Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Dendrobates by Ishiwata Youji

Ishiwata Youji


Sengawa's day job is as an accountant working for the police. But at night he transforms into a ruthless assassin bringing death to anyone who deserves it. Meet and hire the man with 1000 guns.

Alternative names


Manga reader sites (free)

Rosy's scrawlings on Dendrobates

This manga is just fun to read, if a little shocking or disgusting at times. In order for a vigilante prone to shooting people to bits to become the good guy, or at least the better choice, in the reader's eyes the bad guys have to be significantly worse. This is where the shocking and disgusting often comes in as what Sengawa avenges can range from drug deaths through to rapes. So if such reading material will turn you off don't read this. That said, there's something fun in seeing the perpetrators slaughtered so if you can handle the violence of the crimes then you'll probably enjoy seeing the criminals get their comeuppance.
Sengawa is a character that reminds me at times of the darker and more insane side of Batman or possibly the Joker. I don't know where this impression comes from but it could be the obsession factor or the destruction of his own life for others or even his disregard of dying himself. Whatever it is though, what does easily come across is his reckless disregard for the system, his brutality and the steadiness of his own perspective of life. He's a man with a mysterious past, one unlikely to be good (the hints of which are just being given to us), and with a singular purpose of his own making. And that is to avenge crimes, for which he can be hired for as little as a lolly. He obviously sees little value in life but once you read the stories you find that he has a deep respect for and desire to protect the innocence of others. This may be related to his past, or maybe not. We have yet to find out.
In the beginning the stories are, so far, generally short. The arcs spanning 1-3 (approximately) editions, which are also fairly short. The story arcs are, however, starting to lengthen and include enemies with the potential to kill Sengawa. I currently take this to indicate that the character introduction is over and that the deeper aspects of his story will start to emerge. Like most mangas that are likely to run for a fair while, the beginning of the Dendrobates is slow but it is fun to read nonetheless.
The art is by Yamane Akihiro and is fairy dark. It reveals the ugliness of people and delves into the starkness of the landscape. It also focuses on the eyes and evil smiles in order to reveal the true nature of the beast called man. Ugliness isn't only on the outside. There's plenty of gore too, to highlight the brutality of the murders but it isn't too over the top. Rather, there's an emphasis of the darkness of blood rather than the amount of splatter. The art is harsh but because it reflects the character of Sengawa and the cruelty of the world it comes across as pleasing to the eye. In fact, you start to revel in the evil smiles and the gun smoke and the two different personalities Sengawa utilises to make his way in the world. 

I'd recommend this manga to: teen boys and men mostly. Or anyone into a bit of illogical violence masquerading as extreme vigilante violence.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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