Posted by Lenlo on 23 April 2019 with categories: Dororo

Fuck you Osamu Kobayashi. Your a terrible director and you ruin everything you touch. Welcome to another week of Dororo, where for once OPM isn’t the show I am most disappointed in. Lets dive in.

Let’s cut right to the chase, Dororo looked like shit this week. And all the credit goes to Osamu Kobayashi, the same man who butchered episode 4 of Gurren Lagann. He must have a fetish for blobs and faces, because it’s all terrible. Zoomed out, all the detail disappears into the aforementioned blobs. Meanwhile when zoomed in, while it looks fine, the direction is anything but. We cut from face to face at crazy times, mid speech or sequence, before randomly cutting to a wide shot of the cast. Its as if the man is deathly allergic to pan’s or stills. God, he even has me wishing for more pans and stills. This is how much the man has butchered Dororo this week. Luckily he only has this episode, so maybe Dororo will return to form next week. For for now, continue on if your ready to read a reaming.

By the gif below, you can see, Dororo is a mess this week in animation and direction. Everything was a mess. There were a few good cuts, which I will talk about later. But those feel more like the work of impassioned animator the anything intentional on Osamu’s part. How can I say this? Well everything surrounding them was terrible. Osamu seemingly favors a very amorphous style, with low details, allowing him to really move everything around. But he didn’t do that. He just let everyone sit around. On top of that, it’s the 2nd episode of a 2-part arc, and it completely breaks the style of the first half. Not to mention the series as a whole. I just… I’m rambling here without getting to anything specific because I am just so very angry. Bad Direction or bad animation, either one was recoverable. But together, this becomes a wash.

As much as I am ribbing on Dororo this week, it did have its moments. Take for example the ending sequence on the boat. The blobs low detail was actually used to get a lot of fluidity, and really let that scene pop. The rocking of the boat to the fiery explosion looked good! However based on what I have seen, I am more likely to attribute that to a passionate animator than MAPPA or Osamu. Because this one sequence is so wildly different from the rest of the episode, that it’s the only explanation that makes sense. As much as I hate what Osamu Kobayashi has done to Dororo though, it wasn’t all bad. Just mostly. The actual narrative of the episode managed to make it through, mangled and battered as it got, leading to some great narrative moments. This was in spite of Osamu though, not because of.

Before I get into those though, I want to point out something I noticed that I found interesting. For those of you that have read Berserk, this arc of Dororo might seem similar. After all, its almost beat for beat with Berserk’s Lost Children arc. Had Dororo not come out first, I might have called it a budget Lost Children arc. As is I can only assume Dororo inspired the arc in Berserk, from Moth Women to the carnage left behind afterwords. As a die-hard Berserk fan, this probably influenced me a bit, made me care/see more than was already there. But I quite enjoyed seeing these parallels, and seeing how Dororo influenced the works to come after it. I have held you up long enough though, how does Dororo’s actual story hold up in this terribly animated shell?

Well, just like with the animation, there is good and bad. The bad comes in the form of the Ghost Story of the episode, involving the nun and her orphans. We see what really happened to them, they were sacrificed for the Ghouls, and that’s great. But they come out of nowhere and never really get any solid resolution. The children appearing to save Dororo randomly, and then provide some exposition. I was excited for a sort of murder mystery/ghost story last week, but with how weak this resolution came to be, I would prefer they never have existed at all. They are just irrelevant to general story of the episode and seemingly only exist to save Dororo. It was a perfect chance for her to learn a bit from Hyakki, to get out on her own and show some growth while Hyakki falls, but it just fell flat.

Hyakki’s story though was much more engaging, as we follow his fall. I said last episode that this arc was a microcosm of the larger story, telling us where Hyakki is at and what the consequences might be. Even through the terrible animation, this shown through and I quite enjoyed it. Dororo didn’t have Hyakki take the high ground, it made it very clear that he is still reeling from his families decisions. That his quest for revenge, and his body, is all he cares about. Dororo even had him state, explicitly, that he doesn’t care about these people. Repeating it, as if to convince himself of it all. I liked that, I enjoy tragic stories, and that’s exactly what Hyakki’s is. He isn’t free from consequences either, as this drive’s a wedge between him and Dororo.

This wedge appears to be our next arc, or at least part of it. A nice low point, where Dororo and Hyakki’s new family is being broken up. I suspect that this arc is what will start to help Hyakki move on from his destructive mindset. Helping him figure out what he truly values beyond just revenge. I say this because at the end, we see him mumbling about how he doesn’t care, until realizing Dororo is gone. Clearly he is coming to realize he has taken Dororo’s tag along for for granted. Hopefully, with the view we got of Tahomaru and the return of Itachi, we can return to Dororo’s central thematic story. The themes of chosen family and character drama taking over the almost episodic series Dororo is still sticking to.

Finally, I wanna take a quick second to mention Junkai again, the greatest DIY dad on the planet. Seriously, that spine sequence was fantastic body horror, as poorly animated as it was. The sound design was fantastic, and the spine was completely unexpected. I never would have thought that, of all things, was fake. Seriously, how do you make a spine out of strings and bamboo cans? Did he replace it as Hyakki grew older and taller? How did it function or support him at all?! I love Junkai and the idea of the prosthetic body fading away as Hyakki gets his real body. Becoming less human mentally as he gives into his rage, even as he becomes more human physically. Its a Japanese Pinocchio. But a spine?! Dororo, I need more here. Where are the limits?

So, all my ranting and tangents aside, how was this episode of Dororo? A disappointment. The setup of this being a microcosm of the greater story and Hyakki’s attitude managed to not get buried in terrible animation and direction. But that’s the best I can so for it. Everything else about this episode, from a production standpoint, was just awful. I don’t know how much of this is MAPPA’s 2-cour curse and how much is Osamu Kobayashi’s inability to do his job, but either way I am not happy. If Dororo doesn’t start shaping up soon, I fear for the series. It has all the necessary components for a good drama and is just… ignoring them. Basically, next episode is going to make or break where Dororo goes. Lets hope its not shit, eh?

3 Responses

  1. Avatar nevon says:

    I visited just so I could read this rant. Just finished the episode, and while I didn’t have problem with any of the previous ones, this was a mess all around, and I had no idea why. Good to know it’s thanks to a single person who won’t be back.

    Everything was so different in the episode: the cheap look, the different look of the villagers, the awful movement and action, the strange scene-changes, and even the fight and everything else. It’s like it was a different series.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Precisely. Apparently, he had a deal where he would make the first ED if he got to direct an episode. Why they gave him the 2nd part of a 2 part arc, I have no idea. But hopefully I never see his name as a directorial credit ever again.

  2. Avatar Hey says:

    Osamu Kobayashi wanted me to tell you he is too busy to respond because he is fucking your mom right now.

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