Dorohedoro Series Review: In The Hole

Original Run: January 13, 2020 - March 30, 2020
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Supernatural
Based on the Series Created By: Q Hayashida

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Dorohedoro. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

The Hole is a place people go when there is literally nothing left. It is filthy, dangerous, and violent. Plus, it is the prime hunting ground for Sorcerers looking for victims to experiment on. One such victim to these magic users is Kaiman (voiced by Wataru Takagi).

Kaiman’s head was turned into a giant lizard, and he has no memory of his life before his transformation. This has made him a tad angry. Thus, he has started a quest to reverse the spell that was cast on him. Along the way, he hopes to take out as many Sorcerers as violently possible. However, this is not a mission he can do alone, so Kaiman enlists the help of his closest friend, Nikaido (voiced by Reina Kondou).

Together, Kaiman and Nikaido effectively reduce the Sorcerer presence within the Hole. Unfortunately, by doing so (and in such a brutal fashion), this has put a massive target on their backs.

Series Positives

Well, I’ll be a genuine S.O.B. Dorohedoro was fun, like a lot of freaking fun.

A fair warning: If you are at all queasy or get nauseous at the sight of blood, gore, and/or splattered body parts, maybe take this series slowly. There was quite a bit of – oh, how do I say this nicely – complete and utter brutality to this show. Just to give you some idea: As part of his mission, main character Kaiman would put a Sorcerer’s head in his mouth and have them speak to the creepy guy inside there. Don’t worry; the story does a much better job of establishing why that description makes sense.

I want you to picture this for a moment. Kaiman had the head of a giant lizard, and his mouth was lined with rows of needle-like teeth. So, by putting someone in there, Kaiman needed to clamp those teeth down around a person’s soft, squishy face. The experience, I can only imagine, was sharp, pointy, and if someone was to pull away from that forcefully, something might get ripped off. Plus, that something might be left dangling there.

Yeah, Dorohedoro didn’t f@#$ around.

It isn’t unfair to say this series was a touch over the top with its violence. However, that inclination towards insanity was among the reasons why this show was as enjoyable as it was. By embracing a darker, grittier atmosphere, while implementing plenty of silly slapstick and reactionary humor, Dorohedoro was far more hilarious than it was tense. Be that as it may, though, for every ounce of funny this story was, it was equally just as exciting and engaging.

Although Dorohedoro was beyond satisfying, it also didn’t end with a finale. What we got was a close to a season one, not a conclusion to a complete narrative. And as of this review going live, I know of no news regarding any continuation. I hope one does eventually come because this series had a lot going for it.

For starters, I have seen shows with the “goods guys” as the protagonists (that should go without saying). I have seen shows with the “bad guys as” the protagonists. However, I don’t think I have ever come across an instance when both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” were the protagonists. And before we continue, we must drop the concept of “good guys” from here on out. Everyone in this series was dick-ish in many, many ways.

In Dorohedoro, there were those who lived in the Hole (specifically Kaiman and Nikaido), and then there were their rivals, the members of the En family. Both parties were strong and distinct enough to have stared in their own respective series that could’ve had nothing to with one another. Each side was charismatic, fascinating, and a tad unhinged. What happened in this show was the groups had their own goals, and tension came between the two because those goals were in direct conflict with one another. Perhaps it would be better to say these two sides were in a state of professional disagreement rather than direct hostilities.

Granted, disagreements in Dorohedoro were inherently hostile. Therefore, what I am getting at is: It is not inconceivable to think that the Hole side and the En family side could band together to face a more significant threat if necessary.

At the heart of all this were this series’s characters. If you are looking for a collection of strange, erratic, complex, fascinating, and odd people, you need not look any further. I wish I had the writing ability to describe why the cast of Dorohedoro was so awesome, but frankly, why would I bother? You can just watch and see for yourself.

So as a consolation, I can give you my top five Dorohedoro characters, in no particular order:

  • Kaiman
  • Nikaido
  • Shin (voiced by Yoshimasa Hosoya)
  • Noi (voiced by Yuu Kobayashi)
  • Johnson

There have been several outstanding series to come out of the winter 2020 season (I maintain that Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken has been the best I’ve yet seen). Nevertheless, Dorohedoro was the first anime of the year (I came across) that was pure excitement from beginning to end.

Series Negatives

This is not going to be a long section. After all, Dorohedoro was pretty damn solid.

I suppose the first thing I should point out is something I’ve already mentioned. This was a season one, and it ended without much of a resolution. Naturally, this can be rectified with a continuation, and I am hopeful that such a thing is going to come along eventually.  

But while I can wish away that issue, something which was much more in-your-face was this show’s animation. To put the whole thing into only a few words, it wasn’t great. Don’t get me wrong; much of the surrounding artwork was fantastic. The settings, the colors, and character designs looked brilliant. Problems only arose when everything began to move.

The CGI animation was very noticeable, and it made characters appear as though they were inflated rubber dolls. It was distracting…at first.

When the story began to ramp up, along with the violence and the introductions of more and more characters, any problems with the animation became secondary. This series is why I don’t like to place too much emphasis on visuals. If other aspects can hold your attention, like a show’s narrative and its cast, everything else quickly becomes far less important.

Final Thoughts

I hope there will be more because there needs to be more.

Although this show’s animation wasn’t the greatest, everything else about it was pretty damn good. This series had an excellent story, fun as all hell character, thoroughly satisfying action scenes, and was, through and through to the very end, outstanding.

I look forward to the day we get to return to this world.

Dorohedoro has earned itself a massive recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Dorohedoro? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

And if you’ve liked what you read and want more anime content, please follow me at LofZOdyssey Anime Reviews or on Twitter @thelofzodyssey.

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