‘DORONJO’ — anime villain reborn as live-action drama lead

Elaiza Ikeda poses as Nao Dorokawa, who will become the villain Doronjo.

Doronjo, known overseas as Florina, is the popular villain in the classic TV anime “YATTERMAN,” and now the central character in a live-action TV drama named after the character, currently being aired and streamed on satellite channel WOWOW.

The drama “DORONJO” delves into the hitherto unknown past of Doronjo. Elaiza Ikeda, who plays the character, is very excited about starring in the show which commemorates the 60th anniversary of Tatsunoko Production Co., the major animation studio that created the character.

“I hope the viewers will feel the energy in how Doronjo, reborn in the Reiwa era [2019-,] is obsessed with life and uses her fists to thrust forward,” Ikeda said before the show started.

In the anime, Doronjo is as an evil character, but also has cute qualities. It is just impossible to dislike her. Yet the new 11-episode drama portrays her as a solitary, dark heroine, radically different from her famous persona.

Before becoming Doronjo, Nao Dorokawa (played by Ikeda) grows up in poverty under harsh circumstances. She gets into in boxing, through which she finally sees her hardships coming to an end. Then tragedy strikes.

A scene from “DORONJO” on WOWOW

“Justice fails her, and her left leg is replaced by a prosthetic leg. Facing this [difficult] character day in and day out drained me physically and mentally. She fights to survive. Nothing was easy when I tried to become one with Nao,” Ikeda recalled.

The script was revised multiple times to make it more relatable to current hardships.

“[Changes were made] to make it closer and more sympathetic to viewers who may have problems, the problems that are rampant in the Reiwa era,” she said. “I think this work has been created because we need Doronjo in this day and age.”

And why is that? She gave this question a lot of consideration.

“I have a feeling that these days many people have low self-esteem,” she said. “I don’t think at all that a person is worthless just because they haven’t achieved something. I want to bring hope to those who’re about to give up on life and those who have such feelings. I hope I can be a light to someone.”

The drama also features other main characters from the TV anime, such as superheroes Yatterman 1 (played by Daichi Kaneko) and Yatterman 2 (Hirona Yamazaki) as well as two men who later form a villain trio with Doronjo: Boyacky (Yuma Yamoto) and Tonzra (Wataru Ichinose). It is interesting to see how they interact with Nao.

“Nao becomes Doronjo for a reason. That makes her cool and electrifying. It’s pretty tough at the start, but you’ll feel happy if you watch until the end,” she said.