitants as his own personal playthings. (One particularly chilling moment has the oldy about to drop an infant to his death, and thinking "Just like a ripe tomato...")
His plans are disrupted, however, by a new arrival: A young girl with the same psychic gift. And soon, the apartment block is turned into their own personal battlefield, as the little girl seeks to ensure no one else falls victim to his depredations.
Otomo's story and art compliment each other perfectly- I had to read the book twice in one sitting: Once to actually READ it, another to savor the magnificent hyper-detailed artwork. The plot is like something out of a Stephen King story, and a GREAT Stephen King story at that. This would make an amazing movie. But could the movie possibly be any more heart-pounding than the book...? Naaah!
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on November 7, 2001
The name "Otomo" is generally associated with either the epic comic Akira or the movie based on the comic. But before he dazzled everyone in the entire world with that masterpiece he did this small (for him, about three hundred pages . . .) comic that manages to nearly equal Akira on several levels. The length gives it a certain tightness and intensity even when the story isn't moving that fast (which is rare) and you hardly notice that as you're reading pages are flying past. The story reads like a sort of prelude to Akira, involving people with psychic powers, especially kids. What makes it different is the setting . . . the story takes place in a large apartment complex that is almost a character in itself, its massive blocky bulk looming over everyone and everything, the spreads of the entire apartment are some of the best comic art I've ever seen. In this rather condensed space an old man with psychic powers is terrorizing everyone for the sheer heck of it . . . he's not so much evil as a senile old man with no sense of right or wrong, he acts purely on demented whim and with his powers he can do just about anything. Until one day a small girl who also happens to have psychic abilities shows up and soon the sparks are flying as the two of them wind up dueling, with the entire apartment as a battleground (you'll never see an elevator the same way again) while the cops try to figure out just what is happening before the entire place explodes. The art is spectacular and easily up to Akira's standards, especially when stuff starts to blow up (which it does often) and Otomo's view of dreary apartment life adds that all important social commentary at the same time. Few comics are as visually and intelluctually gripping as this one and if you have only a passing interest in Akira, or even science fiction in general (it won an international SF award, the Grand Prix) you would do well to pick this up.
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on September 1, 1998
Among Katsuhiro Otomo's works, I love Domu best. When I first read this comics, I lived in a Danchi (groups of high-storied apartment), just the same as the background of this comic. Domu well conveys the lonelines and strangeness of a huge Danchi. In a huge Danchi, strange serial murders happen. A primary school girl and her friends find out that the murderer is an old man with psychic power who murders people to get trivials.... The psychic war between the old man with child's dream and children. Domu got Japan SF awards, first as a comic.
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on April 26, 2001
Horrific, gripping and suspenseful tale about a gargantuan apartment block plagued by a series of motiveless suicides and murders. The cause? An old man, whiling away his former years by using his psychic abilities to puppeteer the tenants for his own sick amusement. When a little girl with equally powerful psychic abilities begins to interfere with his horrific manipualtions, it marks the beginning of an escalating , life-and-death tug of war struggle between the two, culminating in a spectacular finale, with the tenants as helpless participants. The story's almost Hitchcockian style and the more outlandish aspects are grounded in believable, very human characters (you'll be rooting for the young girl all the way) and the creepily nondescript and unfeeling atmosphere setting of the concrete apartment complex. I love Otomo's incredible artwork, but this is far more than just eye candy; this is a terrifying supernatural thriller set in a recognisably real world, with a foe so amoral and twisted that the outcome of the story is unsure. The underlying themes of the of the two protagonists'potency-one with youth and courage, the other with wiles and wisdom-and the modern setting lend this thriller depth and context, too. Highly, highly recommended.
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on June 14, 2004
An entire crowded apartment building is horrifically disturbed when violent unexplained murders upset the humdrum activities of its day-to-day residents. Seemingly mocking the monotony of inner city life and the obsessions with diversions in society, Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) injects a twisted old man into the fray maddened by intense telepathic abilities and an obsession with his own unique 'diversions'. Mainly the systematic slaughtering of his neighbors.
An unlikely challenger soon confronts the warped man-god. A young girl, a child of only about eight or nine has come to free the building of the terror. Armed with powerful telekinesis, their rivalry soon escalates into a massive battle nearly destroying the entire building.
My favorite is subtly depicted in the last scene. A silent test of wills between the two enemies amidst a peaceful playground setting.
It's obvious that Otomo loves exploring the lives of inner city characters that have very little to do with each other. Domu is one of his ealier works and should not be missed by any fan of Akira. This graphic novel is a 'single volume' and presents a quick yet very chilling read.
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on July 10, 2002
I read Domu the first time in the middle of the night, and after a third of the book I had to put it down because it scared me so much. The characters felt so real and that made the horrible events all the more horrible; the teenager sitting by himself in the middle of the night, struggling with his homework.. The kids playing or bullying each other.. everything felt so real. I immeadiately liked Hiroshi and Etsuko, and every time the old man appeared I was scared that anything might happen to them. In my opinion this is Otomos best work. I read this right after I had finished AKIRA part 5 and I must say that Domu was better in every way. The characters in AKIRA are mostly cardbord, in Domu they act much more like real people. Don't get me wrong, I love AKIRA, but Domu is just better. I can't explain how much I liked this manga, It's the best I've ever read. Go read it, now!
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on October 31, 1999
Domu is fantastic! Of all the Katsuhiro Otomo books, Domu is my personal favorite. The sheer beauty of the artwork and the genius of the storyline live up to Mr. Otomo's expectations. I loved every bit of it, from beginning to end. I especially loved the disputes. They were as good as the fights in AKIRA, which totally blew me away. I recommend this book only to the unsensitive type, though. It's fairly violent.
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on December 18, 2015
Everyone is psychic. Too some extent.

Dome is unsubtle social commentary on Japanese contemporary life. The crowded living conditions,
The drive to excel academically - and the lack of tolerance for failure, known in the West as
Creative thinking or entrepreneurship.

Then, after Otomo has blown enough steam out of his ears - is the paper thin plot.
An old man with telekinetic powers is terrorizing an apartment block.

This gives Otomo the excuse to produce some gorgeous visuals.Buy a copy, and
Trace away!
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on May 6, 2006
If only this great manga was made into an anime then we would have a greater appreciation for it's beautiful artwork and explosive action. In Domu you come across a few mysteries and until the end you'll only know about as much as the police do and that's absolutely nothing. Although it is a great read Domu has a few tiny flaws. I would have liked to see a brief explanation on how the twisted old man and Etsuko got their supernatural powers, it's little information like this that make the book seem hurried. I admire Katsuhiro Otomo most for holding nothing back; the art is very graphic at times with some gore.

The art was perfect in showing how exciting, bloody, and dangerous the final battle was.This manga shows it's intelligence by wrapping your brain around the obvious and has you asking questions that were explained but you never caught on. One question heard a lot is why does Mr. Uchida (The twisted old man) murder and torment the people in the apartment complex with no remorse but you're given clues throughout the book. His apartment is filled with toys, he likes to play with them, and he does childish things like stick his tongue out at people so either he is the most demented serial killer ever or he is something gentler.

Because this is a book from the mind of Katsuhiro Otomo who created the amazing classic Akira Domu gets the pleasure of always being compared to it. I'm not going to choose a better story because I haven't read Akira I saw the anime and that wouldn't be fair to Domu but the two have some similarities. One is the supernatural power and another is the nicely done graphic art but to give anymore might ruin the book. Domu is a great tale and an anime would be nice but I don't think today's animation would compliment the edge the manga gave but who knows what else can be done with this classic.
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on July 6, 2002
Wow. Just... wow. Once you pick up Domu, you'll find that you blaze through it very quickly, but that at the same time, each scene will leave a marked impression on you.
Domu takes place in modern-day Tokyo, and is centered around a monolithic housing complex which has had more than its fair share of mysterious deaths. Suicides, accidental deaths, murders, and deaths which have not even been able to be classified... an inordinate number of people seem to meet untimely ends at the Tsutsumi Public Housing Complex. The police are stymied, as well they should be when faced with exceedingly violent suicides and building jumpers who somehow manage to get onto the roof through a locked door. And the residents are increasingly uneasy.
What nobody knows is that senile little Cho Uchida, abandoned by his family, living alone, with the mind of a child, is the force behind these mysterious deaths. Possessing great extrasensory powers, Uchida sees the tenants of the Tsutsumi Public Housing Complex as his toys, to torment, or to kill, as his childish whim dictates. That is, until a little girl by the name of Etsuko moves into the complex. Armed with powers of her own, Etsuko is appalled by the things she sees (and senses) Uchida doing, and declares war.
Soon the entire complex is trapped in the midst of the battle between these two mental giants, and between the death of innocents and the destruction wreaked in offensive and defensive measures by the two combatants... the housing complex, and some of the people investigating the mystery deaths, will never be the same again.
Though Katsuhiro Otomo is probably best known for his work on Akira, Domu should definitely stand out as a meaningful, powerful work in its own right. Gorgeous artwork and a story made all the more chilling by the childlike temperaments of the main characters make Domu a story well worth reading.
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