Dororo Episode 19: The Story of the Amanojaku
Well this was different. Very different. We’ve had more lighthearted episodes, and we’ve had funny moments in the show here and there, but this was 100% comedic and silly. This episode was also a deja vu of the Clash/Talking Head episodes from Jojo, but at least in this case it was less annoying.
The plot of this episode is simple. Hyakkimaru broke one of his blades from his battle with Tahoumaru and needs to get them fixed. He and Dororo hear of a skilled blacksmith and have been traveling for a few days to find him, and they do but meet his daughter Okowa first. Weird Opposite Day shenanigans happen when Hyakkimaru and Dororo get affected by the powers of the trickster Amanojaku youkai. Said shenanigans include Hyakkimaru almost marrying Okowa, and Dororo saying she’s okay with it when she’s definitely not. And of course Hyakki doesn’t want to marry Okowa, because he doesn’t even know what marriage is!
This episode was very silly. It starts off funny when Hyakkimaru starts rubbing his forehead on everyone, like the horse and Okowa (and almost the dude in the beginning). The poor boy just goes along with everything because of the “opposite syndrome”, even though all he really gives a damn about are his swords. He accidentally says things he doesn’t mean, such as not caring about his journey, getting his body parts back, and not wanting Dororo to be with him anymore. This causes Dororo to get angry and hurt, even though her reaction was hilarious, and I love that her form of tantrum is stuffing her face with food that was meant for him. Dororo herself winds up saying a bunch of things she doesn’t mean, like saying she’s happy he and Okowa will marry, that they’ll look nice together and whatnot. Even if what she says doesn’t match her actions. Eventually of course they figure out that a youkai is behind all this and they go to take it down. Though it was scary to see Hyakki getting controlled and him choking Dororo. Once Okowa’s bad bonks it unconscious, Hyakkimaru immediately goes to hug Dororo and…it was sweet. Just incredibly sweet.
The episode was fun and I did laugh quite a bit. Hyakkimaru pointing out the horse like a kid, the horse’s jaw dropping when he pulled out his swords, the whole conversation leading up to Dororo’s HAAAAAAAAAAAAH?! reaction, and Okowa forcefully dragging Hyakki to the temple when he tried his best to hold onto something (“The swords will come.”) It made me smile, and it ended on a very cute note of the “We look happy.” and Dororo proudly claiming that she’s the only one that can accompany Hyakkimaru on his journey. She was quite jealous earlier~ The comments from the villagers were gold, too. What a waste on you! My, you look ugly!
As fun as it was, I do have to admit that it felt a little out of place. I know that Tezuka’s humor was a lot more silly and cartoony and I think the anime team tried to channel that for this episode and wanted to pay homage to the humor of the manga. Though with how dark the anime established itself in the beginning, this episode felt like it didn’t belong with the cartoon sound effects, chibis, etc. I did say before in the first half of the show that I would have wanted more funny episodes to balance with the gritty bleak mess of their world, and I did get that. I did want funny moments, but maybe not slapstick.
Though this episode was interesting in another way, which was looking at how Hyakkimaru interacts now. I kind of wish they didn’t make the forehead nuzzling into a weird habit, because it really takes away the significance what I thought the forehead touch was (only using it for the people he most loves). But the weird habit goes to show how socially inept Hyakkimaru definitely is. Reaching out to everyone and not understanding why his behavior is weird and inappropriate, not knowing what marriage is and all that. While he has a handsome face and is a teenage boy, his mindset socially is more of a child, which isn’t surprising that his growth was a little stunted after growing up the way he did. But that’s not to say that Hyakkimaru is stupid. Far from it! He’s shown how intelligent he can be from the way he fights, such as the weird gasoline contraption he made against the moth demon, the makeshift sword leg he made for himself against the ant-lion, and using echolocation to fight the giant centipede demon. He’s incredibly smart but lacking in social skills and it was interesting to see it in this calm episode. Also, I think this might be the first time we’ve ever seen him have a very long conversation with Dororo? Their back and forth, while funny because of the opposite problem, was really cool to see. And he’s a lot more affectionate with Dororo too, like hugging her after he was free from the youkai’s control. So damn good. <3 And while being affectionate with Dororo, he’s also making an effort to be more in tune with others’ emotions like the “Dororo looks happy/We look happy/I look happy”, which is huge for his growth. I sure am glad that the village wasn’t pissed with Hyakkkimaru once they explained the situation to them, and I’m glad Okowa didn’t cry or anything too.
Speaking of Okowa, I can’t really say I liked her? She was very cute but my god was she dense as hell. There wasn’t anything about her I truly loved, and she’s thirsty as hell. Hyakkimaru rubs his forehead on hers and now she’s in love? Then when she finds out he didn’t mean anything romantic, she blushes and decides to marry the random guy who confesses to her
and calls Hyakkimaru’s face grouchy, you bitch fucking fight me? She thirsty. :/ I liked her dad though, but his dream of swords not being used to kill won’t happen anytime soon. Poor man.
The episode feeling a little out of place, I also wonder if maybe it was also a waste of time? I saw the preview for next episode and it seems to be another filler (I think), which means we’ll only get four episodes to wrap up the stuff with the Kagemitsu family and Hyakki’s body part search. For some reason, I feel like that won’t be enough time and I’m wondering what MAPPA/Tezuko Pro. is going to do, so I’m a little worried. There never was a proper ending in the manga, so I can’t even imagine what they will do.