Manga: Dendrobates

Story of my life: I should be doing productive stuff everyday, but I just end up reading manga.

I hope the stories of your lives are more productive than mine.

Sengawa’s life definitely is.

Manga: Dendrobates 「デンドロバテス」

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Dendrobates vol 2 cover

Dendrobates is a Seinen, mature, action series by Ishiwata Youji (story) and Yamane Akihiro (art). It was serialised from Jul 2006 to Dec 2008 and is complete with 58 chapters compiled into 6 tankobon volumes. I read this series very early last year, but not much of the series had been scanlated yet. Pleasant surprise when I decided to check back and found it completed. So far only caught up to the end of volume 4, but will probably finish it tomorrow 🙂

Blurb (mostly) from Easy Going Scans because its short, sweet and to the point:

Sengawa Junichirou’s day job is as an accountant working for the police. But at night… he transforms into a ruthless assassin bringing death to anyone who deserves it, for a price. Meet, and hire, the man with a thousand guns.

WARNING: NSFW. Nudity, rape, a lot of panties and boobs. A lot of violence and blood. This usually comes with gore and misplaced body parts. Drugs and narcotics. Blasphemy.

The first thing I thought of when I saw the cover was: Darker than Black. If you’re familiar with that anime series, it’s also (basically) about a black-haired, black coat assassin who lives a different persona in the day. Of course there’re lots of differences between these 2 series, but it was just the image of the main character that made an impact in my mind.

Dendrobates is incredibly straightforward.  Arcs are episodic and repetitive with usually no connections until much later on. There is little, to no plot development at all. From where I’ve read until, there has been little character development either and I’m guessing there won’t be any more. It’s generally pretty cliche and shallow. If you’re constantly looking for depth in a story, this isn’t a manga for you.

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s plenty entertaining. You get to watch the…uh… unpleasant, despicable villains get offed in different ways. Plus, even though arcs are episodic and generally end the same way, there’s still some diversity in how they individually play out. Tension and suspense in the buildups to conflict and action is always interesting. It really helps that Sengawa is one bad-ass bastard and a few of the other characters are cool too. It’s just… they don’t usually… uh… last very long…

Dendrobates has some pretty damn drastic art change throughout the whole manga. I mean, just look at the cover of volume 2 above…



dendrobates vol 4 cover


The manga starts out with pretty irregular art. Anatomy and expressions are weird. Battles are also a little messy and hard to follow at the very beginning. But it gets progressively so much better. Everything is cleaned up so its that much easier to appreciate the details and smooth flow of action scenes. Screen tones are usually extremely contrasting to bring out threatening moods etc. Couldn’t get into the heart-thumping excitement at the beginning due to how I wasn’t fully comfortable with irregular art style, but I’m beyond happy with how the art has improved so much over the course of the series. Still can’t get over the few unnecessarily impossible boob sizes though…

All in all, if you’re looking for some pretty mindless action and killing with a hard dose of fan service, this would be for you. It’s not complicated, nor is it great, but if you like action, you’d probably enjoy it. I know I do.

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