Dororo Episode 12

Dororo Episode 12

The story of Banmon, part 2

Because I’ve been writing these Dororo episode reviews every Tuesday, I kind of forgot that the episodes actually come out on Mondays. That means I could have written this review yesterday rather than reviewing the TenSura recap episode.

Anyway, here we are with the 12th episode of Dororo, which means we’re halfway done with the series. Up until this point the series has almost been set up in a monster-of-the-week format, with a few two-parters here and there. But, this dynamic seems to be changing.

We’re finally getting to the “good stuff,” although I think this series has been good from the start. While there will still probably be some monster-of-the-week style episodes, it seems like we’ve now shifted to a more continuous story about the struggle between Hyakkimaru, Tahoumaru, and Daigo.

Hyakkimaru Kagemitsu

For the first time, Hyakkimaru finally learns about where he came from and who his family is. He learns that he has a father, mother, and brother, and that they’re the ruling family of the land  no less. However, the status of his family doesn’t seem to matter to Hyakkimaru.

As for his family members, this is the first time they really meet Hyakkimaru as well. Tahoumaru met him not long ago, but since he didn’t know they were brothers at the time, this doesn’t really count. As far as he was concerned, Hyakkimaru was just a wandering demon slayer.

However, now that Tahoumaru knows Hyakkimaru is his brother, he must confront his parents about their dark past. And, interestingly they have oddly aligned conclusions regarding the matter, despite their differing perspectives.

Tahoumaru, Nuinokata (Oku), and Daigo from the anime series Dororo
Tahoumaru, Nuinokata (Oku), and Daigo

On one hand we have Daigo, who clearly wants to see Hyakkimaru killed so that he and his land can continue to prosper. He claims that this is what’s best for the people, and while this may be true, Tahoumaru understands that it’s really what’s best for Daigo.

On the other hand we have Nuinokata, who Daigo refers to as Oku in this episode so that’s what I’ll be calling her from now on too. While it’s clear that she never wanted any part in what happened to Hyakkimaru, now that the deed is done she doesn’t necessarily seem to regret it.

Yes, she still prays to the Goddess of Protection everyday, and she’s likely praying for the safety of her child who was taken by the demons, but she still recognizes how Hyakkimaru’s sacrifice has helped the people of Daigo’s land. Rather than wanting him to die, Oku likely wants Hyakkimaru to return to the family, but continue to be cursed for the sake of the land.

Tahoumaru’s Decision

And then comes Tahoumaru’s time to choose a side. Will he side with his father and choose to kill Hyakkimaru? Will he side with his mother and want Hyakkimaru to return as a sacrifice? Or, will he side with Hyakkimaru and fight against Daigo and his army?

The fact that this isn’t an easy decision for him is why Tahoumaru is my favorite character of the series. He doesn’t just listen to his parents and follow one of them blindly. Instead, he gathers information and attempts to make his own decision regarding the matter while still following his morals.

On one hand, Tahoumaru knows that what happened to his brother was unjust, and that punishing him for it by killing him would be even more unjust. But, on the other hand, he sees the good that’s come to all the people of Daigo’s land, and unless Hyakkimaru is killed, these people will begin to suffer.

Hyakkimaru vs. Tahoumaru from the anime series Dororo
Hyakkimaru vs. Tahoumaru

In the end, Tahoumaru opts for a mixture of both his mother’s and father’s views. He decides that Hyakkimaru does indeed need to die, but only because it’s what’s best for the people of the land. It’s the classic scenario of, do choose to save one person and let many die, or choose to save many people and let one die?

For Tahoumaru, the choice is clear, at least for now. He knows that Hyakkimaru doesn’t deserve the hardships that have been handed to him, but by the same token, the people of Daigo’s land don’t deserve to have their lives destroyed just so one person can live.

That said, I don’t think this is going to be Tahoumaru’s final decision. So what if Hyakkimaru’s death will guarantee the survival of the people? That doesn’t necessarily mean that his survival will kill them all. Perhaps if all the demons are killed then both sides can live in peace and prosperity. This is the kind of logic which I could see winning Tahoumaru over in the future.

Goddess of Protection

The final topic I want to touch on today is the Goddess of Protection which Oku worships. In the previous episode it was stated that not only does this goddess reside in the idol Oku prays to, but also in the Banmon wall separating the lands of Daigo and his enemies.

Last week I mentioned how it didn’t really make sense to me that the Goddess of Protection would reside in this wall considering it was originally part of an enemy fortress that Daigo burned down. However, from what we saw this week that does indeed seem to be the case.

The nine-tailed fox demon ends up being sucked into the wall due to the Goddess of Protection, or so we’re told. This could still be a misunderstanding, and the nine-tailed fox demon could really be what resides in the wall, but for now we really don’t have much information.

But, we do know that the Goddess of Protection really exists.

When Oku attempts to commit suicide, her knife doesn’t appear to go all the way into her chest. From this we can infer that:

  1. She’s going to survive this attempted suicide.
  2. It was the goddess who protected her.

But, how can we be so sure that the Goddess of Protection saved Oku? Because the idol gets left behind during Daigo’s retreat, and is then picked up by Biwamaru. Previously we’ve only seen people or monsters with white or red souls respectively, but this idol was depicted as having a green soul.

I wonder if we’ll see Dororo’s soul turn green by the end of the series since she’s the one who’s been saving Hyakkimaru from turning into a demon himself this entire time.

Conclusion

Before I conclude I actually have one final thing to mention which is that Sukeroku’s mother turned out to actually be alive after all. Last week I predicted that she was long dead because it seemed obvious, but I was wrong.

So, what did you think of this week’s episode of Dororo? And, if you were in Tahoumaru’s position, what would you have done? Would you choose to save your brother or your people? Let me know down in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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