Dororo Episode 4: The Story of the Cursed Sword
Cursed sword plotlines in anime has been done before a lot, it’s kind of cliche, but since this manga came out in the 60’s I’m giving this trope a slide because duh. So far this was probably the weakest episode in my opinion, but I still enjoyed it. The story with Tanosuke and Osushi is very tragic, and again shows how war can greatly affect someone. Of course, the addition of a demon sword makes things worse.
The episode starts off with the boys taking shelter from the rain under a shrine, with a girl praying next to them. She notices them and notices Hyakkimaru standing out in the rain and calls out to him but Dororo explains he’s deaf, and that he’s been standing in the rain for half an hour. The girl, Osushi probably guesses that he’s “listening” to the rain and that gave us a hint that Hyakkimaru would get his hearing this episode. We’ve been getting hints on what Hyakkimaru would get back in each episode like with Dororo mentioning his lack of pain, Osushi mentioning him “listening” to the rain, and the focus on Kaname’s leg last episode. None of this clicked for me until the very end, haha. Now I’m going to pay closer attention from now on. I really loved this scene of Hyakkimaru standing in the rain. He’s finally gotten his sense of touch so I’m sure he was just standing there and basking in the moment. He doesn’t even know what rain is, just that it’s wet and cold and there’s lots of it. It’s a curious thing to him, and completely new. I wonder what’s going on in his head this moment, like is he enjoying it or is it strange? I love how this scene comes back in the end but in a more significant way.
Dororo asks Osushi what she was praying so hard about and she explains that she was praying for her brother to return from war safely. Dororo believes he’s most likely dead since he’s been gone for five years, but that’s when Hyakkimaru runs off and wow, what a coincidence. He’s right there! But we don’t know that until later. Hyakkimaru, with Dororo behind him, comes into a brutal scene of a group of men dead in front of them. Hyakkimaru senses someone near them and draws his arm sword, and we see a man with white hair brandishing a sword he claims is “thirsty for blood”. With Hyakkimaru’s vision, we see the sword as red so we know it’s possessed. Interestingly enough, Tanosuke’s aura wasn’t red but I’ll get to that later.
We get a well-choreographed fight scene between them, where in the end Hyakkimaru manages to fend off our mystery man off the cliff and get the sword stuck on his prosthetic leg, sending it flying. It was a little reckless but smart. I kind of freaked out when Hyakkimaru kicked off his own leg because I was afraid he broke his prosthetic. If he did that, I’m damn well sure neither he nor Dororo could fix it. But one thing I really liked from this fight was that Hyakkimaru got a small cut on his cheek, and he didn’t react to it until after the fight when he touched his cheek. With his lack of facial expressions, it can be a little hard to know if it felt super painful or not to him. Most likely a strange feeling as he sort of pondered it. As Dororo goes off to find Hyakkimaru’s leg, he yanks out the sword from his leg but that in turn kind of controlled him to head towards the village. As this happens, Osushi finds her brother at the bottom of the cliff.
I felt so bad for Tanosuke and Osushi. They both lived a good life in wealth but Tanosuke suffered in war, while Osushi lost everything and had to become a peddler. It’s sad she went from clean clothes to rags, worn out hands, and short hair. All she wanted was her brother but he came back as a completely different person. The flashback was kind of hard to watch as Tanosuke was tasked of killing captured innocents. It was extremely cruel that his lord purposely gave him an old and dull sword, making the first beheading longer and more painful than it was supposed to be. But as he used the sword the curse slowly took him over and he killed every person there, including his lord. He became engrossed in this curse and turned into a bloodthirsty killer. Osushi wanted nothing more than her brother but even he knew it was too late for that. I was afraid that he was going to kill his sister but thankfully that didn’t happen. Even though Tanosuke was attached to this sword, his aura wasn’t red because I don’t think he was completely a monster just yet. Evidence of that was when he left a origami crane next to his sister’s, sort of as a parting gift. With Hyakkimaru coming after him, he knew this had to be the end for him, which is why after another wonderfully choreographed fight scene which ended in his death, Tanosuke died with a smile on his face. Of course this was still upsetting to Osushi.
Another demon down, another part of Hyakkimaru returned and it was his ears and hearing. I love how the sound gradually came to him, first with the rain then with Osushi’s cries. It’s bittersweet that the first sounds he hears is a woman crying over her dead brother. I saw some people saying that he wouldn’t exactly understand the crying as sadness, but seeing as he can sense sadness from people’s auras, he could probably understand. But it all came full circle as at first he stood in the rain in the beginning, feeling it, while in the end, he could now hear it. Very beautiful.
I say this episode was the weakest because I think the pacing was a little too fast, and while I did feel for both Tanosuke and Osushi, I wasn’t too attached to them. But the episode was still enjoyable to watch, but where the heck did the old man go?! It’s weird that he just disappeared from this episode while he shows up in next episode’s preview (with the girl from the OP!)
I’m so excited to see how Hyakkimaru is going to adjust to hearing. He’s been deaf his whole life so I wonder how he’s going to react to sound and speech, and how long it’ll take him to learn speech. Though I’m sure Dororo is going to help him out by probably starting with teaching Hyakkimaru how his name is pronounced, and then his own along with other easy things while maybe also combining words with body language (yes = nodding head, no = shaking head, etc). Even though Hyakkimaru can’t speak yet. Dororo is probably going to talk his ear off and I think we can see some funny interactions next. This anime is really sad, I’d love to see some cute and wholesome moments between them. Speaking of Dororo, he’s hasn’t had as much time to shine in these last couple episodes. I want to see the mischevious and energetic Dororo again talking up a storm and I want to see him spend more time with Hyakkimaru, especially since he called him “aniki” this episode. Aww.
Also, he’s just a cute little thing.