The slice-of-life alien invasion series returns.
Out of all the titles Viz Media is currently publishing, Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction is one of the most unique. Written and illustrated by Inio Asano of Goodnight Punpun fame, the series stars a group of high-school-aged women going about their everyday lives as the threat of alien invasion literally hangs above their heads. A few years prior to when the series started, a gigantic alien spaceship descended into Tokyo airspace, and it has remained there ever since. Japanese military forces have managed to hold back the aliens’ attacks thus far, but they haven’t been able to drive the giant saucer away.
Now, in Vol. 2, rumors are circulating that some of the invaders are disguising themselves as humans in order to infiltrate Earthling society. The series’s latest installment contains chapters 9-16, which feature significant developments in both the alien/human conflict and the personal lives of the main characters. Is Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction Vol. 2 good?
In terms of its sci-fi elements, this volume impresses. We get our first glimpse of an alien invader masquerading as a human, and Asano uses this opportunity to deliver some striking body horror. The aliens’ goals may be unclear, but what little is revealed definitely feels unsettling. Asano’s tactic of withholding information is one of the series’s strengths. By leaving the reader every bit as in the dark as the characters, he allows them to feel that same pressure of a lingering and mysterious threat. There is also some discussion of the military forces’ weapons and their limitations in fending off alien attacks. Details like this are among the volume’s most enjoyable, as they show the amount of thought Asano has put into the series’s concept and resultant implications.
Unfortunately, the human elements of this volume are far less successful. One of the main points of the series is that the main characters’ lives are relatively ordinary even in the face of potential death from above. Nonetheless, that isn’t an excuse for the manga to be boring. Most of the characters are frustratingly unintelligent and have unlikable personalities that make it difficult to care about their problems. Of course, characters don’t have to be likable to be well-written, and Asano does a good job keeping voices consistent. With that said, this isn’t a series that will leave you wanting to see more from its characters.
Thankfully, this series’s artwork is more consistently impressive than its writing. The giant spaceship is imposing, largely thanks to the high level of detail Asano uses when rendering it. The plethora of lines on the ship is evocative of classic Jack Kirby technology from the ’60s, and it clearly conveys how advanced the invaders’ technology is. The nature imagery in this volume is also fantastic; shots of trees’ dense foliage blowing in the wind are especially lovely. The skylines and architecture throughout are also pleasing to look at. The humans in the manga can sometimes be unpleasant to look at, but in a way that works. They sweat, have snotty noses, and just generally look like actual people.
Overall, Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction Vol. 2 is a decent volume, although it pales somewhat in comparison to the series’s debut. The science fiction elements are very well-handled and add an air of suspense to the plot. The artwork is also impressive and consistently pleasing to look at. Unfortunately, the human elements of this volume tend to be rather boring or even irritating at times. Nonetheless, this volume is worth checking out if you enjoyed the series’s first installment.