Dororo Episode 6

Dororo Episode 6

The story of the Moriko Song, part 2

So, let me start off today by saying that my predictions regarding Mio and the conclusion of this episode from last week were wrong. In case you missed it, I assumed that Mio was going to be the female lead of the series and predicted that Hyakkimaru was going to have to save her after she gets captured while working.

The good news is that Hyakkimaru didn’t have to rescue Mio after she was captured while working. As for the bad news, we’ll get to that in one of the later sections of today’s episode review.

But, before I get into the events of this week’s episode and my thoughts on it, let’s first go over some terminology. The title of this arc is “The story of the Moriko Song,” so just what is a Moriko song?

Moriko (森子) essentially means “child of the forest.” So, a Moriko song is the song of said child of the forest. As for who the child of the forest is in regards to Dororo, it could either be Mio specifically, or her and all her children.

My guess is that Mio and her children are collectively considered to be the children of the forest since they were all driven to live together in the forest due to the war. And the song? Well, that’s simply the song which the child(ren) of the forest sing, i.e. the song Mio sings when she’s upset.

Now that we’ve gotten our Japanese lesson for today out of the way, it’s time to actually get into the episode at hand.

Mio’s Work

As we learned last week, Mio is a prostitute who works for the nearby army in order to provide for her children. And, as I mentioned last week, this shouldn’t have come as a surprise for anyone when it was finally revealed at the end of the episode.

This line of work wouldn’t have been uncommon given the time period and Mio’s particular circumstances, but her choice to begin working for both opposing armies would lead to her downfall. Being seen entering an enemy camp is bad for anyone, but especially for prostitutes, who were often viewed as untrustworthy to begin with.

Not only are there actual cases of wartime prostitutes being spies, which would have made soldiers paranoid, but it was also seen as a job for less than reputable women. That’s right, it’s our old friend, the double standard.

Male soldiers enjoyed having prostitutes around, and their wars often caused women to resort to this job after their livelihoods were destroyed. But, at the same time, these soldiers also thought that any respectable woman wouldn’t engage in that line of work, thus ignoring the fact that they drove these women into it to begin with.

So, with all this in mind, it was only a matter of time before Mio was suspected of being a spy for either side of the war.

But, we also see that although Mio clearly doesn’t like her job, she isn’t going to let that stop her from providing for herself and her children. And, although Dororo thinks she shouldn’t continue that line of work, he respects the lengths she goes to in order to survive.

Mio and Hyakkimaru from the anime series Dororo
Mio and Hyakkimaru

Hyakkimaru’s Injury

Enough about Mio for now, let’s move onto the hero of our story, Hyakkimaru. As we know from last week’s episode, Hyakkimaru regained his voice, but lost his right leg in the process. My original question after this happened last week was, “will Hyakkimaru get his leg back?”

So, it’s time to answer that question. Yes, Hyakkimaru got his leg back after returning to the demon and defeating it once and for all. He also used a makeshift prosthesis when fighting the demon, which I expected would be the case.

However, a new question arose for me when watching this episode. Last week I kind of assumed that Hyakkimaru and Biwamaru defeated the demon which took Hyakkimaru’s leg. This is why I was unsure if Hyakkimaru could actually retrieve his leg.

The reason I assumed they had defeated the demon was because Hyakkimaru regained his voice. So, the new question is, “how did Hyakkimaru regain his voice from the demon without defeating it?”

My best guess is that each demon can only take one part of a person at a time. So, by taking Hyakkimaru’s right leg, it gave up his voice. If that’s not the case, then I have no idea why Hyakkimaru suddenly regained his voice. But, if you have an alternate theory, I’d love to read it in the comments.

As a side note, I’m amazed at how quickly Hyakkimaru has learned language. Sure, learning how to say Mio’s name after a few days isn’t particularly impressive, but he’s only been able to hear for like a week or two and yet he already understands what people are saying when they speak to him.

There’s also something to be said about learning disabilities for those who don’t have an actual language for the first 16 or so years of their life, but that’s a whole thing I’m not going to get into here because it would take too long.

Fire at the Temple

Ah, and now we get to the part of the review you’ve all been waiting for: the fire temple. I mean, the fire at the temple.

Once Hyakkimaru defeats the antlion demon and regains his leg, he and Dororo head back to the temple. But, before they get there, they see a plume of smoke rising into the sky from the temple.

Remember how I said Mio’s working for both sides of the war would be her downfall? Well, the time for that downfall is now. A group of scouts from the original army she worked for saw her enter the camp of the enemy army, and so when she returns to their camp, they capture her on suspicion of being a spy.

And, as is usually the case in these sorts of circumstances, a fair trial isn’t held. Instead, the soldiers go to the temple where she lives with her children, set it on fire, and then slaughter everyone in sight. By the time Hyakkimaru and Dororo arrive, the bodies of the children are strewn across the ground and Mio is barely alive.

Hyakkimaru avenging Mio from the anime series Dororo
Hyakkimaru avenging Mio

Mio then dies, and Hyakkimaru goes on a rampage, killing all but one of the soldiers present. The only reason one is allowed to escape is because Dororo stops Hyakkimaru because he’s afraid he’ll turn into a monster if he allows his rage to dictate his actions.

I liked this scene. It subverted my expectations, works as a character growth point for Hyakkimaru, gives Hyakkimaru yet another reason to defeat his father, and frees up our main duo from being tied to a single location. Also I just like seeing sword fighting in anime so there’s that.

Conclusion

These past two episodes of Dororo were great. I still wouldn’t say the series as a whole is great, but it’s good. The buildup of the arc of the first episode and a half was compelling, and the climax, although short, was devastating. That said, it still didn’t really make me feel anything.

Although I watch a lot of shounen and action series, drama is really what I like most in anime, and there’s just something the Dororo anime is missing in the drama department. I can’t exactly place my finger on what’s missing, but when you compare it to some of my favorite series, it’s clear that Dororo just doesn’t stand up to the competition.

So, what did you think of this week’s episode of Dororo? Were you expecting this outcome? How did it make you feel? Let me know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this review then be sure to click the like button ❤ down below. You should also give me a follow over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And, speaking of Twitter, there’s currently a poll running on their regarding this upcoming Sunday’s post, so make sure you cast your vote.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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