What if you could enslave anyone you ever wanted? Well, this comes close. The SCM lets you enslave anyone who is also wearing an SCM, at a price. One must win over the other, at the cost of anything, in order for the other to become their slave.
I want to start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this anime. I enjoyed it for all the wrong reasons, but that doesn't change the fact that I derived pleasure from its existence. This anime is a hot, steamy witch's brew of plot holes, contrivances, and WAY TOO MANY CHARACTERS.
The story is about people engaging in high-stakes games where the loser is psychologically compelled to become the winner's slave. However, the narrative is too disjointed and forced to deliver on any of the tension or intrigue. Instead, it's a sea of constantly changing power dynamics, coincidences, and weird sex stuff.
The only way I would
honestly recommend this show to someone (based on its own merits, and not on so-bad-it's-good voyeurism) is if someone is looking for a light BDSM romp. MAL currently doesn't list this as ecchi, but the master-slave dynamic is definitely taken to its logical conclusion. If that's your thing, then I'm glad you've finally found something to scratch that itch.
Anyways, the story is too all over the place to be anything other than an increasing amount of absurdities that dogpile onto each other like a drunken, disorganized orgy until some sort of climax is reached and everyone heads home without making eye contact. 2/10
The animation is...something else, that's for sure. Characters are off-model as often as they are on-model. I genuinely couldn't tell you what some characters' hairstyles are supposed to be, because the second they start moving, it dissolves into mush. The dog is a particularly fine example of the animation team being incompetent and lazy. Like, most of the time they weren't even trying. Add in the bland color pallet and awkward facial expressions, and there are no good visuals to be found. 3/10
The soundtrack is passable. It was never standout, but neither was it stand in the way. It's bare competency stands in stark contrast to the rest of the production. 6/10
The anime's biggest flaw is its characters. That's not to say there are no good characters, as a few of them have interesting motives and backgrounds. However, the cast is so crowded that none of them are given enough screen time to really develop. You could have still had a complex, high-stakes game with a lot of players if you cut the cast in half. As it is, you aren't given enough time to get attached to any of them. Except the dog. The dog is a fucking rockstar (more on him later). 4/10
When all is said and done, there were several occasions that I laughed out loud at the sheer ridiculousness of what was happening onscreen. It has the feel of an old-school anime, with its wacky plot that is going to take itself deadly serious no matter how zany things get. If you bother paying attention, the plot holes are so face-palming delightful. In no particular order, here are some of the gems from this series (SPOILERS):
-If the little shota wanted to free his mother so bad, why didn't he just trick the head gangster into a battle with the slave device? Like he's passing the gadgets out like candy to his underlings, even though these things are millions of yen and he's trying to save up enough money to free his mom.
-We are supposed to believe that this device that can force the loser of a contest to become a slave was originally developed...to help train pets. Yup. If Fido's having some trouble being housebroken, just challenge him to a contest to make him SUBMIT TO YOUR WILL. Especially since the explanation we are given for how the device controls the wearer is by inflicting them with a crushing since of responsibility. Because we all know our pets are emotionally complex and bound by duty and societal expectations.
-The self-described crazy lady has apparently never heard of Craigslist's missed connections. The entire reason she's doing all this is...to reconnect with a one-night stand. You DO know that private eye's exist, right? That there are other, better ways to track someone down than to wonder around town betting your free-will and collecting slaves.
-THE DOG. THE DOG IS SOMEHOW THE SMARTEST CHARACTER. Like not only is he able to understand humans completely, he grasps the nuance of the situation and the life-or-death battles. And like...no one finds that weird. They all just take it for granted that the you can explain the rules of the game to him and he'll bark in agreement and go to town. "Hey dog, first person to omnomnom this flatware WINS." "ARF!" Does this take place in an alternate universe where dogs are super intelligent? Is that why the SCM was designed as a dog-training device?
So when all is said and done, Dorei-ku provided a decent amount of enjoyment (6/10). However, even on the grounds of so-bad-it's-good, there are better shows out there you could watch if you want to laugh at some bad anime. Additionally, I honestly couldn't tell you how this show stacks up when it comes to BDSM fan-service, as that's not my area of expertise. Overall, I'd give this show a 4/10, and tell people to give it a pass.
As I've finished this anime, I can't help but notice that only 7 (not including me), have made a review of this anime 4 of them gave it a low score, one gave an ehhhhhhh kind of score and only 2 gave it a high rating. But ya know I kinda agree with Graylia when she/he said that this anime is "Stereotypical anime that tries too hard to be dark/edgy and then fails on all fronts. Lackluster plot, characters, everything. Relies on semi-nudity and shock factor to make up for poorly written plot. Disappointing." which is obvious since there isn't a lot who made a
review of this thing. Then again, this anime as a whole does present itself a certain level of uniqueness, that we don't often see a lot except in a hentai anime like Amai Chobatsu, there the main character is stupid, while here, the characters were victims of the're own pride, perversions, foolishness, negligence and greed, so Ok the Slave Control Method or (SCM) was originally design to be used on pets so that they'll be more obedient to their masters, but as we see such device can be used for one's perversion just as the main protagonist Setagaya Tsubaki were he is that total package for greed and perversion, where I'm glad that he got owned by Minato Takio and then he got owned by Eia and now has to faced some payback from the Yakuza boss Nerima Mouo. Now the character category , Eia Arakawq may have been the main protagonist here, given that he gets to own everybody and frees them at once , but in this anime every character here get's to have their own story, were it wasn't on Eia alone, the thing about this anime was that it's geared up to the characters backstory as to the kind of life they lived and how some tragedies has impacted them and how such cruel device like the SCM has change their lives from having such grandeur of being the master to being a slave , so there isn't any point at all to say that this anime was for Eia at all, though I'm disgusted that even the dog would have its own backstory , but nevertheless it provided the backstory of how the SCM came to be. When it come to the art, I'm pretty sure that them hound were having a field day when they saw them girls in their underwear in the last episode. So how do I rate this? Here's how:
Story-Very Good 8: since it has its own uniqueness were see the side of the character through their backstory and how the SCM has change their lives from being master to becoming salves due to their own negligence, pride, greed, lust, anger and perversions.
Art- Good 7: Since it doesn't feature any quintessential, school uniform , but there were some fanservices around here for the hounds to howl for.
Sound-Fair 6: I don't know, I just rate for the heck of it.
Character- Very good 8: Since the mainchacter Eia Arakawa may have been the one to save the day , she cannot be considered as the protagonist , cu'z each episode put the characters to be the protagonist or the antagonist. At one point Ryuuno is the antagonist were we wanna see getting his ass whooped to the eyepatch girl who from this yandere bitch become a slave from one master to the next. which is good since the main antagonist Sategaya becomes Minato's salve despite of having the Judgment SCM and then Minato get's own and then is now a deadman, for what he did.
Enjoyment- Very Good 8: Seeing how good Eia is is what kept me guled to this anime.
Overall- Very Good 8: Well each has their own anime that they like, so to me I like this, it might not be perfect it might have some plot holes in it, but to me it's ok...So to each his own.
Dorei-ku The Animation is what happens when Death Note and a softcore ecchi anime tried to get serious only for them to get drunk AND stoned in the process and then didn't give a shit to the offspring they created...
LA had a morbid curiosity in watching Dorei-ku The Animation and LA's curiosity bit LA in the hand if the intro statement is anything to go by. See Dorei-ku The Animation tries to mix in the mind games of Death Note's Light and L with risque and ecchi consequences for the loser however with what Dorei-ku The Animation tries and fails to do in terms of
the mind games is the stakes it implements to the huge cast of characters not only bloat the mind games as a whole but makes the stakes almost WORTHLESS by the end of it all.
Dorei-ku The Animation's plot is of some "magical braces" where if you duel someone with another kind of the same braces and you win in a game and you mutually agree to it, the loser turns in the slave of the winner being the owner of that slave, as it's base, it's fine and somewhat interesting, but the bigger picture on the other hand is a different beast altogether.
See Dorei-ku The Animation is a character-focused anime changing heads almost EVERY episode and though LA doesn't mind character development because at least we CAN try and get invested in some of these characters, Dorei-ku The Animation's major flaw in all this is by the simple fact that though we do get their backstory and maybe some character development to how they got into the SCM (Slave Control Method) business in the first place, in terms of the bigger picture, if your NOT one of the main characters like Eiya Arakawa voiced by Hibiku Yamamura and Ryuuou Edogawa voiced by Asuna Tomari by the more serious plotline, the rest of the cast MEANS nothing and hardly develop AT ALL. Let's not even get the situation where characters just arrive out of nowhere and hijack the plot on MULTIPLE occasions almost like the anime is stalling ever chance it gets and again due to the nature of Dorei-ku The Animation, we get backstories on them too, but it's kinda the entire "your too late to the party...who the hell are you?" kinda situation and the thing is, one of the actual main villains in this anime was one of the researchers of the SCM and guess what THIS exact things happens to him...a MAJOR VILLAIN gets his own anime hijacked by a LESSER villain...like what the fuck?
Ohh what else?, ohh yeah how this anime seems to break LA's suspension of disbelief when it comes to not only how coincidental Dorei-ku The Animation is as a whole but how batshit crazy it gets to the point LA can't believe it. Ohh how about the fact that a freakin' DOG is part of the SCM situation and though he can only bark, he has a inner monologue!!!...thinks that's crazy, how about the fact that one of the characters have a split personality...with his deceased mother through the connection of his SCM...like WHAT THE FUCK?!?!!?. There's suspension of disbelief then there's LA jumping off it because of how ludicrous this anime gets and NOT in the good way.
Ok back on track, so again because of the anime really doesn't care about ANY of it's character besides those with the most importance of the anime which is like 3 or 4 characters including the main villains, LA just feels like the character development that Dorei-ku The Animation goes through with ALL it's cast members becomes moot once they become slaves and they naturally due to the huge cast of characters they tend to blend in together even to how exotic some of the character act or look and mind you this is TRYING to be a character-focused anime with mind games and Dorei-ku The Animation utterly failing in trying to incorporate it's characters and utterly ignoring them or doesn't know what the hell they do with them once they become slaves and them getting traded like Yu-Gi-Oh cards because of the rules of SCM in place.
Sure Eiya and Ryuuou gets development all things considered from Eiya trying to stop the SCM business all together and is probably the ONLY pure character in this anime and Ryuuou having his own motivations in getting money...from people who are in debt as well (good going there dumbass) but because of how bloated the cast is and how little screentime Eiya and Ryuuou really get in this anime, Their development is only surface level and COULD have been better but again Dorei-ku The Animation rather stalled than give Eiya and Ryuuou more development at the very least, this especially how Dorei-ku The Animation doesn't care about it's characters once they become slaves and all.
Oh and with the softcore ecchi stuff LA said above, yes Dorei-ku The Animation really likes the fetishizing it's characters ALOT through it's entire screentime and this is for both it's male and female characters which leads to mostly stupidly fanservice moments to utterly fan-disservice at times as to how extreme they take the fetish to. This is TNK, LA was expecting it but still that doesn't give the excuse of soo much fetishize fanservice it's become blatantly obvious.
Dorei-ku The Animation's animation by TNK and Zero-G, well the animation is meh at best...crap at worst. LA isn't puling any punches as TNK and Zero-G did a horrible job in terms of animation, though Dorei-ku The Animation's character designs are decent enough the quality of even the simple facial expressions are janky any chance it gets, the backgrounding is meh and the animation just in general is janky at best and this happens throughout the anime, from simple running to facial motions and emotions are all janky as hell. TNK and Zero-G did what they could and all LA can say is.......janky.
Voice acting, well due to the nature of Dorei-ku The Animation itself, well LA just didn't really care about the voice cast much like it's characters in general, though the only thing LA will say about the voice cast was that LA thought Ryuuou's voice actor was Rie Kugimiya NOT Asuna Tomori (they had VERY similar vocal tones thus the confusion). Dorei-ku The Animation's voice cast much like it's characters were non-existent and really not much too talk about.
Dorei-ku The Animation just needed to freakin' breathe and use it's base concept of the SCM and it's core and interesting characters of Eiya and Ryuuou and build on them instead on focusing on characters that becomes moot by their introductory episode!. But, Dorei-ku The Animation was still a trainwreck to say the least, from it's messy and haphazard plot for shock value and TRYING to be complicated when it really wasn't, characters being worthless even if they get development on their introductory episodes and characters that do have importance gets shoved to the side until the finale, crap animation with a meh voice cast...Dorei-ku The Animation quite honestly deserves LA's worst anime of Spring 2018.
This series is like if the world would ever one day reach Judgment Day, and God brings down the does-it-all device to judge humans the way He does best: Bless the heavenly and persecute the devils with an all-Godly item. And bear in mind, it also goes the long route to showing its strength at gore every step of the way.
And that my friends, is Dorei-ku The Animation, based on the manga Dorei-ku: Boku to 23-nin no Dorei (or 23 Slaves and Me), which explicitly tells the stories of 23 different people who became slaves, each with their own idiosyncrasies and knacks at their thinking.
To be fair, the anime showcased the entire short manga series written by Hiroto Ooishi, and I have to say that while this is a fresh take on the drama-psycho genre, and generally with the manga is better than the anime due to its pacing and people-relevancy chapters that align with the structure of the overall setting, the anime is also a largely toned-down version of it due to the manga being able to portray scenes that just cannot be replicated in anime or if it did get approved, it will only be censored heavily.
So, we follow Eiya Arakawa, a titular normal girl whom was doing her stuff when one day she found this insane teeth-like device called the SCM (or Slave Control Method), a device that looks plain-looking, until the gist of the device shows, and opens up the world to slavery. Then, another character comes along (Yuuga Ohta) and claims that he doesn’t have much to do in his college life, so a collab with one of his friends also inferred him into the SCM world, and like Eiya, discovered its abilities and attempts the crazy plan to acquire slaves just for fun, until he was imprisoned by other masters and had Eiya (as the gamemaster in disguise in a game) to free him and from there, free others from this insane activity of a helm. And so, with the game of wits, brain-thinking and mental power, the journey to finding out the true source and value of the SCMs ensue.
First off, Dorei-ku is more than just the typical drama-psychological anime. Yes, it can’t quite compare to better shows like Psycho-Pass, but as a start, it shows promise…until the realization that because of greed and power, many people became masters and slaves (hence the term 23 slaves) that are always targeted by master SCM wielders and the endless duels that happen from time to time. The elephant in the room is that the entire SCM sequence repeats in many characters’ flashbacks, though their coincidence with the SCM is the same-old boring story and it only gets better when the SCMs are used to duel. Speaking of the SCMs, there’s 3 types: the normal master, slave and Judgment SCM (the king of the SCMs where with a snap of the finger, immediately rescinds the enemy into slavery), all with their different levels of difficulty and mind-playing between people.
The characters here…let’s just say that they exist for as much as an episode, then they are relegated to slavery after that (but not MCs Eiya and Ohta as they need to move along the plotlines). It’s easy to see why they are underdeveloped or developing once their SCM statuses are either demoted or promoted respectively, because as much as they are human beings, nothing will serve them good if they are slaves that follow the masters’ orders. The exposition from the manga provides a detailed analysis of the individual people that come into contact with the SCM, be it their experiences of hatred, greed and the such, but the anime either just downplayed or missed the exposition, for what reasons I’m not able to decipher.
The art and animation, when it comes to comparisons, I did state that this is quite literally the Ousama Game of 2018, but Dorei-ku’s overall presentation is better than the latter for reasons that people can nitpick about and state similar and different things. This is one of the few anime that has a cross-collaboration project between studios, in this case, TNK (the makers of the horrendous School Days) and Zero-G (Tsugumomo, this season’s Nil Admirari), so if you know the studios’ traits, it’s easy to see why (but if not I’m just nutshell it: TNK on working out the source material and giving it the ‘false’ edgy feels while Zero-G works on animation). Overall presentation looks good, but at times can be heavily panned for the insane amount of blood and gore, something which I never have a liking for.
The music does do a good representation of the entire series, and while (yes), the songs are decent and portray the world of the series, there’s nothing that could be further redeeming from the truth. It’s a perfect fit for the series, but unappealing on its own.
So, is Dorei-ku a good watch? Absolutely not, yada yada. If the characters are here to turn you off then please skip this, otherwise it’s only a decent yet mediocre watch, not a great representation of the manga original source though. And as a manga reader, I don’t feel disappointed either, because it lost steam in the process and became yet just another generic psycho-drama adaptation. In the end, Dorei-ku is a dime a dozen, and you can better spend your time elsewhere.