Dolly Kill Kill is a survival horror manga by Kurando Yukiaki (story) and Nomura Yusuke (art). Of the eleven completed volumes, seven have currently been translated by Kodansha. The rather uniquely named series is set six months after the world was attacked by adorable dolls that wiped out most of humanity. Our main character is sixteen year old Iruma Ikaruga who spends his days on the brink of survival and filled with regret. On a scavenging mission, he meets a young girl who introduces him to a team of humans that are trying to learn more about the dolls and eventually reclaim their world. Iruma is not initially interested, but when he realises that the group may provide him with a path to rescue an old friend, he forms a fragile alliance. This review is only covering volume 1 of the manga.
If we’re being very honest, Dolly Kill Kill isn’t anything special. On a concept level, there are other manga such as Mahou Shoujo of the End and Pygmalion which feature cutesy mascot characters that completely decimate humanity. There’s nothing wrong with slipping into a familiar tale and enjoying it with new characters. But, my issue with Dolly Kill Kill is that, plot-wise, it didn’t try to do anything new and seemed almost content in being so basic. It was almost as if the author had pulled out a generic story beat sheet and written the plot to exactly that. Reading through it, I could almost always guess what would happen next. There was no surprise and no sense of intrigue, and as such any real desire to keep reading was lost.
But what did bring a bit of spark to the story was the main character, Iruma. Through him there’s an unmistakeable sense of despair that is often missing in these kind of manga. On a surface level that might sound a bit ridiculous but more often than not with survival manga you’ll have a hard-headed main character that just tells everyone “keep holding on” and “don’t give up hope”. It was refreshing to have a main character who was more than aware of what he was up against and actually properly mourn over what’s been lost. Stepping away from the almost perfect hero archetype made Iruma a far more interesting and dynamic character than others I’ve seen.
Of course, we can’t finish this review without talking about the art, which was by far my favourite part. The designs of the dolls were a perfect combination of cute and creepy, and seeing people sucked up into their ‘vacuums’ always gave me the shivers. Some specific panels, like the one below, were so clean and precise. Overall, the manga had a very polished feel to it.
Overall, Dolly Kill Kill is an average read. While it’s propped up by some fantastic art, the story really doesn’t do it justice. For readers who may want to try out survival horror it would be a great read. But, for someone who’s read quite a few, it does feel like the same old spiel. Of course, this review is only for volume 1 so I can’t say how the story will go in the later volumes. But as it is, the first volume hasn’t really inspired me to dig further into the world of Iruma Izuma.
Thank you to the team over at izneo for providing me with volume 1 of Dolly Kill Kill so I could review it. If you’d like to try out the manga yourself, you can purchase a digital copy on izneo.