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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?