Inio Asano’s Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction (Japanese: Deddo Deddo Dēmonzu Dededededesutorakushon) is a science fiction manga. It has been serialized in Shogakukan’s seinen manga magazine Big Comic Spirits since April 2014.
High schoolers Koyama Kadode and Nakagawa “Ontan” Ouran are best friends. Being a high schooler cramming for university entrance exams is troublesome at the best of times, so the whole alien invasion thing is an unnecessary complication to already problematic adolescence.
8/31: the infamous day on which the Invaders… invaded! Thousands died! Many thousands more, including Koyama’s father, vanished without a trace! Only the worst sort of critic would point out that most of the casualties were the consequence of Japan’s energetic attempts to defend itself from the aliens. While the alien mothership hovering over Tokyo is impervious to human weapons, smaller alien craft can be shot down and since Tokyo is densely populated, and debris has to land somewhere, some losses have to be expected. Everyone must do their part, even if that part is being crushed into unidentifiable remains by falling spacecraft.
The state of emergency ended three years earlier, but the struggle continues. Providentially the defense industry boom has more than compensated for the economic losses due to the Invasion. A cynic might wonder if the clash between enigmatic Invaders and the humans is being perpetuated purely for the riches it delivers to defense corporations. At least this is what Ontan believes.
There may be an on-going war, but Japan still expects its (dwindling) population of students to live up to pre-Invasion standards. Thus, exams, the challenge of getting into a good college, and the hope that one day one will become a soul-dead worker drone. On top of these normal demands, geeky Koyama has a hopeless crush on her teacher, Naoki Watarase, and a troubled relationship with her mother. Ontan is a flamboyantly eccentric misanthrope with no bridle on her tongue.
The odds they will live up to society’s expectations are rather poor. But at least they’ll have fun getting nowhere.
The Invasion does not seem to be much of a war,
in large part because the hapless “invaders” are unarmed and extremely fragile, but people do still die. Koyama’s father is never coming home any time soon. One of Koyama and Ontan’s chums is killed by falling debris. There is an interesting tension between the world, transformed, and mundane affairs continuing seemingly unchanged.
Early volumes give the impression that this is an amiable slice of life manga, filled with quirky events and endearing characters. This is a ruse, to keep the reader reading until they’re too heavily invested in the series to stop, at which point the story takes a much darker, more tragic turn. In addition to the background menace of that giant floating artifact over Tokyo, it turns out there is far more going on between Koyama and Ontan than first meets the eye.
Asano’s art is an interesting mix of exquisitely detailed scenery porn, iconic character design, and a few people who look like their parents were in the habit of sleeping on poorly shielded reactors. The range in technique should be jarring, but here the extremes work together effectively. Asano’s narrative techniques are equally effective, enticing the reader into caring about the characters before launching into an exploration of extremely poor life choices, capped by a heroic attempt at redemption.
Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), here (Barnes & Noble), here (Book Depository), and here (Chapters-Indigo). Archive binging may be irresistable.