Genre: Dark fantasy, horror, comedy, action
In a city so damned it is simply known as “The Hole”, lives a man named Caiman who has a serious case of amnesia and is also sporting a bright green lizard head. This isn’t his usual look. Normally he would have a head of that of a human but he has been cursed by a sorcerer who decided to practise their black magic on him. With no memory of who he is or who did this to him, he teams up with resturant owner and overall badass Nikaido to find the sorcerer who did this to him.
Dorohedoro is a dirty, grotesque,nightmare fuelled anime which made me want to take a long hot shower after watching it. And for as grotesque and dirty as it is, I adore it.
Despite Dorohedoro’s grimy horror filled exterior, there is a great fondness felt when entering this grotesuely dark world. Dorohedoro doesn’t hold back with the kind of story and content it wishes to show. Many elements of the anime are extremely graphic, ranging from eyeballs popping out of their owners sockets to unspeakably cruel expierments on the residents of the Hole by scorcerers. Almost every member of the main cast of characters is degranged in one way or another and protagonists Caiman and Nikaido aren’t much better morally speaking than the sorcerer antagonists that they fight against. Dorohedoro as a series takes all these elements and makes it all seem normal. The shock from the viewer quickly dwindles after an episode or two and the viewer is left to explore the deranged world with a wild curiosity which carries you through the series as everything is just so facinating and completely detatched from any kind of normal reality a person would be happy to see themselves living in. Even the background artwork is often filled with intricate details and mix both Eastern and Western architecture to help even further with the world building that the series does.
All of the horror included within Dorohedoro is often also balanced out with its fair share of humour and lovable characters which add to its charm. The lighter and comedic moments of the series make the world feel less bleak and depressing and more like it is a real and complex world with real characters, not just character archtypes.
Dorohedoro’s characters are appealing in both their personalities and also their character designs overall. The heavy use of creepy masks used to represent each character adds to the series and mangaka Q Hayashida is apparently a Slipknot fan which shows within her work. Both the protagonists and antagonists of the series get a fair amount of time to be fleshed out and the viewer can get to know them, their motivations and often unusual personalities. Even though the viewer is meant to support Caiman and Nikaido, it is almost impossible to not love and support their sourcerer foes as well. Shin and Noi in particular became favourites of mine whilst watching as their character dynamic is brilliantly done and the duo, like many of the characters in Dorohedoro, have balanced personalities which shine both the light and darkness within them.
Dorohedoro has a lot going for it not only in terms of its story, setting and crazy cast of characters, but also in other elements including both its score and soundtrack. The whole soundtrack including the main score alongside the OP and ED songs are all composed and performed by (K)Now_NAME, a J-Pop music unit known for their speciality with anime music including other work on Fairy Gone and Sakura Quest. The entire soundtrack from beginning to end is just additicing and intoxicating to listen to. The OP titled ‘Welcome to Chaos’ sets the tone for the entire series in both its musical composition and its accompanying visuals. Every two episdoes the ED track and animation is changed to add yet another mood to the series which was fun and helped to further set the tone of the series and its characters. The OP and ED tracks offer a pulsating and hypnotic electronic vibe to them which are great to blast and jam along to. The score throughout each episode brings more unsettling flavour to the series mixing in electronic beats, heavy metal growls, moody guitar riffs and static effects which feel like nails running down a chalkboard. Having (K)Now_NAME as the sole artist for the entire musical composition really enhanced the viewing experience of Dorohedoro and I found a new artist to gush over.
Dorohedoro is an incredibly exciting and darkly intoxicating anime series which has great appeal for both anime lovers and general audiences. After giving it a go on Netflix I also highly recommend checking out the manga and fingers crossed for a season two!
Overall rating: 9/10