What is Doreiku?
Dorei-ku: Boku to 23-nin no Dorei is a Japanese Novel Series written by Shinichi Okada. After getting an anime adaptation, the name was simplified to Doreiku. The name literally translates to Slave District:23 slaves and me. So you know what kind of anime I’m going to talk about here. Based on the light novel, a live action film called Tokyo Slaves has also been released in 2014.
The Anime is about a slave system called SCM device (Slave Control Method) that lets people make other people their slaves. That’s right, SLAVES. But it works on certain conditions which I’ll come back to later. So this SCM device is released in the black market for cheap. Despite the concept of the device sounding sketchy people buy it (Because why not, YOU CAN MAKE OTHER PEOPLE YOUR SLAVES!).
A few people get their hands on the SCM device and then the anime starts to become more about people creating problems, paying the price and ultimately solving the problem. The concept of the anime is unique in a way but it is not very impressive once you complete watching it.
This is one of those anime that I think could’ve been better if the story had taken a different turn. It isn’t that great but watching it was definitely not a waste of my time either.
The story of SCM devices, Slaves and Masters:
The story of Doreiku begins as we are introduced to the SCM device in a hostess club. The SCM is a curved Teeth Night Guard like device that is put behind the teeth for it to work. As we see a character holding the SCM, we are given a subtle hint about how it works and we are thoroughly explained about the SCM by Yuga Ohta later. Let me explain the SCM first.
The SCM device has to be worn by at least two people to begin with and a challenge has to be put forward, as both people accept the challenge they get a feeling from which they know the challenge has begun. And as you might have guessed, the winner becomes a master and the loser has to become a slave. It works because the losers feel that they’ve lost and hence have become inferior to the winner.
After becoming slaves, the slaves must do anything that their master tells them to do except for orders which may lead to the death of the slaves. The slaves cannot resist staying without wearing their SCM for a long time because of some kind of addictive substance that SCM uses on the slaves.
One master can have many slaves but one slave cannot follow more than one master. After Yuga is introduced to us, we also find out that we can actually have an app on our phone that shows us if there are other SCM users nearby, be it slaves or masters, we can see any person with an SCM on the app . The slaves and the masters can be differentiated from their different icons.
So what happens when a slave challenges another slave? Let’s name the two slaves, slave 1 and slave 2 who belong to two different masters. And let’s assume that slave 1 is a chad and he naturally wins against slave 2. Because slave 1 is a master’s slave, slave 2 also now belongs to the same master.
The SCM has only been bought by some people as the number of SCM devices that have been made is also very low. So it is not a worldwide thing and is limited to people of the city throughout the anime.
Everyone that we are introduced to in the anime is important to the story so basically everyone is a main character but I’d say Yuga Ohta and Eia Arakawa are the main protagonists of the anime.
They meet each other in a cafe and Yuga asks her to assist him in his quest of making other SCM users his slaves because he likes to live his life on the edge. And he gives her millions to help him out with it if he becomes someone’s slave. And so the story begins as there are a lot of people with SCM who want to make other people their slaves.
I could name all the characters in the anime but I’d be lying if I said I like any one of them. The one thing I found interesting about this anime was the idea of SCM. And you know how psychological thrillers go, there’s a person who thinks he’s smart but then another person comes and claims to be smarter and it’s a cycle.
In a nutshell, there’s SCM devices, there’s people who use it for bad stuff, people like Yuga and Eia Arakawa who wants to make all SCM users her slaves to free them.
About the Characters:
Weird. Everyone in Doreiku is downright weird. They are people with problems calling out other people with problems. The anime itself introduces us to these characters as if they’re some side characters that we do not need to know about but at some point in the story these characters have something to do with a trouble that the protagonists are dealing with.
I guess that is the part of this anime that should have made this anime thrilling and mysterious and fun. But it didn’t. It just delayed the story and it basically looked like the director had forgotten that he had to introduce the characters of the anime to us in a way that they would stand out and he just rushed into explaining the SCM and how realistic it sounded.
Reasons why you had not heard of Doreiku:
Doreiku is not a very popular anime though you can watch it in Netflix. And there’s a reason for that. I’ve seen people say that Doreiku is more of a psychosexual Thriller than a psychological thriller in the internet. And why would people or Netflix be recommended to see weird stuff like this if what you’ve watched in the past is nothing like it, right? Doreiku is like Death Note but if death note was not about killing but controlling people and the plot was really bad. I have people who can back me up alright.
With a better storyline Doreiku undoubtedly could’ve stood on par with Death Note or other awesome psychological thrillers out there but sadly it didn’t. I still wouldn’t say that it shouldn’t have been adapted into an anime. It is indeed entertaining to watch in some way but the characters all look and sound really done. It is almost like they do not have a soul. Now some of you would probably say something like, they are someone else’s slaves what kind of expression do you want them to have? I don’t know, rebellious? Alive?
The only characters that I thought had a will of their own and managed to stand out well among all the other dead characters are Eia Arakawa, Yuga Ohta and Ryuou. Rest of the characters do have some half this and half that kind of backstory but I still couldn’t buy how their sketchy past would lead them to be a sociopath.
Should you watch Doreiku?
No, but actually yes. If you want to see how right or wrong I am for yourself, I would definitely recommend that you watch this anime. But if you have not watched any good psychological thrillers before don’t ruin the taste in your baby weeb tongue by watching this anime.
I would only rewatch this anime if I were to die in case I didn't or if someone paid me a million dollars to do so. Still, as bad as I made this anime look, it deserves every bit of it but it also depends on perspectives and what kind of genre you like so take this as my opinion and review the anime yourself after you're done watching it. Also, finding decent quality images for this review is harder than watching the anime.