When Good Intentions Are Not Enough

Reviewing Episode 17 of the Dororo 2019 anime!

Need to catch up with the series? Use this link for a free 30 day Amazon Prime Video trial and support the anime legally! Check out last week’s Episode 16 review here.

Last week, I ripped on the show in frustration over the path I thought it was taking. I’m so glad I was wrong.

Expectations subverted!

With that out of the way, let’s get into the meat and bones of this episode.

Is it taboo to casually remark that I am happy we got away from Hyakkimaru to find out what was going on over at Camp Daigo? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the eternal suffering of a teenage boy and all, but Tahomaru is much more interesting at this point in time. After the Banmon arc, we only caught glimpses of the fiefdom and its lord.

Oku awakes as Hyakki regaled a flashback to Jukai, making me wonder if he and his mother are somehow connected on a spiritual level. Unless it was just precise editing, it seemed like Hyakkimaru speaking of his mother triggered her awakening. I’m not sure if the woman has been in a coma or just a deep sleep for an unspecified amount of time, but Oku woke up with knowledge previously unhad.

Feeling naïve, Oku realized the role Kannon played in her and her son’s survival. Laying all of this information out for her husband, he denies her revelation and upon exiting the room – gives the order to kill his firstborn.

Tahomaru is out on a mission and receives the news later on. Lord Daigo may be taking preventive measures in case his wife acts out again, or maybe he cannot trust her judgement; attempting to stop her involvement now that the pact has been broken.

I do wonder that since the secret is out, why is Tahomaru still killing ghouls?

Would the young lord not think to be more careful given the circumstances and information he is privy to? It has already been established that he deeply cares for his lands and people – hence the episode with the crab ayakashi. But any of these demons could hold a piece of his older brother’s body – so why even risk it?

Tahomaru is in such an interesting position. Does he do nothing and allow demons to wreak havoc on his community, or defeat them and risk wreaking havoc on his community?

He is damned either way, hardened by the affection he once held for his older brother.

Then there is Jukai bringing up the argument (again) that maybe Hyakkimaru should not be alive, as a whole region is dependent on his death. Hyakki seemed to enjoy the love and affection his father showed, until he repeated the same “I cannot save you” phrase as his birth mother.

Jukai would not fix the boy’s prosthetic, despite in the opening sequence affixing limbs to the dead. The sculptor was aware that the surrounding folk were stealing them as soon as he turned his back, but he allowed it to happen.

Does this imply that Hyakkimaru is no longer dead, although becoming less human each time he regains a stolen body part?

Once the ayakashi shows up and his life is threatened, it is affirmed that Jukai still has a purpose. The oni then attacks another older man, who asks “why me” before dying. After the events with Hyakkimaru, a dying ghoul bites his leg and draws blood, signifying that his purpose had been fulfilled. The stench of death has been lifted, and Jukai can finally die in peace with a haunted, but unburdened soul.

I can’t help but think what would have happened if he did fix his son’s prosthetic leg, rather than alluding to the fact that he will have it back soon given the demon-slaying pace he’s at. Hopefully, when he does meet Dororo again, Hyakkimaru thanks her for always watching his back. She is the only reason he knows how “oka~chan” should truly act.

This episode finally felt like the show is back on track in a narrative sense. The only thing I don’t understand is the green soul coloring Hyakkimaru sees out of his own eyes.

The world through Hyakkimaru’s eyes, Dororo episode 17

Kannon had a green aura while saving Oku in the Banmon arc.

Kannon saves Oku, Dororo episode 12
Kannon saves Oku, Dororo episode 12

Is this implying that Hyakkimaru sees himself as a divine being? While others such as Biwamaru see a white soul with the red flames of corruption? Unless…Hyakkimaru is now under Kannon’s divine protection.

A lot of interesting things to think about until the next episode. I’m glad this was enjoyable, and my expectations were subverted.

Tahomaru, On to the next adventure...
Tahomaru, On to the next adventure…

Why do you think Hyakkimaru’s soul is green? Do you think Oku’s change of heart is sincere? What will happen to Jukai now?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Dororo 2019 episode reviews!

See you back here next Monday for another one!

次の巻: An Intriguing Battle of Riches and Ideologies

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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

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