Dorohedoro

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Dorohedoro
Dorohedoro 01.jpg
Manga volume 1 cover, featuring Caiman
ドロヘドロ
Genre
Manga
Written byQ Hayashida
Published byShogakukan
English publisher
ImprintIkki Comix
Magazine
  • Monthly Ikki
  • (November 30, 2000 – September 25, 2014)
  • Hibana
  • (March 6, 2015 – August 7, 2017)
  • Monthly Shōnen Sunday
  • (November 10, 2017 – September 12, 2018)
DemographicSeinen, shōnen
Original runNovember 30, 2000September 12, 2018
Volumes23 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed byYuichiro Hayashi
Produced by
  • Hiroyuki Aoi
  • Daiki Tomihara
  • Yuito Hirahara
  • Akihiro Matsumoto
  • Masaya Saitou
  • Yoshinori Hasegawa
  • Yuuichi Tada
  • Reiko Sasaki
  • Atsushi Yoshikawa
  • Takehiko Hayashi
Written byHiroshi Seko
Music byR.O.N ([K]NoW_NAME)
StudioMAPPA
Licensed byNetflix
Original networkTokyo MX, BS11, MBS
Original run January 12, 2020 March 29, 2020
Episodes12 + 6 OVA (List of episodes)

Dorohedoro (ドロヘドロ, lit. "Mud-sludge"[a]) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Q Hayashida. It was serialized in Shogakukan's manga magazines Monthly Ikki (November 2000 to September 2014), Hibana (March 2015 to August 2017), and Monthly Shōnen Sunday (November 2017 to September 2018); its chapters were collected in twenty-three tankōbon volumes. Dorohedoro tells the story of the amnesiac reptilian-headed Caiman, working together with his friend Nikaido to recover his memories and survive in a strange and violent world.

In North America, the series has been licensed for English-language release by Viz Media in 2009, which began distributing the manga digitally when it launched SigIKKI, the now defunct online English version of Ikki magazine. The twenty-three volumes were published from 2010 to 2019.

A twelve-episode anime television series adaptation by MAPPA was broadcast in Japan on Tokyo MX from January to March 2020. It was followed by a worldwide streaming release on Netflix in May 2020.

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

The series is set in a post-apocalyptic future,[1] taking place across three distinct realms: Hole, a sprawling favela-like city inhabited by humans, heavily polluted from sorcerers' magic; the Sorcerers' world, a vibrant land filled with magic users and controlled by sorcerer crime boss En; and Hell, a torturous underworld occupied by all deceased sorcerers and ruled by demons, presided over by head demon Chidaruma.

Despite appearing similar, humans and sorcerers are two distinct species, the former evolving naturally while the latter originated from a primordial devil named Chidaruma. Sorcerers have specialized circulatory system that allows them to produce "smoke", the source of their unique magical powers. Most sorcerers have weaker powers while others may be capable of far greater feats such as resurrecting the dead or controlling time; these powers are incredibly rare and highly prized. The amount of smoke a sorcerer is capable of producing determines the effectiveness of their magic abilities. Many sorcerers work to improve their smoke output through surgery, or more commonly, the illicit use of black powder, a smoke-enhancing drug distributed by criminals. Smoke can also be bought and sold similar to magic pawning, with sold magic retaining the effects as when it is cast.

Both the magic realm and Hole are overwhelmingly lawless. Historically, Hole was run by violent community vigilantes who would torture and kill suspected sorcerers and their families, though they have since dissolved, the outcome is that Hole's inhabitants are largely helpless to stop sorcerers from experimenting on and killing them, to the point specialist hospitals have to be run to save human victims of magic attacks. Additionally, the magic realm was previously run by traffickers who would drain sorcerers of magic for resale before dumping their bodies; En is one of the few surviving victims of this, ultimately tearing the empire down to establish himself as a ruling mob boss of the magic world.

The realms are structured not unlike a caste system: demons are highest ranked, deeply respected and revered by sorcerer-kind and follow the bidding of Chidaruma; within sorcerer-kind there is a hierarchical system wherein powerful magic users live in luxury selling their skills, whilst sorcerers who are weaker, unskilled, or have less desirable magic can live in abject poverty within their world; and lowest are humans, forced to live in the slums of Hole surrounded by severe pollution and magic acid rain caused by sorcerers. In response to the abuses they endure a number of weak sorcerers and humans join a prevalent gang called The Cross-Eyes, its members identifiable by red cross tattoos on their eyelids, who work to provide weaker peoples with illegal black powder and to oppose En's family.

Premise[edit]

A man named Caiman is searching for his real identity after a transformation by a sorcerer left him with a reptile's head and no memory of his former life. Along with his friend Nikaido, he violently assaults sorcerers in the Hole, with the aim of taking their heads into his mouth, where a strange face appears from his throat and judges whether the sorcerer he has bitten onto was the one responsible for his transformation or not. Somehow, Caiman is immune to magical effects and as a result is extremely dangerous to sorcerers, especially given his large size and proficiency with knives.

The news of a lizard-headed sorcerer-killer immune to magic attracts the attention of En, a powerful sorcerer and head of a syndicate known as “The En Family”, who sends his cleaners Shin and Noi to kill Caiman. En himself is currently attempting to scrub out a gang of low-level sorcerers known as the Cross-Eyes, after an encounter with their legendary boss almost cost him his life years ago. Shin and Noi regularly team up with low-ranking sorcerers Fujita, who seeks revenge as Caiman murdered his partner, and Ebisu, who has lost her memory after accidentally having her face torn off.

As the residents of the Hole, the En family and the Cross-Eyes gang, along with many others, collide with one another, the mystery of Caiman's identity begins to unravel, reigniting ancient grudges and threatening to forever change both the Hole and the sorcerers' world.

Characters[edit]

Residents of the Hole[edit]

Caiman (カイマン, Kaiman)
Voiced by: Wataru Takagi[7] (Japanese); Aleks Le[8] (English)
Caiman is a victim of a magic attack that has left him with the head of a reptile and no memory of his original identity. He works with his friend Nikaido to hunt down Sorcerers who enter the Hole, hoping to find the one who cast the spell on him and kill him to nullify it. By biting down on the heads of Sorcerers, a mysterious presence that lives in his mouth communicates with the bewildered Sorcerer, stating whether or not they are "the one". Caiman then spits them out and asks the Sorcerer to repeat the information to him. This is his only lead to finding his original identity. Caiman's immunity to magic and formidable knife skills make him incredibly skilled at battling Sorcerers. He also has the ability to regenerate his head, allowing him to survive lethal attacks such as decapitation. When not fighting, Caiman loves eating gyoza and frequently sends Nikaido's restaurant, The Hungry Bug, teetering towards financial ruin due to his reluctance to pay his tab. While his imposing figure frightens some, he is generally well-liked in the Hole. At the beginning of the series, he works part time at a hospital for the treatment of magic victims.
Nikaidō (二階堂)
Voiced by: Reina Kondō[7] (Japanese); Reba Buhr[8] (English)
Caiman's best friend and owner of the Hungry Bug, a restaurant in the Hole. She found Caiman after his initial transformation and helps him hunt down Sorcerers in the hopes of returning his memories and face. She is secretly a Sorcerer herself, and the only known Sorcerer capable of time manipulation. Unwilling to use her magic due to an incident in her youth, she fled to the Hole at a young age and has resided there ever since. Despite this, she has powerful contacts in the Sorcerer's world, namely a devil named Asu who was once raised alongside her. Nikaido is an incredibly skilled fighter in spite of not using magic, typically utilising hand-to-hand combat and acrobatics to disable foes.
Professor Kasukabe (春日部博士, Kasukabe hakase)
Voiced by: Mitsuhiro Ichiki[7] (Japanese); Griffin Burns (English)
A mad scientist obsessed with Sorcerers who has studied them intently for decades. He is approached by Caiman and Nikaido to use his artificial door to the Sorcerer's world. Although in his 60s, he looks incredibly young due to magic cast on him by his estranged, Sorcerer wife, Haru, who has since become a devil. His real name is Haze. He is frequently seen with his sidekick, Jonson. Kasukabe is one of the only characters who remembers Ai Coleman and played a pivotal role in Caiman's history.
Jonson (ジョンソン)
Voiced by: Ryōhei Kimura[9] (Japanese); Joseph Whimms (English)
A giant cockroach living in the sewers of the Hole who was mutated by the residual smoke in the Hole's polluted water. Jonson originally belonged to another resident of the Hole who was hunting down magic victims, but is later adopted by Professor Kasukabe and rarely leaves his side from then on. Kasukabe is able to control Jonson using specialised frequencies and can even make him talk, though he is only capable of saying "shocking".
Vaux (バウクス, Baukusu)
Voiced by: Hisao Egawa[7] (Japanese); Michael Sorich (English)
13 (サーティーン, Sātīn)
Voiced by: Yūki Kaji[7] (Japanese); Johnny Yong Bosch (English)

The En Family[edit]

En ()
Voiced by: Kenyu Horiuchi[7] (Japanese); Keith Silverstein[8] (English)
The leader of The En Family and the corporate boss of various business that sells mushroom-based products, ranging from culinary, weapons manufacture, psychedelics, automotives and housing. He's shown to be a man who has a large expansive group of lackeys, and is Noi and Shin's boss. He wears a mask that holds over his mouth similar to a surgeon's mask, and his smoke can turn people and objects into mushrooms. He is also quite fond of mushrooms, so much so that he themes every product he sells after them, and tends to only eat mushrooms.
From the moment he was born, En was surrounded by mushrooms. He believes he transformed his parents into mushrooms, and survived by eating them until a man entered his house and sold him off to a group of low level sorcerers who runs a factory meant to forcefully extract smoke from Sorcerers and sell them. He was thrown away when he was nine, where he was found by a devil who dumped him into hell. En only survived the journey into hell because he was so full of hate that he couldn't risk dying before exacting revenge. In Hell he survived by creating mushrooms to feed upon. Two years after being dumped to Hell, the devil Chidaruma found him and gave him the name 'En', then sent him back to the Sorcerers' world. A year and a half later he exacted his revenge against the workers in the factory where he grew up by turning them into mushrooms, destroying the factory, and freeing all the captive sorcerers. He alongside the victims of the factory formed a syndicate, from which his criminal empire began to grow.
Shin () and Noi (能井)
Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya[7] (Japanese); Sean Chiplock[8] (English) (Shin)
Voiced by: Yū Kobayashi[7] (Japanese); Cherami Leigh[8] (English) (Noi)
En's enforcers or "cleaners". As partners, Shin and Noi are commonly shown competing with one another while on a job, placing bets on who can kill more people or kill a person faster.
Shin is one of the most powerful fighters. He fights with a hammer as a weapon and uses magic smoke that mutilates his victims without killing them. Shin's mask is shaped like a human heart which he usually wears backwards. Without the mask he is blond with blue eyes, and wears glasses. He is usually in a suit with an untucked white shirt and sneakers. He is actually half-Sorcerer, due to his father being human, and was born in the Hole. Shin's mother was killed by the local Hole militia not long after his birth. Initially unable to use magic, Shin was able to live life peacefully in the Hole with his father, with the two of them keeping his true nature a secret. However an incident at the factory where they worked at exposed his true nature and led to his father's death at the hands of the militia. Shin also became an outlaw and, after killing his father's murderers, went on the run for three months until encountering Dr. Kasukabe, who helped enable him to use magic through surgery. He then took revenge on the militia by killing off several of their members, causing them to disband. Eventually, he made his way to the Sorcerer's world and was recruited by En as one of his enforcers.
Noi is a powerful cleaner for En's organization and is also En's younger cousin. She is heavily muscled and towering in height, leading other characters to mistake her for a man while wearing her mask. Noi's hair is pale white-blond, and her eyes appear red—suggesting she might be albino. Her hair is mid length, and she has several piercings on her ears. Her smoke grants her the ability to heal herself and others of any injury. Despite being cousins, Noi and En's relationship is very strained, with Noi admitting to have never really liked En. In contrast, she is very affectionate to Shin, sometimes to his exasperation. Noi first met Shin in their adolescence, during which she was training to become a devil. Noi helped heal Shin's arms (which were rotten due to the crude procedure involved in enabling him to use magic), which drove Shin to try and find a way to repay her. A friendship between them developed, and during the final stage of her training, Shin was mortally injured in a fight while protecting Noi. Despite his objections, Noi used her magic to heal Shin, costing her chance at becoming a devil as result, a choice she does not regret. Noi's mask is very detailed, dark blue and apparently vinylic.
Fujita (藤田)
Voiced by: Kengo Takanashi[7] (Japanese); Bryce Papenbrook[8] (English)
Fujita is a low-level who works for a company headed by En. His partner is killed by Caiman. He is assigned to find the Sorcerer who transformed Caiman into a saurian. A bit of research reveals a reptilian transformation specialist—Ebisu. Fujita recalls passing her while in the Hole, and so he manages to locate and save her just as she's stuck in the jaws of Caiman. The incident leaves Ebisu traumatized, and Fujita watches after her while waiting for her memory to return.
Fujita wears a trapper hat and a Tengu mask, and is known to cover his eyes during horror movies. His magic has yet to be defined, although he fired his smoke like bullets on one occasion.
Ebisu (恵比寿)
Voiced by: Miyu Tomita[7] (Japanese); Cristina Vee[8] (English)
Ebisu is sullen-looking teenage girl who wears a skull-shaped mask. While in the Hole, she runs into Caiman and Nikaido, who cuts off Ebisu's fingers to prevent her from using magic, and bites down on her head after removing her mask. Before he can withdraw to ask her his question, a frantic Fujita appears from a door behind her and forcefully pulls her out of his clamped-down jaws into the door, which results in the skin being torn off completely from her face. After this incident, Ebisu is shown to be haunted by nightmares, and has become somewhat insane. At En's residence, she is restrained until Noi can properly heal and restore her fingers and face. Past that point, it is evident her head trauma caused some brain damage, as seen in her suddenly eccentric behavior. She is commonly seen with Fujita.
Records state she is skilled in Reptile transformation. However between panels it shows her having attacked someone with a surplus of power after being fed Black Powder by someone who appeared to have met her before. It is revealed she was a black smoke user, and had heard the words said to her from the man inside Caiman's head. Some of her memories return when she herself transforms into a large dinosauric lizard, proving that the consumption of black powder from a young age has caused an increase in power. It is eventually revealed that she was the one who hexed Caiman when she is temporarily killed and the spell is lifted from Caiman. It is revealed later that this is due to a bottle of her smoke that she had sold, and not a direct curse.
Kikurage (キクラゲ)
Voiced by: Mayu Udono[10] (Japanese); Cassandra Lee Morris (English)
Kikurage is a small, pink chimeric creature with the ability to revive sorcerers. Previously, it was controlled by sorcerer who passed off its power as her own; En was planning to make her his partner, but upon discovering the deception, En was enraged and turned her into mushrooms. En found the creature inside her shirt and took it as a pet, naming it Kikurage, literally meaning Judas's Ear, due to its ears resembling Auricularia auricula-judae.
Kikurage is self-centered and only uses its powers when it feels like it. It is doted on by both En and Ebisu throughout the series. It is called Judas's Ear in the official Viz translation of the manga.
Turkey (ターキー, Tākī)
Voiced by: Shin-ichiro Miki[10] (Japanese); Chris Smith (English)
Turkey is a high level sorcerer with the ability to create living dolls of people using food, which look exactly like the original. The doll will obey commands to do various tasks as they are usually mindless and obedient, but in some situations they won't, like in the case of Risu's doll.
The quality of the doll depends on the quality of the ingredients and spices used; if she uses terrible ingredients (e.g. human flesh) with no spices to make the doll, the doll may slowly fall apart overtime.
Chōta (鳥太)
Voiced by: Anri Katsu[10] (Japanese); Doug Erholtz (English)
Matsumura (松村)
Voiced by: Tōru Nara[11] (Japanese); Tony Azzolino (English)
Aitake (愛茸) / Maitake (舞茸)
Voiced by: Mayu Udono[11]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Tanba (丹波)
Voiced by: Tetsu Inada[10] (Japanese); Taylor Henry (English)
A stern, aggressive, but ultimately caring owner of a restaurant whom Caiman briefly works for upon his second visit to the Sorcerer's world.
Risu (栗鼠)
Voiced by: Songdo[10] (Japanese); Billy Kametz (English)
A sorcerer who has a strong connection to Caiman's past, and is evidently linked to the man who resides in his mouth. Murdered three years before the start of the series at the hands of an unknown assailant, he is later resurrected by the En Family through Kikurage's power. Much like Caiman, he bears two cross marks tattooed on his eyes. He is currently in search of his enigmatic best friend, Aikawa, who was the last person he saw before his sudden death.
Asu (アス) / Kawajiri (川尻)
Voiced by: Hozumi Gōda[10] (Japanese); Todd Haberkorn (English)
Asu, real name Kawajiri, is a Devil, and close associate of Nikaido in the Sorcerer's world. He is later revealed to have once been Nikaido's adoptive elder brother. However, Nikaido, in her attempts to undo a tragic mistake in her youth with her magic, unintentionally altered the past which led them to live completely different lives. Nikaido is the only one to remember their former lives of the original timeline.
Fukuyama (福山)
Voiced by: Takuma Terashima[11] (Japanese); Michael Chapman (English)
Insect Sorcerer (虫の魔法使い)
Voiced by: Hiro Shimono[11]
Melting Sorcerer (なんでも溶かす魔法使い)
Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu[11]
Life-Giving Sorcerer (命を与える魔法使い)
Voiced by: Miyuri Shimabukuro[11]
Chidaruma (チダルマ)
Voiced by: Shigeru Chiba[10] (Japanese); Chris Smith (English)
The oldest and most powerful of the Devils, and the ruler of both Hell and the Sorcerer's world. A nigh-omnipotent being, Chidaruma is also the creator of the Sorcerers. In spite of his immense power and influence, he suffers from constant boredom, and thus seeks excitement and different ways to entertain himself.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Dorohedoro, written and illustrated by Q Hayashida, began in the first ever issue of Shogakukan's seinen manga magazine Spirits Zōkan Ikki (re-branded as Monthly Ikki in 2003), released on November 30, 2000.[12][13] Monthly Ikki ceased publication on September 25, 2014,[14][15] and the series was transferred to Monthly Ikki's magazine replacement Hibana, starting on March 6, 2015.[16][17][18] Hibana ceased publication after a two-year run on August 7, 2017,[19] and Dorohedoro was transferred to Shogakukan's shōnen manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Sunday on November 10 of the same year.[20][21] The manga finished after eighteen years of publication on September 12, 2018, with its 167th chapter.[22][23] Shogakukan has compiled the chapters into twenty-three tankōbon volumes, released from January 30, 2002,[24] to November 12, 2018.[25] A 14-page special chapter was published seventeen months after the series' finale in Monthly Shōnen Sunday on February 12, 2020.[26][27][28]

In North America, Viz Media began distributing the manga digitally in 2009 when it launched its SigIKKI site, the former online English version of Monthly Ikki.[29] The twenty-three volumes of Dorohedoro were released in print from March 16, 2010,[1][30] to September 17, 2019.[31] It was translated by the localization company AltJapan Co., Ltd., who has continued to translate all subsequent releases.[32]

Anime[edit]

An anime television series adaptation of Dorohedoro was announced in the December 2018 issue of Shogakukan's Monthly Shōnen Sunday magazine released on November 12, 2018.[33] The series is produced by MAPPA and directed by Yuichiro Hayashi, with series composition by Hiroshi Seko, character designs by Tomohiro Kishi, and music composed by R.O.N of (K)NoW_NAME. It ran for 12 episodes from January 12 to March 29, 2020 on Tokyo MX.[7][34][35] A six-episode original video animation (OVA) was bundled with the series' second Blu-ray release on June 17, 2020.[34]

Dorohedoro was released outside of Japan on Netflix on May 28, 2020.[36] The six OVA episodes were also made available on Netflix on October 15, 2020, as one long singular episode, labeled as episode 13.[37]

Reception[edit]

Joseph Luster of Otaku USA called the series a "weird title", but he said that the story "makes for some prime manga absorption". He called the artwork "rough and sketchy, but painstakingly detailed", comparing it to the art style of Kentaro Miura and Pushead.[38] Bill Sherman of Blogcritics praised Hayashida's writing and her bold artwork with her "in-your-face action and punkish scratchiness".[39] David Brothers of ComicsAlliance praised Hayashida's Dorohedoro for her ability to find the beauty in the grotesque and compared the drawing to the likes of Simon Bisley, Tsutomu Nihei, and Katsuhiro Otomo. Brothers continues, "It's gritty, but it looks great. Flipping through the book just to gaze at the art is almost as rewarding as actually reading it".[40] Deb Aoki of About.com wrote: "Dorohedoro is violent and surreal, but it's also infused with Hayashida's dark and goofy sense of humor. Between their killing sprees, Caiman and Nikaido bicker and flirt like workin' class stiffs who appreciate a laugh and a good meal after a hard day at the office".[6] On the other hand, Carlo Santos from Anime News Network has criticized the series, saying that the story "never develops a sense of flow" and that Q Hayashida "cannot draw the human body at all".[2][41]

The Dorohedoro anime series was nominated for the 2021 5th Crunchyroll Anime Awards.[42] Thrillist's Kambole Campbell wrote: "Dorohedoro hooks viewers with a wild premise and a unique, macabre world, but its staying power is in its cast of charming characters, as well as its numerous detours."[43]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ ^ The title is deliberately ambiguous without context, and can be read multiple ways as a result. The only in-media use of the title appears in Chapter 56, where a viscous lake is described as "doro" (ドロ) and "hedoro" (ヘドロ), equatable to 'mud-sludge' or 'muddy sludge' in English. It may also be read as ‘mud to mud’.

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b Santos, Carlo (October 8, 2010). "Dorohedoro GN 2 - Review". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on October 9, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  3. ^ Douresseaux, Leroy (December 15, 2015). "Dorohedoro: Volume 17 manga review". ComicBookBin. Archived from the original on January 19, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  4. ^ Chapman, Paul (October 11, 2019). "Dorohedoro Anime Takes a Bite Out of Japanese TV in January of 2020". Crunchyroll. Archived from the original on December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  5. ^ Chapman, Paul (November 11, 2018). "Bizarre Fantasy Manga Dorohedoro Takes the Plunge as a TV Anime". Crunchyroll. Archived from the original on January 31, 2021. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
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  9. ^ Jennifer Sherman (February 9, 2020). "Dorohedoro Anime Casts Ryohei Kimura, Yuuki Kaji". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
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  19. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (July 7, 2017). "Shogakukan's Hibana Magazine Ends Publication After 2 Years". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2017-07-10. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  20. ^ Ressler, Karen (August 6, 2017). "Hibana Magazine's Individual Series' Plans Announced". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on August 6, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  21. ^ モリタイシがゴムを研究する美女描く新作&ドロヘドロ移籍連載、ゲッサンで開始. Natalie (in Japanese). November 10, 2017. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
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  23. ^ 林田球「ドロヘドロ」18年の連載に幕!最終巻はガイド本と同発、新連載も予告. Natalie (in Japanese). September 12, 2018. Archived from the original on August 12, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]