So lately I’ve been ordering a lot of manga. I’m in the mood to discover my next big manga love story. I’ve also not been reading as much webcomics. At least not family-friendly ones. As such, I figured I would switch my webtoon recommendations for manga first impressions until I build up a nice stock of webtoons to recommend once again. That way, maybe you can discover your next big manga love.
And no, that title doesn’t mean this is a light novel adaptation. Dead Dead Demon’s DeDeDeDe Destruction is 100% original manga from the great Inio Asano. If that name sounds familiar it’s probably because of Oyasumi Punpun.
Why I Picked up Dead Dead Demon’s DeDeDeDe Destruction
That title is going to boost my word count! Honestly, I didn’t even know it was from Asano until I was 4 chapters in. And I buy physical copies of all these mangas so that takes some impressive willful ignorance on my part. I also had no clue what the story was. I got entirely sold by the cover. Let me see if I can find it. Ok it’s this:
The Japan Self-Defense Forces are still looking for a way to combat the alien threat, but so far conventional weapons have had no effect. Maybe it’s time to try something unconventional.
Meanwhile, Kadode Koyama and her best friend avidly track the aliens’ movements on social media and less enthusiastically study for college entrance exams. When the end of the world looms overhead, you learn to take things one step at a time.
My First Impression
What I liked
A lot. Honestly, this is a very good first volume. Occasionally it felt like sci-fi mumble-core in manga form and I mean that as a compliment. Asano knows how to write these very natural-sounding conversations and off-kilter banter. What’s more, pairing a classic science-fiction premise, full of mystery and unanswered questions with what is essentially a cute girl coming of age ensemble, is kind of brilliant.
There are a lot of subversive elements, as you can probably imagine and the first volume has a lot of unanswered questions. The alien invasion had a huge life and monetary toll but the aliens themselves seem quite weak. Was it mostly accidental? We’re not sure of the details of what happened yet. Most of the universe seems to be set in a very recognizable contemporary Tokyo (except for the huge spaceship obviously), but here is also all this unknown weaponry. A-waves and green-waves, that might be having an effect on people.
Yet most of the story really is about two high school girls who fell a bit useless and try to find meaning in their lives.
The book itself is also nice. If you get the physical copy. It had a good size, the paper is nice and thick and the cover is a quality glossy dust jacket with textured print. It’s one of the better quality manga that I have gotten lately from a material standpoint.
The first volume was sort of meandering. And there is nothing wrong with that per see. I love a lot of aimless stories. Sometimes they eventually lead somewhere and sometimes the aimlessness is the point. But in this case, it occasionally felt rather uncontrolled.
What I mean by that is that it felt more like the story was getting away from the author a little. Except on the last page. In fact, the very last panel pulled everything together so well that I almost went and bought volume 2 right then and there even though it was past midnight on a Tuesday.
So I guess it’s not really a drawback.
However, this is: Dead Dead Demon’s DeDeDeDe Destruction is currently listed as “on hiatus”. The first volume issued in 2014 and Asano has taken on a lot of projects since. Even though more volumes have been printed since the frequency went from two to three volumes a year to only one. It makes me fear that he may have lost interest in the project which is too bad.
All in all, the first volume of Dead Dead Demon’s DeDeDeDe Destruction was a unique take on classic science fiction tropes and an unexpectedly down to earth depiction of the friendships of high school girls. It’s even rather lighthearted although you do sort of feel an edge of something unpleasant and suffocating now and then. That edge is part of what makes the volume interesting though. I will certainly continue reading this.