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Noi Problem: The Awesomely Weird Characters of Dorohedoro

Looking like a cross between professional wrestlers and the Cenobites of Hellraiser, the characters of Dorohedoro are awesomely weird. Weird because it’s like watching Pinhead and Freddy Krueger sit down for a cup of tea in-between murdering a bunch of people and stuffing their bloody remains in a bin bag, and awesome because, well, what isn’t awesome about that?

The breakout star of Dorohedoro has been Noi, the muscle-bound mountain of a woman, who has all of the imposing and threatening presence of Jason Voorhees, only to reveal that under her horrific Chatterer-like mask is a pretty face and flowing long hair. It’s the kind of disarming quality that I’ve grown to love about Dorohedoro, that a woman like Noi is capable of such blunt-force trauma in one moment, only to be seen wearing her hair up in a bun in completely normal office attire and going about her work in a civilised way the next. That she’s Shin’s uncertain kōhai is just the icing on the cake. Shin’s mask is a severed heart and his weapon of choice is a hammer: he’s a good senpai.

Shin from Dorohedoro

And the funny thing is, Noi is supposed to be a villain. Alongside Shin, Ebisu and Fujita, they are all out to kill Kaiman, our supposed main character, who’s also not exactly a pacifist: he’ll kill any sorcerer he can get his lizard mouth around, as poor Ebisu’s torn-off face will attest.

Yes, everyone is violent in Dorohedoro, and yes, everyone is too bloody likeable as well. It’s a story of anti-villains, likeable, funny, but just plain evil people, and it’s really refreshing. Too often, anime opts to lecture on morality, or to preach on peace and love, leading to predictable, oft-repeated choices, but Dorohedoro is in a world(s) of its own and has me feeling empathy for serial killers and monsters.

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