Episode 12 – | Review Score – 4/5
Smartly written, tonally on-point and surprisingly funny, Dorohedoro is a really enjoyable anime that manages to build up an impressively realized world and inhabit it with an eclectic cast of characters. Although our lead character Caiman takes centre stage, The Family are equally as appealing here with solid character arcs and lots of good dialogue throughout. With plenty of blood-soaked violence, fight sequences and dramatic elements, Dorohedoro is one of the best animes of the year so far, regardless of its ending that cries out for a sequel.
The story takes places in a fictional world separated by two distinct class-based areas. The Hole is a decrepit, run-down cesspool of poor mutated creatures who have been experimented on by magic users living in the idealistic realm occupied by Sorcerers. With the Sorcerers traveling to the Hole on a regular basis via magic doorways, one man stands in the way of their progress – Caiman. Suffering with amnesia and desperate to know what’s happened to him, Caiman sports a dinosaur head, immunity to magic and an insatiable appetite for the truth.
As he hunts down the Sorcerers one by one, his investigation coincides with En and The Family’s hunt for the “dinosaur-head killer” and a fabled sorcerer who can control time. As the episodes tick by, secrets are revealed and plenty of surprising revelations are thrown our way. Although some of the bigger mysteries are unresolved by the end, there’s a consistent amount of effort put into answering some of the smaller questions raised through the season.
When this streamed earlier in the year, a lot of eyebrows were raised surrounding the CG animation but to be honest, it works seamlessly here with the aesthetic of the show featuring lots of neatly placed edits that utilize this method really well with the more traditional hand-drawn elements. The character models are detailed, helped in part by the masks many of them wear which disguises some of the subtle facial expressions that CG animation (at the moment at least) has difficulty distinguishing. Having said that though, the murky, grimy feel to the series is backed up by the sheer amount of blood and violence this anime boasts and there are a fair few blood-soaked sequences with gushing blood dotted throughout.
In the middle of all this chaos sit the characters on both sides of the main conflict. It’s here that Dorohedoro really shines and there’s a consistency to the character work that gives each supporting player a chance in the spotlight. Whether it be Jonson and his hilarious “shocking!” lines, the eccentric Ebisu and her skull mask or the penultimate episode shining light on En’s motivations, Dorohedoro fleshes out its cast nicely and backs that up with some great voice work too.
Funny, violent and really well written, Dorohedoro is a great anime and its 12 episodes are packed with some excellent characterisation and seamless CG animation throughout. The story does leave things wide open for a second season though and a lot of the bigger questions remain unanswered. If you can go into this one with an open mind, there’s a lot to chomp down on making this one of the better animes released in 2020.
Published: 24 May 2020 at 5:15pm on TheReviewGeek.com