Reading the second volume of Q Hayashida’s deliriously grisly “mature readers” horror comedy Dorohedoro (Viz Signature), I found myself concocting a word to describe this series’ unrepentantly bloody hi-jinx: splatstick. Set in a decaying urban hellhole where most of the residents have been randomly transmogrified by a group of masked evil sorcerers, Dorohedoro divides its storytime between human/lizard Caiman and his full-figured restaurateur gal pal Nikaido with a quartet of sorcerer “cleaners” sent to track down our twosome. Whether battling each other or making their way through the treacherous day-to-day, there’s always a dose of ultraviolence waiting in the alleyways.
Thus, we see sorceress Ebisu, after getting her shredded face rejuvenated in the beginning of the volume, zombified in the midst of the Hole’s annual Night of the Living Dead. (“Goddamn it!” one of the other cleaners grouses, “I just fixed her up!”) Caimin, in a street fight with the aforementioned crew, has his head lopped, causing a massive geyser of blood with a face hiding in it to spurt from his neck — though this only proves a temporary inconvenience. Nikaido, desperate to move her friend to safety, is forced to bite off a fingertip: no blood this time, just a whiff of sorcerous smoke.
Lots of outlandish action, in short, held together by mangaka Hayashida’s visually detailed scene setting and engaging character interactions. In the volume’s final entry, both our gal and her reptile bud take on a seemingly invincible Russian fighter for a million yen purse. The former enters the uneven contest because her best customer Caiman can never pay his tab; the latter does to rescue the overmatched Nikaido. Looking over Hayashida’s punky art style in this sequence, I couldn’t help mentally replaying the Ramones’ “The Crusher” as I raced through the fight scenes. I have no idea if the artist ever heard this track or not, though I still like to visualize her blasting Adios Amigos in her studio as she scratches out pen-work on this entertainingly outlandish manga series.