Hyakkimaru vs Tahomaru – Dororo Ep 23 Review

Reviewing Episode 23 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 22 review here.

So, we have arrived at the penultimate episode, folks.

I don’t know what to say. Especially since the last demon to exterminate seems to be m’boy Tahomaru, whose image is now inheriting the oni end card. It makes me really sad, that this is what it has come to.

A young boy with hopes of saving his land, and upholding its prosperity. In the end, he turned into a demon trying to fight his own blood and sided with forces set to exterminate all of Daigo’s lands.

He lost his best friends Hyogo and Mutsu, who have been with him since childhood. The two siblings quite literally followed him into the depths of hell, all three emerging possessed by demonic energies.

In the end, they only wished to do the right thing. To protect the land’s heir, and their beloved friend. Sure, there was a social structure in order and the two would never be on the same level as Tahomaru, but I don’t think the lordling loved them any less. His eyes lit up the day Daigo brought them home from their prison. The trio had been inseparable ever since, even after being reminded of their place when failing to defend him from Hyakkimaru by the spy.

The love of his friends is what grounded Tahomaru, and without them he is lost. Just as how Dororo serves as Hyakkimaru’s last remaining bond to the world of the living. I mean sure, he has Jukai, but Jukai also kind of turned his back on him. The priest Biwamaru is a wild card, only appearing when the story dictates. Yes, without his influence Dororo and Hyakkimaru would have been lost once before, but in the end game he cannot do anything.

No one can, not even Hyakkimaru and Tahomaru’s mother, Oku. I did like that she realized betting the prosperity of their lands on a bunch of fickle demons was wrong. Making a pact with a group of oni in something called the Hall of Hell was foolish to begin with, but she did her duty as the Lord’s wife.

Now she would like to complete her duty as a mother to two sons, whatever that may be. Whatever that may entail.

I don’t agree with Biwamaru’s logic on the nature of human beings. As Oku stated, are there really just those two extremes? You fight until you lose yourself, or you sit on your hands, do nothing, and hide? Because that would be the way of the Buddha? The way of the Goddess of Mercy, Kannon?

The Goddess of Mercy watched over Hyakkimaru until she could no longer. I think that is a divine sign to take things into your own hands. Especially since Oku attempting to sacrifice herself is what broke the goddess’s protection.

I am starting to see the formation of Dororo fleshing out her life goals, and what she would like to do with her father’s anti-samurai money. Maybe she will indeed start with the derelict village of weary travelers, tired of running away from the war and building only to have it swiftly taken away again. A vicious cycle of poverty, enacted by the ruling samurai class and nobles of the land.

Either way it goes, I don’t know if Hyakkimaru will be along for the ride. It’s not looking good for either brothers, although Tahomaru’s death flag has been raised and his time is over. The end cards never lie.

Then again, Tahomaru grabbed Hyogo and Mutsu’s loaned arms before their deaths. Mutsu said he will “create a land of peace” but it implies it will involve Hyakkimaru’s arms…and Hyakkimaru’s transplanted eyes remained closed during this exchange.

The death of Mutsu and Hyogo, Dororo episode 23
The death of Mutsu and Hyogo, Dororo episode 23

So in theory, Hyakkimaru’s influence will be felt, but he won’t live to see the changes in his lifetime?

I really do believe that it was a mistake to sacrifice Hyakkimaru for a false safety in saving Daigo. Especially since Daigo had malicious intent to begin with. He never cared about the lands or people, only his own vanity. He wanted his name to be known, and to remain. And I’m sure he will receive that infamy, whether is praise or a cautionary tale against curses – remains unknown.

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

Do you believe Lord Daigo is experiencing remorse for the actions against his son? Does Tahomaru deserve to die? What do you think will be the first thing Hyakkimaru sees when he gets his eyes?

What is Jukai planning? Dororo, episode 23
What is Jukai planning? Dororo, episode 23

And seriously…what on earth is Jukai planning?

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!

最後の巻: The Birth of Hyakkimaru

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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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