Dororo Episode 14: The Story of Sabame

That’s funny, I didn’t know I was watching Golden Kamuy. It turns out the markings on Dororo’s back is indeed a map. It’s a really intricate and abstract map, which is why I didn’t think it was a map in the first place. Her father really had some skills with art but man there’s a lot of problems with this whole map and money thing. With Dororo mulling over what her parents left behind, our duo come across a burned temple, a lord, and more trouble. It wouldn’t be Dororo without some trouble, right?

Now stop staring at me with them big ol’ eyes!

But you’d think that after last episode, they would be a lot more wary of strangers offering food and shelter. The two travel after speaking with the old monk, Dororo wondering what she should do with this “ambition” her parents left behind (to which I’ll get to). They travel along and enter a forest where they hear a woman’s voice saying “Buy one, please…” There they see a ghost of a deformed woman and behind her a large…baby thing. What’s really interesting is what we see through Hyakki’s eyes. The only colors we’ve seen so far have been white (humans), green (living things), yellow/orange (regular spirit), and red (demon/BAD). The baby thing is yellow, but the woman is blue. I really don’t think we’ve seen blue before so I’m not entirely sure what this means, and I’m sure Hyakkimaru doesn’t know what it means either since he stared at her, looking confused. But she disappeared and she didn’t cause any harm. But the baby thing stayed behind and grabbed Dororo and hugged her like crazy. Since Hyakkimaru knows it’s not a demon, he leaves it alone and lets it smother Dororo. Which is kind of funny that he ignored her the whole time. They come by a burnt temple and explore it, where the gross baby thing (is it a slug? What is this thing?) suddenly has to pee and chases Dororo around, while Hyakki is outside exploring. He smells something weird on the ground and finds a puddle, which turns out to be oil. Obviously the place was burned down, and then someone approaches them holding flowers. Here we meet Lord Sabame, who kindly invites them to his place. Even though the sight of him scares Dororo, and Hyakkimaru can see that his aura has red streaks in it.

Hmmmm. This guy looks suspicious. But they follow him to his place anyway! Dammit, did you two not learn anything literally just the previous night? -_-;

As they enjoy a night of food and dance, Sabame tells them of the temple. It used to be a nunnery where the nuns housed orphan children, but they would work these children to the bone like slaves and eventually they would just be sold off. According to Sabame, the heavens must of had enough of what was happening and one day lighting struck the temple, causing a fire that killed the nun and all the children. And apparently the ghost there is of the nun who eats travelers at night. Sabame regrets not doing something sooner and prays for the childre, as well as leaves flowers for them.

But of course none of his story is true, and Hyakkimaru didn’t believe a lick of it. Hyakkimaru knows the ghost he saw earlier wasn’t an evil one since it was blue, not red. And there was a puddle of oil, which was obviously the source of the fire. Someone burnt it down for some reason, and I’m guessing it was Sabame. Later a demon caterpillar attacks them and thankfully Hyakkimaru was able to fend it off, but the thing got away by a giant moth monster. Lots of gross monsters this episode, and they happen to be bugs. It turns out that the moth is actually a woman and of course she’s working with Sabame, who’s been feeding wandering travelers to her and her “children”. No surprise there, it reminds me of the Bandai episode. This moth woman and Sabame must be connected with the temple, and that big baby thing I feel might be the spirit of the children of the temple and the woman is the nun but I wonder what the blue color means? Also, this show sure loves its monster ladies.

Things are going to get crazy next episode, and I think Hyakkimaru is going to get a body part back! And I think it’s probably going to be his eyes. Before, the show would drop hints to which body part he would get back, and I think the clue this time were the map Hyakkimaru needs to see, and…Sabame’s very wide eyes? I don’t know, I have a good feeling! But Hyakki getting his eyes raises lots of concerns, but we’ll get there when we get there.

About the map, I have a lot of problems with it. Dororo’s father burying and saving that money for the “greater cause”. Dororo’s mother choosing not to know the location and turning down the opportunity to possibly use that money for her and her daughter. And then engraving this map on their very young daughter, and making her remember the other half of the map. It’s extremely silly. I know it’s all about their pride, but to not find and use the money to survive and feed your family is the dumbest thing they did. Dororo’s mother probably wouldn’t have died if only she knew where the money was, because she could have used it to feed herself and Dororo and live comfortably. But I think the craziest thing is that they engraved the map on Dororo’s back, where it only appears after a warm bath, and she didn’t even know she had it in the first place! And they expected Dororo to fulfill her father’s ambitions and find the money. What made them think that a small child like her, alone, with only half the map, would actually survive? While also finding someone she trusts. The chances of that are low, and yes Dororo is alive and well but really? I know Dororo’s parents had a huge pride problem, but I had no idea it was this bad. It was their pride that prevented them from using the money in the first place for themselves, but now they leave this huge decision on Dororo’s shoulders? And thankfully the person she trusts is Hyakkimaru, who genuinely loves her and is blind. If this secret got out to the wrong hands, who knows what would have happened? It’s insane.

But things get heavier for Dororo as the monk mentions a good point. What will she choose to do? After Hyakkimaru maybe gets all of his body parts back, what will she do? She could live a really comfortable life and possibly help others too. She doesn’t even have to stick around with Hyakkimaru the whole way, but that’s assuming that she even wants to stay by his side after all that. But Dororo has made it pretty clear that she wants to stay by his side forever, but this money thing is really huge and something she can’t ignore. This is just another thing to add to the plot but also to Hyakkimaru and Dororo’s relationship. We haven’t heard Hyakkimaru’s thoughts about this since all he wants to do is kill demons and get his parts back.

Also, it kind of pissed me off with what the monk said to him, about destroying Daigo’s land in exchange for his body parts. The way he said it made it seem like Hyakkimaru was doing something wrong. I know there’s a moral issue here and Daigo’s land is a big part of it, but no one seems to really care about how Hyakkimaru feels and about his rights except for Dororo. This poor boy has enough going on in his head.

A really good episode this time, though the visuals have noticeably gotten worse. Really interesting stuff with the map, Dororo and Hyakkimaru’s relationship being put to the test, and a moth demon that probably has a part of Hyakki’s. Really excited to see what he gets next, I really hope it’s his eyes!


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2 Responses

  1. zztop says:

    This episode (and the next) will cover the Mothmother arc of Tezuka’s manga, which took 2 manga chapters to cover.
    I’ll hold on further comments on the arc until after it concludes.

    Sabame’s name, 鯖目, literally translates as “mackerel eye”. You could say the demon lady landed herself a big fish. :P

    The buried treasure storyline also comes from the manga, although previous Dororo adaptations left it out entirely.
    I once found a reader criticism saying this storyline didn’t make much sense – the manga suddenly introduced the back marks way after mentioning Dororo’s past, and then some chapters afterwards Tezuka suddenly goes “BTW, the marks are a treasure map; Dororo’s parents left a fortune!” without giving much detail.

    The anime’s tried providing an explanation to fill up Tezuka’s story gap, although it does make the parents look like deluded idealists now…

    Come to think of it, I don’t think anyone, even the viewers, actually know what’s going on in Hyakkimaru’s head. Most times you’d have outbursts or exclamations of emotion, but then this Hyakki hardly shows emotions/opinions because it’s still a learning process for him.

    Here’s some bonus Dororo fanmanga from Pixiv.

    Loud noises can scare a wild Hyakki:

    This fanmanga was translated by the artist themselves.

    • Berry says:

      Mackerel eye! Yeah, he looks like a fish! Hmm, a fish and a moth…

      Yeah it doesn’t make much sense, and now my opinion of Dororo’s parents has changed. I did look up to Dororo’s mother for always looking out for her child, even choosing to have her hands scalded to hold the soup. But she did all that knowing that her husband had buried money somewhere. Just…come on. They really were delusional idealists, and that pride of theirs cost them their lives. And they did the irresponsible thing of placing this huge burden on their small child. :/

      Exactly. I can only assume what Hyakki is thinking or feeling based on his body language and (sometimes) expressions, which can be pretty fascinating. I’ve seen some people be a little annoyed with him because of his attitude, but he can’t express himself. For 16 years he lived in his own world and communicated in his own way. Now with hearing and his voice, he’s learning to communicate in a new way but isn’t totally used to it yet. All he mostly knows is that he should kill demons and he should be okay. Hopefully he’ll get some development soon and learn there’s more things to consider in his life (like Dororo).

      Leave my boy alone, he’s trying his best. :(

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