This Week in Anime
Does Dorohedoro's OVA make Hole's Dump into Dumplings?

by Monique Thomas & Nicholas Dupree,

Dorohedoro is back with a selection of wild one-off stories. Find out how Nikaido got in the gyoza business and how one ephemeral creature makes sure all those fried dumplings taste terrific.

This OAV is streaming on Netflix

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.
Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.

@Lossthief @mouse_inhouse @NickyEnchilada @vestenet


Nick
Nicky, we're knee deep into the month of Halloween, and I feel like we've barely scratched at anything horror-related here. I just can't stand that when I've got a huge hankering for something grim and grotesque and nasty. But I'm also very, very hungry and craving gyoza. If only there were a way to sate both of those at once...
Nicky
Did you forget to write "while also being an adorable family" because today we're covering the Dorohedoro OVA!! This OVA covers some "Devilish Anecdotes" and not only is it the right amount of strange and silly to get you into the spooky season, it's also gives quite a bit of a look into the weird world and comical characters that we've come to know and love. These were originally side-chapters of the manga and I'm very happy to seem them animated because these kind of vignettes give so much flavoring like putting chili oil in your soy sauce.
Normally a single half-hour OVA wouldn't be something we cover on its own, but the magic of Dorohedoro is that even short side stories are so brimming with detail and character that it'd be a shame not to talk about em. Like hey, did you ever wonder where all the sorcerers get their cool sex-dungeon masks? No? Well you're gonna find out anyway and it turns out it's by bribing devils!
We also start of with some real favoritism. Just to remind you that the world of Dorohedoro is harsh and unfair and full of Magic Class Disparity. Weak-ass peasant wizards all have to go to the left while Shin and Noi get to take the fancy VIP door.

Noi, tho.
The cruelties of the sewer wizard world are truly arbitrary. You either get to eat gemstones or have to get your head shat on by a Pokémon starter.
Also unlike the series, this OVA has a neat, limited animation style so no need for 3D models here. It's actually pretty nice and compliments the manga's art well. Look at the grime on those walls!!
It's a really cool look! I understand why they wouldn't want to go for this with the main series, but for a series of shorts with no real action is surprisingly effective. Plus there are some instances where it's genuinely gorgeous in its simplicity.

It's an odd comparison, but there are moments that remind me of that old "The Snowman" cartoon special. Only replace the dancing snowmen with psychopaths dressed up in BDSM gear.
Most of the animation is basically stills but it has a neat effect and the backgrounds are detailed to give a hand-drawn texture. We also get these nice little title cards for every short. The first one is called Disparity of The Masks, btw.
My fav detail from that one is that the literal devil that makes the masks makes sure to accessorize to commend his own work. That's just precious.
It also makes Shin and Noi look dopey as fuck and also adorable. God, I love them. How are these grungy, muscly, meatheads so cute?
Oh there's some A+ Shin/Noi content in this thing that we'll get to. Sadly for Fujita things go...less well on the left door. But it's fun to see him trying!
Poor Fujita, no matter how hard he still just can't help but suck. Don't worry, we still love him even if the system is just forever determined to keep him down.
That's just part of his charm tho. He wouldn't be the lovable loser if he wasn't the entire universe's buttmonkey. And I'm sure he'll get his due one day. Maybe.
Also, Noi proposes an important question. Why ARE devil's so good at making masks, anyways?

And the answer is, devils are basically just the best at everything. lol.
After the Meat Pies incident from season 1 I've learned the best way to get by in Dorohedoro-land is to not ask questions, so I'll buy that answer and never look deeper, lest it turn out the devils make the masks by skinning orphan puppies or something.
I meant more that it just speaks to the kind of hierarchy at play. The devils are just like, always on this whole other level that the humans and sorcerers can barely even imagine. It's a good reminder that everything in Dorohedoro is based on Pyramid-tiers where Devils are the Top Dogs, even just casually.
Oh it's super interesting! But also I really wish I didn't know how their meat pies are made.
Oh yeah, everything in this world basically has to go through some fucked up ritual even if it's really mundane, but watching a goat-horned guy in a hoodie swig down some bottled concoction in order to barf you up a mask is also like, totally sick.

And that's just the first story!!
The next story is actually a flashback to before all the plot of season 1, where we get to see how Nikaido started The Hungry Bug, which is still the least appetizing restaurant name since The Cheesecake Factory.
In "A Shop For You" we find her selling gyoza on the street in The Hole, and even if her humble offerings are actually doing pretty well she's still not exactly making a whole lot of profit, in fact, she's barely breaking even. Nowhere near enough to establish her own shop, or even really feed herself.
Seems like the answer would be to just raise her prices to increase the profit margin, but Nikaido's not that kind of gal. So instead she makes friends with a mysterious tea shop owner, I guess.
Hey, It's not often you see a place in a The Hole that isn't just there living up to its name. Though, Nikaido notices that the shop DOES appear particularly empty despite how nice and hospitable it is.
Turns out there's a reason for that! Namely that Syueron makes tea for Sorcerers too. Which is...interesting. It certainly doesn't get him any fans from the non-magic residents of The Hole.

Since the people of the hole don't take very kindly to anyone who is willing to favor their oppressors, victims of sorcery come in frequently to trash the place, but since Nikaido's here they quickly get what's coming.
This does raise a few questions though. It's not lingered on, but it is kinda fucked that Syueron tacitly caters to a demographic that only comes to town to horribly disfigure random innocents. I get everyone has to make a living and all, but I'm not exactly against the guys who want to rearrange his face the old-fashioned way.
Yeah, it's a tough world where you can't have any luxuries like a nice little tea shop in hole without stepping on someone's magic-disfigured toes. But because of this Nikaido was able to not-starve for a bit.
Yep, and she does a great job protecting the shop!
The shop gets totally trashed but Syueron takes it in stride. He was planning on closing the shop anyways after he managed to win the fortune of a frequent customer who is also a handsome devil.
I dunno if handsome is quite the word for him.
I'm pretty sure any other words are gonna make both you and I toast, so let's stick with handsome for now.
But hey, Moroku likes his tea and hey, at least this way Syueron's not collaborating in plain sight, so I can't blame him for taking the offer. And Nikaido lucks into a new place to live/cook so that's nice.
Though, it's a bit of a fixer-upper. She's basically back where she started, plus one wreck. She's one step closer to her dream and the present where she can make gyoza for a hungry Lizard Man all she wants.
Again though, please give it a different name. I know it's a rule that everything in this world has to look filthy but you could at least take "bug" out of there.
Look, now I'm just sadly reminded that there's no Jonathan in this OVA. It's just another perfect example of how Dorohedoro is a venn diagram of "the grossest shit you've ever seen" and "the cutest shit you've ever seen". And nothing is more adorable than my favorite Skull Gremlin, Ebisu.
Ah yes, a day in the life of Ebisu. Though personally the hook of this segment for me was CASUAL NOI.
In "The Spring of the Underling" Ebisu runs around poking around people's rooms and lookin' at their cute-as-shit family photos.
And she also gets negged by her boss.
Can we talk about how En just has a naked picture of himself flexing in his room? En, never change.
Oh don't worry, he never will. Dude's had that receding hairline since puberty.

It is a cute segment though. One of the charming things about Dorohedoro is how the bad guys are just a second set of protagonists with their own fucked up found family, and seeing them just hang out and eat breakfast while taking care of the skull baby is adorable.
Even if she didn't really get the picture she wanted of Skull Babe.
She does get a picture with Fujita! and all the other non-name sorcerers En employs. But still, it's the sort of almost thought that counts.
That one is cute, but this next one is pretty much my favorite, and I was super afraid we'd never see this one animated with the compressed episode count of the anime because everyone needs to fuckin' know about the existence of The Gyoza Fairy in "The Tale of The Invisible Gyoza Fairy"
One day I really hope we get to pick Q. Hayashida's brain about this because I have to know what made her go "You know what my world of gruesome toilet wizards needs to feel complete? A tiny dumpling fairy that makes food taste better."
Maybe I'm just on that same kind of wavelength but the gyoza fairy is genius and perfect. A magical little creature made of gyoza and the size of beer can., invisible to humans, and will also punish you for being an idiot who doesn't enjoy gyoza properly by spearing your face full of toothpicks.
Also he sleeps on rats every night, which is both adorable and really gross considering he touches people's food all day.
And then he uses Nikaido's toothbrush to clean! I think the Gyoza fairy has an odd definition of helping.
To be fair he's sentient gyoza trying to help other people eat gyoza, so he's just a big ball of existential contradiction. More importantly I mistakenly watched this OVA before having breakfast and spent the rest of the viewing experience STARVING.
Despite the great and gross aesthetic of everything else, the food looks DAMN GOOD. We get some honest to god recipes in here that really make me want to try making some gyoza at home. But we'll get to that. First we gotta deal with the thing everyone wants, all the time. Shipping. In "The Devil's Dance", En decides that after ten years, it's time to throw a ball to give some praise to their scary goat-hooved overlords.
Attendance is mandatory!!
Hey, at least he also gives them outfits to wear to it!

Though uh...about those outfits, Mr. En. Now far be it for me to criticize an evil mushroom mage/gangster but I don't think this is kosher dress code.
I don't think anything matters when this guy is looking to tear you three new ones if you don't start making doe-eyes at someone. The devils, like all of us (or maybe just me), want us to get to the romance ASAP!
Ah yes, and 10 years ago Shin ran into a pretty girl whose name he never learned. Gee, I just wonder who it could have been...
Gee, I wonder....
Look this is real obvious ship bait but sometimes obvious is for the better. Let these two smooch, show.
Things this OVA made me want bad, in order:
1) Shin and Noi to smooch.
2) Gyoza.
Well I've got good news about the gyoza.
I'm not eating it right now so it doesn't count but damn do I want some. In "Ohba Memories, In the Night Breeze" Caiman brings some fresh ingredients to make some Ohba Gyoza and as stated before we actually get to see the full gyoza-making process. Makes me feel like I'm watching a Delicious in Dungeon anime, to add a number 3 to my previous list.
It's the shortest and simplest of the segments, but it's a really nice cap to the whole thing. So much of Dorohedoro is pure chaos and violence, so it's sweet to close on a such a down to earth moment as two friends just sharing some good food and beer.
Dorohedoro is about how even in the most grossest, disgusting, and unjust universes you can still occasionally find the time for simple pleasures and people to share it with it and these shorts really exemplify that.
It's a fun time, and while it's not the season 2 I'm still waiting for, I'm certainly not gonna say no to hanging out with these weird, gross oddballs. And hey, maybe if we get another one of these Fujita will finally succeed at something. Anything.

discuss this in the forum (3 posts) |
bookmark/share with:

This Week in Anime homepage / archives