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

Hello everyone, welcome back to Dororo! Thanks again for understanding about my vacation, as we head into this weeks double feature. This time Dororo makes a friend, we get their backstory and a ‘he’ turns out to be a ‘she’. Lets jump in!

As always, lets start off with the animation and actual production of these two episodes. Animation wise Dororo continues to be a series of highs and lows. Often during its fights, like with the giant centipede, it can look great. Smooth motion and clear choreography. Other times though, outside of these fights, it can be very limited and often just unappealing. This isn’t to say Dororo looks bad though, as its direction at least is always very good. It has a clear focus on its cinematography. This can be seen most obviously in this weeks episode 9, with little actual animation, but fantastic coloring and camera-work. It engages the eye in a very different way from say, Mob Psycho 100’s bombastic animation and almost blinding rainbow of colors. As I have described in previous posts, Dororo is an exercise in minimalism I feel. But now, onto actual spoilers!

First up, episode 8, The story of Saru. Right to the point, what I enjoyed most about this episode was the focus on Dororo. Letting her, yes her we will get to that later, have the spotlight. Not only does it act as a good setup for episode 9, but it also gives Hyakki some alone time to continue getting over Mio. It’s difficult though, because with how inexpressive he is, whatever progress Hyakki is making is difficult to see. Coming only in his progression of speech, really. The focus on Dororo also made for a more interesting combat scenario, as unlike Hyakki, she can’t fight a demon straight up. She has to be clever, use her environment. To me this, this often makes for much more interesting combat scenarios than many anime’s combat on what are virtually flat planes.

Speaking of interesting combat scenarios, Dororo did a good job giving Hyakki a challenge and having him overcome it. The black mist blocking his sight, because of how he sees, was clever. As was him using his newly (to him) discovered sense of sound. Dororo even started to setup the strategy early on, as he accustoms himself to judging distance by sound with rocks. Combine that with their inevitable teamwork with Dororo screaming to give Hyakki constant sound, and it does a good job of depicting them as a team. All of this, along with Saru and his use of the environment, makes for a very interesting combat segment. I hope we get more of this, Ghouls to strong to be beaten with just raw strength. This way Dororo can continue to shine and contribute as more than just Hyakki’s guide.

One thing I am curious about though, that this and episode 9 made me wonder, was the side characters. From episodes 7, 8 and 9 we have multiple side character who have survived. From Ohagi to Saru to Itachi, who we will touch on later. Surely they will all have to return at some point, yes? It would be a damn shame, and a waste of potential in my opinion, if they don’t. Sure, the episodes could work on their own. But if these named and defined characters who are the leads of their episodes don’t return, then why not just do a monster of the week? At least that wouldn’t build up wrong expectations. So suffice to say, there is no doubt in my mind that we will be seeing Saru, Ohagi and Itachi again. Though I guess it’s time to actually talk about Itachi, huh?

Itachi and really all of episode 9, The story of the Mercilessness, was fantastic. Before I get into his character though, there are 2 obvious things we need to talk about. Those being Dororo and the greyscale. For Dororo, really it makes a lot of sense. The series never mentioned her gender before now, and she never pushed the issue. Masquerading as a boy is also the smart decision to make in a war-torn country, as we saw what happens to women alone with Mio in a way. What was really nice about this though is, by the end, we see that Hyakki doesn’t care. Either that or he doesn’t know, but I prefer the interpretation where he doesn’t care. It also seems to be supported by the ending shot of Dororo’s white blob in his sight, basically saying she is still the same person she was before.

As for the greyscale, well this isn’t the first time Dororo has used this. It seems to be the default whenever a flashback occurs and you know what? I like it, its grown on me. I had some issue’s early on in the series because I feared it would be a sort of cost cutting measure. But Dororo has, as was previously mentioned, focused on minimalism. Making use of a few important colors, like the red of fire and blood, or the yellow of flowers, to drive the scenes home. It’s really hard to describe for me why these work though. I am an Engineer, a very technical profession, I don’t know art and have never pretended to. But these scenes, these single color shots, are just as striking as some of Mob Psycho 100’s rainbow explosions of action, and I have come to love it.

For the episode itself, we got Dororo’s backstory. Episode 8 did a good job of setting this up by letting her take center stage for awhile. The story itself was also another good look into the effects of Daigo, Hyakki’s father’s, war. We not only see where Dororo’s attitude toward strength and cleverness comes from but there is now a rough connection between Hyakki and Dororo’s goals. Hyakki wants his body back and will, inevitably, come into conflict with his father. Meanwhile Dororo want’s to outlast the war, to “defeat” it, and can do that by bringing down Daigo. Even if they don’t know it, to us the viewer, it ties the two closer together in the greater narrative. With how far we are into the series, I expect this to start to become clear to the two of them as well soon.

What I mean by that is, Daigo finally got news about Hyakki. With Tahomaru having heard this, and Itachi being setup as desiring a greater position, I suspect the two will hunt Hyakki together. Itachi will most likely be in Tahomaru’s retinue, bringing him into conflict with our leads. The question then becomes, will he be an enemy for Dororo to overcome, or someone for Hyakki to defeat in her stead? Both could work, but I suspect with his focus on being “clever” that Dororo will defeat him using her head in some way. Itachi is her personal villain after all, not Hyakki’s. He wouldn’t much care what happened to Itachi nor have any personal stakes in the matter. Meanwhile, Tahomaru will most likely end up having a conversation with the slowly more vocal Hyakki, outing their relationship. Should be very interesting when we get to all of this.

So all in all, I enjoyed these two episodes. I was a little upset initially at 8, as I was hoping for some kind of arc. Some kind of extended story instead of another one-off monster of the week. However that is, roughly, what we got as episode 8 setup Dororo to take the spotlight in episode 9. Hopefully with this all of the pieces are set in place and Daigo can start to take a more active role in the story. I harp on this aspect of Dororo a lot in these posts, not because I don’t enjoy the show, but because of how interested I am though. I want to see their story play out, I want to see these meetings and confrontations. Its like being shown a delicious meal, then being told to wait. Sure it might be worth it, but in the moment? Its hard.

But what are your thoughts? Was Dororo to artsy in episode 9? Just enough? Perhaps I am, though I did admit it, a bit to impatient? Let me know what you think below and I will see you next week!

P.S. Having a character name also be the title card really makes this confusing to write sometimes, ha!

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