Posted by Lenlo on 15 May 2019 with categories: Dororo

Welcome one and all to Dororo’s redemption, the episode that takes us back to first cour quality. We have demons, sword fights, and poignant character moments. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t be disappointed in 2 months. Lets jump in!

First up, thank you MAPPA, for getting production right this week. Every aspect was, at the least, decent. There are still small nitpicks that could be made, but they are just that. Nitpicks. The actual big picture is that this episode felt like one from the first cour. Sure, the demon shark fight was rather fast, but that wasn’t the focus of the episode. That was Hyakki vs Tahomaru and co, and I enjoyed this. It was animated much better than previous episodes, really moving the “camera” around and giving us full body shots. Yes some detail goes away at points, but in its place we get a much more movement. To top it all off, the music was great and there were lots of picturesque shots that adored. It’s entirely possible my standards have fallen, but I am just glad Dororo is actually animated this week.

Speaking of the fights, let’s start with Tahomaru and co’s fight with Hyakki. Was it animated perfectly? No. It was better than anything else this cour though, and I enjoyed the actual choreography. It wasn’t just 3 1v1 fights, but Tahomaru’s troupe actually worked together. Using their different skills and weapons to pressure Hyakki in different ways. I really enjoyed this, especially because Hyakki wasn’t winning. There is a limit to his strength, and we saw it here. Considering how invincible Hyakki has been up until now, Dororo really needed this, Also, had Shiranui not blown up the top of a mountain, I believe our leads would have been captured. It really helped Tahomaru grow as a threat. Now, was the shark fight a bit of a let down? Yes, obviously. But for the sake of getting to the important plot, I really didn’t mind.

On Shark Boy, I think he served his purpose well this week. Shiranui did a good job of causing chaos, giving our leads a good reason to survive. Without him, I don’t see any good way for Dororo and Hyakki to live. But with his chaos, Dororo gives everyone an out while also ratcheting up Tahomaru’s emotional issues. The best part of it though was that it was completely in character for the guy. He was already shown to be insane leading up to this. Feeding people to sharks and what not. So for him to lose his only two “family members”, it makes sense he would want to take out those responsible. Dororo also setup the existence of the explosive with the trapped caves, so that didn’t come from nowhere either. All in all, I thought it worked well.

Next up lets talk Dororo and Hyakki. They enjoyed a very wholesome, sweet, reunion. I loved the, while not exactly subtle, meaningful interaction between the two. Last episode we saw what the head-touch means to Hyakki. He has only really done it with Junkai. So seeing Hyakki do it with Dororo, be explicitly clear about his intentions and why he’s doing this? It was a nice moment of clarity for the story. No more ambiguity tying it down on that front. They have finally become a mutually recognized family. As an emotional conclusion to the last arc/their split, I think it worked well. Considering writing has never been Dororo’s weakness, this is hardly surprising. But I wasn’t expecting to care as much as I did. Combine that with the death of the last of Dororo’s old family, and I think narratively Dororo did well this week.

On Dororo’s old family though, let’s talk Itachi. He was… confusing for me this week. I am very conflicted on whether or not I like him. I find his overarching story, this perpetual search for gold and fortune until he dies right in front of it, nice. It’s a quaint little story about human greed and the like that parallels fine with Hyakki’s own quest for his limbs. Something even Shiranui comments on when Hyakki kills the Shark, on if his limbs are worth it. That’s all great. But as a character, I find him… annoyingly inconsistent? He cares for his men, until the gold is close. He is kind to Dororo, until she has a map, where he then ties her to a tree next to a one armed psycho. Had we more time with him, this could have worked. As is, he feels… compressed.

All of that out of the way though, let’s finish with my minor gripes I mentioned before. The first one is, how did Dororo’s dad set this all up? How did no one but Itachi notice he left to this cape all the time? Set up all these traps? It just stretches my belief that Itachi was the only one to figure this out. I also find it incredibly convient how Hyakki got the leg he had been demanding from Junkai last episode, back this episode. I get that its supposed to tie into his development, he did something to help Dororo and not himself and got rewarded for it. For how dark the series has been though, this feels a bit to… convenient? Finally there are the obvious animation issues. Though they are slight, compared to recent episodes at least, they are there. But they didn’t bother me much.

So all in all, how was Dororo this week? A marked improvement, that’s how. This is the first episode I felt like we were back in the first cour for. We had a cool fight, a good story and everything just kinda worked. It wasn’t perfect, Dororo has never been perfect. A flawed production from the start. But with recent episodes I look back fondly on that first cour, and wish for me. With Dororo finally, finally, reentering its most interesting plot, hopefully we will see more of this. I suspect, however, that we are going to be entering another side-arc here. Something to tide us over between Tahomaru and Hyakki’s inevitable round 3. I hope I am wrong, I want Dororo to keep up with the family drama. But I have been disappointed before by this very same series. Better not to get the hopes up to high, eh?

 

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