Dorohedoro Season One

Since the entirety of October is officially Halloween this year (shut up, you!), we at Psycho Drive-In have decided to attempt to fill the month with thirty-one recommendations for horror-related movies, comics, books, TV shows, toys, games, and everything in-between. It’s gonna be a grab-bag of goodies we feel you should be exposed to, whether you like it or not! But don’t expect your standard suggestions for Halloween fun, we’re digging into some stuff that we love in the hopes that you might make this October a little bit weirder than usual.

Weirder in a good way. Not like what’s going on outside in the hellscape of 2020.

Dorohedoro is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Q Hayashida. I would like to recommend it, but to be honest, it’s 23 volumes and I don’t have the money to buy and read it. Luckily for poor bastards like me, there’s an anime adaptation on Netflix and goodness gracious is it pure, unmitigated madness from start to finish. Let’s see… how to describe this… our main character is named Caiman and he is a huge guy with a spiked lizard head that is the result of a sorcerer’s curse. He’s lost his memory, though, and can’t remember his real name or what sorcerer transformed his head. To deal with this, he and his pal, Nikaido (who also runs a restaurant called the Hungry Bug) spend their evenings hunting sorcerers. When they capture one, Caiman puts their head in his mouth and a little human head who lives there looks them over and determines whether or not it is the sorcerer responsible for Caiman’s curse. If the head says “You are not the one” then Caiman kills them. Violently.

Now, when I say sorcerers, I’m not talking about Gandalf or your typical fantasy wizard. No, this is a weird possibly post-apocalyptic setting that’s split into two worlds: The Hole, where our heroes live and struggle to make a living, and the Sorcerer’s World which is only accessible through magical doors that appear and reappear throughout the Hole. In general, one of the main pastimes of a sorcerer is popping into The Hole, grabbing some poor sad sack, and using them for experiments – many of which include transforming them into half-human half-animal hybrids. Oh, and sorcerers aren’t actually human, but have specialized organs that produce “smoke” which is where they get their magical powers. How much smoke you’ve got determines your power and social level.

It’s a world where, every year, stray magic in the atmosphere of The Hole causes dead experiments (people killed by sorcerers) to rise from the dead and try to eat people. That’s episode three, where the local priests have turned the night into a competition, giving prizes and money to whoever collects the most metal plates from the zombies’ necks. Because that’s something in this world.

If you were having doubts about this being good Halloween fare, that should do you. Although nearly everybody in the show wears masks all the time, so it’s instant Halloween costume inspiration.

Dorohedoro follows Caiman’s search for the sorcerer who transformed him, which brings him to the attention of the most powerful sorcerer around, En (whose specialty is mushroom magic), who takes out a hit on Caiman and hires two Cleaners, Shin and Noi, who are super strong and super deadly to track him down and kill him.

I think that’s enough about the characters and the main plot. There’s really no way to describe this show and make it sound coherent beyond what I’ve already said. I think. Just know that it is one of the most imaginative, violent, touching, and insane shows I’ve ever seen. And luckily there are only twelve 24 minute episodes, which means if you have the stomach for it, you can binge all of Dorohedoro in a long evening, although, I’d recommend breaking it up into two six-episode sessions to allow for the full impact of the madness that is constantly getting thrown at you.

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