Dororo Episode 11 Review – The Story of Banmon, Part 1

Hyakkimaru and Tahoumaru finally meet

Hyakkimaru and Tahoumaru finally meet, after the former saves one of Tahoumaru’s subordinated from death. After he pays Dororo, he tells them where to find the land of Daigo. Tahoumaru learns Hyakkimaru’s name before they leave. The old blind priest is there and he plans on going to the “Hall of Hell,” to seek the truth. Meanwhile, Dororo and Hyakkimaru head to the Fort Banmon, built on the site of a village Daigo destroyed. They find a wall where Asakura “pin bodies of their enemies to the wall.”

Hyakkimaru’s aura

While, there they meet a survivor of the village, Sukeroku. He is hoping to reunite with his family. The problem is he will be killed by the Asakura sentries waiting. Of course, Dororo and Hyakkimaru are going to help him. Elsewhere, Tahoumaru’s bodyguards inform Daigo, of Hyakkimaru. He quickly realizes that his son survived. Predictably, he concludes that he must kill Hyakkimaru in order to maintain his power and prosperity. Tahoumaru overhears the conversation. He learns the truth from a demented woman that the “demons ate everything.”

Nine tails fox

When it becomes night, a lot of nine tail foxes appear. Hyakkimaru and Dororo fight them off long enough for Sukeroku to run away. Dororo chases after him only to find out that he’s been captured by the Asakura. The nine tails demon foxes are chased away by the arrows from Daigo soldiers, leaving Hyakkimaru to face his father. The potential conflict or maybe I should say the inevitable conflict between Daigo and Hyakkimaru, has finally started. He clearly wants to kill him, but the I question if this is the moment he tries. He could attempt to gain the trust of Hyakkimaru then kill him, especially considering his fighting ability.

The statue get’s another crack

However, it’s doubtful that he has the patience. What is most interesting is the role, Tahoumaru and his mother will play. Hyakkimaru’s desire for vengeance was seen in the previous and it wasn’t pretty. The old priest (Biwamaru) noticed that his aura had changed and predicted that Hyakkimaru had killed humans. It seems that killing human has a more negative effect on one’s aura regardless of how evil they might be. All I know is that the future of this series is probably going to get darker than before.

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Dororo Episode 9 Review – The Story of the Merciless

Dororo’s father Hibukuro

Dororo becomes ill and passes out. Hyakkimaru searches for someone to help him. He’s able to say some words, but no one could or would help. A nun arrives and takes Hyakkimaru and Dororo to a temple for treatment. Dororo remembers his childhood. His mother, Ojiya and father, Hibukuro were members of a group of bandits. They regularly came into conflict with samurai. Hibukuro second in command, Itachi runs afoul of Hibukuro, who threaten to kill him.

Dororo falls ill

Itachi betrays Hibukuro, taking his men and cripples him. Dororo’s family is left to raid dead bodies on the battlefields in search of supplies. Dororo witness a legs less solider, cannibalizing a dead one. Hibukuro is recognized by some samurai and is killed before the eyes of Ojiya and Dororo. They bury his body. They begin to starve. Hearing that the samurai are handing out food, they find that Itachi is doing well since his betrayal. When they begin to running out of food, Ojiya runs to the head of the line.

Ojiya burning her hands

She doesn’t have a bowl, so she sticks out her hand. Ojiya burns her hands and gives Dororo some food. Unfortunately, she collapses from starvation and dies. It is revealed that Dororo is actually a girl, as the nun accidentally reveals this to Hyakkimaru. I’m not sure why Dororo’s gender matters other than typical sexism that must exist in this world. Regardless, we get to see that Daigo has learned that Hyakkimaru is alive.

The nun revealing that Dororo’s a girl

Eventually, Daigo and Hyakkimaru must come into conflict. As he gains his limbs, he simultaneously causes Daigo to lose some of his power. Of course, this is the reverse of what Daigo did to his son. It seems predictable that Tahomaru will grow to hate his brother because his mother still longs for her first child or at least try to kill him for his fathers approval. However, Dororo could surprise me with some twist.

Daigo learning about Hyakkimaru survival

Dororo Episode 8 Review – The Story of Saru

Saru

Nokosaregumo the forsaken cloud

A dark cloud arrives over a village pouring “ashe rain,” a villager suggest they prepare a bride for sacrifice. It’s called Nokosaregumo, a massive flying centipede demon that has tormenting the village. It would kill the entire village. At some point the villagers decided to sacrifice a “bride.” Once it consumed her it would leave the village alone. Saru is the an orphan that was once saved by the bride that’s to be sacrificed. He teams up with Dororo to save her.

Big Sister sacrificing herself

Not a sacrifice, a volunteer

When Saru arrives to save his “sister,” he informs him that she decided to sacrifice herself for the sake of the village and Saru. The demon arrives, spreading a black mist that blinds Hyakkimaru. Unable to see, he’s rendered useless in this battle. The demon tries to eat Saru, but his sister pushes him out of the way and ends up swallowed whole. Nokosaregumo escapes unscathed.

Dororo and Saru teaming up

Dororo and Hyakkimaru vs Nokosaregumo

Dororo and Saru plan to defeat the demon by luring it into the sunlight. Dororo pretends to be a bride and is attacked. Saru shoots a fire arrow causing a big explosion. The demon recovers. Hyakkimaru uses the sound of arrows hitting the demon to pinpoint it’s location. Dororo attaches himself to Nokosaregumo, using his voice to help Hyakkimaru find the demon. Dororo gets knocked out. Hyakkimaru begins calling for Dororo, who awakens. Hyakkimaru and Dororo end up defeating the demon as they realize that Saru’s sister is still alive.


This episode is a departure from the usual Dororo episodes. While the story of the demon wasn’t that interesting, and Saru’s sad childhood is typical for this series, Hyakkimaru being almost useless was new. This is the first episode that Dororo took the lead in battle. Hyakkimaru ended up doing the slaying in the end, but he needed Dororo to accomplish it. Another difference, this episode ended on a happy note. Saru and sister reunited and are going to live together ending both their loneliness. Hyakkimaru gains the ability to smell and finally says his first word, Dororo.

Dororo and Hyakkimaru teaming up

Dororo Episode 7 Review – The Story of the Jorogumo Silk Spider

Dororo tickling Hyakkimaru

Dororo encounter a spider demon in the process of eating a man that seem infatuated with her. Hyakkimaru fights it off. However, she escapes when she webs Hyakkimaru to a tree. It turns out that the spider demon has been kidnapping the villagers. The demon wraps herself in a cocoon of web and turns herself into a normal appearing woman. She is found to by a man named Yajiro. He gives her the name Ohagi and feeds her rice. Dororo meets Yajiro, who tells him that a reward has been posted for the demon.

Yajiro finding Ohagi

Yajiro is forced to keep working in terrible conditions. A man died during his job, Ohagi asks if it’s “worth working to death.” Yajiro captures a cockroach and lets it go. Ohagi asks why Yajiro saved it. He says he believes that “life is life,” and human and bugs are the same. Ohagi struggles to cure her hunger. She clearly likes Yajiro and is unwilling to eat him. Ohagi appears emaciated and Yajiro hopes to help her later. Meanwhile, Dororo and Hyakkimaru are hungry and eat flowers.

Ohagi and Yajiro deciding to leave together

Hyakkimaru and Dororo encounter Ohagi and Yajiro at night. As Dororo tells him that she’s a monster, he reveals that he’s the kidnapper. He’s been helping villagers escape this miserable village. They are attacked by soldiers looking to capture Yajiro. Ohagi fights them, eating two of them. She and Yajiro escape, however, they are eventually caught by the soldiers. Yajiro is hit by several arrows, Ohagi attacks the soldiers. She transforms into her spider form, but unlike other episodes of Dororo she escapes with Yajiro, instead of being killed by Hyakkimaru.

Ohagi fighting the soldiers

This episode marks a departure from the others. We were use to evil demons being irredeemable monsters that needed to be killed however, in this episode we meet a demon with a heart. Or at least she liked one human. Ohagi’s aura marked this progression. As she changed so did the color of her aura, from red to orange. Of course because Dororo never remains in the same place characters are quickly developed, then discarded. The romance between Ohagi and Yajiro feels premature, but they were never going to get more than episode to explore their relationship. Regardless, Dororo continues to play with our expectations.

Dororo Episode 6 Review – The Story of the Moriko Song, Part 2

Dreams of Rice Paddies

After the last episode I can’t say that I’m hopeful that this on will be happier. Dororo leaves Mio stunned at what he just witnessed. He quickly runs into Hyakkimaru and the Old Priest as they return from their battle against the demon. Mio returns with food for the children, she is clearly bruised as she helps Hyakkimaru. Tahomaru gets some attention this episode. He wants to go to war, certain that he would “crush,” the Sakai clan. He seems to care a great deal about his mother view of him. Tahomaru feels that his mother doesn’t care for him. While, his mother never was cruel to him, she paid him little to no attention.

Tahomaru demands to fight

Hyakkimaru recovers, as he remembers his encounter with the demon. Mio tries to soothe him with her song. The Priest warns Dororo that Hyakkimaru may not be as “good.” Mio is insecure about her “soul.” Her “job” has made her feel dirty and she’s ashamed of herself. This belief is unsurprising. Dororo and Mio have a conversation regarding her job. He tells her that the “one,” job his mother didn’t was prostitution. A few days later Hyakkimaru fights the demon again, as soldiers arrive to find the children. Hyakkimaru succeeds in killing the demon.

Hyakkimaru’s new “leg”

My lack of hope was well founded as Mio’s using of both sides of the war comes back to haunt her. She and the children are massacred. As Mio begins to die, she sings as she always had when dealing with a terrible situation. Still unable to see, her song reveals to Hyakkimaru that she’s dying. He becomes enraged and slaughters the soldiers. Unable to speak, Hyakkimaru growls like an animal, covered in blood Dororo fears that he will become the “monster,” the Priest suggest may lurk inside. As the temple burns down, Hyakkimaru hugs Mio’s death body, as he says her name, his first word.

Hyakkimaru kills the demon

Dororo is a series that leans towards the darker end of the spectrum. Many series seem to be heading in this direction. However, Dororo has layers underneath the carnage. Take the song that Mio sings. At first it’s just a pretty song, but then it becomes the only sound that Hyakkimaru can tolerate. It turns out that it also serves as a distraction from the horrors she experienced in life. Finally, the song becomes the triggers for the rage that Hyakkimaru displays. The song ends up humanizing her. The question becomes what will the consequences of letting the solider go. He will surely spread the word of the warrior with no arms right? Daigo already suspects somethings up with the demons. Would he put two and two together?

Check of other Dororo reviews:

Dororo Episode 5 Review: The Story of the Moriko Song

Hyakkimaru meets Mio

Hyakkimaru is having trouble with his new found hearing. He’s able to hear all the animals surrounding and it’s overwhelming him. To Dororo it’s quiet. It’s remarkable that something that we assume would be great for Hyakkimaru, his hearing, turns out to be a bit of a burden. It made sense that regaining his pain receptors would cause him trouble, not his hearing. Hyakkimaru and Dororo are attacked by a flying demon that instantly reminded me of Fearow from Pokemon.

The priest killing the flying demon

Hyakkimaru manages to damage the bird with his arms, but doesn’t manage to kill. However, the old priest arrives to deliver the death blow. Dororo informs the priest that Hyakkimaru has been having trouble with his hearing. He plans to find some medicine in the big town across the river. The priest informs him of the war that’s brewing, making it too dangerous to travel. The Sakai clan has betrayed and ally, resulting in war.

Hyakkimaru charging at the demon

When the morning arrives, Hyakkimaru wanders off and meets a young woman in the river. The girls name is Mio, she lives with other orphan children. Many of these kids don’t have there limbs, having to result in using wood tied to them with bandages. Mio begins to sing while heading out to get food, Hyakkimaru finds her voice to be pleasant. The old priest finds a better home for the children, out of the way of the war. The problem, a demon “owns”” the land. Hyakkimaru quickly heads to kill it.

The demon takes Hyakkimaru’s leg

Mio decides that she’s going to work for the enemy as well. Dororo plans on going with her. Meanwhile, Hyakkimaru and the old priest face off against the demon. It’s pincers shoot out of the ground and it begins to spin, dragging them both towards it. As they battle the demon, Dororo finds out what Mio does for a living, prostitution. After the battle with the demon Hyakkimaru suffers a major consequence, he loses the bottom of his legs. He can finally be heard, screaming in agony.

Dororo watching Mio with two soldiers

The ending of this episode is haunting. To be honest I instantly knew what Mio did to get food. A pretty young girl during war really could only offer so much. This episode wasn’t without it’s kind moments though. The orphan kids creating a family and Mio sacrifice, along with her beautiful voice. Speaking of sacrifice, Hyakkimaru put his life on the line for the orphans.

For a series that focuses on him retrieving his limbs, it never occurred to me that he would lose one he got back. A few thing didn’t make sense. How did Hyakkimaru know what the priest and the others were talking about? He can’t possible understand language yet. Any way each time he gets a limb or body part back it costs him something else. This show seems to value showing the good with the bad.

Check out other reviews of Dororo:

Dororo Episode 04 Review – The Story of The Cursed Sword

Bloody Massacre

The thirst of the sword

The fourth episode of Dororo, The Story of the Curse Sword , starts with Hyakkimaru enjoying the rain. With his ability to feeling returning many mundane experiences must be profound. Dororo doesn’t seem to be too impressed though. He talks to a woman that was praying for her brother to return from war. As they are talking a man asks for help, collapsing with a large gash in his back. Hyakkimaru sprints off and Dororo follows. They find a terrify sight, a massacre.

Hiding behind a tree, a man wielding a odd sword attacks Hyakkimaru. He claims that the the sword was “thirsty for blood.” He says that the sword overtakes the body of the wielder and forces them to kill. Dororo notes that the mans facial expressions tell a different story. He attacks Hyakkimaru. During the altercation, Hyakkimaru feels his first injury during combat, a small cut on his cheek. He’s able to disarm the man when the sword gets caught in his artificial leg. Unfortunately, Dororo grabs the sword when he tries to retrieve Hyakkimaru’s leg.

Tanosuke’s crimes

Long lost brother

Osushi (the woman from earlier) finds the swordsmen when searching for Dororo and Hyakkimaru. It turns out to be her brother, Tanosuke. Meanwhile, Dororo is being dragged against his will by the sword. He resist but eventually the sword puts him into a trance. Dororo arrives at a village, but Hyakkimaru intercepts him. As Osushi tries to reconnect with her disinterested brother, he remembers being ordered to murder a man that built his master a castle, because he feared the man may spill its secrets. A first he refuses but then he’s given a sword to kill himself with. He then murders the man with it. The sword is called Nihiru, it reawakens after Tanosuke murders the builders.

Tanosuke reunites with Nihiru

Hyakkimaru verses Tanosuke

Tanosuke is drawn to Nihiru. He retrieves it after Hyakkimaru disarms Dororo. He fights Hyakkimaru, and as Osushi watches in horror, Tanosuke is defeated and the Nihiru sword is broken. Destroying the demon sword means that Hyakkimaru gets a body part back. This time its his ears. The first thing he hears is Osushi crying in the rain. This episodes ending was tragic. While, Tanosuke needed to be killed it was heart breaking that his sister never really got to reconnect with him. Hyakkimaru returning hearing was bittersweet.

Hyakkimaru vs Tanosuke

One question I have is, does Hyakkimaru have sympathy? He seems to save innocent people but maybe he just want to kill the demons and as a result he saves lives. Dororo believed that Hyakkimaru was trying to help him, what if he only wanted to destroy the sword? I love the direction of this series. The begin and ending of this episode paralleled each other, with Hyakkimaru looking up towards the sky as it rained.


Other Reviews of Dororo:

Dororo Episode 03 Review – The Story of Jukai

Dr. Jukai jumping off of a cliff

Jukai the mass murderer

The Story of Jukai reveals how Dr. Jukai came to learn and provide prosthetics. During war Jukai worked for the Shiba Clan, crucifying wounded enemies. Until his loved one is killed by a soldier. Traumatized, Jukai jumps into the sea. Years later Jukai becomes a Doctor that helps the poor for free. He is aided by a orphan named Kaname. After Jukai gives a boy that had his arm cut off by a samurai a prosthetic arm, Kaname is told of the rumor of Jukai’s past. When confronted, Jukai tell’s the truth. He reveals that he was saved by a ship when he jumped of the cliff. Kaname becomes furious, as Jukai murdered his father. Jukai doesn’t beg for his life but just a chance to make a prosthetic for the boy. Kaname then removes his prosthetic leg and limps away.

Kaname threatening to kill Jukai

Saving Hyakkimaru

Jukai finds Hyakkimaru and raises him. We fast forward 6 years as Hyakkimaru is seen swing through trees. He appears to have had powers from the beginning. He gives him prosthetics and names him, Hyakkimaru. While searching through the woods, we see that Hyakkimaru pulls a flower from the stem. By removing the flower it seems to lose its life force and goes from a green aura to red as it dissipates. He’s attacked by a wolf like demon, but is saved by Jukai. The demons appear to be attracted to Hyakkimaru’s powers. Jukai then teaches him to fight. Dororo gives us a glimpse of the life of the brother of Hyakkimaru.

Hyakkimaru fighting a demon

Fearless and Painless

Hyakkimaru masters the techniques that Jukai taught him. He goes on to slaughter many demons. Jukai notes that because he “doesn’t feel pain, he doesn’t have fear and no hesitation towards slashing and killing.” When he kills a demon, Hyakkimaru leg grows back. Jukai realizes what likely happened to Hyakkimaru, he makes him sword embedded prosthetic and sends Hyakkimaru on his way. Dororo and the Old Priest discuss the deal that was likely made. They can’t decided why demons would want his body parts. Hyakkimaru returns having regained his sense of pain. He steps on the fire seemingly testing his pain tolerance.


Hyakkimaru feeling pain

This episode was largely straight forward, explaining how Jukai came to be the doctor he is. While, focusing on Jukai may seem odd considering that Jukai isn’t a main character but he is the only character that knows what happened to Hyakkimaru and can speak. What this episode does leave us with is a question. How will Hyakkimaru handle fighting demons now that he can feel pain. It’s a new wrinkle in this series.


Previous Dororo Reviews:

Dororo Episode 02 Review – The Story of Bandai

The old man and the bell

The Fire of the soul

We see the blind old priest meet what I assume is a demon in the woods. For his vantage point the odd looking demon is nothing but a green aura. Dororo is desperately trying to communicate with Hyakkimaru. It’s clear to him that Hyakkimaru can “see” something as shown in the battle from the previous episode. Also, Hyakkimaru is able to grab berries to eat and fish. After, Dororo cooks the fish, the narrator explains the how the warrior sees the world. Hyakkimaru cannot see or hear.

Since birth he was able to “see” the “fire of the soul.” Using the fire of the soul one could differentiate being from one another. The color of the soul was used to determine if they were hostile. Hyakkimaru also possessed “superhuman senses and strength.” Dororo’s soul was white, therefore it didn’t indicate to Hyakkimaru that he was in danger.

The representation of the murdered traveler

Warrior for hire

Dororo plans on using Hyakkimaru’s fighting ability to make them rich. A small village is under attack by a monster. Villagers and travelers disappear. When they arrive at the village they are greeted by Denkichi who’s filling in for the chief, Bandai. He offers them a place to stay and supper. The “monster” from the beginning of the episode arrives with his bell, asking “You want.” Clearly, this “monster” isn’t a threat. However, his appearance certainly has given people that impression.

The tail end of the demon

Hyakkimaru’s true sight

Hyakkimaru’s ability to see the “fire of the soul,” gives him the advantage of being able to “see” someones true intent. As a result he’s able to see the danger Bandai represents and can determine that the “monster” is harmless. Regular humans can only see the surface of a person. This results in a bias, Bandai is a beautiful woman as Dororo quickly notes. Meaning everyone assumes shes “good,” while the deformed “man” is dubbed a “monster.”

Hyakkimaru quickly attacks Bandai. He and Dororo are placed in the storehouse. They meet the old priest there. He explains to Dororo how Hyakkimaru can see. As they speak, a monster comes from the well. Hyakkimaru attacks it and heads to fight Bandai. She reveals herself to be a demon. However, Denkichi help Bandai escape, revealing that he feed the travelers to the demon to save the villagers. The demon is surprised to see that Hyakkimaru is “still alive.” It suggests that the reason is the “it” failed to “take him.” He kills the demon.

The hidden gold

The pilgrim’s bell

The “demon” from the beginning once again ask “You want” then disappears into the ground. Underneath it is the traveler’s gold that were eaten by Bandai. Addicted to the money Denkichi couldn’t stop. He wanted the bell’s sound to stop so that he wasn’t reminded of what he did. The bell was from the first traveler. Hyakkimaru reveals his name to Dororo and begins to receive his next lost organ. Daigo notices something is wrong and orders an underling to investigate. This episode is the standard monster of the week on the surface but it’s actually more. By explaining to us the limitations of Hyakkimaru it simultaneously explains the limitations of those with “normal” sight. Basically, everyone has a handicap of sorts and we should investigate our biases.

One of Hyakkimaru organs return

Previous Dororo reviews

First Impression – Dororo Episode 01 Review

Adult Hyakkimaru
  • Directed by: Kazuhiro Furuhashi
  • Produced by: Twin Engine
  • Studio: MAPPA
  • Licensed by: Amazon (streaming)

Dororo episode 001, The story of Daigo begins with a woman giving birth. Sir Daigo heads to the “Hall of Hell.” When he enters he’s meet by a old priest that warns him that “one who steps into Hall of Hell has made a choice.” He begs Sir Daigo to “hear him out,” if he abandons Buddha, he will no longer be human and only hell awaits. Daigo then murders the priest with his katanna.

Infant Hyakkimaru

He then prays to 12 demons. He wants more power and is willing to give then anything for it. It turns out this was a flashback and Daigo had already made this deal. As his son is born, lightning strikes leaving a horrifying sight. The newborn infant was left with no limbs, eyes, nose or skin. Daigo is initially shocked, but once her realizes that the demons granted his wish he no longer cares. The boys mother still wants her child regardless of what he looks like, however, Daigo leaves her crying as he demands that she bare him another child.

Jukai the doctor

The child is grotesque looking, as the old woman puts the child in a boat she is eaten by a demon. Who is then killed by an old blind man. Daigo land begins to prosper as he was promised. We flash forward 16 years, during a war. Jukai is doctor that give the dead his prosthetic prototypes. We are introduced to Dororo, a little theft. He steals from a gang of men that end up beating him up and attempting to drown him. While, being assaulted the now grown up child of Daigo, Hyakkimaru arrives. However, he’s not interested in saving Dororo, he’s focusing on a demon.

Dororo the thief

The demon looks like garbage to the men, then it attacks eating them. When it grabs the boy, Hyakkimaru attacks. He removes his prosthetic limbs revealing sword like arms underneath. He quickly defeats the demon, using quick abilities, cutting down the bridge around them. As the boy thanks him his skin on his face returns, forcing the boy to ask him are you human? Dororo isn’t a new series. It was original released in the late 60’s which explains why I had never heard of it. Dororo is considered to be one of the first Shonen series. I love thing episode.

Demon Hyakkimaru defeats on bridge

The animation is great, the story (while dark) is profoundly interesting. The action is subtle, but effective and enjoyable. Dororo seems like he or she (it’s not that clear) will be the main source of joy for this series. However, Hyakkimaru may have a sense of humor, you know when he gets his mouth back or maybe his throat or lungs, probably all three. Anyway, Dororo has everything, a evil villain (Daigo), sympathetic characters with (Hyakkimaru, his mother, Dororo), action, a badass old man, an a captivating story. I’m hooked.

Hyakkimaru face’s skin returns