Posted by Lenlo on 23 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Dororo

Airing at the same time as Mob Psycho, completely independently, Dororo also managed a somber, character driven episode. This week we learn more about Junkai the prosthetic doctor, Hyakkimaru’s past, and the world at large. Let’s dive in!

Dororo started off in a very dark place this episode, which contrasted oddly with the beautiful sunset behind it. Before I get into the story aspect of that darkness though, I want to talk about the visuals. A large portion of this episode was in grey scale, or with lots of browns. As effective as it was in some scenes, I was largely not a fan of it. It made multiple parts of the episode visually dull, and this is a visual medium. Especially when compared to the striking reds and oranges that Dororo opened with or we sometimes saw in the middle. Could it be argued the grey scale is what helped those scenes stand out more? That helped the important parts rise higher? Yes, easily. Its a strong argument. I just don’t know if the across the board grey scale was worth how much it provided those scenes.

As far as specifics though, this week focused on Junkai the prosthetic doctor, and his past with Hyakkimaru. It was surprisingly dark, what with the crucifixion and wanton death. It made him a much more interesting character than I initially thought he would be. Carving limbs for people to atone for his sins, yet he ends up raising and equipping a ronin in Hyakkimaru. It was all fantastic and I hope we get to see more of him in the future. I am a bit confused as to how Hyakkimaru survived at all, Junkai doesn’t seem well equipped to raise him. Also, from what I understand, a large portion of his story was anime original as well. Such as Kaname his assistant and his whole segment. Still, I am glad for it, as it allows for more content in what was originally a 4 volume manga series.

Speaking of Kaname, I am curious how he is going to effect the story. Like I said, from my understanding he is anime original. He does not exist in the original story. So Dororo must have a reason for adding him in, some greater purpose for his character. Perhaps he comes back for revenge against Junkai? However that seems out of place for him, even if it would lead to an interesting moral conflict for Hyakkimaru. He could repair Hyakkimaru’s prosthetics at some point, seeing there are clearly Junkai’s work. A sort of big brother Hyakkimaru never had, an interesting avenue for his character there. Really the options are limitless and open ended. It has been years since he left Junkai, so he could have become anything in that time. A soldier, bandit, doctor of his own. All we can do is speculate for now.

As for the rest of the flashback segment, there were some… confusing decisions. The whole training arc was weird. Visually, I liked the progression of seasons and the small splashes of color from blood and such. However the wooden sword? It just felt ridiculous in places. Cutting through demons, stabbing them in the head, fighting such gruesome battles. Is this a mis-color or something? It’s a wooden sword, how could it do any of that? The limited animation on top of that, a virtual slideshow in places, really muted my excitement for it. Dororo really hasn’t replicated the animation of the first episode at all yet and that is disappointing. I hope it is just saving itself for some upcoming big moments. But aside from some gorgeous direction and background art, visually, Dororo hasn’t really excited me.

Outside of Junkai and Hyakkimaru, we also saw/met Tahomaru, Hyakkimaru’s little brother. If the setup here and the OP is anything to go by, he will be a major part of the plot in the future. Most likely their father is going to give him the task to hunt down his brother or something. Leading us to conflict with humans rather than all demons. The question is, will he be a sympathetic character or not. I am leaning towards no myself. His reactions towards his mother seem very cold. At the same time though, he is a character whose mother clearly doesn’t love him as she should. Still hung up on her first born being out there somewhere. Handled right it could be a fantastic arc between the two of them, and Dororo is already showing their similarities in training. But it could just as easily fall apart.

Finally, all the thematic parts out of the way, lets take talley shall me? Hyakkimaru is now known to have his leg, skin and nerves back. Like some kind of weird pinocchio, he is slowly becoming more and more human. To go along with this, he is also starting to express himself more. As if he is getting more than just his body parts back, but parts of his humanity to. Testing his nerves in the fire, then saying “screw it I won’t back down” and stomping on it anyway. Makes me excited for when he gets his vocal cords and eyes back. For how expressive and he might become and what his personality might be like. Its an exciting and quite literally way to do character growth. Sorta like Mob Psycho’s, with definitive and obvious points in the story where he grows.

So all in all, how did I feel about this episode? Lukewarm really, I suppose. I loved Junkai’s story, and I thought it interesting. I think there is a lot setup and a lot of things Dororo can do with this. But visually I was not impressed, aside from some of Junkai’s background art, and I find the animation lacking. Character wise it’s still to early to tell, though I do overall like what I see. It’s just… the pieces aren’t coming together for me I suppose. I want to like Dororo, I really do. Its right up my moody alley. But I just can’t get behind it fully. I want to be proven wrong, and Dororo has the time to do that. But so far, I find it an interesting if somewhat lacking piece.

What do you think though? Am I just being pedantic over here, is Dororo good? Or is it missing that spark for you to? Let me know down below, and I will see you next week!

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