Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Dokuro by Saruwatari Tetsuya

Saruwatari Tetsuya


The story is set in a dystopian near future where the Japan society is experiencing a crime rampage and in which a powerful and secret religious organization, with mysterious goals, is acting as an invisible hand behind the scenes.
The main character is their strongest assassin, lended to them by his fanatic mother when he was a child, and now became a ruthless killing machine whose fists and feet cause serious damage to his adversaries, and whose weapon of choice is a special cutting wire with which grabs and scorch the opponents.
He's a man hunter, whose childhood has been stolen and molded after his tormentors, but when the road of forgiveness is precluded to him what can be left to a man to obtain the redemption?
Takeo finds the answer in the vengeance, and in eradicating that same evil from which he has born.
So this dark and impressive badass guy, after betraying the sept, gets down to business kicking their ass and unleashing his fury against the deadly opponents sent to stop his unparalleled revenge.

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Rosy's scrawlings on Dokuro
From the very beginning, Dokuro is a manga of extreme violence. I wouldn't recommend this one to anyone who doesn't like violent stories or who is young. This is one most likely to be appreciated by men and some women of mature enough age. That said, I can now get to the gritty stuff, and there's much grit involved.
Takeo is a man with a bloody mission and a bloody past. He was brought up mostly by his mother who became increasingly insane and violent after joining a cult-like religion, which is accepted as mainstream. Catastrophe follows catastrophe for young Takeo until he's finally indoctrinated into the ways of an assassin for the religious sect. But he doesn't remain this way. Instead, he manages to break his indoctrination and begins a crusade of revenge under the guise of ridding the world of the sect's evildoers. He knows what he's doing is just damning him more but he already considers his life as nothing but this purpose. He no longer believes in God, and even if he did exist God's love wouldn't fall upon him, but others believe he is loved by God and won't die. Takeo's personality is ultimately a tangle of darker emotions, including a desire to die at any point. His only other real wish is to take the evil ones with him.
Right from the start Takeo wields his strange weapon, a long wire wound around his arm with a sharp little hook on its end, to bloody results. Faces are torn to shreds, bodies wrapped and squished and heads ripped off. Following the trail of death is a police officer who just happens to be Takeo's long lost brother, who's increasingly disgusted by Takeo's acts. The pair act as polar opposites in a search for justice. One sees the world in black and white, that justice as the purview of the police alone and that vigilantes are nothing but common criminals that need to be imprisoned like the rest. The other sees the world in grey, dark grey, where there is little good still present but what is there must be saved any way possible, particularly through the destruction of evil people. Himself included. Seeing no good within, he sees little outside himself and he's resigned and saddened by life.
Dokuro is a brilliantly brutal exploration of a dark and despairing mind set on a path that falls somewhere between seeking justice and revenge. While reading the story you get sucked into Takeo's way of thinking only to realise the hopelessness of his situation. He truly is a man damned, one who initially became so through the actions of others but then through his own.
The art of Dokuro is dark and smooth. There's elements of more traditional art, with regards to how people are illustrated. Also, few are actually attractive. Less attention is given to looks while more is given to expressions, emphasising the mental aspect of this action story. Blood and gore are everywhere, including some unlikely scenarios with regards to deaths and healing wounds but this just emphasises the brutality of Takeo's world.

I'd recommend this manga to: those who love brutal action stories, themes of justice and revenge, stories on brain washing and evil societies.

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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