Posted by Lenlo on 6 February 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Dororo

This week Dororo is simultaneously at its brightest, yet possibly lowest, point so far. With Hyakkimaru adjusting to his new senses, a new character joining the cast and the Priest wandering back in, lets jump into the details!

Dororo was pretty good this week, all things considered. It went a direction I wasn’t expecting, and is starting to weave more anime original content in, but I enjoyed it. Before getting into spoilers though, there were some snafus I saw. Namely, animation and model issues. Take for instance the old mans re-entrance, cutting down the bird. In the moment, in motion, it looks great. But when you really look at the scene the old mans model after the cut is just… very blobby. There are no details and all the colors and lines sort of bleed together. Like the man isn’t entirely solid. There is a similar issue in regards to the characters feet. Where toes are all but non- existent. Considering the shots of feet, and how no one apparently wears shoes, this is a big issue for me. I just hope this is the worst we see.

Onto details! First up, Hyakkimaru’s hearing. I loved this. I feared that we wouldn’t see him adapting to his new body parts. As with the leg and nerves, he seemed to just accept them. Here however we see that such a new sensation really is hard to acclimatize to, and he is getting weaker as we go. This, along with other aspects of this episode, give me a lot of hope for the exploration of Hyakkimaru’s character going forward. My only concern on this from this episode was the language barrier. Namely, how does Hyakkimaru know Japanese? Spelling is fine, blind people learn to read all the time. But hearing and speaking it? How does he know what the sounds mean, that they are speech at all? Its a plot point that, for the life of me, I just can’t shake. For Mio’s sake though, I can ignore it.

Speaking of Mio, boy do I have a lot to say here. I love this woman, and she has only existed for a single episode. Before I get into her parallels with Hyakkimaru, lets go over her introduction though. As shocking as the ending was, mostly because it was explicit, Dororo made her profession rather obvious. We first meet her washing herself in the river, afterall, and she mentions “night work” at an army camp. We also see, when Dororo mentions that Hyakkimaru can see the color of a person’s soul, that she covers herself. Considering she knows he is blind, there’s only one thing she could be concerned about in that moment. That isn’t to say Dororo didn’t do the reveal well though. They simply left enough clues for an attentive viewer to figure it out ahead of time. The sign of good foreshadowing, really.

As far as her character goes, I find her parallels with Hyakkimaru to be fascinating. From the beginning they are painted as a pair, with even their clothing mimicking each other. Their backstories are also similar, yet flipped. Both have sacrificed their bodies for others. Mio willingly, to help the orphans, Hyakkimaru unwillingly, for his father’s clan and lands to profit. He seeks to regain it, while she is pretending to the children she hasn’t lost anything. And at the end of the episode, both once again lose a piece of themselves. Truly, everyone in that house has lost something. It makes you wonder, what has Dororo lost? Our little thief is, seemingly, the only “whole” person there. I suspect, based on this and the OP, that Dororo has a greater history to be brought to the fore.

Speaking of lost body parts, Hyakkimaru’s real leg is now gone. This is, surprisingly, anime original. He never lost a regained body part in the original story, which means we are in uncharted territory now. For him to lose a body part he got back though… That was surprising. I doubt he can get that back, I think he is permanently legless now. Not much of a loss to him since he grew up without one, but very sad considering how much effort he put in to get it back. It also appears that Hyakkimaru has gotten his voice back, though most likely from the bird. Based on the episode preview and how this one ended, I suspect that the Ant Lion is still alive and something for him to overcome. But I have more to say about Hyakkimaru’s voice, and lost parts in general, so lets rewind a bit.

You see, with Hyakkimaru’s voice, I have noticed a trend in Dororo. He seems, every time he gets a body part, to have some tragedy visited soon upon him. Or at least, that’s what it feels like, with how early we are into the series. He didn’t even realize he got his voice back from the bird until he had lost his leg and was screaming. Because of this, I fully expect that when he gets his sight, the first thing he will see is Mio’s death. Or at least, one will come soon after another. Dororo has not set itself up to be a happy story, and there are few tragedies I can see being worse than this for Hyakkimaru. Still, until then, at least we have his voice! Perhaps we can start seeing some more of his personality now, maybe a duet with Mio. That would be nice.

So, all in all, I think Dororo did a fantastic job this week. Every week it just gets better and better as it introduces more and more of its story. The characters are loveable, the world grim with rays of hope, and the art style is very… deliberate, is the best word I can think of. Really, Dororo is one of my top 3 shows of the season right now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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