Dorohedoro episode 3 is where things have finally started to slow down, at least when it comes to scene progression. This episode spent some time exploring existing characters and ideas rather than throwing new ones at us at every corner, much like we hoped it would last week.
The Living Dead
The episode starts off with an introduction to the Living Dead Day, a so-called annual festivity that involves culling a horde of zombies. Raised from the dead by the distortion caused by the residual sorcerer dust, the denizens of the hole have no choice but to add some sort of incentive for society’s strongest fighters to take down the flesh-eating departed. What stood out to me here were the monks who were assigned to chant and disperse salt to prevent the zombies from reanimating. This cultural practice was grounded in real-life superstition, then enhanced with the addition of what can only be described as leafblowers but for salt. This gave depth to an otherwise goofy phenomenon and is really the first time that we’ve felt that the Hole has some sort of history and cultural background to it.
Missing a Beat… and a Head
Amidst the outbreak of zombies is our first anticipated fight oft the series. Last episode’s Noi and Shin finally have their rundown with Caiman and Nikaido. Unfortunately, the fight itself wasn’t anything magnificent, boiling down to dealing life-threatening blows to each other one at a time and reacting when the previous aggressor thought they had the upper hand. The real focus here is what was uncovered during the fight. Shin, as Caiman’s first formidable opponent, was quick to identify that the warped reality taking place in between Caiman’s jaw was some kind of spell.
Using this as an opportunity to gain the upper hand in the fight, Shin used his hammer to decapitate Caiman, leaving him in an immobile state of affairs. Nikaido, waiting for such a turn of events, stops feigning death to conjure a door leading to both of their escapes. This reveals that Nikaido is a sorcerer.
The Headless Hoarse Man
The next part of the episode is spent exploring Caiman after his head grows back. The gang decides to dissect his existing head, only for it to get stolen by a specter we believe to be the man living within Caiman. Earlier, the episode briefly spent some time within a dream where Caiman stared down a figure holding it’s decapitated head, mirroring how Caiman manifested within his own dream. While it added some mystery to the situation, it was quickly revealed by Nikaido that the alleyway had been where she originally discovered Caiman. Perhaps this is hinting at Nikaido being the one responsible for Caiman’s reptilian state, but the episode moved too quickly to leave me intrigued.
New Magic Broom
Back in sorcerer headquarters, En is seen trying out a new “broom”, which has the form of some beefed up vacuum cleaner doubling as a motorbike. Certainly, an interesting twist to your regular ‘using brooms to fly’ trope. When he is approached by Shin and Noi that they have failed the task, he affirms that was to be expected. Perhaps En knows much more about Nikaido’s past than we do.
Overall the show has slowed down for the better. As I had hoped last week, Dorohedoro has stopped introducing new faces this episode for a chance to explore the characters we already have. I think it still has to find the right balance of seriousness and humor, since the show