We Look Happy Together, Dororo

Reviewing Episode 19 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 18 review here.

I enjoyed this episode, despite it almost qualifying as filler. It felt like the calm before a storm, with Dororo suffering a bit as usual to balance out the light-hearted atmosphere.

Or at least, I believe that is what they were trying to convey. The entire arc was goofy, and had a persistently sinister undertone. Picking up on the events of last week, the dynamic duo is in search of a blacksmith named Munetsuna. After Hyakkimaru’s mom refused to fix his prosthetic limbs, the two presumably journeyed to the nearest town that had a reputable option.

I know Dororo makes a comment that they could use a horse, but why didn’t she take money to buy one? There was enough money for a lifetime and a half in that cave (that hopefully nobody robs). She could have grabbed more for their living situations. Then again, she is a little girl and Hyakkimaru is kind of useless when it comes to socialized human survival, so I’m probably being too hard on her.

Hyakkimaru decides to nuzzle everything in existence to show his affection and ends up doing this to Munetsuna’s daughter. She (for some reason) falls head over heels in love with the ronin ragamuffin at her door and an amanojaku…almost gets the pair married? For…kicks? I mean, the creature had been trapped in the statue for a while but if that was the case, just how long was the village under its spell?

I don’t think Hyakkimaru’s vision is impeded without his swords, but I can’t think of any other reason he didn’t sense the creature. Maybe it was just a mischievous youkai, but it is odd to say the least that their backwards way of life had become normalized. Watching the villagers’ insult one another reminded me of how friends and I would indulge in “opposite days” as kids.

The only one unaffected seemed to be the grouchy old blacksmith, who inherited masks to protect him from the youkai’s tricks. It is kind of funny that everyone thinks he is brash, when really he is being genuine and the others are simply spouting nonsense.

For the most part, it was a silly episode and then Hyakkimaru accidentally almost strangles a little girl to death while under a spell. Dororo cries and looked extremely hurt, and Hyakkimaru hugs her to try and console her. Then there is this sequence where Hyakkimaru, a blind ragamuffin ronin, goes on to say everything looks happy and places a flower crown on a horse. Okay, I’m exaggerating about the horse part but I wouldn’t have been surprised if a laugh track queued up in the background.

I’m sure next episode is going to be brutal and since it’s out…I am going to leave this review here.

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

Did you enjoy the pacing of this episode? Why would a girl marry a traveler she just met who offered no dowry? Do you think something terrible will happen to Dororo, given the “I’m the only one who can be by his side” foreshadowing?

(Is it ironic the show mentions Banmon the one time I don’t?)

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: The Leaves Fall with Blood.

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The Con Man is Revealed!

Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2 Episode 4 (or 16) Review.

Check out last week’s Episode 15 Review here.

Attack on Titan really loves its cliffhangers.

I would like to think that this is a redemption arc for Erwin Smith, who lied and conned the recruits into giving their hearts until the very end. Let’s give a round of applause to this absolute madman, who in the end gave up his dreams and decided it was all for naught.

He would never discover what was inside Grisha Yeager’s basement, he would never avenge his father, and he would lead another group of bright-eyed kids to their deaths.

All jokes inside, I love morally grey characters. Did Commander Erwin do some questionable things in pursuit of an (ultimately) unattainable goal? Yes.

But in the end, did he still lie to himself about it? No.

And I can totally respect that. How many characters hide behind false bravados, taking their secret inner thoughts to the grave? I respect that he was a hypocrite, who relied on his charisma and analytical mind to make a life in the hellhole that is… the walls.

Shingeki no Kyojin is great at showing the human heart in conflict, so to speak. Instead of the youngsters being pumped for a meaningless death, we see their struggle. We see newer recruits like Marlo, who left his cushy Military Police position to come to the front lines – only to die, what? Weeks later?

Commander Erwin Smith, leading his final charge.
Commander Erwin Smith, leading his final charge.

It is so unfair, but understandable given the world they live in. Sometimes, things really are just that bleak and rather than lying down and dying – you can fight until your last breath. Even if Erwin was lying through his teeth to hype them up before sacrificing his dream, he was convincing enough to quell their fear even for a moment.

So then you just have a bunch of young people, nervous, afraid, probably pissing themselves – fighting an enemy they know they cannot win against.

But still they continue on, even if in the end it could all fail. I admire the Survey Corps strength, perseverance, and drive.

Next week is when all of the fun begins, so I’ll leave this review here.

Beautiful visuals as always this week. Captain Levi, Attack on Tian s3
Beautiful visuals as always this week. Captain Levi, Attack on Titan s3

What do you think about Erwin Smith’s suicide charge? Have you ever selfishly fought for your dreams despite the consequences surrounding you? Do you feel like the survey corps could have had a chance against the beast titan if they were at full strength?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Reviews!

See you back here same time next week!

次のエピソード: Levi Ackerman is Humanity’s Greatest Strength!

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An Intriguing Battle of Riches and Ideologies

Reviewing Episode 18 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 17 review here.

Before I begin, can I ask if anyone else is worried that someone will take that money before Dororo decides to return?

I mean, because of Shark Boy’s tirade and refusal to just die, half of that small island appeared to be blown to bits. If travelers can get past the demon shark corpses and jagged cliffside with Buddhist artifacts spewn about, they may find it to be a resolve away from the war. One person could go up and hike to the top of a mountainous peak, only to notice a hole leading to the interior of a cave. They quickly lower themselves down and catch a glint of gold as the sun shines high overhead.

The person enters the cave and realizes they have been blessed by the gods, discovering a treasure trove! Dororo comes back years later, Hyakkimaru doing whatever he decides to do, and her finally having a stable home in a less war-torn area. Because unless she lives past a hundred and fifty, she is not out -surviving the war.

From her memories the map illuminates the path and when she arrives she realizes it is all gone. On her way back home she overhears a casually conversation between a villager and wayfarer speaking of the good fortune once found in that area.

Defeated, she hangs her head and apologizes to her parents for failing to ignite their dreams.

Unless of course, the battleground proves to be too intimidating and travelers accidentally step on a live explosive, blow a limb off and decide the island is cursed and shun it forever. In which case, Dororo should be fine for a few years.

Speaking of battleground, how the heck did Tahomaru and Hyakkimaru get to the island so quickly? I know the location wasn’t too far away from Lord Daigo’s lands, but geez that happened fast. I enjoyed the battle between the two brothers, and thought Hyakkimaru would take his brother’s now good eye.

Itachi got what he deserved, as did his gang. I don’t know why the episode opened with a naked Dororo once more, wasn’t really digging that but okay. I kept wondering if Itachi had suddenly become protective of Dororo this episode because he respected her father and their uncle-niece relationship, or because she was his little moneymaker and if he lost the maps he still had Dororo to force the treasure route out of.

This may be mean to say, but I relished when the other brigands kept referring to the treasure as “theirs” only to be shot down by Daigo’s archers. The treasure would have caused so much infighting and would not have ended well. Almost as badly as Hyakkimaru outstretching his hand for Dororo to take while leaving, and deciding he couldn’t wait literally five seconds for her to grab some gold to aid their travels. If that is foreshadowing, Dororo will end this series much better than I anticipated.

Hyogo's blue-ish weapon, Dororo episode 18
Hyogo’s blue-ish weapon, Dororo episode 18
Wall of Banmon, Flashback featured in Dororo episode 18
Wall of Banmon, Flashback featured in Dororo episode 18

It was a great episode, and I am excited for the next! I do wonder though what was up with Hyogo’s weapon with the bluish-glow.

Maybe a protection spell was cast on it, as was the wall of Banmon (I reference this every single episode review because it was my favorite arc ☺ haha ).

Tahomaru, Off to face a disappointed Lord Daigo...
Tahomaru, Off to face a disappointed Lord Daigo…

Do you think Tahomaru and Hyakkimaru can come to an agreement that keeps both brothers alive? Will someone steal Dororo’s treasure before she journeys back to the island? Was Itachi’s death warranted?

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: We Look Happy Together, Dororo

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The Last of the Survey Corps

Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2 Episode 3 (or 15) Review.

Check out last week’s Episode 14 Review here.

Wow, the plot is moving along swiftly! After next week, we should be almost to Dr. Yeager’s basement!

This episode gave us the revelation of what really happened to Marco, and how Bertholdt, Reiner, and Annie left him for dead after discovering their secret. He was just too clever to live. I wish someone had told Jean that, maybe Bertholdt could have let it slip during the parlay with Armin.

Since Jean was basically in love with Marco, it would have motivated him and the gang to fight even harder.

I do like the setup in this episode concerning Reiner’s mental state. As I mentioned in my last review, he is not all there. Bertholdt and Annie knew this but since Annie decided to turn herself into an eternal popsicle, Bertholdt is the only one left. I don’t believe War Chief Zeke knows, especially since he threatened to take the Armour Titan power away from Reiner if he screwed up again. The little nuggets of truth were certainly spread around this episode – from Zeke’s words, to Reiner referring to team titan as ‘Warriors’, to Bertholdt realizing those behind the walls didn’t deserve to die, but they were at war and he wanted to go home.

I’m sure when Reiner comes to, he will completely dissociate and try to kill his former comrades in attempt to be a good warrior. I say this because although I did read the manga a while ago, I don’t completely remember all of the small details that progress the story from Point A to Point B.

Once the basement’s truth is revealed, I wonder how the show adaptation will reveal the weight of the pair’s beliefs about the residents of….”the walls” let’s call it. Since the two are more connected than they realize, and in reality it makes you wonder what exactly they are fighting for. Or for whom, or why.

The “disclosed information we can reveal so far” title card being unsure of what the liquid the titan trio enjoyed before the fight truly shows just how in the dark the wall residents are. They have no idea what coffee is, and think it is some new futuristic drink. Then again, they have never had exposure with anything outside of the walls, or knowledge of what lies ahead.

I’ll leave this review here, as I am too tempted to talk about things that will be later revealed. The anticipation is killing me to see it all animated and adapted. I may even go back and re-read these chapters of the manga, because greater things are sure to come with this story. The seasonal plot may even go longer than I initially thought if they continue at this pace, judging by the opening credits.

It’s going to be good, and I can’t wait.

Allegory for Titans as super weapons,Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Episode 15
Allegory for Titans as super weapons, Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Episode 15

What do you think the remaining survey corps will do about the Colossal, Beast and Armoured Titan? Will Armin make an effective leader? Do you think poor Marlo from the Military Police got far more than he bargained for joining the Survey Corps?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Reviews!

See you back here same time next week!

次のエピソード:  The con man is revealed!

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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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The Beast Titan Blocks an Escape Route

Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2 Episode 2 (or 14) Review.

Check out last week’s Episode 13 Review here.

Okay, this episode was so good that I: watched it twice upon its first airing, went back to rewatch episodes 3, 4 and 9 from earlier in the season, and then got depressed after watching the latest Game of Thrones abomination. I haven’t watched Dororo yet, (those reviews will be on time, someday…) but I did watch The 100 and was reinvigorated by well-developed characters and narrative storytelling.

So here I am, at 12:22 AM on a Wednesday morning sitting in front of my laptop attempting to review a Shingeki no Kyojin episode I have absolutely no problems with. I’ve got to give it up to those of you who blog about anime weekly and cover maybe seven to ten shows. I don’t know how you do it, you are all amazing.

I keep having this internal struggle where I enjoy the episode and don’t want to say anything but remember I said I’d do reviews , or  disliking the show that week and wishing I didn’t have to relive the pain by typing the tragedy out and giving my thoughts.

Okay, maybe not a tragedy. I’m being dramatic.

It also doesn’t help that I usually write longer, serious pieces. I’ve been having fun writing these recaps for the most part off the cuff, and I’m not sure if my deadpan sense of humor is proving to sound sarcastic or disdainful.

A very fine balancing act I am not sure that I’m managing well.

Anywho, I should really start talking about the episode, yes?

I love despite the perilous tone of the situations surrounding the story, there is always an unintentional silly moment. Whether it be Erwin’s terrible drawings, just Hanji Zoe’s goofy presence, or the titans and their ironic poses.

Titan serving fierce looks, Shingeki no Kyojin episode 13
Titan serving fierce looks, Shingeki no Kyojin episode 14

I know the titans are meant to be mindless killing machines, but reflecting on Ymir’s experience of having a degree of sentience, along with the Ilse’s Notebook OVA…they have to retain some of their core personalities.

Reach for the sky, Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 14
Reach for the Sky, Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 14

After all, they are eating people in subconscious hopes to regain their humanity and end the nightmare. Then again, Ymir had a strong personality and that cult worshipper was sincerely devoted in life so, maybe anyone who has a connection to the progenitor has a stronger will to live?

I really appreciate the internalized monologues coupled with believable character motives backed by subtle actions. The series will explore this more, but Reiner struggles with his identity as the Armoured Titan. The ending credits are a vast montage of memories the teenagers had during their time in the army. When Hanji, who didn’t share the same bond with Reiner, instructed the team to take him out they hesitated.

The portrayal of their realization that he actually needed to die and this is what they came here for was wonderful. The myriad of emotions that later change to anger at the additional realization that they are home and Reiner took this away from them was simply the icing on top of a delicious sponge cake.

I also love that Erwin is a hypocrite. The great leader of the survey corps, humanity’s greatest defense – doesn’t even believe the words he recites. Telling new recruits to “give their heart” while the commander reflects on the pile of bodies it took to allow him to stand atop Wall Maria once more. One step closer to the basement filled with secrets that will progress the plot.

Either way, I think I’ll end this here. This was a wonderful episode, and since I experienced a week busier than normal, it’s now Sunday and the new episode is out. On to the next!

Do you sympathize with Erwin Smith’s goals? What do you think the survey corps will find in the basement? Do titans still have a personality? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Reviews!

See you back here same time next week!

次のエピソード: The Last of the Survey Corps

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Dropping Expectations for an Anime Series

Reviewing Episode 16 of the Dororo 2019 anime! Where I really examine what has been bugging me about the series’ direction in cour two.

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 15 review here.

So I’m sure those who are following these reviews have noticed by now, that I am fairly inconsistent when it comes to this show.

It’s not that I dislike it, on the contrary this is currently my favorite show airing in the Spring 2019 lineup. However, for the past few weeks since the cour shift, I’ve been left feeling unsatisfied. Hence the shorter reviews where I forced myself to say nice things. I couldn’t quite articulate what my problem with the show was, and I’d start and stop writing various reviews with differing tones; each leaving me more annoyed than the last.

The days would pass and yet again, my Dororo review was late. Finally, I sat down and really thought long and hard about it. Longer than I really should have, in all honestly. After all, it’s just a TV show – that is what some would say – but I really enjoy this show and the drop of quality I could not put my finger on irked me.

So I’m going to be going on a tiny rant while talking about episode sixteen. I feel the need to state that I do not hate this show, and I understand just how much time and effort are put into any show, let alone an anime series.  In fact, just this past April one of the workers at Madhouse studios was hospitalized due to overwork.

Karoshi [過労死], or death by overwork is a very real thing in Japan and I don’t want my criticism of the anime to make like of that. I’m not in the business of, nor do I ever want to trash a work just for the sake of trashing it. Even if it’s not apparent, someone did their very best and worked hard on that project, even if not reflected in the final product.

With that being said, I cannot ignore the tonal shift in the series from the first to the second cour.

I have not viewed the previous adaptations of Tezuka Osamu’s work, but I do know that this portrayal has been steeped in realism. In the first five episodes of the series, the audience is made to understand the gravity of war, the atrocities during this time, and shown how those with a powerless innocence are made to suffer.

Mio, from episode five and six, is the first that comes to mind during this discussion. When Hyakkimaru meets Mio, she is quite literally washing her privates in the river. Given what we learn about the character, we can assume she had just come back from “work”. I merely have the word ‘work’ in quotations because the character herself is vague about what she does, despite in actuality having a viable job to make ends meet. I will not judge this woman for how she survived, the same way I won’t judge Itachi for his own methods of self-preservation.

Whether it be love or infatuation, Hyakkimaru falls for the young woman. In a world too noisy for the rouge ronin, her sweet voice soothed his tender new ears. The old priest Biwamaru points out to Dororo that “when you take a toy from a baby, it will cry”, to the effect that Mio served as Hyakkimaru’s shiny new toy; stealing his attention away from quests of vengeance. A toy that caused him to lash out more so than usual in pursuit of freeing the demon on the distant plot of land to make her happy.

Hyakkimaru used Mio as his own personal calming device, noted by Biwamaru during one of her songs.
Hyakkimaru used Mio as his own personal calming device, noted by Biwamaru during one of her songs

She didn’t ask him to do this, he took it upon himself and suffered the consequences. Along this reactionary chain of cause-and-effect, Mio decides to start working between two enemy camps – realizing the risk that she could be labeled a spy and sequentially killed. Mio takes a gamble, and ends up losing.

This is the first instance in Dororo where we see that despite a character’s best efforts, they themselves cannot change the world around them. No one is going to just say “oh, we understand you are trying to take care of a gaggle of orphans while you can barely take care of yourself. We understand that this is the only way you know how to make money during this war. We are all broken during these times – here, take the seeds and claim that plot of land. Live long and happily”.

That is not going to happen. Nobody cares about her suffering.

What happened is that Mio went to these camps, and had sex with drunk and rowdy soldiers. No doubt some refused to pay, hence Mio returning exhausted, bruised and bloodied from work. Dororo understood what was happening, but Mio wanted to protect her image in the orphan’s eyes. So they never knew a thing.

They all died still believing their big sister was serving drinks to soldiers and receiving food and other supplies in addition to money for her patriotic service. It was just easier that way, and that is understandable and very realistic. She wanted to preserve their innocence in a cruel world.

Dororo mentions that Mio’s job was one “no matter what…her mother would not do” while reflecting on her death. Even a young child could grasp the situation without explanation. I often wonder if Dororo just for a second, thought that maybe if her mother had, she would still be alive and not alone in the world as she is today.

This is the level of complexity the show set for itself. Little nuggets of information scattered in contextual instances. Another example, because that arc was just so great: occurrences where Mio sings.

Mio lets Hyakkimaru know her secret
Mio lets Hyakkimaru know her secret

While washing in the river upon the initial meeting, Mio is singing. She sings again before asking Hyakkimaru not to stare at her, and on the ground while the heat of the flames negate the chill of death washing upon her body. Earlier in the episode the woman explained she only sings when she is sad, and again the audience thinks of her walk through the woods, her songs through tears as she is being raped my soldiers.  

Mio, Episode 6 of Dororo
Mio, Episode 6 of Dororo

Mio was a fully fleshed out character in a stupendous arc.

I found a striking parallel between Mio and Shino from episode 11 of Samurai Champloo. Sold into sexual slavery to cover her husband’s debts, the woman meets ronin Jin during her last day of freedom.

The two have an instant connection and Jin talks her out of suicide upon their first meeting.

In this world, you don't always get what you want.
In this world, you don’t always get what you want.

A whirlwind of events later in the endless rain, Jin finally convinces Shino to accept an escape plan. Upon being discovered before leaving the brothel, Shino jumps out of the window and runs through the streets with a weaponless Jin. The owner of the Brothel tells the two “In this world, you don’t always get what you want” before the ronin’s friends come through and help.

In the end of Gamblers and Gallantry, Shino is ferried across the river to a Tōkei-ji, or Buddhist temple where she could live amongst a nunnery for three years. The stay would lead to grounds necessary to dissolve her marriage.

It is never implied whether or not they accepted Shino into refuge, or if the two reunite after the series. Hell, the brothel thugs could have rowed across the river after Jin left, stormed the temple and took the woman back by force.

All we see before the credits is an image of the storm clouds clearing, allowing the group to move on from that town. If the rain had cleared sooner, would Jin and Shino have met?

In this world, you don’t always get what you want and that is life. Despite your best efforts, the universe will not bend to your will or whims. It just does not work that way.

Shino developed a coping method similar to Mio.
Shino developed a coping method similar to Mio.
Shino, Samurai Champloo Episode 11
Shino, Samurai Champloo Episode 11

Leading up to the Battle of Banmon arc, we get to know Hyakkimaru’s brother, Tahomaru. And turns out, he is a well-rounded, and decent guy. Sure, he was raised by a homicidal, egotistical maniac of a warlord father and a distant mother – but given his place and status in life he’s a decent kid. Tahomaru cares about his subjects, even going so far as to construct a fake canal to defeat the oni crab monstrosity. The young lord was willing to give his life to defend his subjects, and channeled that same passion into discovering the truth surrounding his brother.

Come the zenith of Banmon and given the contextual evidence the audience learned along with Tahomaru, his actions are extremely sympathetic. If I’m honest, I actually like Tahomaru as a character more than I like Hyakkimaru. I understand that he wants to protect the prosperity he has grown up in, and that had Hyakkimaru not survived they would not even be having this conversation.

What is one life meant to be sacrificed, in the grand scheme of things? In a war-torn, disarrayed land, the few do not outweigh the many. Then their mother’s confession makes you question whether or not she had prayed to Kanon for sixteen years for the safety of her firstborn son, or for forgiveness because she had no remorse over her actions.

All of this development falls stagnant as we shift into cour two of the series. The poor episode directed by Kobayashi aside, we find out Dororo has a map on her back. During that scene I thought to myself:

“Hmph, the show is named Dororo. I guess we will focus on her now.”

Dororo is Hyakkimaru’s biggest hype man. Alone in the world after her mother’s death, she is determined to outlive the civil strife. Then in a spot of luck (or fate), she meets someone strong enough to take care of her, and whom also serves as a protector. The brawn to her brain, Hyakkimaru is the pair’s meal ticket; exchanging extermination of monsters for food and lodgings.

The shift to Dororo becoming the primary focus and the (previously) unadapted to screen arc where Dororo is kidnapped by Itachi could have been handled better. I want to blame Kobayashi’s episode for this disconnect, but the second cour seemingly had no intention from a storytelling point to ignite this shift in intelligent ways previously explored by the series.

Dororo Season 1 2019 Opening Credits
Dororo Season 1 2019 Opening Credits

Yes, Dororo has a map on her back. The little girl buried her mother in a grave which Itachi dug up after their meeting. Hyakkimaru and Dororo have traveled a considerable amount since her mother’s death, but somehow Itachi happened to be on the trail? Maybe he heard rumors of the boy with prosthetics who was going around murdering monsters and soldiers alike. Maybe he didn’t – either way he found her.

Yes, the priest has been hinting at Hyakkimaru completely losing his humanity for weeks. But the ronin being so lost in thought he didn’t notice Dororo felt off to me. Not to mention Hyakki tracking her original location from the mountains he realized in, to the field of white using one peg leg felt off to me. The lazily edited pan of stills to denote the transition of time and illustrate the distance between the two felt lazy to me. Hyakkimaru after the credits finding out his father Jukai was nearby when all hope was lost in rescuing Dororo in time felt like the show was issuing its first piece of plot armour to the story.

I swear, if next week he finds the strength to overcome his nature and the demon flames within him through a talk-no-justsu, a prosthetic power-up, and comes to the aid of Dororo when her situation becomes perilous I will scream. Bonus points if the bag with his clan sigil breaks and Mio’s seeds remind him who he is once he no doubt, lamely gets his sight back from defeating the baddie of the week – shark boy.

I’d be completely fine if none of the things I just mentioned happened, because that would mean the story is following a stale formula and becoming predictable. Which I hope it won’t.

Let’s just point out, Dororo’s whole encounter with Itachi was blasé. Sure, I understand the initial compliance at being kidnapped by this man, but I don’t understand the indifference towards the man who betrayed her father and indirectly caused the death of her mother. THEN to FURTHER add insult to injury, desecrated her grave and stripped her naked to view the treasure map on her back.

THEN while being saved by the man you betrayed’s daughter, be reminded of him, only to continually screw over the little girl and strip her naked in search of a treasure map. Only to stupidly remark “hmm, I have no clue why your dad would raise you as a boy” all the while grown men stand over a naked little girl by a fire.

The same reason Dororo was raised a boy, is also why Osushi cut her hair once she lost her estate and fell into poverty. In episode four Dororo mentions that the woman spoke “pretty words [and had] a ladylike face”. Had Osushi been draped in finery with long hair common for her status, she would had been raped a dozen times or ransomed. Once the revelation came that she was broke and had no one to pay this ransom, she would have been raped and most likely murdered.

Osushi reflecting on her fate in Dororo episode 4
Osushi reflecting on her fate in Dororo episode 4

Dororo’s speech and mannerisms match that of a boy, as does her prepubescent body. Similar to Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire, during war times it is safer to be perceived as a little boy alone in the world, rather than a naïve little girl looking for a family.

And I may be a terrible person for saying this, but I am sure if the show hadn’t doled out the plot armour, something would have happened to Dororo. I am not saying I would want that, in no shape or form do I enjoy human suffering – especially that of children.

But they are at war. Even if Itachi is not a pedophile himself, there is always one in the group. A creep who would wait until night, and a friend who would aid in. Itachi (given his character) would turn a blind eye, feel bad about it, and leave her tied to the tree as he did to go forth in search of the treasure. Only to find treasures and in a stroke of bad luck, run into an old adversary or maybe even lose it – deeming it all for naught.

That would be a realistic option, but instead Dororo is just tied to a tree waiting for Hyakkimaru to rescue her, while the latter is getting a prosthetic power up and chatting with dear old adoptive dad about his morality.

Sigh. I know this was a lot to read and maybe I am looking too far into this, but given the established world rules the last few episodes have been a slap in the face.

I didn’t truly enjoy them, and I didn’t know why until I laid it all out.

Hopefully the following episodes return to the shows earlier pace, and aren’t contrived by plot armour and other nonsense. That’s one thing I hate the most in media, when realism is featured in a story and it is abandoned in favor of saving a character. If you are going to be gritty, be gritty until the very end. Don’t allow one character to suffer, while the other doesn’t while placed in a similar situation that would have otherwise killed them.

It’s lazy, cheap, and diminishes the audiences’ intelligence.

Again, maybe I’m being too harsh – but that’s just how I feel about Dororo right now.

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

Do you feel the same way? Have you noticed any changes? Does it even matter at this point? 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: When Good Intentions Are Not Enough 

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