Dororo Episode 8

Dororo Episode 8

The story of Saru

This week’s episode of Dororo introduces yet another single-episode character, Saru. Saru is a boy who lives alone in the mountains and wears the pelt of a wolf. For an unknown reason, he was forced to live like this after his parents died when he was younger.

The townspeople who live nearby chased him out of his house and up into the mountains, so we can assume that perhaps his parents weren’t liked by the townspeople either. However, one woman from the town took a liking to Saru and occasionally traveled into the mountains to take care of the boy.

Since he didn’t have a name, the woman indirectly named him Saru (monkey) because of the way he looks. Maybe it was his appearance that drove the townspeople into hating him?

Saru from the anime series Dororo
Saru

But, after a demon cloud appears one day, the woman who Saru calls his older sister is going to be sacrificed to appease it. While the woman accepts her fate as her duty to protect the rest of the town, and Saru, Saru doesn’t think she should have to die so everyone else can live.

And, thus he begins his attacks on the procession to the sacrificial altar in an attempt to save his older sister. However, although he’s using a bow, none of his arrows seem to land anywhere near his mark. Is he merely bad with a bow, or does he not really want to kill anyone despite what they’re doing to his older sister?

It’s during one of these attacks that Dororo and Hyakkimaru run into them, and Dororo is able to help Saru free the woman without hurting anyone. But, the freeing of the sacrifice only enrages the demon further.

Nokosaregumo

Nokosaregumo is the name the villagers have come up with for the demon cloud. What makes this cloud unique is that it rains down ash and can appear even on cloudless days. It then descends upon the town and devours the inhabitants.

But, there is one way to save the town from the demon cloud which has been done for generations. This is to sacrifice a woman as a bride to the demon, thus appeasing it. Although the woman is called a bride and dressed up as one, this is essentially a human sacrifice since the women is simply eaten in place of the other villagers.

Later on in the episode we learn that the demon actually takes the form of a giant, flying centipede with a demon head on each end. The dark cloud which surrounds it is merely a miasma of sort generated by the demon to conceal itself.

This also means that the ash rain which can be seen falling from the cloud is actually the skin of the centipede being shed. Therefore, whenever it rains ash, that means the demon centipede is molting and growing larger, probably in response to eating people.

After the woman was saved from being sacrificed to the demon, it goes on a rampage and devours some nearby townspeople. At this point you would think the demon would disappear because it ate some people, but as it turns out, the fact that it was deceived in the first place angered the monster and so it wants revenge.

Hyakkimaru’s Sight

Now that the demon is sticking around above the town because the sacrifice was rescued, Hyakkimaru and Dororo have an opportunity to defeat it once and for all. The only issue is that Hyakkimaru can’t see the beast due to the cloud of miasma surrounding it.

As we know, Hyakkimaru is able to tell demons and monster apart from everything else because they glow red in his “spirit vision,” but in this particular case that vision is a detriment. You see, the cloud of miasma also appears red to Hyakkimaru, and so when he’s inside it to fight the demon, his vision is all red.

Up until this point, Hyakkimaru has solely relied on this “spirit vision” to fight his enemies, and generally move around in the world, so this is the first time in his life that it’s failed him. This then prompts Dororo, Hyakkimaru, and Saru to fall back, regroup, and come up with a new strategy.

But, before moving on to the plan Dororo eventually comes up with, let’s briefly go over the various body parts Hyakkimaru has restored so far. He’s reclaimed his right leg twice, his face, his ears, and his voice/vocal cords.

Notably, he’s still missing his actual sight, and so I assumed this would be the sense he regains after defeating this demon since his “spirit vision” has failed him for the first time. However, he actually regains his nose and sense of smell, which was hinted at in the very beginning of the episode by Dororo commenting on how the mountain pass smelled of sulfur.

It’ll be interesting to see just what sort of trial Hyakkimaru has to overcome to regain his sight, because I really thought this was the perfect story for it. Just like how the Moriko Song arc was perfect for Hyakkimaru just regaining his hearing and how he then regained his voice.

Dororo’s Plan

Back to the plot, Dororo and Saru decide that since Hyakkimaru can’t fight the demon within the cloud of miasma, they need to lure it out of the cloud somehow so Hyakkimaru can “see” it. However, this didn’t seem like a good plan to me at first, because I assumed the miasma cloud always surrounded the monster.

As it turns out, this isn’t the case, and the monster can leave the cloud if it so chooses; it just never chooses to do that. But, the plan for luring the beast out of the cloud is to use Dororo as bait by dressing him up as a sacrificial bride, and then having him run away, leading the demon into the sunlight.

Dororo and Nokosaregumo from the anime series Dororo
Dororo and Nokosaregumo

And, well, the plan breaks down fairly quickly, with Dororo being cornered by the beast. Luckily for him, Hyakkimaru comes to the rescue even in the middle of the miasma cloud.

While Dororo and Saru were coming up with a plan to lure the demon out, Hyakkimaru was coming up with a plan to fight the demon in its own domain. His solution was to use Saru’s bow to shoot arrows at where the thought the demon was, and then listen for the sound of them making contact with it.

Dororo later ties himself to one of the monster’s heads so that Hyakkimaru can simply follow the sound of his voice to know where it’s at. I thought this was a much more interesting solution than simply luring the beast out into the open.

One of the things I love about this series is how we’re constantly being shown how Hyakkimaru uses the senses he has at his disposal to compensate for those he lacks.

Conclusion

So, what did you think about this week’s episode? While I enjoyed it overall, I do wish that more of the episodes were structured into mini arcs like the Moriko Song arc rather than this more episodic format.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to click the like button ❤ down below. And, if you’re not already, go give me a follow over on Twitter @DoubleSama. I tweet out every time a new post is uploaded, which may have come in handy today considering today’s upload is later than usual.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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