Dororo Episode 1: The Story of Daigo (First Impression)

I had a good feeling about this show when I read the synopsis and watched the PV, and thankfully this first episode completely blew me away. And while maybe not too much happened this episode, we were given just enough to be engrossed in the world and Hyakkimaru’s curse. I couldn’t help but gasp as we saw him as a baby. I think at that moment I was completely sold.

The episode was simple but it had a lot going for it. We meet a greedy lord who seems generous and kind by thinking of the famine and epidemics plaguing his people, it turns out he only prays to the demons only so he can become a powerful and successful ruler. Lord Daigo kills a priest in the Hall of Demons who warned him of the consequences of turning against Buddha and the gods, though he feared he was about to do the same and would have ruined himself with a fate in hell in the afterlife. Lord Daigo calls upon the 12 demons (though I thought it was 48?) and describes to them what is happening on the land, but also says he wants to be renowned and that he will give up anything in order to achieve the glory he wants. Later on, as his wife gives birth to their son, a strike of lighting hits the roof above them while also breaking the head off from their statue. As Lord Daigo comes in to see his son, he’s surprised at what he sees before him. As the midwife describes, he’s a baby with no arms, no legs, not even eyes, ears, or skin. Honestly the sight was really shocking and I had to gasp. But I was even more shocked that Lord Daigo’s wife wasn’t even terrified, she still loved her baby all the same, which is actually really sweet. But Daigo ended up chuckling, realizing his wish was granted and didn’t give a single crap about his son, telling his wife she’ll just have another child. Asshole.

The midwife takes the baby away to peacefully drown him, I think? In those days, I think that was normal for deformed babies. Anyway, she could sense that the baby wanted to live so instead she puts him in a boat and lets it float away, but the poor midwife got eaten by a demon. After that, a blind man appeared and killed the demon. Though he’s blind, he could still “see” from seeing auras. We don’t know the extent of this but this is seen again later.

Before we get to Dororo, we meet a man named Jukai who attaches prosthetics onto corpses, I guess in order to honor them. It’s really interesting and not something any normal person would do so this Jukai man caught my attention, also because he’s most likely related to our main character.

My gosh Dororo is a really cute and smug kid. It’s even cuter that an actual little girl is voicing him and I could feel that from her performance. It just sounded authentic, maybe needs a little room for improvement, but it was a fantastic performance. And Dororo is a kid I just can’t help but like. He’s the typical kid that steals and plays tricks, and he gets found out from the guys he stole from. He gets chased by them but ends up getting beaten up by them in order to protect a puppy. But that’s when our mysterious main character appears, and a sludge monster that eats the bad guys! This scene on the bridge was really cool, the animation in this show so far is very fluid and exciting, which is very normal coming from MAPPA (and Tezuka Productions). Watching our mystery boy pop off his arms to reveal two swords, and him using his sword-arms was such a sight to behold. Just breathtaking, I enjoyed every second of it. As Dororo excitedly comes over to put his arms back, our mystery boy gets affected and all of a sudden he gets his skin and eyes back. Hyakkimaru, our mystery boy, finally got something of his back!

Before the episode ends, we return back to Daigo’s home and see his other son, Tahoumaru. But also Daigo catching another strike of lightning, signaling Hyakkimaru’s body parts coming back?

Wow, I’m still in awe over this episode. Usually first episodes never hype me up this much but I’m so intrigued by this show and the presentation of it with the lore and action was spot on. I really like the more modern designs of the characters. As a manga from the 60’s with Osamu Tezuka’s usual cartoony art style, this more modern design fits with the dark mood of this show. Tezuka’s art style kind of doesn’t fit how gritty this can get, even though this is his story. The only thing from this episode that reminded me that this was a Tezuka story was that puppy with the Tezuka eyes, haha. Looked out of place but it made me giggle.

I can’t wait to meet with Jukai and really getting to know Hyakkimaru. I love the intricacies of his prosthetics from what we’ve seen so far and meeting Jukai should be fun. But I just want to see Hyakkimaru react to all of this, and just get to know him more. So far he’s only gotten his skin and eyes, I can’t wait to see how he’ll communicate without hearing. And I think this show will just be really fun watching Hyakkimaru slowly turn into an actual human. I wonder how Taroumaru will play into all this? And I really wonder why the story is named after Dororo and not Hyakkimaru, or something else. Makes me excited to see how big a role Dororo will have.

This first episode was extremely promising and I’m very intrigued by this show so far and I’m very much looking forward to the rest. Really, I still can’t stop thinking about this first episode. It was that amazing.

Possibility of watching: Guaranteed

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Berry

We're all just a bunch of weebs

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4 Responses

  1. zztop says:

    Having read the source manga, the anime’s made some changes such as:

    The 48 demons of the source have been reduced to 12, likely for plot streamlining purposes. 24 episodes have just been confirmed, meaning there’ll likely be downtime episodes in between demon slaying focused on character building, episodic adventures etc.
    Hyakkimaru’s prosthetics are more obvious-looking (esp. the pallid colour).In the manga and live action movie they looked about the same as normal human limbs and flesh, until they were removed. Here even a child can see he’s wearing a mask. (Guess they wanted to emphasize the creepy factor here.)

    Considering the original manga ends abruptly at 15 chapters without a proper ending, I wonder if the anime will end like the manga or if it’ll make its own ending like the 1960s anime version/the 2007 live-action movie.

    Have you seen the manga or the live movie version?

    • Fuzzy says:

      I haven’t read the source manga, but I’m glad the number of demons has been reduced a bit. I also like how there are more episodes than demons, so the show doesn’t become just a “Monster of the week” type of thing. Hopefully we get a lot more fleshing out of the current characters, and get introduced to even more.

      The first episode felt awfully Dark Souls like with its grim atmosphere, and melancholy characters. Really the only bit with a bit of humor was when Dororo fools around with the three men, but even that was quickly replaced by the sludge demon in the river. (The color of the scenes also reflected their atmosphere, with the brighter colors of Dororo’s initial introduction being overpowered by the shadow of the sludge monster.)

      I’m pretty excited overall!

    • Berry says:

      I’m not familiar with the source material at all but I looked up some info about it. Strange that this was an unfinished work, but if they’re making this a two-cour and dwindling the number of demons from 48 to only 12, then they’re already taking some liberties with it so I guess they might make their own ending (whatever the other ending is). But like Fuzzy said, that just makes me excited and hopeful that they’ll add substance to the characters because of this.

  2. Detetiv says:

    Wasn’t it that Dororo was the name of hyakki’s sword in the earlier works? I’ve only seen the live action & some of the ps2 adaption. Tried to watch the early black and white anime but Hyakki’s speech (think baby or toddler) tuned me off.

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