Synopsis[ edit ] Mr. Ueno, a tenant of the tower block apartments at the Tsutsumi Housing Complex, jumps from the roof of one of the buildings in an apparent suicide. His is the latest of the thirty-two mysterious deaths that have taken place there in only three years. Inspector Yamagawa and Inspector Takayama investigate the death and find that it was impossible for Mr. Ueno to get on the roof, as the lock of the access door has long been rusted shut.

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Shelves: comics Its a little bit sad to me that many or even most of the people who know the name Katsuhiro Otomo will likely only know him for his sprawling vision for a post-apocalyptic Neo Tokyo, as found in Akira. In a way, thats kind of like saying that its sad that most people will only ever know Herman Melville for Moby Dick. That is: its not really sad at all and that there is a good reason why the great torrential works are the ones that imprint on the shared cultural experience.

And it has nothing to do with the quality of the work. Really, pound for pound, I find Domu a more exciting read packed with more thrills and better character moments than Akira. I prefer Domu to Akira, but do I do so justly? I mean, how could I ever know? In the end, the question might not even be worth asking, Which Is Better? Instead, the more worthwhile route may be simply to suggest that whatever the merits of the longer work—however completely awesome Akira might be[1]—Domu is wholly on its own merits worth the time it takes to track down the book and settle into its wacky brand of urban horror.

Look at this panel. And now this. Before computers. Otomo may not be as awesome a father to my children as I am, but I am not near so awesome a father to my children as he is an illustrator.

His sense of design is impeccable. Think back on the work of Sergio Leone. That is what Otomo offers his characters. The chance to be enveloped in something preordained in such a way as to show off every facet in its most dynamic and awestriking light.

Again, an example. Also, Otomo here vertically flips the orientation so that the gound is at the top of the page and the sky at bottom. We see the rooftops with lamps on top. The two figures twist in the air high above the complex. The crazy woman, the mentally arrested giant, the hoodlum, the kid, the young detective, the chief detective, the spiritist. Domu focuses heavily on police work and the reader spends a lot of time following an investigation that will ultimately be resolved in the most delicious deus ex machina—and by an unlikely deus.

It may actually be perfect. Whether perfect or not, the sheer talent invested into its every page is formidable and affecting. When I first encountered Domu fifteen years ago, I was certain the book would stick with me throughout my life. I loved the heck out of Akira. Even the bizarro film adaptation. But suppose you were familiar with it, think back on how the opening seven minutes nearly dominates entirely the three hours that follow.

There is nearly no dialogue. Just three men waiting for a train. But through his command of sight and sound Leone crafts one of the most maddeningly memorable sequences in cinematic history.


Domu: A Child's Dream



Domu Manga


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