Nobody is born whole


2009 Eisner Award Winner!

By Osamu Tezuka
Graphic Novel / Manga
Paperback, 848 pages
978-1-935654-32-2 Buy.
U.S.$24.95 / CAN$29.95

Dororo is a thriller manga featuring a boy who has been robbed of 48 body parts by demons. The story depicts his travels to destroy the demons and win back his body parts to become whole.

Daigo Kagemitsu, who works for a Samurai general in Japan’s Warring States period, promises to offer body parts of his unborn baby to 48 demons in exchange for complete domination of the country. When the baby boy is born, Daigo has him thrown into a river, expecting the boy to die. A kind sage, however, finds him and adopts him. The sage fits out his poor son with prosthetics.

Time goes by and the baby grows into a boy who calls himself Hyakkimaru. Every time Hyakkimaru eliminates a demon, he retrieves one of his body parts. Hyakkimaru rescues a boy thief named Dororo from a band of men whom the young boy tried to rob. Together they travel the countryside in search of the demons who possess Hyakkimaru's parts. Throughout their travels, they face a host of monsters and ghosts.

Osamu Tezuka was born on November 3, 1928, in Osaka. He grew up in an open-minded family exposed to manga and Walt Disney. Having developed an intense understanding of the preciousness of life from his wartime experience, Osamu Tezuka aimed to become a physician and later earned his degree, but ultimately chose the profession he loved best: manga artist and animated film writer.

Tezuka’s work changed the concept of the Japanese cartoon, transforming it into an art form and incorporating a variety of new styles in creating the “story cartoon.” Osamu Tezuka lived out his entire life tirelessly pursuing his efforts, producing more than 150,000 pages of graphic storytelling before his death in 1989.


“It’s the pioneer of the manga tradition wading neck deep into the mire of freakish swordsmen, ghouls and historical messiness: Kurosawa and Leone meets Romero… Dororo stands as a classic that showcases Osamu Tezuka’s unique approach to manga and to the world.”
Aint’t It Cool News

Platinum Award. Tezuka blends high-adventure plotting with deep and thoughtful themes in his inimitable style… It seems a shame it’s only all been in Japanese until now.”
Advanced Media Network

“Sleek in design and swift in pacing, the story’s blend of mayhem and laffs and depression creates a uniquely chaotic world… The monster designs are excellent, ranging from detailed etchings to gargantuan masses of doomy scribbles.”
Jog-The Blog

“Simply put, Vertical’s English translation of Osamu Tezuka’s late ’60s swords-and-goblins saga is a work of such genius that one must term it not only inspired but also inspiring—it’s a reminder of why one reads manga in the first place. Exquisitely rendered and mind-bogglingly creative.”
Firefox News

“By far Tezuka’s edgiest work at that point in his career, this series is riveting and, frankly, creepy as hell, with Tezuka’s signature ‘cute’ style offering a welcome counterpoint to the visceral horrors depicted. Highly recommended.”
Publishers Weekly

“The premise and Tezuka’s eerie renditions of larval Hyakkimaru and the monsters that come after him is unusually effective and chilling.”
The Onion A.V. Club