When demons begin running amuck on Earth, the Demon Patrol are dispatched by the great King Enma to return them to Hell. Leading this group is King Enma's nephew, Enma. Once on Earth, the Demon Patrol quickly befriend an ordinary earthling girl named Harumi. Together, the Demon Patrol and Harumi battle the, often unique and humorous, demons in order to protect the human realm, and you can be assured that lots of crazy comedy will emerge as a result in this remake of the 1973 original anime.
The Demon Patrol consist of four core members: the fire wielder Enma, the ice wielder Princess Yukiko, a stretchy frog named Kapperu, and an old man sounding hat named Chapeauji. Kapperu and Chapeauji play more minor roles compared to Enma and Yuki, and they serve mostly as comedic relief, especially Kapperu. Enma is a brash, perverse young man, but he has a caring side and is really easy to like. Yuki sometimes comes off as a bit of a ditz, but she's also easy to like. This core crew are a great match together, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with each one of them.
Accompanying the Demon Patrol is a young human girl named Harumi. Harumi is the real star of the show, and most of the episodes are told from her perspective. Harumi is fairly ordinary, and because of this, her interjections and disapproval of the silly situations that Dororon places its characters into wound up to be the best parts of the show for me. I found Harumi to be a very strong character, and one that really sealed the show for me; without her stark contrast to the Demon Patrol, Dororon wouldn't be the same.
While the formula does vary, typically, each episode introduces a new bad guy for the Demon Patrol to deal with. These demons are being summoned by a greater power, which is ultimately revealed late in the series. For the most part, these baddies serve their purpose as generic fodder and comedic relief well, but somewhere between the good guys and bad guys lies another female character named Enbi, who, like Harumi, also steals the show.
Much like the rest of character, Enbi has her own particular quirk and a lot of personality. The same can be said of the great King Enma himself, and even the ultimate bad guys at the end. Overall, the cast is highly enjoyable, varied, and well assembled together, and it's easily one of Dororon's greatest assets. They're not deep or complex characters, but that doesn't mean they aren't fun and likable.
Dororon's plot appears to follow a simple episodic "bad guy of the week" formula, but things become a bit deeper as the series progresses. For what it is, the plot is enjoyable enough, but it's mostly there to serve as a setup for the comedy. Dororon never let's its plot get in the way of the comedy, yet it still feels focused and satisfying to the end, though the ending is a bit bittersweet.
Since Dororon is mostly a comedy anime, the comedy aspects are central to keeping the viewer interested and returning to the series. While I never found myself laughing out loud in a literal sense, I was almost always viewing each episode with a smile upon my face. In essence, Dororon's plot and comedy are fun. Neither are outstanding, but neither gets in each other's way either. They work cohesively together to serve their purpose, and it comes off well done as a result, even if it all is a bit simple or juvenile.
Brain's Base has done an excellent job of both giving Dororon the aesthetic of an older looking anime (to pay homage to its roots) but also making the show look modern as well. Dororon is a beauty to behold: it's vibrant, crisp, and filled with tons of varied imagery. Dororon shines in numerous aspects, but its visuals are its best strength to be sure.
I particularly liked the character designs of the series. The sharp outlines make the characters stand out and give them a slight aura of 3D-ness. Each character's personality can practically be guessed by just one glance of their appearance, and they all look unique and interesting, regardless of any presumptions.
The voice work is simply phenomenal. Enma is exceptionally well voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi, perhaps most importantly known for being the voice of Ranma from Ranma 1/2. Kappei perfectly captures Enma's rambunctiousness, fiery attitude, and soft heart with every single line of dialog he delivers.
Equally as strong as Kappei's work are Ayakao Kawasumi's and Mamiko Noto's work as Harumi and Yuki, respectively. Don't get me wrong, every single voice actor does a great job in the show, but these three in particular really nailed their characters, and it's no surprise considering some of the prior quality work of those three voice actors. It's also worth mention that Rumi Shishido does a great job with Enbi, as well.
As for the music, Dororon's soundtrack is both very fitting and pretty good. It's not as overbearing or frequent as it should be at times, but it's certainly enjoyable when it's there. The opening theme is pretty much perfect for the series, and the ending theme, while being an odd choice tonally, is a surprisingly sweet and catchy song.
You don't have to have seen the original series to appreciate Dororon for what it is. Even without seeing the original, I certainly noticed Dororon's homage to anime of old. The way Brain's Base melds the older flow and design of anime with the visual and sound design of today makes Dororon stand out from most other modern anime. It's surprisingly delightful in that regard.
Alas, being of an older ilk, I fear that Dororon won't appeal to everyone. The visuals, music, voice work and characters are all easily enjoyable, and the story does more than it probably should have, despite remaining relatively simple. However, the comedy is not for everyone, as there are a lot of perverted and low-brow jokes used throughout the series, and there's nothing too deep to the story or the characters to appeal to anyone who doesn't enjoy the humor, story or characters on a surface level. If Dororon sounds the least bit appealing to you, check it out. There's a high chance you'll enjoy your time with it; I certainly did.
SERIES RATING: Great.