Imagine an alien invasion. Thousands of people are dead or missing after the initial landing. And then… nothing. For three years.
In the shadow of a giant, saucer-shaped space ship, Kadode Koyame and her friends continue to go to school, do homework, play video games and track the movement of the aliens on social media. But what’s the use of studying while humanity hovers on the edge of disaster?
In Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction, Kadode, whose father went missing in the aftermath of the invasion, nurses a crush on her teacher, reads her favorite manga, and hangs out with her friend Ouran Nokagawa.
Mangaka Inio Asano, well known for character-driven works like Good Night, Punpun and Solanin, delves deep into the teenage psyche with a touch of nihilism. The apt metaphor for facing adulthood is impending doom. Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction shows how that sense of hopelessness affects teenage brains, and their incredible ability to push it aside and forget for a little while. Kadode typically clings to her best friend and is frustrated by her mother and her overeager stepfather.
Like Punpun, Kadode and her peers are discovering where they fit in the world, what matters the most to them, and how to awkwardly navigate disaster as well as success.
Handling the most mundane tasks of daily life in the face of mortality and existential crises cements our status as adults. During the initial invasion, Kadode’s father rushes out to finish some work—never to return. Her mother was out buying toilet paper. Scenes of video game play intersect with news reports of alien incidents and Japanese mobs incensed by their government’s lack of action in the face of the constant alien threat.
Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction is a lushly drawn manga. Asano uses extremely detailed, realistic backgrounds, which help highlight his softly rounded manga characters. This mixture of slice-of-life dramedy and science fiction also includes a manga within a manga, Isobeyan. Isobeyan is a Mushroomian—a phallic-shaped creature from the future who seeks to make his human friend happy.
Kadode, wearing an Isobeyan backpack or hat, looks ridiculously childlike while strangely obscene at the same time. The manga features some mild teenage sexual banter about flashing a teacher, and a group of girls talking about yaoi or boys love manga, but the high school girls do not appear overly sexualized and there are no joke panels within the work.
Overall, Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction is a solid, introspective look at teenage life under unusual circumstances. The characters act like teens on the cusp of growing up. And this first volume gives us just a hint of what’s to come.
This work is rated Mature. The plot lacks the kind of explosive action that younger manga fans appreciate, but as a slice-of-life in a high school setting, it is appropriate for high school students or adults.
Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction, vol. 1
by Inio Asano
Viz Media, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: M for Mature