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Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction Vol. #09 Manga Review

8 min read
D8 Volume Nine brings the story full circle

To change her and Kadode’s fate, Ontan must change herself and the world as they know it

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Inio Asano
Translation: John Werry
Touch-up Art/Lettering: Annaliese Christman
Design: Shawn Carrico
Editor: Pancha Diaz

What They Say:
If you could go back in time, would you do it? There’s no guarantee that you can change things for the better. In fact, you may be inviting an even greater calamity into the world. Even so, would you do it to save your best friend?

The Review:
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Inio Asano’s extraterrestrial escapade, Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction (D8), adds time travel to the laundry list of classic sci-fi tropes in its arsenal. Don’t take that as slander – the way Asano weaves these elements into the plot makes them feel anything but contrived. D8 recontextualizes sci-fi standards for an internet-age audience, completely changing the way we look at apocalypse fiction. Volume 9 wraps up Kadode & Ouran’s origin story, revealing the reason why Ouran abandoned her timeline for the chance at a new future.

Volume 8 ended in disaster – Kadode’s stint of vigilantism turns lethal when her Isobeyan gadget derails a train, injuring many and eventually resulting in a fatality. But rather than repent for her wrongdoings, she doubles down on her convictions. In a world where corruption and evil persist ad infinitum, this was just another daily occurrence. Celebrity drama, political scandals, and violent media are all commonplace in our news feeds, to the point where even death leaves us completely desensitized. When news of tragedy strikes, our immediate reaction is to grieve, but what usually follows is an undercurrent of rage. A rage brought on by feelings of helplessness. There are people so rich and powerful, whose actions negatively reverberate throughout the masses, yet their lives remain unaffected. The world is filled with so much suffering and conflict, yet the ones in control wouldn’t want it any other way. The imbalance of power is evident and unwavering. The weak remain under the heel of the strong.

There’s no rest for the wicked, which means Kadode still has work to do. Her stalwart composure is the result of a society that has immunized us from empathy. Kadode embodies an underlying wrath to obliterate the social constructs our civilization is built on. And with her newly acquired powers, she can act on those feelings. But those destructive powers would transform Kadode into the very thing she was seeking to destroy. Her first target was Ogino, the Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry. These are her words to him,

“You are evil… and I am a friend of the weak. My dream… is to become strong.”

From this point on, Kadode goes on a tirade of attacks, scouring web forums for people to enact justice upon. Her strategy was straightforward, guided by a single question that led her down this rabbit hole of vigilantism – “Who is the worst person you know?”

The way Kadode saw it, humans were to blame for everything wrong in the world. If she deemed someone bad, then they were unnecessary. She had taken it upon herself to get rid of those people; her judgment was unilateral and resolute. In her eyes, she was improving the world and helping those who could not help themselves. But absolute power corrupts absolutely. Her capacity to enact punishment had become both biased and self-serving. The powerlessness that fueled her rage had itself become a tool to oppress those around her. She had become her own worst enemy. Ouran tries to shake some sense into Kadode – everyone has good and bad qualities to them; going by Kadode’s standard, there would be no one left if she wiped out all the “bad” people. Kadode grimly replies that maybe humanity should go extinct. As long as she had Ouran, Kadode could persevere. “For you, I am absolute,” Kadode exclaimed. But Ouran would not accept an answer like that and the two fight it out. As much as they both hated the current situation, Kadode knew there was no going back now.

Jump forward two weeks – Kadode hasn’t been coming to school, so Ouran pays her a visit. Kadode’s actions had finally caught up to her. She ascribes her violent escapade to a grandiose delusion, it being the only way to avoid accepting the fact that she was a murderer. Kadode had finally seen the error of her ways. Like her favorite manga, Isobeyan, Kadode had found an alien who gave her the power to change the world. Unlike Debeko, who squandered Isobeyan’s gadgets, Kadode wanted to use them to make a difference. But Kadode had made the same mistake as her manga foil. Isobeyan wasn’t just a tool for Debeko, he was her friend.  When the world was crashing down around her, what Kadode needed wasn’t strength, it was a friend. But it was too late. Ouran watches helplessly as Kadode jumps from her apartment stairwell, taking her own life.

The world moved along just as it always had. The girls at school squabble about the same superficial topics, political corruption continues to make the daily headline, and everyone remains diligent in their self-preservation. Everyone except for Ouran. And now with its ship fully repaired, the Invader was ready to leave Earth. Ouran’s frustrations boiled over; she can’t help but blame the Invader (and everyone else) for what happened to Kadode. If only she could go back and do everything over again. Ouran’s brother Hiroshi tries to console her, but it was too late to fix anything. But maybe it wasn’t too late – the Invader reveals that there is one other way.

The Invader doesn’t have a gadget as convenient as a time machine, but using a little sci-fi magic, he can interpolate her consciousness over a consciousness from a different timeline. Time, as the Invader explains it, is a human construct. Bodies are simply a vessel for experiencing time, while the spirit exists across each of those realities. But the body and spirit are so closely bonded that people can’t separate the two entities. The Invader has a device that helps separate them, allowing the spirit to realize different possibilities from other timelines. The gadget would permit Ouran to travel back to the day the Invader arrived on Earth – the day Ouran and Kadode became friends.

Of course, there are a lot of loopholes and convenient plot devices that come with time travel, but Asano handles them gracefully. Hiroshi asks why the Invader doesn’t make use of said technology himself, to which it replies with a fatalist outlook. All future possibilities overlap at some point. Someday, our spirit will reach its destination, so the Invaders understand that there is essentially no reason to redo anything. This teleological viewpoint comes as both a thematic resignation as well as a final warning to Ouran. No matter how many times you redo your life, there’s no guarantee of a good result. Ouran’s attempt to change the outcome and save Kadode may very well lead to a future bleaker than the current one. The two of them saved this world from alien invasion, but that might not be the case on her next attempt. She needs to be prepared to carry that burden. Even if the whole world came crashing down and everyone on the planet came to despise her, Ouran was determined to see Kadode again. They head to the alien spacecraft and Ouran steps into the vessel. Hiroshi sends her off with a few words of encouragement:

“Now go change fate. To save Kadode, you have to change yourself. You must walk the path that you believe in. No matter what anyone says, your life is in your hands.”

Just as the Invader said, Ouran wakes up on that fated day. The day where Kadode sees the Invader ship from the classroom window. It all came down to this moment, as Kadode was once again fighting all on her own against the boys in class who called her Demon. The old Ouran shyly took Kadode’s side, and from there, the dynamic of their relationship began to mold. Kadode thought that she could be a protector of the weak, to defend people like Ouran from the evil in this world. But Kadode’s twisted chivalry couldn’t protect herself. Ouran knew she couldn’t let Kadode walk that path again. She thinks back to Hiroshi’s words, “To save Kadode, you have to change yourself.” Ouran could no longer be the meek girl that needed protecting. This time, she would be the one to save Kadode. This time would be different from the get-go. Ouran charges in, yelling hysterically and aggressively taking Kadode’s side. This was the birth of the delusional, hyperactive Ouran we were introduced to in Volume One. She would dedicate every day to be by Kadode’s side. For Kadode, Ouran was absolute. But the Invader’s warning would come back to bite Ouran.

Oba and Makoto traversed through the rest of Ouran’s memories, covering the content of the last eight volumes. Ouran didn’t know why, but all the bad events that were happening began to weigh heavily on her psyche – i.e., the mothership’s arrival and Kurihara’s death. It felt as if they were her fault. And returning to that beach with Oba, where the alien ship was, revived her memories of the previous timeline. Despite the Invader’s warning, Ouran wasn’t satisfied. She wanted another shot at saving the world. But Makoto and Oba were determined to stop her. Would they make it to Ouran in time?

In Summary:
D8 Volume Nine brings the story full circle, using time travel as an effective tool to establish the motivators for our heroines and stage a thrilling path for the final arc. I genuinely think Inio Asano is one of the most thought-provoking mangakas of the 21st century, and Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction is looking to be an all-time great series, up there with his Oyasumi Punpun.

Content Grade: A
Art Grade:
A
Packaging Grade:
A
Text/Translation Grade:
A

Age Rating: Mature
Released By:
VIZ Media
Release Date:
January 19th, 2021
MSRP:
$14.99 (paperback) / $8.99 (digital)

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