Rie KugimiyaAyako KawasumiHitomi NabatameDaisuke Kirii
Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan
Also known as: Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2005, 2007
Writer/director: Tsutomu Mizushima
Original creator: Masaki Okayu
Actor: Reiko Takagi, Saeko Chiba, Ayako Kawasumi, Rie Kugimiya, Akeno Watanabe, Atsushi Imaruoka, Daisuke Kirii, Fumitoshi Miyajima, Hitomi Nabatame, Keiji Okuda, Kenichi Mochizuki, Makoto Yasumura, Mami Horikoshi, Mamiko Noto, Masakazu Morita, Mitsuo Iwata, Nami Kurokawa, Nobuo Tobita, Nobuyuki Tanaka, Shinnosuke Tachibana
Keywords: anime, favourite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 6 episodes (or, more accurately, 12 half-episodes)
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=5094
Website category: Anime late 00s
Review date: 11 November 2014
Sakura is a twelve-year-old Japanese schoolboy with an unwanted magical girlfriend. You've seen lots of anime like this, right? Dokuro-chan loves Sakura, whether he likes it or not. She conforms to all the traditions of the genre, being a cutesy, annoying, clinging emotional leech who won't take "no" for an answer and is indestructibly chirpy and bouncy.
What's different about Dokuro-chan, though, is that she'll murder Sakura several times a day in a shower of explosive comedy gore. She then resurrects him, for more brain-splattering antics if he: (a) walks into the room while she's changing, (b) says the wrong thing, (c) says the right thing, (d) is breathing. She'll do this so violently that Sakura's dismembered body parts sometimes shoot off like rockets, propelled by their own spurting blood. Mind you, at least Sakura will return to life afterwards. I don't remember Dokuro ever doing that for anyone else, despite incidents like erasing a girl from reality just to be able to sit next to Sakura in class. (How did she even do that? Terminator time travel? Magical powers? Sakura's the only one who realises what's happened and, unsurprisingly, he freaks.)
It's a comedy. Some people don't find it funny, mind you, and indeed might get agitated when discussing its many offences against taste and decency. That's fair enough. Everything you might have heard about this show is true. "Dokuro", for instance, is a Japanese word for "skull (esp. weatherbeaten, used as symbol of death)" or "death's head". Personally, though, I found it hysterically funny, albeit inconsistent.
Consider the title sequence, for instance. It's the usual chirpy/squawky anime J-pop nonsense, sung by a voice actor rather than a singer, that in Tomoko's opinion is on a par with having nails hammered into your eardrums. The fact that I personally enjoy such songs is near the top of Tomoko's list of reasons to doubt my sanity. Anyway, you think you're listening to something entirely generic... until you see that the J-babble is getting ever more blood-soaked, while the accompanying animation shows us exactly what the lyrics are talking about. Sakura gets his groin crushed with Dokuro's kanabo, for instance, which it should be noted was a historical weapon primarily meant to shatter bones, armour and warhorses' legs and so really this one's vicious spikes are just overkill.
I was on the floor laughing.
The art style is generic blob-faced anime cartoonishness, which is probably the right decision since this content wouldn't go well with realism. This gets taken to eleven when Sakura's occasional attempts to save his classmates sees them getting turned into animals. This is done by pasting a photo of an animal's head over a schoolboy's animated body, like Monty Python or South Park.
That's not the end of this show's offensiveness, by the way.
(a) Dokuro's a celestial assassin sent from the future by God to kill Sakura before he can invent immortality. It's trademark protection. However, as it just so happens, this immortality will be a side-effect of Sakura's real goal, which will be to inhibit ageing in women and keep them at an apparent age of twelve for the purposes of paedophilia. The show makes jokes out of this.
(b) All these twelve-year-olds have big boobs. The parody becomes even more blatant when Dokuro's nine-year-old sister shows up, with an apparent age of thirty and a bust large enough to shelter medium-sized animals. The parody then falls over and dies when the show decides to take the piss out of the harem genre, panty shots, bath scenes and copious anime nudity. It does this, as in all things, through excess. With a cast of ostensible twelve-year-olds.
This is... um. However it's not as if gross, tasteless, inappropriate content is out of character for this show. The whole point is going too far for laughs and most of that involves violence.
I love this show. It's capable of brilliance, e.g. the extremely low humour of what happens when an angel loses her halo. Sakura's unsympathetic classmates are also hysterical. I've already bought the same writer/director's Dai Mahou Touge, aka. Magical Witch Punie-chan, regarding which I'm almost drooling in anticipation. (Punie sounds a bit like Dokuro, but more overtly evil. Dokuro isn't really evil as such, in fact. You could almost call her innocent and well-meaning, in her blood-drenched, flesh-ripping way.)
That's not to say that the show's flawless, though.
Firstly, it loses interest in its own story. At the start, there's a girl Sakura likes, called Shizuki. The show's central (and best) joke involves Sakura trying to live a normal life and have a normal relationship with Shizuki, only for Dokuro to be continuously ruining his life. The comparatively serious scenes Sakura-Shizuki scenes are less entertaining than the carnage, but I liked them and thought they were integral to what made the show's premise work.
Episode four, though, shows Sakura getting sentimental about Dokuro. Eh? Is he insane? Is this just more parody of an unconvincing genre, in which boys regularly fall for terrifying freaks with no self-control? After that, episodes five and six change the rules completely. They're a separate, bizarrely short series made two years after the other four episodes, you see. The parody format goes from "magical girlfriend" to "harem anime", Shizuki largely drops out and Dokuro becomes just one of several supernatural girls in Sakura's life. Quite a lot of people think that the show gets funnier in these last two episodes, but personally I saw the show as losing sight of its central joke. "What would happen if cartoon violence was real" is a funny subversion of the magical girlfriend and related genres, e.g. Love Hina. However harem anime exploitation can't be taken further than it's already gone all by itself, with this show's take on it just coming across as straight fanservice without any real twist.
The last episode even has Sakura inflicting ultra-violence (on Zansu). I don't care what happens to the annoying Zansu, but that suggested to me that the show was losing sight of its characters' roles and was just assigning jokes at random.
Even those final episodes are still funny, though. Dokuro's idea of Valentine chocolates is particularly horrific, for instance.
This show was broadcast on TV, amazingly, albeit with unbroadcastable content replaced by censor screens. It's unique. At first glance, its visuals and voice acting make it look generic. Keep watching, though, and you'll soon see something gross and/or offensive, done deliberately for humour value as a parody of other anime (e.g. sexualising twelve-year-olds in the wrong way). It's very, very funny... in my opinion. Mileage may vary. On the other hand, though, it's not keeping a tight grip on its character use and storytelling, while most of the cast are annoying, self-obsessed and/or psychotic. (The likeable ones have names beginning with 'S'. That includes an unapologetic assassin, if that gives you any idea.) It's casually obscene. Recommended.