Dororo Episode 17: The Story of Questions and Answers

Please protect this boy’s precious smile.

While last week was a very Dororo-centric episode, this week’s episode was mostly about Hyakkimaru and his reunion with Jukai, along with some moments with the Kagemitsu family.

Hyakki’s mother is doing well but I’m worried about her stability from now on. Coming to a realization, she knows that Hyakkimaru will regain his body back, and that the prosperity of the land will disappear. Daigo brushes her off but obviously seems concerned because he sends Tahoumaru to kill him. This man gets worse every time. But we got to see more of Tahoumaru this episode and I’m sad to see how his person has changed. The confrontation with Hyakkimaru got to him and made him become a much more merciless person. He and Hyogo and Mutsu go off to kill a rat demon. He’s become accustomed to his vision now and was able to back the rat demon into a corner. What’s concerning is how he killed the demon. He could have easily sliced them all down with his blade, but instead he kept the mother rat pinned down so the babies wouldn’t leave, and instead set it on fire. He doesn’t want his emotions to dull his blade, which also has to do with confronting Hyakkimaru again. He’s dead set on killing his brother and protecting his people, and it’s just unfortunate that he can’t even see things from his brother’s perspective. In fact, nobody can see from Hyakkimaru’s perspective!

When it comes to Jukai, I suppose I can understand it more since his reasoning for wanting Hyakkimaru to stop is different. Jukai continues to give prosthetics to corpses and as a demon attacks, Hyakkimaru comes in and swiftly kills it. What follows is a tearful reunion with smiles and forehead rubbing and Jukai is amazed at the Hyakkimaru that sits before him. A boy that can speak, that can hear and understand, that can feel, that can smile! You know, Hyakkimaru smiled a lot this episode and my heart has never been warmer. Doing some catch up and upon learning Hyakki’s situation, Jukai doesn’t give him the leg he wanted.

While I’m so sick and tired of everyone basically villainizing Hyakki for wanting his body back, I can kind of understand Jukai’s perspective. I’m kind of glad that he even asked Hyakki why he wanted his body back, and he simply said because it’s his. And really he doesn’t even have to say much because that’s all that needs to be said. He was fed to demons, he wants his body back and he deserves it. However, Jukai’s concerns are how this journey will affect him. He’s killed plenty of demons but Jukai’s able to tell that he killed humans as well. If he continues to follow this path, it’ll lead him to a lonely end with corpses and bloodshed, where he’ll look human on the outside but inhumane in the inside. Which is ironic since Jukai was the one that taught him how to fight and even sent him off in this journey, but things changed once he learned what regaining his body parts would entail. He’s absolutely right that it won’t just be demons that he’ll have to fight and kill. Daigo and Tahoumaru are prepared to kill him, along with their soldiers. Jukai is afraid that Hyakki will lose his humanity, but what he didn’t know was that he’s not alone. He has Dororo, even though she’s not there at the moment. Dororo has helped him keep his humanity all this time and I think he realizes it. He realizes how important she is to him. The way he lowered his hand as if to pat her head was a really nice touch and his “Not here….right now.” with a touch of sadness in his voice.

But what Jukai also doesn’t want is for Hyakkimaru to go down the same path as he once did. Jukai still hasn’t forgiven himself for what he did in the past. He tries to atone for what he did by giving prosthetics to corpses, and by giving Hyakkimaru a new leg, he’s indirectly taking part in the bloodshed that Hyakkimaru unleashes. He’s contributing to what he’s trying to atone for. But even though he didn’t give Hyakkimaru a new leg, he’s already contributed from the start. He gave him a body, he taught him how to fight and protect himself, and he was even the one that sent Hyakkimaru out on his journey to reclaim his body parts. Even though he was mostly thinking of Hyakkimaru, this was possibly in his subconscious.

The departure was absolutely amazing. Here I thought that Hyakkimaru would call Jukai dad or papa, I was DYING for it to happen, but him calling him mama was even better. It was a very Hyakki thing to do! Just like Jukai, I laughed and cried hard at this moment. It’s pretty apparent that Hyakkimaru doesn’t know the concept of gender, thus getting his parent association wrong. Or did he?

Most of his source of information comes from an eight year old. Countless times he’s heard Dororo talk wonders about her mother, about how strong and caring she was. Hyakkimaru has associated mothers to be loving, warm, kind, and caring. He’s also saw a mother figure to be someone positive, regardless of their gender. He also relates Jukai to his mother when he said he couldn’t save him. When it comes to father, I’m not surprised that Hyakkimaru wouldn’t dare call Jukai is father. The only father he’s known is an evil man that had him fed to demons when he was a baby, and now 16 years later he wants him killed. For Hyakkimaru, with the limited information he’s learned in this short time, he most likely sees a father as a more negative thing, and a mother as a more positive one. Jukai was always a loving and positive person in his life. Really, the only person in his life that truly loved him before he met Dororo. So, in Hyakki’s perspective, he’s right. That’s why Hyakki calling Jukai “mama” was even more impactful. Jukai really is his mama. :’) Also, Jukai gave Hyakki his name, a body, a home, food, and love. Is he a mom? Yup, checks out.

Their chemistry was so fun to watch. Jukai blowing on Hyakki’s food so he wouldn’t burn himself, like old times. The both of them actually sharing conversations with each other, simple and deep. Something they were never able to do together before. Jukai basically watching his boy grow, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. This episode was great in so many ways. They both love each other a lot and can safely come to an understanding of what exactly their relationship is. They’re family. And Jukai can confidently turn away from the darkness and look into the sunlight, and put his self-loathing aside for once and see himself as someone deserving of it. This man is really hard on himself, he does deserve Hyakkimaru as his son. And hopefully later on he can add another child in his family with Dororo.

Hyakkimaru is off to find Dororo. Not going to lie, I don’t get how he was able to find her location. Maybe by asking people? Who knows. Daigo found Hyakki’s whereabouts and has sent Tahoumaru to kill him, and Tahoumaru looks determined to do so. The next episode preview shows lots of action and the brothers facing off. I don’t like Itachi and his group, but if he’s going to help Hyakki and Dororo against Tahoumaru’s army…I’ll dislike him a little less. I’m very excited, but scared.

The ED had some changes this time. The visuals are a lot more clearer now. I’m not sure if it was a gradual change or it suddenly got clearer this episode but it’s really exciting to see the images get clearer. Especially with what looks to be an older Dororo at the end with long hair.

This episode was basically perfect for me. I’m really looking forward to the Hyakkimaru and Dororo reunion, but also afraid for the brothers duking it out too. I was hoping that Tahoumaru would change his mind, but his attitude this episode basically confirms he won’t. It’s very unfortunate. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch the cute scenes in this episode again. We’ve been blessed with so many smiling Hyakkimarus, and so many speaking lines. My boy…

Berry

We're all just a bunch of weebs

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2 Responses

  1. zztop says:

    This episode is anime-original, a brief detour before resuming the Shiranui/Itachi arc next week.

    I’d say the anime isn’t villainizing Hyakki’s quest per se, rather they are villainizing his attitude to this entire mess. Specifically this straightforward, black-and-white approach he’s taking. With the lack of self-examination on whether his actions could change his (still-growing) sense of identity and morality, I think Jukai’s worried that Hyakki’s rashness might lead him to do something he’ll end up (eventually)regretting and adding to his burden of conscience in the future.

    TLDR Is the result worth it if you have to betray/backstab/kill so many on the path, regardless of whether they deserved it?

    That said, the whole discussion of whether the end justifies the means and how characters respond to it is something original to the anime. Do you think the anime’s done a good job exploring this theme, or do you feel it’s been implemented badly? (For the record, the manga, 60s anime and live action movie treated the story as more of an action-themed romp.)

    Fun fact – manga Hyakki DID have a false spinal cord. In one chapter Hyakki’s hit by an arrow in the back, but shrugs it off saying his spine’s false and Jukai made one for him (he never got that one back in the manga though).

    • Berry says:

      Well in Jukai’s case, it was more about him being worried over Hyakki’s mental well-being like you said. Also, this is his son. He simply doesn’t want him to die either. He’s also just worried for his safety.

      But in the case of everyone else, I do see as everyone villainizing him. Daigo and Tahoumaru see him as the villain and want him dead no matter what, not even considering the hardships he went though in his life. To answer your question, I like that they decided to take a deeper issue with the whole situation without addressing it. I think for the most part the anime does it pretty well, I like that the characters go over the many factors. Without them questioning it, I don’t think I would find the anime as interesting. I just wish they would show the two sides of this issue more, mainly with Hyakkimaru’s personal feelings on the matter and people other than Dororo seeing it from his side. But the morality question itself is a good addition.

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