REVIEW: ‘Dorohedoro,’ Season 1

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Dorohedoro Season 1

Netflix’s newest original anime is definitely one of the weirdest series you will watch this year. Dorohedoro, based on the manga of the same name, dabbles in a dystopian reality filled to the brim with magic, violence, and the fantastical. Dorohedoro Season 1 follows Caiman and his friend, Nikaido, as they search for the Sorcerer responsible for turning Caiman’s head into a lizard one. After messing with the wrong Sorcerer, Caiman and Nikaido are pursued by En whose magical abilities include turning people and objects into mushrooms. En sends two of his cleaners, Shin and Noi, to kill Caiman and find out the identity of the Sorcerer who put the lizard-head curse on Caiman.

If that doesn’t sound odd, the world of Dorohedoro gets weirder. The series highlights two very different worlds: the world of Sorcerers and the world of humans (also known as the Hole). They’re juxtaposed constantly, with the Hole being a true dystopian reality for most non-magic users. The world of Sorcerers, although still rife with inequality via class-divisions, is still one step above the polluted, violent dimension of humans. Although certainly not as grim as the Hole, the world of Sorcerers has its own quirkiness in the form of odd magical abilities and rituals that are morbid and borderline thanatomania.

However, despite its oddness, Dorohedoro is not for the faint of heart. The action scenes are wonderfully animated and the choreography is dynamic and impressive. But, what makes this anime stand out from others is the fact that Dorohedoro doesn’t shy away from depicting violence and gore and, in fact, embraces them with gusto. There were plenty a time where a morbid scene gave me pause. But the morbidity goes hand in hand with the depiction of the Hole, a grimy, sodden place where everything is grungy and dilapidated, including the fact that humans are often the subjects of Sorcerer experiments and being turned into grotesque monsters.

Dorohedoro Season 1

Although it’s been a while since I read the manga, so I can’t comment on how close the anime is to the manga plot-wise, I can certainly comment on the consistency of the characters. In dialogue, personality, behavior, and physical looks, the anime follows the manga closely. Characters act how they’re expected to and that is definitely an integral part of creating an anime based on a manga. If characters aren’t consistent, you’re likely to alienate viewers that are fans of the manga. And, thankfully, Dorohedoro upholds the integrity of its characters.

My main complaint is something that really can’t be helped given the natural differences between manga and anime. In the manga, there were a few characters that were androgynous or over the top muscular, and many readers considered these characters male simply because most mangas only depict women in a solely feminine or sexualized way. Since Sorcerers wear masks, it wasn’t until their headgear was removed that readers realized that these characters were actually women.

Dorohedoro deviates from the way most women in manga are physically depicted, and that realization was great when first reading the manga. But the anime isn’t able to create that same surprise simply because the voice actors for these characters have very obviously feminine voices. But at least the anime continues to uphold the physicality of these characters that break the mold that most female characters get cast from.

The English dub for the anime is also not very palpable. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but the original Japanese voice acting feels much more true to the characters and entirely more emotive. Thankfully, Netflix has both the dubbed and subbed version of the anime so you can pick and choose the way you want to watch the show.

From the intro to the outro, and everything in between, Dorohedoro Season 1 is just plain weird, and I love it. It’s a ridiculous dark comedy that should be both entertaining for fans of the manga and any newcomers to the series. Although it takes on a much more gory and violent nature than many other Netflix anime, it’s not a show you should miss out on.

Dorohedoro Season 1 is available now on Netflix.

Dorohedoro Season 1
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

From the intro to the outro, and everything in between, Dorohedoro Season 1 is just plain weird, and I love it. It’s a ridiculous dark comedy that should be both entertaining for fans of the manga and any newcomers to the series. Although it takes on a much more gory and violent nature than many other Netflix anime, it’s not a show you should miss out on.