Weekly Anime Round-Up (May 30th – June 6th): The capitalist metaphor of Madoka Magica and Reviews of Dorohedoro and Jujutsu Kaisen

Dorohedoro is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Q Hayashida. It tells the story of Caiman, a victim of a magic attack, resulting in Caiman being left with a lizard head. I reviewed the series and considered it one of the best anime series in the last decade. Chris Joynson over at Never Argue with a Fish reviews Dorohedoro and loves the series “creativity.” He says that:

Sometimes I just have to marvel at anime. I mean there are many, many reasons why I’ve been watching it for the majority of my life now, but one of the main ones is the sheer breadth and creativity of its stories. Where else am I going to come across a show that opens with a man with a lizard head biting down some other dude’s head, only for another head to work its way up the lizard man’s throat and start talking?

Chris Joynson

Irina review Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen has been a massive hit and has become one of the best received and most successful manga/anime series in years. Like Dorohedoro, I reviewed the first anime season. Irina reviewed the series and was captivated by the animation from MAPPA, “I’m pretty impressed by Mappa lately. . . they certainly know how to create some eye-catching animation.” Overall, Irina concludes what most fans of Jujutsu Kaisen have, the series is a great action shonen;

Season 1 of Jujutsu Kaisen is a strong start to what could become a future classic of action shonen anime. It’s not breaking any molds but it’s a prime example of its genre


Madoka Magica and the capitalist metaphor

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is one of those highly regarded anime you hear about from time to time. I always intend to watch it but can’t seem to find the time. Anyway, Audrey Dubois explores how Madoka Magica can be seen as a metaphor for capitalism. Using an “economic lens,” Dubois discusses how Kyubey exploits the magical girls employing them as “freelancers,” into deadly work without “protection.” Kyubey’s manipulations result in isolation, conflict, and ultimately the magical girl’s destruction.

Kyubey’s character is truly a masterclass in labor exploitation. He conditions his magical girls to view potential allies as rivals and targets the most vulnerable candidates to continue his profit machine. His exaggerated evil might help viewers recognize those manipulative tactics when they arise in real life.


Dorohedoro Episode 12 Recap and Review

In episode 12 of Dorohedoro, Nikaido and Kaiman clash on the bridge.
Nikaido and Kaiman clash on the bridge

The origins of the cross-eye have been a mystery for this entire season. Episode 12 of Dorohedoro, answers some of our questions early. The cross-eye can’t use magic. Risu claims that they have a “headquarters” in Berith. He heads there to find out who killed him. Meanwhile, Kaiman and Nikaido begin to fight on the bridge. Kaiman is reluctant to fight her. She knocks him through a wall. A statue crushes Kaiman’s legs. Barely able to walk, Kaiman’s head starts to hurt. Nikaido is surprised by what appears to be Kaiman. He stabs her in the back. Asu, her devil friend, finds her and removes the contract from her wound. 

The contract is still on

Despite Asu removing the contract, it’s still in effect. Nikaido has escaped its control temporarily. According to Asu, if she lays eyes on En again the “contract will regrow inside her body.” Asu tells her that she must escape and get far from him. Kaiman has flashbacks of meeting Nikaido. It turns out that Kaiman isn’t his real name. Its the name of the reptile he resembles. When he comes to Kaiman swallows Nikaido’s head. She sees Risu and he tells her that she’s “not the one.” Nikaido tells him that the man in his mouth is Risu.

Nikaido meets the Risu in Kaiman’s mouth

Meanwhile, Shin and the others share a meal. He plans to return them to Hole tomorrow and implores them to forget Nikaido. As En follows Nikaido into the church. Asu forces Kaiman and Nikaido into a door and turns Chota into Nikaido. 

A heart to heart

Kaiman and Nikaido are sent to a ruined city. They hid in an abandoned train station to escape the devils. Nikaido explains that her magic caused her to “lose a friend.” It’s dangerous and she has highly sought after. She wanted to become human. She hoped that she could become human by fighting against sorcerers. Kaiman points out that he has no idea what kind of human he was. Why would she want to be friends with him? 

Nikaido asks Kaiman if being a sorcerer is a “dealbreaker?” He rationalizes that if she doesn’t use magic she really can’t be a sorcerer. They pinky swear. Promising no matter what Kaiman is really like they will be friends forever. 

Friends forever

The mysteries in Dorohedoro continue

Dorohedoro episode 12 ends on a touching moment. However, I can’t help but assume both promises will be broken. At some point, Nikaido will be forced to use her magic and we will find out that Kaiman was a terrible man. This episode was very well-paced. It felt quick but satisfying. Dorohedoro has set up new problems, Nikaido can’t escape En’s contract so easily. While implementing a temporary solution, Chota taking her place. Eventually, Chota (as Nikiado) will be asked to use her magic. 

When he fails En will surely kill him. Shin and Noi helping Vaux and the others could prove problematic for them. Finally, Asu is going to pay for his interference. One thing is clear, if Risu can’t use magic then he didn’t use magic on Kaiman. I can’t wait to find out who’s responsible. 

So did you enjoy this season? How did you like the season finale?

Dorohedoro Episode 11 Recap and Review


Dorohedoro Episode 11 Recap and Review

Image from episode 11 of Dorohedoro. En is eating mushrooms in Hell.
En eating in Hell

Dorohedoro episode 11 is full of surprises. After the last episode, I assumed Johnson and Dr. Kasukabe were goners. I had completely forgotten the fact that the Doctor saved Shin’s life. Meanwhile, Chota abuses Nikaido. He gives her poison tea and drops a bowling ball on her head. He’s jealous of her partnership with En. He makes her watch the autobiographical movie that En wrote and produced. Dorohedoro uses the movie as a framing device to tell us En’s backstory. The first chapter is titled “Hell.” When En was a baby, his magic turned his parents into mushrooms. A bulgar kidnapped him. Sold to low-class sorcerers, he stole smoke from higher classed sorcerers. He worked there for nine years. After that, they threw him in a river. 

Image of The Cross-eye eviscerating Shin and Noi.
The Cross-eye eviscerates Shin and Noi

En’s backstory, Surviving Hell

En was mistaken for a corpse by a devil. It took him to hell. However, due to his hatred, he survived. Two years later he was discovered by Chidaruma. He returned to the factory. After killing the owners he developed an alliance with many sorcerers. The second chapter is called “The Enemy.” Twenty years later a serial killer is loose. He targets high-level sorcerers and decapitates them. The Cross-eye was the culprit. He killed En’s men one by one until only Tenjin, Shin, and Noi remained. Tenjin locates his hideout in Mastema. Shin and Noi head there first. The Cross-eye eviscerates them. However, En arrives in time to save them. 

Check out the manga on

Face to face with the Cross-eye En blacks out. The surrounding area was turned into mushrooms. En’s mask was broken and he had a “shallow wound” on his throat. En assumes that the Cross-eye was turned into a mushroom. Until he witnessed him walking through a door headless. The movie ends and En arrives. He tells Nikaido that he wants her to rewind time. He wants to know what happened to the Cross-eye. Despite Nikaido being under En’s control, she seems to still have her mind. 

See You At the Food Stall

Kaiman, Tanba and the others arrive. Kaiman introduces himself as Tanba’s new wike, Pieman. Inside they run into Asuka a former employee of Tanba’s. She has opened a competing Pie shop. Elsewhere, Noi heals, Vaux, Dr. Kasukabe, 13, and Johnson. Shin tells them they have to stop associating with Kaiman. Otherwise, they will become enemies. Fukuyama shows Kaiman the En family newspaper. It finally sets in that Nikaido is a sorcerer. He figures he should probably just leave since she seems happy. The contest between Tanba’s shop and Asuka’s results in a landslide victory for Asuka. She uses her magic to summon a monster called “Angel.” It can ” make any man fall in love with her.”  

Seeing an opportunity to speak with Nikaido (as En, Shin, and Fujita are distracted) Kaiman grabs her and runs towards an alleyway. Meanwhile, Asuka passes out from overusing her magic. The men return to normal. When En has a taste of Tanba’s chanterelle pie he declares him the winner. On a bridge, Nikaido tells Kaiman that she “wants to be near En.” He decides that he’s willing to take her by force. She asks “do you think you can?” Another great episode. I just can’t predict this series. Dorohedoro episode 11 scaled back the typical violence (mostly). Just when I thought En was the bad guy this episode gives me a reason to think otherwise. Furthermore, Cross-eye is starting to become a clear villain. I predict that Kaiman and the En family will join forces against him. 

Dorohedoro Episode 10 Recap and Review


Dorohedoro Episode 10 Recap and Review

In episode 10 of Dorohedoro, Nikaido dons the mask created by Asu to strength her magic.
Nikaido in Asu’s mask

Dorohedoro episode 10 begins with Vaux attacking the mushroom monster with a bat. It does nothing. The monster then spits an acidic liquid on Vaux, melting him into a mushroom. Dr. Kasukabe rushes to rescue Vaux. Meanwhile, Johnson attacks the monster. Gouging out its eye and ripping off its arm. Everyone runs to the second floor. Thirteen bandages Nikaido’s back. She heads to a secret room, while the monster bangs on the door. In a flashback, we witness her receiving a mask that will enhance her magic. This mask is located in the secret room. Nikaido contemplates becoming a sorcerer again.

The moment of truth finally arrives. Dorohedoro has created a conflict with Kaiman’s unwillingness to accept that Nikaido is a sorcerer and her refusal to use magic. In the last episode, it seemed that Kaiman was less hostile to sorcerers. His boss and coworker both seem to have had changed his perspective on sorcerers. Whether he accepts the fact that Nikaido lied is another matter altogether. Nikaido puts the mask on and quickly dominates the monster. She kills it. However, when the blood from the monster pools underneath them it turns into a sorcerers door. Sending Nikaido, Johnson, Dr. Kasukabe, and 13 into En’s mansion, where he welcomes them.

The Devil Chidaruma

Lonely Kaiman and a brutal contact ceremony

Elsewhere, Kaiman and Fukuyama discuss his failed search for Risu. Kaiman wonders if Risu is even in the sorcerer’s world. Back at the mansion, En uses the remains of the monster to bind Nikaido. 13 yells at En, but is merely turned into a mushroom. Before he can question her, En is interrupted by the devil, Chidaruma. A devil with a skull-like head, gargoyle wings, and a long tongue sticking out, he quickly confirms that Nikaido is the sorcerer that can control time. Suddenly, Nikaido, the devil, and the En family are in the house. The devil is preparing to start the contract ceremony between Nikaido and En. The men and women are separated and Noi heals her back.

Apparently contract ceremonies don’t need the consent of any kind. After begin washed up, Nikaido is forced to sit. Chidaruma takes a handle with a spike protruding out of the bottom and stabs her in the chest. He pulls it like a door handle, opening her chest cavity. Chidaruma pulls a bloody piece of paper or flesh like paper and has En sign it. Nikaido is forced to sign it as well. Meanwhile, both Noi and Shin happily sign their contracts with each other. Unfortunately, for Fujita and Ebisu the Blue Night ends before they could sign. The next day it major news that En found the time sorcerer. In a dungeon, Dr. Kasukabe is being tortured for info on Kaiman. He doesn’t seem phased at all.

Nikaido’s chest cavity

President Tanba will help

Kaiman is troubled by nightmares and can’t sleep. He heads outside where President Tanba joins him. Kaiman tells him why he’s into the sorcerer’s world. Seeing that he’s in need Tanba offers to help. He tells Kaiman that he knows a guy with “cross marks on his eyes.” They head to a prison where the cross-eyed, Shimizu’s is expected to be executed. Kaiman bites his head, exposing him to “Risu” inside. He’s not the one. Before he can tell Kaiman anything he’s pulled to hell by a monster. Kaiman grabs his legs trying to keep him from going. However, the devil Asu interferes. Cutting Shimizu at the ankles, forcing Kaiman to drop. He then tells Kaiman about Nikaido.

The next day Kaiman arms himself. President Tanba and Fukuyama tell him about En. We already knew that he was a big shot, however, Fukuyama informs Kaiman of the “Death Shroom Incident.” Six years ago, the city of Mastema was enveloped in black smoke. When it cleared all the living creatures were turned into mushrooms. Tanba warns Kaiman that he’s “going to die.” He then suggests that Kiaman use his pie wagon. Elsewhere, in the dungeon, it turns out that Johnson can communicate with roaches. One frees them.

Shin preparing to put the hammer down

Nikaido loses her free will

Chidaruma notices that Nikaido was wearing one of Asu’s masks. Exposing his secret. He makes another mask for Nikaido. Noi notices that she’s become obedient. En informs them that devil contracts can let you “control your partner.” In the courtyard, Johnson and Dr. Kasukabe cause a seen. Stealing Fujita’s gun, they take the food from a merchant. Ebisu and Fujita try to save the merchant, but when Ebisu turns into a lizard she can only manage to turn into a small one. Shockingly, Noi and Shin arrive. Noi stops Johnson and Shin cuts off Kasukabe’s arm. He asks him, which does he want him to “gouge.” His “head or his heart.”

It’s obvious that the En family has the upper hand now. What I love about this series is I don’t know who to root for. At least not all the time. I want Nikaido to get free and I don’t want Dr. Kasukabe or Johnson to get killed. While I don’t really care that much about 13 he seems too nice to kill. Furthermore, I like Fujita and Ebisu and I didn’t want them to get killed. I’m fine if En dies. I do wonder, however, if the reason he wants Nikaido is to reverse the effects of the “Death Shroom Incident.” Does he want to save the victims? Is there a more selfish reason? It’s possible that he will free Nikaido when she reverses it right? This series keeps me guessing and excited about the future.

Dorohedoro Episode 9 Recap and Review


Dorohedoro Episode 9 Recap and Review

In episode 9 of Dorohedoro Noi and Shin are eating a meal together
Noi (left) and Shin (right) eating a meal together

Hate at first sight

Dorohedoro episode 9 begins by telling us the story of how Shin and Noi became friends. The last episode left us with this big question. It answers it quickly. En tells Fujita the story. En opened a very successful Noodle Soup Franchise called “Flower Smoke.” Noi was the bouncer there. One day a theft (Shin) dine and dashed. Noi gave chase. After noticing Shin’s rotting arms she heals them. Shin hits her with a hammer and escapes. However, he says that he will repay her someday. Shin eventually gets hired as a hitman by En. During all of this Noi is training to become a devil. The final stage of the training is to stop using magic for a year until Blue Night. She manages to make it within three days.

However, they’re attacked by two magic users. They destroy the shop, intending on capturing Shin and Noi for Blue Night. Shin and Noi fight them with the later crushing the head of Baku with a huge boulder. It’s this magic user that manages to get one last shot off. Aimed at Noi, Shin takes the explosive shot. His body is maimed. Noi heals him violating her training. Noi and Shin become partners during the Blue Night.

Kaiman gutting Baku

The Wonderful Meat Pie

Yaku seals Shin in a body bag as the later is asleep. Meanwhile, Kaiman chases the guy that hit him over the head. President Tanba catches Kaiman and berates him for leaving the shop. He’s fired. Fukuyama arrives and asks Kaiman “why are you here?” Kaiman vaguely responds that he’s “looking for someone.” He asks Fukuyama if he “found a partner?” Fukuyama hasn’t had any luck. Kaiman asks him about his magic. Fukuyama’s magic is for food creation. Kaiman is excited and asks for some food. This exchange suggests that Kaiman may have softened on his prejudice towards magic users. That said, I instantly assumed that Fukuyama was going to get killed.

Baku and Yaku meet up. Yaku is carrying Shin and Baku confirms that he has Noi. Yaku knocks Kaiman’s “precious gyoza” to the ground. He threatens to kill both Yaku and Baku. Witnessing Baku attacking Kaiman, Tanba attacks them. Grabbing a knife, Kaiman cuts Baku’s arm and then guts him. Baku explodes. Yaku tries to attack Kaiman from the behind. Fukuyama uses his magic and turns Yaku into a giant pie. Elsewhere, Risu searches for more magic smoke. He finds Noi’s body in a locker. Still alive she emits her magic smoke, healing herself and restoring Risu’s body.

The mushroom monster that escape from the back of Nikaido

Blue Night Day 2

Risu finds a disguise and searches for Aikawa. Kaiman and Risu walk right past each other. Fujita continues to be humiliated. His potential partner didn’t show. He was left waiting in the same spot for two days. Anyway, Noi arrives looking for Shin with En’s dog Gura-Gura. The find the “pie,” that Ebisu and Gura-Gura start eating and Noi sits on the body bag that Shin is in. She is happy to find Shin and the head to sign the contracts. Fujita admits that he sent one of the two applications that he received. Turns out that the other one was sent by Ebisu. This “twist” was obvious, but I was happy to see Fujita get a partner.

En learns that Nikaido is the killer of the shopkeeper and she has time magic. He creates a doll of her and puts a small mushroom inside it. Back at the Hole, Nikaido and the others are having a birthday party for Vaux. Dr. Kauskabe reveals to Nikaido that they know she’s a sorcerer. Suddenly, a mushroom monster sprouts out of Nikaido’s back. En can see through its eyes. Nikaido is in danger but she’s not going to be killed. En wants her magic. The question is how is he going to get it? He would probably have to take it from her, as she definitely won’t work for him. Dorohedoro continues to impress. I really liked how they solve Risu’s mechanical body limitation and Noi begin trapped in a locker at the same time. It was well done.

Dorohedoro Episode 8 Recap and Review