Title: Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan
Release Type: Complete Collection!
Warning, beyond this point I, Richard J., your faithful if ineffectual blog Navigator, cannot advise you to read if blood, angels or twisted and semi-crude humor bother you.
For everyone else, I have a few words about Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan! From the Japanese company MediaWorks and the US company Media Blasters comes this twisted and brutal tale of one boy destined to create an inappropriate paradise on Earth and the violent yet adorable angel sent to deal with him. Based on the original novel by Masaki Okayu, who after watching this show I suspect wanders the streets at night with a bat, Dokuro-chan is a unique anime viewing experience.
The Plot Synopsis:
Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan is a relatively short series dealing the the trials and tribulations of one Sakura Kusakabe. At first, his life seems okay. He chats with classmates, he walks with a girl he returns home to find another cute girl in a sexy state. Seems like a classic harem series and if not for the opening, you'd be forgiven for not expecting the extreme violence that comes next. What follows after a bloody death is a quick resurrection by Dokuro-chan, the murderous yet loving angel! Sakura's life rapidly goes down hill as his classmates begin to treat him like a pariah, get turned into animals or vanish without a trace. Violent and bloody death (then resurrection) becomes the constant in his life. Fortunately for him, he's either a severe masochist or the poster boy for Stockholm syndrome!
The series is a quick watch as each episode is half the length of a normal TV ep. The OVA series is included with the TV series but it's far too short. The focus is on twisted gags, parody, blood, subversion of expectations, angels that bludgeon, a sensitive salaryman, adorable designs and blood. The series is also about extreme violence and a theme song with images of blood, torture and death that will stick in your head for days.
Did I mention the blood?
Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan had a prior sub-only release from Media Blasters which was also a complete collection. Personally, I think this release has the superior look but let's just look at it on it's own.
First we have a cover featuring Dokuro-chan with her Excaliblog in hand (surprisingly, it's a real weapon) with Sakura behind her and chibis everywhere against a backdrop of blood and darkness.
The back cover features a few choice screen caps, including one of Sakura reduced to chunky salsa and a smiling Dokuro-chan about to dish out some serious pain. A red skull with a halo serves as a creative and effective feature grid. It clearly says we've got an English dub now. And there is blood of course.
The cool skull design (did you know Dokuro-chan's name means "skull" in English?) appears on the disk, perfectly placed to create the look of a cyclops. Blood splatters are there too.
The Reasons It Rocks:
In case you failed to heed my warning and have made it this far despite not being a fan of bloody violence caused by angels, I think it's time I tell you, this series is all about the angelic wrath of the cutest sadist in recent anime history. Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan derives considerable twisted humor from the brutal slayings and magical girl parody resurrection scenes of Sakura. Over-the-top blood and violence is a key part of what makes this show so much fun to watch. The sheer insanity and Sakura's reactions, ranging from irritated at having his head pulped to genuine moments of fear, make it all somehow funny.
The big improvement over Media Blasters's previous collected release is obviously the English dub. It features a cast your ear will probably recognize but I'm just going to talk about the two leads. Really, with a show this short and so much of the humor being based on Sakura and Dokuro-chan's interactions, you MUST like these performances to enjoy the series properly.
Fortunately, veteran VAs Johnny Yong Bosch portrays Sakura Kusakabe and Wendee Lee tackles Dokuro-chan with surprising perfection. Honestly, I never expected to hear Dokuro-chan's "Pipiru piru piru pipiru pi!" successfully translated into English!
Johnny Yong Bosch's take on Sakura is a departure from his numerous badass roles like Ichigo in Bleach or Zero in Code Geass. He doesn't even sound like Koizumi from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The voice he does for Sakura is somewhere in between and it's quite fitting and in line with the Japanese performance. It gives off a vibe of frightened child.
Then there's Wendee Lee's take on Dokuro-chan which convinces me that she can play anything. Honestly, she actually kinda creeped me out at times. She manages to capture Dokuro-chan's loving yet sadistic nature perfectly. The scene where she's trying to get Sakura to give her back her halo was just eerie thanks to her disturbingly perfect take on Dokuro-chan. Honestly, I think this might be some of her best work in terms of characterization.
Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan features a warped world filled with odd characters and events that are so twisted, zany and out there that you will either love it or hate it. If you've ever found yourself complaining about anime being too repetitive or maybe you're just in the mood for something that proves that ANIME IS NOT FOR CHILDREN, then this is the series to watch. There just aren't many comedies that successfully use violence and gore but this series does it flawlessly.
Now for a counter analysis.
The Reasons It Sucks:
Make no mistake, Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan is not a series for anyone who can't stand the sight of blood or is bothered by wanton acts of violence and cruelty. Frankly, there are times where if you take a moment and actually think about the events in a serious way, you'll get the chills. Dokuro-chan is an angel but she's rather closer to Lucifer than the typical ones you see in fiction.
Which leads me to another concern. Personally, I have strong religious views but I don't allow things that aren't intended to be taken seriously bother me at all. However, I could understand someone being potentially offended by the portrayal of angels and the idea of God sending assassins after people and such. Sure, it's all done for the sake of humor and to add to the insanity of the setting but I feel it should be mentioned here.
The last weakness is that the series is short and depending on your tastes in humor, might not have much re-watchability. Really, this is a love it or leave it series in my opinion. If you don't like the type of humor Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan
Graded It For You:
If you like the kind of humor and madness Dokuro-chan has to offer, you will enjoy it intensely. If you like cute girls and don't mind blood and gore, you'll probably like it a lot. If you are remotely bothered by blood, violence or an angel that bludgenons, I think you should stay clear! Overall, I think this grade is most appropriate. . .
Here are the usual suspect retailers where you can order it: Robert's Anime Corner Store (remember, post a vid and get a $25 merchandise credit but only if you do it before the end of October!), The Right Stuf, Amazon.com and Best Buy are carrying it.
Pipiru piru piru pipiru pi!
Er, I mean bye-ni!
THANKS FOR READING!