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Domu A Child's Dream

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Domu: A Child's Dream (童夢, Dōmu) is a manga series written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo. It was serialized between 1980 and 1981, with the chapters collected and published as a tankōbon in 1983.


Mr. Ueno, a tenant of the tower block apartments at the Tsutsumi Housing Complex, jumps from the roof of one of the buildings in an apparent suicide. His is the latest of the thirty-two mysterious deaths that have taken place there in only three years. Inspector Yamagawa and Inspector Takayama investigate the death and find that it was impossible for Mr. Ueno to get on the roof, as the lock of the access door has long been rusted shut.

Yamagawa interviews with the complex's manager and is told of a few residents that have caused problems with in the past, including: Mrs. Tezuka, an eccentric woman who was sent to a mental hospital after a miscarriage; Yoshio Fujiyama, nicknamed "Little Yo", a strong but mentally disabled man who was accused of child molestation by other residents; and Yoshikawa, an abusive alcoholic. The manager also mentions Chojiro Uchida, nicknamed "Old Cho", a senile old man who lives alone.

Upon returning to the police station, Yamagawa interviews a housewife who saw Mr. Ueno before his death, walking in an apparent trance past her apartment. She mentions that he wore a strange baseball cap with wings sewn on. During a later interview with Mr. Ueno's wife and son, the detectives learn that the cap went missing following his death. When a patrolman jumps from the complex with his pistol missing, Yamagawa tells his men to see if any of the victims' possessions vanished after their deaths.

Yamagawa goes back to the housing complex that night. After his pager goes off, Yamagawa calls the police station only to learn they did't contact him. He realizes that the killer is watching him and offers the beeper as a trophy. To his fright, however, the beeper suddenly explodes. Yamagawa is pursued and taunted by the killer in a pursuit that leads him to the roof. There, he meets Old Cho, floating in the air and possessing trophies from his many victims, including Mr. Ueno's winged hat. Yamagawa is later found to have jumped off the building.

The following day, a new girl named Etsuko moves into the complex with her family. When Old Cho uses his powers to drop a baby off a balcony, Etsuko uses her own psychic talents to save his life. She confronts Old Cho about the deed, repelling his attempted attack. Later, Etsuko makes friends with Little Yo and Hiroshi, Yoshikawa's son. Meanwhile, Inspector Okamura, an old colleague of Yamagawa's, visits the complex. Okamura sees an ghostly apparition of Yamagawa; Takayama later sees a similar apparition. Old Cho levels a psychic attack on Okamura and tells him to never come back.

After leaving a playdate with Hiroshi and Little Yo, Etsuko is attacked by Tsutomu Sasaki, a young man who has been possessed by Old Cho. Old Cho makes Sasaki slit his own throat with a utility knife, traumatizing Etsuko. The following night, as Yoshikawa hangs out in the complex courtyard, Old Cho offers him the dead patrolman's pistol.

In the morning, Takayama visits a professor to get his expert opinion on the recent events, as well as any information on Japanese shamanism. The professor refers Takayama to a practicing shaman named Noriko Nonomura. After Takayama meets to Nonomura, they travel to the housing complex to let her examine it for signs of supernatural power. At the moment of their arrival, Old Cho and Etsuko are having a psychic battle; Nonomura realizes that the children in the complex are the objects of Old Cho's madness, and tells Takayama to protect them at all costs. Takayama fails to understand the warning.

Meanwhile, a policeman appears at Old Cho's apartment regarding his patio doors, which were shattered when Etsuko was attacked. The policeman and the manager are surprised to find the residence completely empty, save for a ring the policeman finds near the patio doors.

Later, Old Cho possesses Yoshikawa and kills a young boy, before going after Etsuko. When Hiroshi and Little Yo wander into the scene, Yoshikawa shoots Little Yo and, later, kills Hiroshi. Sensing Old Cho on the roof, Etsuko teleports to face him. This leads to a gigantic battle across the apartment complex. Etsuko then suffers a mental breakdown when Old Cho blows up a building with a gas main, killing many children that were witnessing the battle on their balconies; Little Yo and Mrs. Tezuka are killed as the building collapses. Overwhelmed by Etsuko's power, a terrified Old Cho flees the scene. Etsuko's powers kill two firemen and cause more damage before she is calmed down by the presence of her mother.

In the aftermath, Yoshikawa is blamed by the media for the tragedy. Old Cho is taken into custody, but Okamura gathers very little information. After being given another psychic attack by Old Cho, Takayama begins keeping watch on him. While doing so in the complex's courtyard, Etsuko enters the scene and focuses her powers against Old Cho. He is easily overwhelmed and killed. Etsuko then teleports from the scene, leaving Takayama clueless as to how Old Cho died.

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