by Maki Kusumoto
When Kishi quits his band, he starts picking up extra hours at a bookstore to earn some extra cash. While there he falls in love with one of the regulars, an art student named Mitsu. He calls her, she invites him over, and soon they are spending all of their time together. But the beautiful girl at the bookstore proves to be unstable and self-destructive, and even the intensity of Kishi’s love might not be enough to save her from her demons.
When Dolis was released a few years back, I remember hearing a fair amount of buzz because it was an ‘adult’ story with edgy art, but I never got around to picking it up until recently. It’s a larger format than the standard manga paperback, and the pages are actually illustrated in color. (Two colors per chapter, but still. Not your normal manga.)
The art is pretty minimalist. The lines are very precise and clean. Shadows and gradient color are nonexistent; instead, bright pairs of color are contrasted against each other. At times, the panels get crowded and claustrophobic, mirroring the inner turmoil of the two main characters. Character design is interesting, but I could not get over how big their foreheads are. The broad foreheads and wide mouths combined with heavily-mascara’d eyelashes make for some pretty alien-looking creatures.
Most of the drama in the story comes from trying to sort out the main characters’ thoughts. They spend day after day hiding out in Mitsu’s apartment, only venturing out into the wider world for a brief party. So we have page after page of fragmented conversation and thoughts between two broken, disturbed people. The climax is utterly predictable and doesn’t quite pay off, but Dolis is an interesting experiment with sequential story-telling worth checking out for the art.
3 out of 5 stars