Domu: A Child’s Dream
An early comic by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Steamboy)
Domu is a narrative that explores coming of age, innocence, and maturity, emphasizing the power that’s held by youth. Through this lens, he looks at the childlikeness that can be created by stunted growth, with almost every cast member having some flaw that robs them of the maturity that comes with true adulthood. Otomo juxtaposes this with our child protagonist, who acts and thinks more like an adult than any of her elders.
As in Akira, we see an inexplicable psychic power residing in certain individuals, here in Old Man Cho, whose petty desire for other’s possessions causes him to use his power negatively, and in Etsuko, a girl whose power is only ever used in direct opposition to Cho. It’s worth reading for the art alone, but the story will likely stick with you as well. The ideas Otomo presents are well worth thinking about, even decades after they were penned.