Dai Dark Volume 1 Review

One of the worst things that could’ve happened to the crew on the junk cratel ship Kahiya was picking up a bloodied, barely conscious Zaha Sanko floating in space. Knowing the legend that if anyone possesses Sanko’s bones that any wish they have could be granted, the three-headed captain of Kahiya strips and keeps everything off Sanko’s body (except one key item: the underwear), takes his dark paggy — skeleton shaped, small, and shaped like a knapsack — stuffs Sanko inside a room, and gleefully declares they’ll rule the universe. They rest in their chambers peacefully, already imagining the glory of controlling the universe. The problem is they’re unaware that the dark paggy — Avakian — could actually grow into a walking body and get Sanko out of a jam.

They also didn’t realize that yes, underwear is important for a person. Sanko’s can transform and cover his body into a powerful undersuit and also allow him to grab an axe from his paggy that can rip the bones out of someone’s body.

So all I’m saying is, read Dai Dark to get a thorough education on the importance of good underwear.

While I haven’t read it, Dorohedoro on Netflix was my first introduction to Q Hayashida’s brand of action and comedy. I wasn’t expecting Dai Dark to be somewhat like that, but I was at least counting on some similarities before reading this. Needless to say, Dai Dark is just a grand, enjoyable time. The only real plot thread of note so far is it’s not like Sanko wanted this power, but instead, someone stuck this power on him. He ventures along with his paggy, Avakian, in outer space in order to find out who did this and kill it so he can be rid of this problem and also stop the sets of rotting creatures or the mysterious organization who’ve heard the legend from wanting to kill him.

It’s just along the way he meets plenty of standout characters, and so far there’s yet to be one who isn’t awesome. Avakian is a little strange but comes across as experienced and also genuinely looking out for Sanko. You have a dealer named Misetani Box who sells dark flesh, dark bones, dark hide, and fresh, boozy manju buns. The beings they encounter, whether it’s in a black hole (old man, why are you there), at a school where no one seriously questions why your name is Spaghetti Meatball, or even at a seemingly desolate hotel in one of the extras, jump out with such memorable personalities. So far though no one’s topped Shimada Death, who just loves eating death. Shimada Death also apparently can choose how someone can die too, if what happens when a group aiming to kill it wasn’t a tip off.

The personalities really pop off throughout the volume, which makes all the humor stand out even more. This type of unexpected comedy was well-timed and didn’t fail to put a smile on my face, and this despite the fact that it’s fairly violent. Can’t properly compare it to Dorohedoro since I’ve only seen the anime, but we have skeletons getting pulled out of bodies, decapitations, and maybe innards strewn about in one particular page. It’s not gratuitous though, it’s a style that works in lock-step with how the story’s set. It’s what makes a scene where Sanko emerges on fire and ends up burning other beings on a ship by accident extremely funny. That and how everything’s drawn too.

This is also a release with a lot of care if you grab Dai Dark in print — from its color pages to paper quality, this certainly is well made. So from top to bottom, this is one of the best works you’ll find on the market this year. In need of great and zany fun? You won’t regret looking to add this manga to your read list in 2021.

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