So I read all of Domu by Otomo this week. I’ve owned this book since I was in high school—and believe my dear reader—that was many moons ago. I figured while I was waiting on the volumes of Akira I don’t own to arrive—I’d read this on my lunch break. And wow. How do you tell a story with some of the craziest most destructive psychic battles…with subtlety and grace? This is how.
I loved how logical the police investigation was written—even though as the reader we know what they’re up against isn’t logical. It creates this periphery place for the supernatural elements to fit in. Like a lot of the most powerful scenes between the two telekinetic characters happen around the understanding of both the reader and the people just sort of going about their day. Otomo is so gifted a storyteller—that you have this wonderful scene toward the end where this lady is sort of loudly talking about her day to a friend in the park— and kids are playing—but there’s this murderous battle going on between two characters—one of whom is sitting on a swing set. The slight rippled of the frame of the swingset is in this setting more powerful than all of the explosions and insane destruction that happened before this point—though the fact that we’ve just seen them basically destroy a whole housing complex—is a part of the tension of this scene.
It’s jaw dropping stuff—and a lot of it is just knowing when to show what, and how. I mean it’s a good thing Otomo sort of went away from comics for a long while—because he makes comics which are pretty devestatingly depressing to read if you consider yourself to be working in the same medium as he is. And I mean that in their totality.