Episode 16, The Story of Shiranui
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.