The final episode of Dororo begins with Tahomaru and Hyakkimaru continuing their battle among the blaze of Daigo castle. Both lay claims to the castle and their mother. As Oku head into the hidden passage to the castle, she asks Dororo to stay by her son side like she always had. Oku and Jukai meet as the brothers continues their brutal battle. Hyakkimaru finally gets the upper hand and decides not to kill Tahomaru because “they are both human.” Tahomaru concedes that he “lost.”
However, the demon takes control over Tahomaru. He removes the eyes which then return to Hyakkimaru when he defeats the demon beneath the floor. Oku apologizes to both her sons, she decides to stay with Tahomaru as he dies in her arms. Daigo hears the news from the castle and continues his war effort. The final demon statue crumbles as well. Dororo decides that she’s going to use the money to help the people build up their own country. Hyakkimaru finally meets his father in the Hall of Hell. Daigo has learn nothing, suggesting that if he must he will simply feed “another human” to the demons. This includes Hyakkimaru as well.
His only regret is that he left Hyakkimaru to a midwife, instead of strangling him. Hyakkimaru refrains from killing his father, instead telling him that he “better not become a demon.” Daigo wonders if he hadn’t struck a deal with a demon, Hyakkimaru may have had the strength to save the land. Hyakkimaru leaves Dororo behind looking to find himself. The ending wasn’t to clear to me, but it does show that Dororo grows up and appears to meet Hyakkimaru in the golden rice fields. Regardless, the series ending was bitter sweet.
Overall, this series was well worth it. While some of the animation was poorly rendered the story of tragedy and triumph was the most important part of this series. The theme of the importance of a individual or larger society is never clearly concluded. However, Dororo deciding to help the people build their own society suggest that a compromise is possible, each individual can contribute to the success of their society. The anime series does change some things from the manga. Instead of 48 demons, Hyakkimaru has to fight 12. Jukai’s story is expanded upon, and many of the events, detail and tone are change. Dororo is a good , albeit a darker adaptation.
Tahomaru and his group return home with Dororo now captured. Daigo is preparing to fight against the Asakura Clan at Banmon. Finding out that Dororo has been kidnapped, Hyakkimaru becomes enraged. His anger attracts the demonic horse. Oku decides to free Dororo because she became the friend of Hyakkimaru. Oku leaves with Dororo. They are caught in a current and their ship is destroyed. They are rescued by Daigo refugees, Biwa-Hoshi is among them.
Oku decides to remain with the group and help the sick and wounded. Meanwhile, Hyakkimaru riding on Midoro is slaughtering Daigo’s soldiers in search for Dororo. Mutsu, the sister of Hyogo offers herself to the demon’s in the temple in exchange for the protection of the land and people. Her offer is rejected. However, when Tahomaru, Mutsu and Hyogo encounter Hyakkimaru their wounds are healed. This is due to the demon, and the demon has given them the arms of Hyakkimaru and both his eyes.
Episode 23, The Story of the Demons
As the villagers prepare for war, Hyakkimaru fights Tahomaru, Hyogo and Mutsu. Oku and Dororo arrive at the battle. They are stopped by Biwa-Hoshi. Midoro attacks Mutsu and Hyogo. However, Midoro is distracted when her foal arrives. Midoro decapitates Hyogo and crushes Mutsu. The demon still has control over their bodies and uses the arms it gave them to mortally wound Midoro. After Mutsu and Hyogo die, Hyakkimaru’s arms return to him. Leaving Tahomaru heartbroken, then enraged.
He grabs the two sword blades with his new arms and clashes with Tahomaru. Hyakkimaru flees when he’s senses Dororo and Oku’s sadness. As he runs away he asks himself “what is a human.” He and Tahomaru fight again, only this time Hyakkimaru’s reach is longer. Dororo, Biwa-Hoshi , Oku and the villagers discuss the value of one (Hyakkimaru) and the many (the villagers). Hyakkimaru and Tahomaru clash in the castle, knocking over a candle. As a fire starts, Hyakkimaru fights for his last two parts. Oku and Dororo rush towards the burning castle.
Dororo is reaching it’s end and I’m not sure what will happen. The major theme of this series now seems to be the lives of the few verses the lives of the many. The series introduces some Buddhist concepts regarding human desires and the costs of such desires. The question I have is if Hyakkimaru dies does what would happen to the prosperity? Regardless, I think this season will end with some devastating death.
The Diago villages begin suffer from what Tahomaru believes is the result of demons being upset that Hyakkimaru is alive. Diago realizes that his deal with the demons must have been revoked and the prosperity he received is now over. Hyakkimaru and Dororo meet Saburota that is hunting a demon that ate his mother. A massive Nue appears, but when Hyakkimaru tries to fight it he’s interrupted by Saburota. He claims that he now likes to feed travelers to the demon. This is yet another human that has sided with demons. I wonder if this is a coincidence or part of a larger them.
Dodging the demon both Hyakkimaru and Dororo fall of the cliff. Dororo gets her arm stuck and Hyakkimaru struggles to free her. Water begins to rise almost drowning Dororo. Hyakkimaru panics and begins to smash his head against the rocks. Biwa-Hoshi arrives and swiftly saves Dororo, breaking his sword in the process. The inability to save Dororo due to his prosthetic arms seems to cause him to become desperate for his real body. He runs to find Saburota and Nue. He fights the Nue. It becomes desperate as Hyakkimaru dominates it cutting the head of the Nue in half. The Nue eats Saburota.
It gains wings and attacks Hyakkimaru. Dororo arrives later to find the Nue cut into pieces. Saburota sees the spirit of Hyakkimaru and notes that he’s not “human.” After failing to get his limbs back, Hyakkimaru becomes enraged. Unfortunately, it seems that Hyakkimaru is destined to go off the deep end. It’s still not clear why killing demons doesn’t result in receiving a limb automatically. However, I have a hunch that if he kills a demon for the sake of killing he won’t receive a limb but if he does it save someone he will. Regardless, it seems like this might end badly for Hyakkimaru.
Episode 21, The Story of Breaking the Cycle of Suffering
Hyakkimaru is for Daigo’s territory determined to get his body back. Dororo is sad to see how single minded he has become. A villager notices him and Dororo and informs Daigo. Villagers are becoming ill and are burned to death. Young men that are able, are forced to join the army. Horses including a nursing horse named Midoro are requisitioned. Tahomaru decides that he, together with Mutsu and Hyogo will go find and kill Hyakkimaru.
They find Dororo and Hyakkimaru at a ravine that’s filled with dead bodies. Tahomaru and his men attack Hyakkimaru. Dororo doesn’t want him to fight his brother. He takes on all three and manages to cut Mutsu’s arm off. Dororo begins to cry as Hyakkimaru fights against his brother. The fight is interrupted by Kagemitsu men. The leader riding on Midoro sends the horse to crash into Hyakkimaru and kills it by blowing it up. Hyakkimaru is knocked into the ravine. Dororo is captured. Hyakkimaru survives the fall and the horse becomes possessed by a demon, becoming a flaming horse.
One weird thing that happened in this episode is when Hyakkimaru looks at his brother, Mutsu and Hyogo their spirit are pure white. They are trying to kill Hyakkimaru but for the good of the people in the territory. I’m assuming that intent is important in determining what’s in someone heart. I don’t like that Dororo seems to be on the side of Tahomaru, when he keeps trying to kill Hyakkimaru. Granted Dororo is a child so maybe she being immature. However, the series has set Hyakkimaru to be the accidental villain. We’ll see. The series is clearly playing around with what makes someone evil or not.
Shiranui calls Jiromaru to “eat all their enemies.” It then consumes the corpse of Saburomaru becoming a grotesque white shark that can move on land. It quickly tries to eat Dororo, who’s saved by Hyakkimaru. He slays Jiromaru and tells Dororo that he “came for her.” Hyakkimaru leg grows back (which of course means that it wasn’t necessary to get an new artificial one in episode 17). Meanwhile, Itachi finds the cave. Two men enter and are blown up for their efforts. Tahomaru arrives with a fleet and he orders his men to “leave no one alive.”
Itachi’s men are attacked and killed by Tahomaru and his men. Hyakkimaru faces off against Tahomaru, Mutsu and Hyogo. Dororo and Itachi are attacked by Tahomaru’s men. Itachi is riddled with arrows, while Hyakkimaru is overwhelmed fighting 3 against 1, he and Tahomaru clash. Shiranui decides he’s going to blow up the mountain top killing everyone and himself. He fails to accomplish this. Hyogo gets injured and Itachi dies in the cave with the treasure. Dororo decides to leave the treasure there. He and Hyakkimaru leave the island together.
Episode 19, The Story of the Amanojaku
This episode was largely just filler. Hyakkimaru and Dororo looks for a swordsmith to repair his prosthetics sword arms. For some reason the townspeople tell them that Munetsuna is a bad swordsmith and his daughter Okowa is ugly. A amanojaku (demon) uses it’s power to cast a spell on Hyakkimaru resulting in him saying the opposite of what he means. As a result he ends his journey, an decides to marry Okowa. Dororo releases that everyone in the village says the opposite of what they mean. If he wears one of the masks from Munetsuna wall they are able to tell the truth. Eventually the demon is resealed by Munetsuna and Hyakkimaru gets his new sword. This episode is largely a waste of time, but I guess Hyakkimaru needed his swords back.
Jukai returns. He’s continuing his mission to proved prosthetic limbs to the dead. He is attacked by a ghoul on the battlefield. Hyakkimaru intervenes. Jukai remembers his experience with Hyakkimaru. Of course Hyakkimaru has change significantly. He now has real human skin, ears and now can speak. At this point it seemed like Jukai wanted to say that he was Hyakkimaru’s father, but he doesn’t. Anyway, Hyakkimaru demands a new prosthetic that he can use for fighting.
Jukai is reluctant to do this out of fear of Hyakkimaru having to confront his family. In this series it’s been telegraphed that Hyakkimaru is on the path to becoming a “demon.” However, no one seems to really talk to him about it until now. Jukai even goes so far as to cut the prosthetic with his ax. Suddenly they are trapped in the cave by a landslide. He tells Jukai that he wants his body back because it’s “his.” Is Hyakkimaru better off without his body? Does he actually become less human the more real his body becomes?
If you consider the behavior of the other humans in this series even if Hyakkimaru becomes a mass murder he won’t be much different from most. The main demon is a tree called Ayakashigi. It gives “birth” to demons through the fruit. It’s gross or creepy. Or both. Anyway, Hyakkimaru kills many of the demons and finally kills the tree. While watching him fight, Jukai begins to cry. He believes that Dororo will keep him human. Hyakkimaru asks his name. Jukai refuses to give saying he’s nobody. Hyakkimaru says that Jukai is “mama.” It was a funny and sweet moment.
Tahomaru has resigned himself to defend Daigo at all costs. He and a small army are send to hunt down Hyakkimaru. Meanwhile, Hyakkimaru somehow finds the Cape Hakkotsu and is rowing a boat to rescue Dororo. A few weird things in this episode. First, Jukai doesn’t make a new prosthetic leg for Hyakkimaru. Second, Jukai is bitten by one of the demons and seems completely unfazed by it. Did it kill him? I don’t know it seemed like odd narrative choices. Anyway, this was largely a lovely episode.
After the terrible animation of the previous episode this one reverted back to the traditional level. Anyway, Dororo was kidnapped at the end of the last episode by Itachi. This episode doesn’t include Hyakkimaru at all, which is fine. As a result Dororo shines as we get to see how much she has grown. Itachi becomes a more complicated figure as he shows that while he can be cruel (digging up Dororo’s mother’s body) it’s largely out of desperation. They take Dororo to Cape Hakkotsu.
They can’t reach the island without a boat. They approach a village that has been abandoned or at least it seems to. They meet a suspicious man named Shiranui, who offers to take them across the water. The boats are weirdly pulled by to sharks named Jiromaru and Saburomaru. Shiranui was obviously going to be the main villain in this episode. Regardless, his story really didn’t make sense to me. There doesn’t seem to be any real magic responsible for how he controls the sharks. Or why haven’t the sharks tried to eat him, especially after he feed them his arm.
Shiranui feeds one boat of Itachi’s men to one of his sharks. While waiting for death, Itachi explains that he was betrayed by the samurai. Dororo berates them for given up and gives an inspired speech that reminds Itachi of her father. She comes up with a plan to kill the shark that requires great risk on her part. It succeeds and they get to shore. Shiranui returns and is beaten by the bandits. Itachi hasn’t decided to have a change of heart after Dororo saved them. He strips her naked. Unintentionally, while near the fire the map on Dororo’s back is revealed. Itachi and his men search for the treasure, while the angered Shiranui plots his revenge.
I liked the focus on Dororo in this episode. It was a welcome departure from the usual story. While I didn’t expect that Itachi would change, I do think that he won’t bother to harm Dororo any further. However, I think in the next episode he and his men will probably get killed by Shiranui. Hyakkimaru will return to the story and kill who ever remains. At that point Dororo will probably decide what to do with the treasure.
This episode seem to have marked a low for the series in terms of animation quality. There was weird distant camera angles, coupled with no faces on the characters. The episode is weirdly inconsistent animation wise and was disappointing. After some research it appears that the episode was done by Osamu Kobayashi. He’s known for having ruined episode 4 of Gurren Lagann. This style change is dramatic and really just overall unappealing.
Anyway, it turns out that the nun and the children were sacrificed to demons. Sabame’s prosperity is like that of Daigo’s. The village is able to produce rice due to their willingness to offer the children to the demons. The weird demon baby is a collection of the spirits of the dead children. Hyakkimaru is of course driven to kill the moth demon, regardless of whether it will have a negative effect on the village.
At the end of this episode both Hyakkimaru and Dororo end up responsible for parts of the village being set on fire. After he kills the original moth demon he gets his spinal cord back. You would think this scene would be bloody but it was rather uneventful. Also due to the animation style I didn’t realize what happened at first. Blood would have made it more clear. When Dororo and Hyakkimaru return to the village it’s burnt down and many of the villagers are dead including Sabame.
I was so distracted by the animation I didn’t really get into this episode. Hyakkimaru seems to begin his downward spiral where killing demons is all he cares about. I’m going to assume that he will be tasked with saving lives or killing demons and choose the later. Meanwhile, Dororo and Hyakkimaru walk their separate ways, leaving Dororo to be found by Itachi and his men looking for Dororo’s half of the map. Overall, this episode was a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully, the rest of the season will return to a higher quality animation.
We get an explanation as to what the map on Dororo’s back is. Or at least we kinda get the explanation. We could assume that Dororo had the map placed on his back at some point but he doesn’t seem to have any recollection. What we’re reminded of is the insane poverty that Dororo had to live with. The reason that he didn’t notice the map was that he had NEVER had a warn bath before. Biwamaru brings up a problem he sees. With a wider “range of choices,” he asks what happens to them when Hyakkimaru gains his body. This introduces a conflict that will come at that point. Would Hyakkimaru and Dororo stay together when Hyakkimaru gets his body restored.
Biwamaru presents a conflicting choice, Dororo can use the wealth he has OR they can “destroy the land of Daigo” and get Hyakkimaru’s body back. I think that Dororo would either give the money away or leave it hidden. While, walking on the road Dororo encounters odd looking beings. Hyakkimaru notes that they’re not demons so he doesn’t seem to care. The odd “baby” carries Dororo around. The ghostly woman points to the ground at a burned down house. It turns out that it’s oil, hinting that it was burned down. When a man shows up the baby disappeared. The man invites them to his house, he’s the Sabame, Lord of the land.
Sabame has very noticeable bright green eyes that feel dead. Dororo is frightened by him who thinks he’s a monster. Hyakkimaru isn’t sure. Regardless, Hyakkimaru and Dororo enjoy a meal at Sabame’s house. He tells them the “story” of what happened to the nunnery. The nun abused the orphans that were their, then they died when lightning hit the roof and set a fire. Neither Hyakkimaru or Dororo believes this story. At night they are attacked by a caterpillar demon. It escapes, when a moth demon arrives. That moth demon then arrives by Sabame side and transforms into a human-like woman. This episode has a weird ending. It seems like it should have a second part to it. However, the title suggests that this is it. That said, it could be an error in translation or the story will return to this arc later.
Dororo has been on break for a week. It has returned with Hyakkimaru now talking in fun sentences. He remembers the events of the previous episode. Dororo nags him with pleas, asking him to rest. We find that Oku has survived her suicide attempt. We then get to witness the latest demon dragging a man. The demon seems to have been taken on the form of his wife. Placing him on a stone, with a statue that literally slices his face off. The statue then forms the face of the victim.
Dororo is drawn to the waterfall, where he sees the demonic statue. The demon woman from before arrives. According to Dororo she looks just like her mother. However, when Hyakkimaru “sees” her he’s unable to tell if she’s a demon. This is very interesting considering that we see Okaka help kill a man. Okaka tells them the story of the statues carver. Dororo claims that Okaka not only looks like her mother, but sounds like her as well. She asks to call Okaka “mama.” Okaka reveals that she’s the carver, resurrected by the statue, as Dororo fall asleep.
Okaka takes Hyakkimaru. Dororo awakens and chases after them. He prevents Okaka from killing him. The fight between the statue and Hyakkimaru was boring. However, that’s not the real point of this episode. Despite Dororo’s age, I found it difficult to believe that she would really think that Okaka was her mother. I don’t know. I wasn’t really emotionally invested, even though I felt they wanted me to be. Anyway, they head to a hot spring where they run into the priest, Biwa-Hoshi. While there it is revealed that Dororo has a map on her back. That of course is the most important part of this episode to be answered in a later episode. Also, why hasn’t Hyakkimaru gain an organ after killing another demon?
Hyakkimaru of course doesn’t recognize his father, but Diago recognizes him. Diago asks why “his half-born demon child survived.” He orders his soldiers to kill Hyakkimaru, and they fire arrows at him. He escapes into the forest. However, the words of Diago echoes in his mind. Meanwhile, Dororo and Sukeroku are captured by soldiers. While in jail, Sukeroku reveals that the entire village was destroyed. Dororo sees a small hole in the cave and decides that he’s going to escape through it.
Tahomaru finally confronts his mother. His mother says that “she has never forgotten he first child.” Diago explains that he needed to do for the “people.” I’m surprise that Tahomaru is so upset at his parents behavior. He calls out his father for only caring about himself. They are interrupted by Hyakkimaru. When he “sees” his “family” the aura’s of his brother and mother are pure. Diago of course has been tainted. Diago sends his men after Hyakkimaru, when Tahomaru interjects his father asks him if he’s willing to sacrifice the land.
Diago argument seems to work for now. Dororo arrives and tells Hyakkimaru that Sukeroku is in danger. A jailer informs Sukeroku and the other prisoners that they are going to be killed. War becomes a bigger threat. Tahomaru and his handlers arrive in the temple. The Asakura kill the hostages and the war begins. On the battlefield all the principle characters arrive. Dororo, Hyakkimaru, Diago and Tahomaru are all present. Tahomaru begrudgingly accepts his father’s decision and calls Hyakkimaru a demon.
As they fight, Diago seems pleased. Meanwhile, Dororo tries to save Sukeroku. They’re saved by Hyakkimaru who separates himself from Tahomaru when he breaks his sword and cuts his eye. Oku, Hyakkimaru’s mother arrives to asks for forgiveness. She proclaims that she “cannot save him,” and “sacrifices” herself by stabbing herself. Ironically, as Hyakkimaru loses his mother, Sukeroku is reunited with his. This episode made it very clear that the cost of restoring Hyakkimaru’s body will become a theme.