Dorohedoro, the long-running manga created by Q Hayashida, tells a quirky tale set in a post-apocalyptic landscape where a form of magic called “Smoke” exists. Smoke is wielded by Sorcerers, who have special organs in their bodies to produce this form of magic. The story centers around a lizard-faced man named Caiman. Caiman and his friend Nikaido navigate a dangerous world ruled by magic, searching for a way to reverse Caiman’s condition.
The anime adaptation of this cult hit manga series aired in Japan this past Winter, and will be released internationally on Netflix on May 28. Here’s why you should be hyped.
The basic concept of the show is crazy enough, but the craziness doesn’t stop there. The Hole, where normal humans live, is often visited by Sorcerers, who perform gruesome experiments on hapless humans, who are defenseless against their Smoke-wielding counterparts.
Within the Sorcerers’ world is a hierarchy based on each Sorcerer’s power levels. The magic Smoke isn’t restricted to just being produced by Sorcerers. It’s something that is tangible that can be bought and sold. Many Sorcerers seek to improve their Smoke output by surgically enhancing themselves, or through a strange black powder produced by a group of weaker Sorcerers called the Cross-Eyes.
The Sorcerer’s world is ruled over by a powerful group known as The En Family, led by a man named En, whose Smoke ability allows him to turn his enemies into mushrooms. En and his group eventually cross paths with Caiman. Soon, both The Hole and the Sorcerers’ world are turned upside down.
Originally, you’re meant to believe that The En Family are the bad guys. They rule over the Sorcerer’s world with an iron fist. Their leader En takes to turning his foes into mushrooms with gusto, yet there is no lasting impression of resentment towards him. He and his group are all complex characters with layers of depth. His main ‘Cleaners,’ Noi and Shin, possess bubbly personalities and play off of each other, sometimes engaging in silly banter right in the middle of an attempt on their boss’s life. They are responsible for enforcing the En Family’s rule and going out into both The Hole and Sorcerers’ world to deal with those who oppose the group.
While Dorohedoro starts off being just about Caiman and Nikaido trying to find out who caused the former’s transformation, it slowly transforms into a complex tale of fantasy, tragic backstories, and warring factions. The fight scenes in Dorohedoro are chaotic and inventive. In one scene, Fujita and Ebisu are being bullied by two thugs, only for Noi and Shin to appear with Noi literally chopping one thug in half with her bare hand, and Shin punching through the other thug’s back. The two then use the corpses to form a disturbing ‘bully sandwich.’
Both the anime and the manga are superb pieces of entertainment in their own right. Hayashida’s artwork in the manga is intricately detailed; readers will want to ogle every panel just to admire the amount of effort she puts into her drawings. The anime is just as good. The animation studio MAPPA uses a mixture of 2D and 3D animation, in a way that feels far more natural and appealing than other CGI-heavy anime. Between the insane story, high-quality visuals and a soundtrack by (K)NoW_NAME that absolutely slaps, there is plenty to be excited about for Dorohedoro‘s release on Netflix later this month.
Dorohedoro premieres on Netflix May 28.
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With an insane story and high-quality animation, there is plenty of reason to be excited about Dorohedoro's release on Netflix later this month.