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!

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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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Poor Direction Leads to Inconsistency

Reviewing Episode 15 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 14 review here!

I found out on Reddit that this episode had a different director. Apparently this director will not have any more involvement in the show, and he is also credited with “ruining” episode four of Gurren Lagann.

It felt like the original plot was lost in favor of edgy jump cuts, pans, and experimental animation that had not been previously shown. Which is fine to switch it up, but not if it affects the story negatively.

Given the past cour’s attention to detail and respect for its characters, I could not focus on what was happening in this episode. We were not allowed to see the expressions on Hyakkimaru or Dororo’s faces, and there was this persistent awkwardness of their motivations.

Hyakkimaru and foe, Episode 15, 2019
Hyakkimaru and foe, Episode 15, 2019

Clearly, Hyakkimaru is being corrupted by the darkness within his spirit. That is nothing new however, there has been abundant foreshadowing and Biwamaru gives cryptic warnings every time he runs into the pair. Dororo had been getting fed up and needed a catalyst to motivate her to find her father’s fortune, but not like this. It came out of left field that she would be this upset over a random podunk village.

Sure, they had been kind to her but at what expense does that kindness nullify their actions? They murdered an entire convent with children and lied to gain sympathy. Using this sympathy, Sabame and his villagers systematically isolated and murdered countless other travelers all for their gain. Dororo blames herself for the destruction of the village, but they were their own undoing.

Maimai-onba’s baby flew into the lookout tower and knocked into the torch, causing the thatch roofing to light up like a tinderbox. And where was Maimai-onba? In the ocean, hiding as her husband and their community burned to the ground. The demon had a sinister smile in last week’s episode when Sabame vowed to protect them, which (unsurprisingly) foreshadowed that he was being used. The oni exploited his love for his people and the dire circumstances surrounding them.

The only good thing I see coming out of this is that Dororo may have an idea of what type of community she would like to build in the future. I don’t think the little lady will be tempted by these otherworldly forces, especially after seeing the effects firsthand.

Hyakkimaru received a body part this episode, although I didn’t expect it to be his spine. I’m surprised he has been able to function thus far, with spools of thread and twine holding up his core. I also have no clue when he had the time to make an interim prosthetic leg and tour the destruction of the village with Dororo before they went their separate ways.

Again, the pacing was super off.

Dororo, Episode 15, 2019.
Dororo, Episode 15, 2019

Hyakkimaru was so lost in grief over his familial ties he failed to notice Dororo was no longer there. We received a random training montage with Tahomaru and his charges. No doubt the two brothers will fight once more, although once Hyakki receives his eyes he may feel differently about revenge. If he could see the enemies he faces, it would scare him. Hyakkimaru would have to rely on his intuition rather than seeing the make of a person’s soul. Things would become less white and red, so to speak.

Ah, I wish I could say I enjoyed this episode but I didn’t.  I’m not one who cares about animation quality usually but my gosh did it ruin this week’s tale…

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

How do you think Itachi got the second half of the map? How will Hyakkimaru find Dororo? Do you think it was the village’s fault they are suffering, or the dynamic duos? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more anime episode reviews!

See you back here next Monday for another one!

次の巻: Dropping Expectations for an Anime Series

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Demonic Pacts Ain’t Easy

This is a review for episode 14 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 13 review here!

Okay, so I don’t know if this is intentional on the story’s part, but I distrust every wealthy person Dororo and Hyakkimaru encounter. Either the rich person made a soul pact with a demon in exchange for wealth, or they are a vicious, murderous, psychopath who took what they wanted by force. And on top of that, you have various youkai running around the rural villages of Nippon wreaking havoc and eating people. Needless to say, I don’t think the warring states period in Japan was easy at all. This train of thought is doubled by the fact that I am an active believer in native folklore across the globe. These stories all have common denominators when you really look closely and examine them.

There is always some demon that will promise wealth in exchange for a sacrifice. Some creature looking to simply murder humans for the sake of evildoing, or in their warped view as a cleanse to this world. Our universe is so much more than it seems on the surface and although we don’t hear about reports of ghouls and primordial beings anymore, I am sure they are still here. Lurking, waiting for their time on this earth to begin anew once more.

But I digress, you all came here for the Dororo episode 14 review, correct?

This week was a two-parter episode, the latter half of the story sure to concede next week. Another Podunk village, another bunch of demons trying to possess the local residents. I may be severely off topic at this point, but I don’t understand why certain people never fail to engage in soul pacts with these darker entities. It is almost always most certainly a trick.

I grew up reading and hearing oral traditions of folklore, mainly concerning here – in indigenous America. Those guided by greed or blind obsessions chose to make bargains that they could never keep, or ended up dying when the demon proved its nature and exploited a loop hole.

You never get what you truly ask for, and what you seek is warped in a sick way that you realize all but too late. While I’m writing this I have The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in my head (mainly because I’m working on a review for my other website). In season 2, Lilith (a big baddie who acts like a Scooby Doo villain in her pursuit to murder the show’s namesake, Sabrina) glamours herself as a fortune teller and gives one sided prophecies to the inhabitants of Greendale by manipulating their inner insecurities. Harvey (Sabrina’s ex) is shown a vision where an artist is gaining his work subjects though communications with entities. They came during the witching hour through a portal in his room, whispering secrets of the universe in exchange for their image being brought to the human realm.

Once the artist tells Harvey his secret, the entities drive the young man to kill himself.

There is always a hidden, sinister clause or agenda. When Dororo and Hyakkimaru meet Sabame at the burned down temple, I just knew he had something to do with the disappearances of travelers at night. However, I was surprised he wasn’t actually the monster. I mean the dude doesn’t even blink and he has turquoise colored eyes, I don’t know why none of the villagers found that strange.

Then again, a united Japan doesn’t exist yet and each state is warring. Lord Daigo’s lands were the only prosperous ones for miles around and even then, its citizens were just happy to be safe – magical interference be damned. So I can understand the residents of Sabame’s hamlet truly not caring what is going on outside of their safe space in a cruel world.

In exchange for safety and power, the baddie of the week needs life forces to feed on. As usual, they made the mistake of assuming the blind young man and the little girl would be easy targets. I am truly glad Hyakkimaru was awake and feigning sleep when the monster showed its intention to attack because the way he was treating Dororo earlier I thought he was lost.

Poor Dororo was being molested by a big belligerent baby reminiscent of Boh from Spirited Away. For those of you who may not have seen the film or forgotten his role, Boh was the name-stealing witch Yubaba’s child.

Bō , the belligerent baby from Miyazaki's Spirited Away

Bō , the belligerent baby from Miyazaki’s Spirited Away

Bō enjoyed being a holy terror and threatened to break Chihiro’s arm if she didn’t play with him. Towards the end of the film he has a change of heart and stops his mother from hurting her.

Dororo being accosted by a devilish fiend.
Dororo being accosted by a devilish fiend.

The complete disregard for anything not an oni by Hyakkimaru is starting to bother me. He wasn’t even sure if they encountered neutral spirits or evil ones with a dormant intent, but allowed the harassment of Dororo. The blind priest Biwamaru may be correct in reminding Dororo that she has options, and urging her in subtle ways to plan for the future. Biwamaru, as well as us – the audience, can see the negativity infiltrating Hyakkimaru’s fragile soul.

I wonder what she will do with the money in the end. Dororo cried when thinking about her parent’s sacrifice, so I don’t think she will abandon their life mission just to watch her big bro Hyakki. Either way, I’m excited to see what she chooses, and how that will affect her and whomever else she decides to live by.

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

Do you think the map on Dororo’s back was intended to be seen by a lover? What do you think Hyakkimaru’s fate will be? Would you make a pact with a demon? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you. Also be sure to follow us for more anime episode reviews of the spring 2019 season!

See you back here next Monday for another one!

次の巻: Poor Direction Leads to Inconsistency  

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Deception on Buddha’s Mountain Top

Reviewing Episode 13 of the Dororo 2019 anime!

Welcome to my first Dororo review!

As I mentioned in this post, I decided to start reviewing this show in its second cour. I am starting with episode 13, you will not find any prior reviews on this blog. Do you need to catch up with the series? Use this link for a free 30 day Amazon Prime Video trial and support the anime legally.

With that being said, let’s get jump into it!

I guess carrying on with last episodes theme, this weeks could be “eye-deceiving” which “lack in reality or substance or genuineness; not corresponding to acknowledged facts or criteria.”

When shown last week’s flashback, I still can’t help but be annoyed at the irony of Hyakkimaru’s mother. Oku prayed to Kannon for her son’s life each day for seventeen years, even seemingly neglecting her second born son Tahomaru growing up. The mother finally gets to meet the boy and she decides…she’d rather he die to retain the feudal land’s comfort and wealth? That was a total deception on our, the viewers, part as (most of us who had no familiarity with the series) assumed she regretted letting Hyakkimaru go. I personally thought she wanted to reunite with Hyakki and bring him into their household, not side with her son and husband in securing his demise. It totally left a bad taste in my mouth and since Kannon saved Oku, I’m sure we will see more of her before the series ends.

An unspecified time skip shows us that Hyakkimaru has ran himself to near exhaustion after the events near Asakusa. He has not reclaimed any body parts in some time, and that can no doubt be extremely frustrating to him. So much so, that he has decided to speak more – to Dororo’s delight. She must get lonely. I’m glad her character is there to ground him, he has become far too reckless after meeting his family.

This episode revolved around a sculptor named Okaka. With war in the air, his patrons demanded depictions of Fudo Myo-o. Fudo Myo-o (or Acala) is a deity that protects his believers and burns away all “impediments and defilements” that block the way towards enlightenment. The sculptor could not find a suitable face for the deity, and ends up dying in ruin. A demon enters the sacred statue and revives Okaka, changing him from male to female in his new life.

It is quite ironic that Fudo Myo-o protects his followers by clearing obstacles, and a demon enters his statue and reanimates Okaka to prevent him from finding salvation in the afterlife.

The act of stealing faces for the statue who was never satisfied reminded me a lot of Koh, the Face Stealer from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Koh, the Face Stealer from Avatar: The Last Airbender

Only Okaka seems to take it one step further, by putting her victims under a spell while using their loved ones image. Dororo falls under this spell, but then again the little girl finds her mother’s face in many other women in the series. Okaka exploits the child in order to get to Hyakkimaru because she desires his face. Which was…odd. He recently just got his skin back and his ears, but he still doesn’t have eyes.

Would a prosthetic face really be that unique amongst the faces of villagers?

Okaka drugs the pair and after Dororo realizes what is going on, she saves Hyakkimaru. The sculptor then tries to fool a blind man with the face and voice of his mother and is then…surprised that he sees through the genjutsu. Okaka remarks “you’ve never seen your mother’s face before?” in shock that her ‘gift’ didn’t work. I love this show, but I don’t understand why Hyakkimaru would have supposedly fallen for this rouse. Upon their first meeting he isn’t even sure if the woman is human. I don’t understand why the baddie of the week thought he would, it was quite silly.

With death upon her, Okaka realizes the error of her ways and remarks that Dororo’s face is that of a smiling Buddha. Then Dororo deals with the pain of losing her mother all over again.

Towards the end of the episode the two go to an onsen, and meet the blind old man who often shows up in their travels. We then learn of a map Dororo has on her back that looks more like a flower to me.

A map on Dororo’s back.

I am surprised the priestess episodes back (when we learned Dororo’s gender) never said anything. Either way, I’m sure we’ll find out more next week concerning the map and why this show is called Dororo and not Hyakkimaru.

Dororo to Hyakkimaru, On to the next adventure…

Where do you think the map on Dororo’s back leads? Why do you think Okaka couldn’t find the face she was searching for (until seemingly the end)? Do you think Hyakkimaru will get his eyes back soon?

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

次の巻: Demonic Pacts Ain’t Easy

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