Dorohedoro is on paper a show I would love because it’s dark, violent, everyone is an anti-hero, and there are no schools. And, truly, if it was only those things I would love the hell out of it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of random nonsense coming along with those elements which end up making me not care.
Let’s start with the most obvious detractor. It’s in CGI, which mean 90% of everyone is not going to watch it because of the uncanny valley effect. It is far from awful, since very few things can be as bad as Ex-Arm, but let’s not pretend it’s going to be easy for most people to sit through this show. I wasn’t bothered much by it, but I would definitely prefer if it was hand drawn. Something which can be said about everything that is CGI. That aside, yeah, the sceneries are very detailed and add to the dark atmosphere. If you are part of that special 10% of humanity that can look past that pivot then you will love the looks of the show.
Now let’s move to the second detractor, which is the plot. Or better say the lack of one, since everything is loosely connected and most of the times there is no continuity. It’s random ideas held together by duct tape and it can get confusing very fact. Here are some zombies, here are some dinosaurs, here are some enchanted stores. How do all these themes connect? They don’t, they just call it magic and that’s the end of it. There is a lot of spell casting, done all the time, and it can pretty much do anything you can imagine, resulting to nothing having consistency. When there is a spell for resurrecting the dead, traveling in time, or transforming people to animals then anything is possible and nothing can be taken seriously, so I stopped caring early on. I mean it is very creative, but you hardly feel there are limitations and thus no matter what bad thing happens to a character you know there is a way to undo it very easily and you get desensitized.
Then it’s the bottom of the barrel character objectives. The only thing the good guys want is to find out who turned the protagonist’s head into a lizard, and the only thing the bad guys want is to punish the protagonist for attacking their organization. They constantly do a lot of reality altering spells and murder hundreds of people for these petty reasons, so good luck caring no matter what they are doing. On top of that, almost everything they are trying to achieve has no result. Most arcs end with everyone going back to square one only to try again next time where even more people will die and more random magic nonsense will happen. It feels completely pointless.
And I can even explain why it feels pointless. Because the writer makes sure that every time they are about to learn something new something happens at the last second and they don’t learn anything. If it’s a witness, he will die right when he’s about to reveal something. If it’s an assassin he will escape with his face conveniently not showing. And even when the main characters witness the truth they will be always getting amnesia so they will never remember the revelation. It happens so many times it becomes obnoxious. And I know the writer does it deliberately so the story can maintain its mystery and the audience can keep watching, but what exactly is that important that needs to stay hidden? It’s just about who turned the protagonist’s head into a lizard, so who could possibly be biting his fingernails while expecting to find out the answer to something so petty?
To sum it up, you might enjoy the dark setting or the violent anti-heroes or the creativity in magic, but if you care about anything other than that Dorohedoro is not for you. It’s random nonsense with barely any plot continuity, constant delays of really unimportant mysteries, and worst of them all it’s not hand drawn, so you most likely won’t watch past the first episode. And that’s why it’s a hard pass.