Dororo Episode 9

Dororo Episode 9

The story of the mercilessness

This week’s episode of Dororo is yet another one which almost entirely takes place in the form of a flashback. And, for those of you who may not be aware for whatever reason, this means the episode is primarily in shades of grey and brown, with the exception of blood which is bright red.

However, this week blood wasn’t the only thing which had color in the flashback portions of the episode. The Manjushage flowers which were depicted multiple times throughout the episode and represented Dororo’s parents were also bright crimson.

Dororo hates the Manjushage because they remind him of his parents. But, contrary to what we, and the nun taking care of him after he gets sick, initially assume, this isn’t because he hates his parents as well. Instead, he hates the Manjushage because they remind him of losing his parents.

The flashback which covers most of the episode is Dororo recounting the story of losing his parents when he was younger and how the Manjushage were so influential to him during this time. We also learn why Dororo acts the way he does, and how his view of the world was formed.

Interestingly, we even meet a character from Dororo’s past who may return later on in the series as an antagonist for him to overcome, just like how Hyakkimaru needs to defeat his own father. However, something tells me Dororo won’t defeat his enemy through combat, but rather through the use of his wits.

So, let’s take a look at Dororo’s origin story and see just how he came to be the rambunctious child we know today.

Hibukuro’s Brigands

Dororo’s parents were Hibukuro and Ojiya. They were originally farmers, but later formed a band of brigands after their town was destroyed and their friends and family were killed by samurai. It’s never explicitly stated, but these samurai were probably serving under Lord Daigo.

But, unlike other brigand groups, Hibukuro’s band doesn’t harm or rob civilians. Instead, this ragtag group of former farmers solely attack the samurai, who they see as the dogs of the lord and enemies of the people.

It’s in this kind of environment that Dororo grew up, and from a very young age he wanted to be like his father; a proud warrior who fights against the bad guys. But, his mother wouldn’t let him go into battle with his father, which is probably for the best considering he seemed to be around five at the time.

Dororo and Hibukuro from the anime series Dororo
Dororo and Hibukuro

However, one day the battle came to Dororo when the samurai launched a counterattack on the brigand camp. It was then that Dororo first saw the reality of war. While he previously talked about what his father did as “beating up bad guys,” he now saw that war was nothing but death for both sides.

But, just because he now knows what it is that his father really does doesn’t mean he thinks any less of him. While Dororo may not like the fact that people are killing each other, he also seems to understand that there’s a reason his father and his comrades are willing to risk their lives.

Unfortunately not all of Hibukuro’s comrades are willing to continuously risk their lives, and he’s betrayed by his close friend, Itachi. Itachi thinks that they should join the lord’s side and become samurai themselves now that they’ve made names for themselves, but Hibukuro refuses.

The Samurai

Before one of their attacks on the samurai, Itachi seems to have gone ahead and struck a deal with the lord and his men. In return for a position as a samurai, he’s sold out his fellow brigands. Interestingly though, Hibukuro is only injured, not killed, which may imply his safety was part of the deal Itachi struck as well.

But, now that Hibukuro has been injured and all of his men have been taken by the lord’s forces, he and his family have nowhere left to go. Thus begins the next portion of Dororo’s life in which he travels from town to town with his mother and father in search of food and shelter.

It’s at this point that his hatred of the Manjushage flowers is solidified, because upon asking why their petals are red, his father responds that they soak up the blood of those killed in battle. And, not long after, his father becomes one such casualty.

Dororo looking at Manjushage from the anime series Dororo
Dororo looking at Manjushage

Hibukuro’s time runs out when he’s found by a samurai who recognizes him from a previous raid he lead. As is typically the case, the fact that this samurai was spared during that time has now spelled doom for the one who chose to show mercy.

After Hibukuro’s death, Dororo and Ojiya continue to wander between towns to survive. But, one day they stop at a temple to receive rations from the local samurai and discover that the traitor, Itachi, is among them. While Dororo wants to fight him, his mother convinces him not to, likely out of fear that Itachi won’t show mercy.

Since Itachi now works for the lord who I can only assume is Daigo, I’m expecting him to show up again later on in the series when Dororo and Hyakkimaru finally clash with Daigo’s army. It’ll be interesting to see just how the relationship between Dororo and Itachi will end.

Will Itachi be killed by Hyakkimaru? Will Dororo use his brains to trick Itachi into being killed somehow? Or, maybe Itachi will sacrifice himself to save Dororo out of remorse for betraying Hibukuro.

In the end, Ojiya dies from starvation due to feeding Dororo instead of herself. She dies lying in a field of Manjushage flowers, and from this point on Dororo was alone.

Gender Reveal Party

You may have noticed that ever since my first Dororo episode review I’ve been referring to Dororo with male pronouns. Well, it was revealed this week that Dororo isn’t a little boy, but actually a little girl. So from here on out I’ll be referring to her as such.

However, while this reveal may feel major at first glance, it doesn’t really change anything. Even Hyakkimaru doesn’t seem to care if Dororo is a boy or girl, so why did Dororo go so far to hide the fact that she was actually a girl?

Part of the reason may have been due to the fact that men would have had more freedom and opportunities at the time. From traveling around with her mother after the death of her father, Dororo likely learned that women don’t have the same opportunities that men do.

Back in episode 6, The story of the Moriko Song, part 2, Dororo mentions that no matter how tough things got the one job her mother wouldn’t take was prostitution. This shows that Dororo has a fairly good understanding of what kind of life a woman without a husband can realistically lead.

But, the reason for Dororo hiding her gender aside, I also want to briefly discuss the potential significance of this reveal. As I mentioned, the fact that Dororo is actually a girl instead of a boy doesn’t change anything as far as the story is concerned, so what might this be trying to tell us?

Perhaps the moral behind Dororo’s gender reveal is that it doesn’t matter whether someone is a boy or girl, they can still achieve the same things. Despite being a girl, Dororo has still lived her life as a boy, which shows that gender roles can be crossed.

Conclusion

At the very end of the episode we also see a scene of Daigo learning of Hyakkimaru’s survival. He doesn’t yet know for a fact that the swordsman with prosthetic arms is his firstborn son who he assumed was dead, but it’s clear that he suspects this is the case.

But, what may be even more important is that his other son, Tahoumaru, overhears this information. He doesn’t yet know that Hyakkimaru is his brother, but since he heard there’s a lone swordsman who’s causing issues for his father, I’m guessing Tahoumaru will go in search of Hyakkimaru to fight him and prove his strength to his father.

But, what do you think is going to happen? And, what did you think of this week’s episode and Dororo’s true gender reveal? Let me know down in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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