Dororo Episode 1

Dororo Episode 1

The story of Daigo

Before the season began, and just based on the plot summaries on MAL, Dororo was the anime I was most excited to watch during the Winter 2019 season. And, I have to say that the first episode did not disappoint. That said, although I haven’t seen the first episode of Shield Hero yet, what little I have seen of it looks promising too.

The story begins with Daigo Kagemitsu, a noble during the Warring States Period (Japanese version), who casts aside Buddha and the gods in order to make a pact with demons. He does this because he feels that his prayers are being ignored, and at this rate he will never receive the glory and recognition he wants.

Right from the start, we’re shown that Daigo is likely going to be the antagonist of the story, but not necessarily because he makes a pact with demons. Yes, making a pact with demons is typically considered a bad thing to do, but it does appear that he does so in part because he hopes he’ll be able to help his village once he acquires power.

Instead, we’re shown how much of a bad guy he is by him killing a priest in cold blood. At first I thought the priest was trying to run away to tell someone what Daigo was planning, but now that I think about it, he was probably going to try to burn down the shrine to the demons before the pact could be made.

Daigo then offers up anything in his possession to the demons in exchange for granting his wish, and after a lightning strike, it appears that the pact is complete. However, the demons don’t take anything from Daigo immediately.

When he made the pact, Daigo’s wife was pregnant with their firstborn son. Upon his birth, it’s revealed that he, or more specifically, his organs, were what the demons took for their part of the deal. The child was born without eyes, a nose, ears, skin, limbs, and likely other internal organs.

Upon seeing what happened to his firstborn son, rather than being angry or upset, Daigo is actually happy because it’s proof that the demons accepted his deal. He then orders the child to be taken away and disposed of, but after being abandoned in a small boat, the child survives.

Dororo

16 years after the initial story of Daigo making a pact with demons, we’re introduced to the titular character of the series, Dororo. No, Dororo isn’t the child who was abandoned after having his body parts stolen by demons, in fact, he wasn’t even born yet at the time.

So who is Dororo and why should we care?

Dororo is a young boy who lives on the streets by stealing and reselling items to the townspeople. When we first meet him, he’s attempting to sell off the goods he just stole from some men who had hired him to guard their merchandise.

When the men catch wind of his scheme and come to teach him a lesson, Dororo runs away and leads them on a chase throughout the town, pulling pranks on them along the way. In this regard, he’s essentially every other orphaned character in any anime, such as Naruto.

When the men finally do catch him, they beat him severely and tell him never to show his face in town again, but Dororo won’t be threatened so easily. Like any good hero, he refuses to be pushed around and states that nobody can stop him from doing whatever he wants.

Once the true main character of the series, Hyakkimaru, is revealed, it becomes clear that while Dororo is the titular character, and definitely has his own storyline which will likely be developed later on, he’s more of the sidekick. In fact, he seems very similar to Sachio from Megalo Box.

Hyakkimaru

Finally, the protagonist appears. Hyakkimaru is the child who was abandoned by Daigo 16 years earlier after having his body parts stolen by demons. However, at first glance you would be forgiven for not seeing the resemblance, as he appears to be a normal 16-year-old boy.

But, while he does appear normal at first, it quickly becomes apparent that he’s anything but. His entire body is made up of or covered by prosthetics, which we can assume were given to him by the prosthetic craftsman seen earlier on in the episode.

Hyakkimaru from the anime Dororo
Hyakkimaru

Because of this, not only is his face a mask, but his nose, eyes, and ears are all fake as well. As Dororo points out at one point, this likely means that Hyakkimaru can neither see nor hear (and he probably can’t smell either). Under his mask is the same, skinless face he had when he was first born.

But what about the rest of his body? In this episode all we see are his face and his arms, but I think it’s safe to assume that his legs are prosthetic too. As for his arms, they detach at the elbow and seem to work as sheaths for hidden blades which reside within them.

I knew this was the case before starting the series, but I kind of wish he just used the katana he carries rather than using his arm blades. It’s cool at first glance, but the more I think about it, the less cool I think the whole arm blades thing is. I assume once he gets his arms back that he’ll use the katana.

And, that’s sort of the point of the series. Hyakkimaru is traveling around Japan in search of the demons who stole his body parts. In total, there are 48 demons, so this series has the potential to be fairly long, although something tells me it’s only going to be one or two cours.

Upon defeating the demon in the first episode, Hyakkimaru regains his skin, or at least the skin on his face, and his mask is no longer necessary. But, despite having an actual face now, it’s not yet known if he even has the ability to speak.

So, how does Hyakkimaru actually defeat said demons? Well, obviously with his arm swords, but if he has no eyes, ears, nose, or any good way to sense his surroundings, how does he know what he’s doing?

Look with Your Special Eyes

While Hyakkimaru doesn’t necessarily have eyes, he does have some form of vision which allows him to see energy. Demons have a particularly strong energy, it would seem, and due to this, Hyakkimaru has no trouble locating and fighting them.

At this point in the story we don’t yet know how exactly this energy vision works or how he came to be in possession of it. However, when Hyakkimaru was abandoned as a baby, he was found by an old man who had this same ability, so it’s likely that he learned it from this man.

With that said, will Hyakkimaru still retain this ability when he gets his eyes back? I would assume so if he retrieves his eyes fairly early on in the story, but if his eyes are the last pieces of his body to be returned to him, then perhaps he’ll lose this extra sense.

Conclusion

Before I end the post for today, I do want to mention two things I didn’t necessarily like about this series, and they are the OP and ED. I wouldn’t say there was necessarily anything wrong with them, but they just didn’t meet my expectations.

This may be due to my association of this series with Samurai Champloo (and I know they’re very different), but Samurai Champloo had such a good OP/ED combo that I don’t think Dororo can live up to it. This is one unfortunate case in which I would say that comparing anime to each other may be detrimental.

So, that’s the first episode of Dororo, what did you think of this episode if you’ve watched it? Are you looking forward to the rest of this series like I am, or were you unimpressed by what you’ve seen so far? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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