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A book review by Steven Wu
May 13, 2002
|Rating: 4 (of 10)|
In certain panels, Otomo's artwork is superb. He has a particularly fine grasp of architecture; near the very end of the book, he pencils in an enormously detailed background of an apartment complex that impressed me to no end. His explosions are similarly detailed, with every bit of wood and concrete carefully drawn in. And his facial expressions are quite good as well, when he puts in the effort to detail his characters.
Now, the problems.
The dialogue is stilted--probably a result of its being translated from the Japanese, but it still doesn't make reading Domu much fun. The panels sometimes jump around in the narrative and are really hard to follow. Sometimes the dialogue also jumps around--for some reason, perhaps to achieve "realism," Otomo inserts a lot of random, useless dialogue in the middle of much more important dialogue, so that you're left puzzling over some bizarre sentence that just pops up out of nowhere.
And the story is...uninspiring. Otomo starts with a cool premise, but he doesn't really do much with it. The "mystery" portion of the plot is ruined by the fact that the secret is revealed in the first few pages of the book, and the "psychic" portion of the plot is too simplistic.
Domu didn't impress me at all. Hopefully Otomo's Akira will be much better, although if it's just a 2000-page version of Domu I will be sorely disappointed.
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