Dororo Episode 10

Dororo Episode 10

The story of Tahoumaru

With episode 10, we finally have an episode which follows the potential rival or ally of Hyakkimaru, Tahoumaru. I say potential rival or ally because as of this point I’m still not sure which side Tahoumaru is going to fall on in the battle between Hyakkimaru and Daigo.

Will Tahoumaru side with his father, the lord, and fight against Hyakkimaru? Probably at first. But, what about later on when he learns that Hyakkimaru is his brother who was sacrificed so that Daigo’s land could flourish? Will he still side with his father, or will he join Hyakkimaru in his fight?

The fact that this isn’t yet clear is something I like about Tahoumaru. He’s a fairly straightforward character in that he wants to prove himself to his father, and yet there’s a lot of complexity about him beneath the surface. I could argue for him siding with either Hyakkimaru or Daigo, and that makes him immensely interesting.

Tahoumaru on his horse from the anime series Dororo
Tahoumaru on his horse

However, one thing I’m fairly confident of is that if Tahoumaru dies during this series, he will do so while on the side of Hyakkimaru. If he stays on Daigo’s side until Daigo’s defeat, then I think Tahoumaru will simply become the next lord of his father’s land, but won’t rule it in the same way his father did.

But, if he, at any point, swaps to Hyakkimaru’s side, then I see his chance of death increasing dramatically. This doesn’t mean I’m 100% certain he’ll die if he sides with Hyakkimaru, but I could definitely see him sacrificing himself for his brother if need be.

At the very least, I’m fairly confident that Tahoumaru won’t be killed by Hyakkimaru. Either Hyakkimaru will recognize that he and Tahoumaru are similar, or perhaps Dororo will intervene and stop Hyakkimaru from killing his own brother. Either way, I don’t think Hyakkimaru’s character will be stained by fratricide.

Daigo’s Demons

But, I’m getting ahead of myself, because at this point in time neither Hyakkimaru nor Tahoumaru knows they have a brother. Hyakkimaru doesn’t realize that Tahoumaru even exists, and Tahoumaru only knows about the existence of someone his father is searching for, but has no information beyond that.

Daigo, on the other hand, is now certain of Hyakkimaru’s survival after being abandoned as a newborn. While he certainly had his suspicions after the demon statues were cracking one-by-one, these suspicions have now been confirmed thanks to a ritual which showed Hyakkimaru to him.

However, even after confirming the existence of his firstborn son, he still refuses to tell Tahoumaru about him. The reason for this secrecy seems to be that Daigo wishes to quietly sweep his past transgressions under the rug (or tatami).

If it’s discovered that Daigo has another son, then things could get messy very quickly. First of all, this may mess with Tahoumaru’s succession to his father’s position because he may no longer be considered the heir apparent.

But, what’s far more damaging for Daigo is that his secret deal with the demons could come to light.

If it’s simply revealed that Daigo abandoned his firstborn son due to extreme physical deformities, he would likely be forgiven. But, if anyone learns that the reason for his son’s deformities, and Daigo’s prowess on the battlefield, was due to him making a pact with demons, he would be vilified.

The Monster Crab

And, speaking of demons, there’s one featured in this episode. Or, at least there’s a monster. Since we didn’t witness Hyakkimaru regaining a lost part of his body after the eventual defeat of the monster crab, we can’t really confirm whether or not it was a fully fledged demon.

This monster crab lurks at the bottom of a large lake and creates a giant whirlpool to suck in unsuspecting boats and their crews. Because of this, the locals have complained to officials serving under Daigo, but none of them take the reports seriously.

That is, until Tahoumaru hears these reports. It’s not entirely clear whether or not Tahoumaru believes the story of the monster crab when he first hears them, but what is clear is that he sees this as an opportunity to make a name for himself, and maybe help his subjects at the same time.

I think Tahoumaru’s desire to be a good lord to his subjects is genuine, but I’d be lying if I said I think that’s his main reason for going after the monster crab. As far as he’s concerned, if there does turn out to be a monster, and he defeats it, then his father will have no choice but to acknowledge him.

However, it’s funny to think about how tale of defeating the monster crab would go over with his father if it did turn out to be one of the 12 demons. Tahoumaru would assume his father would be proud, but Daigo would be furious that his son defeated one of the demons he made a contract with.

The Hero Tahoumaru

In his first attempt to defeat the monster crab, Tahoumaru devises a “foolproof” plan. He and his men will go out onto the lake in boats which are tied to the shore. This way, when the monster creates a whirlpool, their boats will be secured in place.

While this certainly works at the beginning, and Tahoumaru is able to severely wound the monster, it seems to be smarter than he expected. The monster begins attacking the boats from beneath, using its massive claws to pierce holes in the bottoms of the boats.

Luckily for Tahoumaru and his men, the monster doesn’t cut their safety ropes, and so they’re able to retreat by pulling themselves back to shore. However, Tahoumaru can’t let this embarrassment stand, and so he devises another plan of attack.

Tahoumaru and his guards, Mutsu (left) and Hyogo (right) from the anime series Dororo
Tahoumaru and his guards, Mutsu (left) and Hyogo (right)

This time, his plan is to bring the monster into his domain (the land) instead of going after it in its domain (the water). But, how is he supposed to lure this monster out of the lake and onto dry land? With the power of engineering, that’s how.

After noticing that the land is dotted with small, connected lakes, Tahoumaru instructs his men to build dams between three of them which form a chain. There’s the large lake which is home to the monster, the middle lake which is going to be the battlefield, and the final lake which is downhill from the first two.

The first dam between the large and middle lakes is left open so the monster can chase a decoy boat through and into the middle lake. This dam is then sealed off and the second dam connecting the middle and final lakes is opened. This causes all the water to rush out of the middle lake and down into the final lake.

Now that the middle lake has been drained, the monster crab is stuck on a dry lake bed, unable to hide from Tahoumaru and his men. When the battle is almost over, the monster is able to break through the first dam and refill the middle lake. However, Hyakkimaru appears just in time to slay the beast and save the day.

Conclusion

The end of this episode when Hyakkimaru appears to kill the monster crab is the first time in the series the two brothers have seen one another. As previously mentioned, they don’t yet know who each other are, but from this point on it’s decided that their fates are connected.

My guess is that within the next episode or two, Tahoumaru will learn that the man he saw kill the monster crab is the same one his father is searching for. This will then cause Tahoumaru to set off in search of Hyakkimaru, with plans to either kill or capture him.

So, what did you think of this week’s episode of Dororo? I really enjoyed it, specifically because we finally got to see an entire episode from Tahoumaru’s perspective. My guess is that the next episode will cover the same period of events, but this time from Hyakkimaru’s perspective.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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