Posted by Lenlo on 12 June 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Dororo

Another week, another episode of Dororo. This time we follow up with Nui, the mother, Hyakki falls off the deep-end and Tahomaru gets one up on his brother. Lets dive in!

Starting off, recently I have been skipping the production portion of these posts. 22 episodes in, you know what your getting at this point. However, recognition where its due, Dororo looked good this week. Outside the battles everything was a standard, acceptable quality. Nothing worth really getting hung up on. However I found Hyakkimaru’s scenes to be a treat. The fire and depiction of the flaming horse looked great. Everything was stylized and in general I found it a joy to look at. Someone clearly had a lot of fun with the almost liquid fire effects we saw, the wind, and the motion of Hyakki atop the horse. It makes it clear that, when MAPPA wants to, Dororo can standout and look good. It’s just not often that Dororo does so, nor is it particularly consistent. Now though, onto the story.

This week saw Hyakki complete his fall into darkness, working with a Ghoul/Demon. I am ok with this in theory, Dororo is a tragedy obviously. However I have some questions, some concerns. You see, I don’t understand why the Demons would fight Hyakki’s fall so, going so far to help Tahomaru and co. Should Hyakki becoming a Demon not be good for them? On the flip side, if not, why is the flaming horse helping him? Perhaps I am mistaken in thinking of the Ghouls/Demon’s as this monolithic group. But we never really got any sort of distinction on that front. Something which I think would really help clear up what’s going on here at the end. That said, for as loose as Dororo is playing with its rules, I did enjoy the ending reveal.

Up until the last 2 minutes of the episode, I was getting disappointing with what Dororo had done with Tahomaru. But giving him and his retainers Hyakki’s body parts, locking them in to a confrontation to the death? I love this. First off, it gives the trio once last chance to fight back in their best form. Setting us up for another good fight. But second, it subverted my expectation’s without invalidating them. I was expecting Tahomaru to sacrifice himself to the Demon in some way, to make a new deal. He has still sorta done that, becoming a Demon himself, now with Loot Drops for Hyakki. Except this is a much more personal stab at Hyakki than what I was expecting, really tugging on his desire for his body. It could almost be a purposeful temptation on the Demon’s part, to push Hyakki over the edge. Regardless, its good.

Speaking of Hyakki’s family members, lets talk the Mother, the title card of the episode. I’m undecided on if Dororo is under or overusing her, I just know it isn’t using her correctly. On one hand, she should be dead. She should have died in episode 12 rather than sit around for 10 more episodes. On the other hand, her freeing Dororo works out. It fits with her character, not wanting to see more children die, and it ties into the theme of Mothers and love and all that. If I had to boil it down though, I think I would land on this: Its not Nui, but the entire family dynamic that is underused in Dororo. After the setup of the 1st Cour, the 2nd went right back to meandering episodic monsters with little actual progress. Leaving a great family dynamic to stew, unfocused, until this finale. Disappointing.

I also have to question the point of Dororo being captured if she is going to be freed 1 episode later. Dororo seems to just be playing with her life this cour. From trapping her in a basement of monstrous bugs, to trapping her under a rock, to throwing her in prison twice. She exists to push Hyakki to anger at this point. There is some small focus on her growing into her own person. The Itachi arc was just that and I enjoyed it. But it seems like Dororo recognizes the need for it, but refuses to do anything with it in the wider story. She is just as helpless as she began the story. There is only so many times a series can bait something like this without doing something permanent before the viewer gets fed up. This is me getting fed up with it.

Dororo has all the building blocks of a great story, left there by Tezuka. But MAPPA can’t seem to bring it all together into a cohesive ending. There are just so many loose threads out there, with no reason to exist. Ignoring the Monk again, take a look at the peasants. Dororo took the time to layout their growing discontent for us. The division among them from those who understand Daigo’s actions and those who are angry. Setting up would have have been some kind of minor revolution arc that involved Daigo, Tahomaru and their supposed love of their people. Dororo only have 2 episodes left however, with the big finale already being set. I don’t understand introducing these here when Dororo has had all season for show military discontent. A shame, because I think it could have been interesting.

So all in all, how was the episode? As far as independent episodes go, I enjoyed it. Now that we are back focusing on the family drama, everything is much more interesting. The mothers turmoil, Tahomaru’s bargain and Hyakkimaru’s rage were all portrayed well for the most part. Its only in the greater scheme of the entire series that my interest starts to wain. With the climax approaching you see all of these extra bits and bobs sticking out all over. Things that should have been answered, cut out or ironed down yet weren’t. Such as the Blind Monk, or Junkai’s apparent return once more to the story. Dororo might still be able to wrap it all up satisfactorily. But I highly doubt the series will end up as anything above “Oh yeah, that show was alright”. A shame for how it started.

 

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