Bluffing. Crazy, even incredible trend. Moving too. These are the first adjectives that came to mind while listening to Doruido. Let us point out from the outset that this is the first audio manga, which not only seems oxymoronic, but that we know almost nothing about shonen – a genre aimed at adolescents and of which the best-known examples are Dragon Ball or, more recently, One Piece.

And yet we let ourselves be carried away (the music, composed by Nicolas Worms, has a lot to do with it) in the adventures of apprentice druids in a medieval Celtic world. It is Christophe Hocké who achieves the impossible: making this literally visual universe so wonderfully audible, sonorous and even addictive.

But first the pitch – which we take as is: “Ayden, a 14-year-old orphan always accompanied by Phinx, his squirrel, sees his existence turned upside down when a giant spider attacks his village. With the help of Liv and Od’, two young druids, he investigates the creature… and makes a disturbing discovery: a powerful demon has always been sleeping inside him. »

In the beginning was the Word and therefore Elie Olivennes in writing. Having attended the Ecole Normale Supérieure Ulm, this 28-year-old young man was lulled by the recorded stories told by Bernard Giraudeau (1947-2010), the MP3 sagas of the 2000s, the audio adaptations of classics (Dumas, Marivaux ), then native fictions like Hasta Dente, by Léon Bonnaffé, directed by Cédric Aussir for France Culture, or De guerre en fils, by François Pérache and Sabine Zovighian (Arte Radio). It was with the latter that he worked on what would become one of his first projects: “An autofiction on liberal Judaism, written, shot, edited and not mixed by me,” confides- he said with great humor.

Refusal of a voiceover

His Foreskin Syndrome earned him the prize of the first call for podcast and radio creation projects from the Ministry of Culture, in 2022, and spotted by Erwann Gaucher. The deputy director of the antennas and editorial strategy of Radio France was then looking for a program for adolescents – a difficult audience to capture.

A lifelong shonen fan, Elie Olivennes then had the idea of ​​imagining a series that borrows its codes, the universe, the aesthetics with its typical characters like the mentor (Tregon), the cowardly intellectual (Od’) , the more spontaneous character (Liv): “I wanted her to be a girl who had the attributes of the generally extroverted and self-confident shonen hero. » Doruido is the result of “two years of work and fifteen years of passion for this genre” whose values ​​influenced his childhood: the importance of friendship; the idea that sometimes you have to disobey the rules to save your loved ones and that you should never give up; acceptance of difference.

Let’s add references to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, quite a few fights and as many monsters, short scenes that follow one another, a common thread, but a different plot in each episode, and we will have an idea of the feat then achieved by Christophe Hocké and his team so as not to lose the listener. And especially since these challenges were compounded by the refusal of a voice-over. That everything is taken care of by the actors who had to learn their texts (and not, as is often the case with audio fiction, read a brochure) to gain accuracy and intensity of acting.

That it was filmed in natural settings – a farm somewhere in Normandy where Christophe Hocké lives who, determined to really make a forest, a river, an inn heard, involved his entire village – then in the studio with actors specializing in dubbing films, video games or anime like Pierre-Alain de Garrigues who knows how to modulate his voice infinitely.

Let us add that the sound design owes a lot to Djaisan Taouss. And the dragon – which has nothing to envy of those from Game of Thrones – to Etienne Colin. That the whole thing is a clever and delicious mix of realism (the adventures of young adolescents), heroic fantasy and shonen. That it was an extraordinary experience for the team and for Christophe Hocké a playing field as vast as it was stimulating, which he sums up as follows: “It’s six months of my life and a crazy job; it was intense, it was so good. ” We can not say it better. Finally, let’s add that we come away from listening with images in our heads and that a season 2 is in preparation. Recording this fall.