These past two weeks have been full-on for Dorohedoro. Following the intrigue of episode 4, these two follow-ups have illustrated the backstories for some of the series’ core characters. Here’s what was good.
The Hellish Pits of Episode 5
Episode 5 Launches us straight into the world of the sorcerers. Getting a return visit to the fantastical city we briefly see in episode 4, Caiman and Nikaido almost immediately catch a ride on a flying-taxi-carpet. Gien the high tech brooms we have seen earlier in the series, the carpet forms an interesting contrast between the lavish city and a taxi driver who just tries to get by.
Meanwhile, we also catch a glimpse of the relatively low-rung Ebisu and Fujita get confronted by 2 hood figures. After nothing but violence, the two tank a bit of a beating before Shin and Noi dropped by and returned the service. This is the first affirmative view we get of the sorcerer world mirroring the hole in a dog-eat-dog Darwinian society.
A Head to Remember
At En’s headquarters, the severed head they collected in episode 4 gets brought back to consciousness. Lacking the rest of its body, all the head is able to do is gurgle while memories flash by. Belonging to a man named Risu, it appears Nikaido was involved in his past.
A Bad Meal
Eager to get a meal, Caiman and Nikaido make do with the restaurant they were loitering closest to at the time. Akin to the other fetishistic indulges we have seen from the sorcerers before, this restaurant was themed like the underbelly of a city with toilets that flushed right down into the pits of hell. Not sure how anyone would ever eat at a restaurant where the catch was you could poop into the souls of the damned.
After drinking some bad liquor, Caiman passes out over one of the hell fueled toilets and dreams of Risu, who En is currently interrogating. Risu, whose body has been replaced by sorcerer tech, has now been placed under interrogation. While the ordeal is a little cliched, we get to see that the powerful En doesn’t know who the leader of the cross-eyed sorcerers is, and more importantly that he is scared.
A Devilish Invitation
Back in the bar, Nikaido got a letter from a Devil, who she soon sets out to find after the duo leaves the restaurant. In order to pay him a visit, she cons a smoke collector into buying some the smoke she tentatively lets out. Here we have one of our biggest revelations. Nikaido, who has only just been confirmed to be a sorcerer, is also capable of producing smoke so pure that the vendor gives her all his cash on hand to buy a small vial. Not only that, but she immediately takes the vial off him once he pays up because she’s worried about the trail she’ll leave.
Clearly a powerful sorcerer, Nikaido leaves the vendor on the brink of death. I feel like we’ll see him come into play on a later date considering he had a jar of Ebisu’s smoke, linking him to team En.
The pile of cash can only afford Nikaido 30 minutes with a devil. Set up to be a powerful being, the two sit down like old friends and have a chat. This firmly solidifies Nikaidou previously unforeseen might as a sorcerer, one on the same power as a devil. Happy to help, the devil tells her the location of Risu and conjures a door right to the core of his headquarters.
A Mouthfull of Mushrooms: Episode 6
Episode 6 starts with a rematch between Noi and Nikaido. Caught mildly off guard by the intruder, Nikaido creates an opening to disengage and find Risu. Failing to take Risu from the clutches of En, she gives him a good sock in the face. Shattering his mask, En loses composure for the first time in the series. Given his usual calm demeanor even in the face of assassination, En lets out an endless amount of smoke in a fit of rage. Turning a good portion of his mansion and friends into mushrooms, Nikaido makes a narrow escape after getting contaminated.
A Friendly Gesture
Hospitalized after begging Caiman to sever the mushroom with his knife, Nikaido is served burnt Gyoza by her reptilian friend. This adorable gesture says a lot about their friendship dynamic, how Caiman cares about what Nikaido brings to his life (Gyoza) and how he is unable to fill the gap without her. It also shows that he’s willing to return the friendship she brings him in any capacity he can. Unfortunately for Caiman, this means ordering overpriced pizza delivery.
The Sorcerer Shin
In the doctor’s ward, Kasukabe gives us some insight into Shin’s backstory. As a child of the hole, he was birthed by a sorcerer mother and a regular father. Given the hostile situation towards sorcerers at the time, Shin was quickly ratted out after his workshop manager found specs of dust coming from a cut on his finger. With an organized militia of sorcerer purgers on his tail, Shin turns to a life of violence as he dismantles them with his physical prowess one by one.
After crossing paths with the Kasukabe, the doctor helps Shin find his smoke veins which would enable him to cast magic. With the promise not to kill any of the neighborhood watch, Shin dismantles the group by severing the members into pieces with his magic. The catch? He kept them alive after they were cut into pieces, just like the prisoner En takes in episode 2.
Back in the hospital, Kasukabe gives Caiman a bit of a chat regarding Nikaido very clearly being a sorcerer. Before he has a proper chance to continue his denial, he rushes back to Nikaido’s room at the sound of her scream. Abducted by a strange figure, Caiman rushes after him through the ally way his body was originally found in and into the sewers. Once he finally corners the figures he learns of a superstition that harvesting black pearls caused by sorcerer powder will lead to someone gaining sorcerer powers. Alongside the violence amping up, the denizens of the Hole have become even more desperate of gaining sorcerer powers and entering the distinct class of people. Caiman has to confront, once again, that due to Nikaido’s lack of a black pearl that she is likely a sorcerer herself since the pearls only form in regular people.
Keeping stuff in your Head
Amidst the chaos of the mushrooms back in En’s headquarters, Risu makes his escape. A quick exchange with his captive cross-eyed comrade reveals that Risu knew more than he let on this whole time. While it’s a little bit of a cliched notion, it adds a little more intrigue to Caiman’s background than before.
With all this new information, I wonder if Dorohedoro has deceived us in some way. I’m starting to think that the image En’s gang formed of the man within Caiman is perhaps not Risu, but someone powerful enough to manipulate Shin into thinking he was Risu back when they visited the turkey man. If it is indeed someone that powerful, they could have links with Nikaido’s ominous sorcerer past.