Dororo Episode 13: The Story of the Blank-faced Buddha

After a bit of a break, we’re back to our regularly scheduled Dororo! I really missed it last week, I even forgot that it was on a break last week and I was excited for its episode for nothing. The Monday became a little more bleak with the end of Mob Psycho, another amazing show. But at least Dororo is back, but I’m not going to lie, this second half had an underwhelming start.

I’ve never had a problem with Dororo’s filler episodes. In fact, I’ve pretty much enjoyed all of them even though some could be considered the “weaker” episodes, but they were still very entertaining and had lots of good character moments and developments. This episode felt off to me, and I can’t really pinpoint why. If I could give a reason, it was maybe the pacing? I felt like Okaka’s character was really weak too, and her reveal of being the Buddha carver was quick and uninteresting. Sure, it was obvious and there have been moments where things were obvious from the start, but the way the show got to a revelation was always done really well. I didn’t feel that way this time. I couldn’t really make a connection with Okaka like I did with other filler characters like Saru and Ohagi, which is a sad thing to say because Dororo does really well in making you care for characters, even if they appear for one episode and never again. Her death didn’t do much for me either, though looking at it another way it did make me feel sad for Dororo because she lost her “mom” twice.

I was excited to see the aftermath of the Kagemitsu family but we didn’t get much. Tahoumaru looks to be in pain or angry about losing his eye, but the mother is alive! I knew it! But she also looks to be in pain so I wonder if she’ll be okay or not. I had a feeling the mother would be fine, so I do think the Goddess of Mercy did end up protecting her. Who’s to say that the Goddess’ powers can only protect one person? Her powers could have protected the mother, Hyakkimaru, and I think the land as well. But like I said last time, her powers are gone most likely and now I feel like things are going to get wild later on. Things are okay-ish for now, now that Daigo’s land has been blessed with rain but I wonder how what Tahoumaru’s role is going to be now.

Of the aftermath from the family drama, Hyakkimaru has been very affected. We saw pain and confusion from being called a “half-born demon child”, to now anger, stubbornness, and desperation from learning everything about him and the events from last time haunting him. He’s been restless killing any demons onsight, going out of his way to find any to kill them and hopefully reclaim his parts. He hasn’t been getting any sleep and has been ignoring Dororo, who has just been really worried about him. We don’t know how much time has passed since the events of last episode but we know it’s been awhile. This is the first time we’ve seen Hyakkimaru act so agitated before, and since he can speak now he’s been speaking his mind as well. He was actually a little mean, not really apologizing for pushing past Dororo and making her fall twice. That’s not nice, Hyakki! Though he did come around in the end when he said they could go to the nearby hot spring, not even getting mad when Dororo lied about a monster being there. I guess that was his own way of apologizing, giving Dororo the treat of the hot spring. Also reassuring her that he’s okay.

Dororo is such a good kid. She showed lots of concern for Hyakkimaru the entire episode, watching over him, telling him not to kill and just beat up people, which was hilarious but also a little sad because Hyakkimaru is so used to killing people that Dororo has to remind him to not do that. And they’re both so important to each other, with Dororo saying that she’ll do better to help him out and not be a burden. She loves him a lot, and even though Hyakkimaru hasn’t clearly said it, he loves Dororo too. Why else would he continue to have this kid follow him? They care about each other a lot! Ahh!

The end of the episode was the most interesting part with Dororo’s back. We didn’t get anything from Dororo’s backstory that mentioned a back tattoo. I don’t know what those kids were talking about, it definitely does not look like a map. I can’t really tell what it is, but the bottom of the tattoo looks like people. It’s kind of creepy. I don’t think it has to do with Hyakkimaru and his demon influence on her since she seems aware of the tattoo, and she specifically told Hyakki not to look at her (even though he can’t even see). I wasn’t sure whether it was about her gender, but I think it was about her back. What could it mean?

Hyakki didn’t get any body part this time, and I liked that Dororo mentioned why he didn’t get one from the fox demon. This is something the show hasn’t made clear yet and kind of bugs me. What differentiates a demon with a body part and a demon without one? How the heck do they know when the aura is the same? This reason added to Hyakkimaru’s desperation of killing a bunch of monsters in the beginning, and I hope this is something they explain later.

We get a new OP and ED for the second cour of the show. The ED is really great, and the visuals are pretty interesting. Wouldn’t it be cool if it started off blurry like this but gradually become clearer until the episode Hyakkimaru gets his eyes? Which I think might be soon? That would be amazing.

The OP, however, is a step down. They showed it off last Monday and I’ve been mulling it over for the past week. I didn’t like it at first because it felt like a generic shounen opening, with other people saying it just looks and feels like a Naruto opening to which I agree. The tonal shifts in the OP are really weird, with Hyakkimaru being devoured by bugs, to Dororo being cute and chibi, to Hyakki fighting monsters and screaming in a rage, back to happy fun times! The mood whiplash is so weird and the visuals don’t exactly fit the tone of the show, which just makes the whole thing jarring. Though I will admit, Dororo and Hyakkimaru happily munching on cooked fish was cute, and the very end part where Hyakki touches Dororo’s face and they both smile at each other is the cutest shit. But like I said, the sometimes lighthearted tone of the OP clashes with the really dark and mature tone of the show. The OP itself feels like any other shounen OP, where I felt the first OP was very unique and uniquely specific to Dororo with amazing visuals.

Though I get what they did with this one. The song’s name is “Dororo” and the lyrics mention being pulled from the shadows of an ugly world into the light, and right when that line plays is when Dororo grabs Hyakkimaru and drags him into the light, right after the part of him being devoured by bugs. Dororo is Hyakkimaru’s light in his dark world and that’s…very beautiful. So I can’t really hate the new OP.

Enough of my rambling. The episode was probably the weakest we’ve had, which is a little sad since I was really excited about Dororo again. But let’s hope things kick into gear right away and hope Hyakkimaru gets a body part soon!

Let him rest.


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3 Responses

  1. zztop says:

    This episode adapts the Fair Fudou arc of Tezuka’s source manga. IMO this manga arc read more like a filler,so you’re quite right.

    Fudou, or Fudou-Myoou, is the Japanese name of Acala, a fierce-faced Buddhist protector deity who wards off evil forces and demons.

    In Japan, Fudou’s worshipped as a main Buddhist deity, rather as a side protector.

    Once again, multiple changes were made from the source:

    Dororo was the focus of this manga arc. She was largely by herself this time, after having an argument with Hyakkimaru over wanting a sword. (Hyakki said no, Dororo had a tantrum and ran away.)
    The statue carver backstory and Okaka’s name are completely anime-original. In the manga she was a nameless random spirit employed by the evil statue to find faces for it. She originally wanted to sacrifice Dororo, but had a change of heart after seeing Dororo’s attachment to her. She tries to help Dororo escape, but is killed by the statue for betraying it.
    Hyakkimaru never meets Okaka in the manga, all his interactions are original.

    The red marks on Dororo’s back plays a major role in another source arc, so be prepared.

    PS. I’ll say anime Okaka has pretty good taste in faces though, Hyakki’s way more handsome. :D

    • Berry says:

      Manga Dororo is a bit of a brat, isn’t she?

      “I’ll say anime Okaka has pretty good taste in faces though, Hyakki’s way more handsome. :D”

      HAHA. Yes, she has impeccable taste but I don’t think Hyakkimaru’s incredibly handsome face would work for a giant, bulky, intimidating statue. It would have been pretty fitting if Okaka’s face had been sliced off and became one with the statue. The creator becoming into their creation. What face would be better than a shape shifting face anyway?

      • zztop says:

        I suppose, although it seems ultimately the anime writers wanted the story to end the same way as Tezuka’s source with Okaka’s death and repentance, per the above description.

        And yes, manga Dororo’s pretty bratty. :D

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