Dororo Episode 13

Dororo Episode 13

The story of the Blank-Faced Buddha

The blank-faced Buddha statue is a large statue of one of the wisdom gods, Fudo, which was never completed by its original creator. The carver who had been creating the statue was unable to come up with a face he thought was good enough, and so the statue remained unfinished by the time of his death.

Unfortunately, the backstory of this statue isn’t all that clear, and my guess as to the reason for this is because this arc was likely based on some old folktale. If it’s assumed that the viewers will already be familiar with the basics of the story, then that’s just less that needs to be explained in the episode.

So, keep in mind that the assumptions I’ll be making regarding this statue are based purely on the information given to us within the episode itself.

Dororo finding the Fudo statue from the anime series Dororo
Dororo finding the Fudo statue

The giant Fudo statue is located behind a waterfall where it’s hidden from view. From what I understood, the reasoning behind the location of this statue is that the original creator wanted it to be overlooking the people who lived nearby without their knowledge.

This may seem sinister at first, but I think the creator had good intentions when he began his magnum opus.

He was originally renowned for his calm-faced statues, but as the world became ravaged by wars, people wanted angry statues to reflect that. Because of this, he grew to hate seeing the angry faces, and wanted his greatest work to better represent what he believed was a good statue.

However, after years of creating and seeing angry faces, he could no longer carve a calm face that lived up to his standards. So, it doesn’t seem that this statue was his form of getting revenge on the people who had him carving angry-faced statues, but rather his way of trying to counter all the anger in the world with something calm.

Unfortunately, due to him not being able to finish his work before dying, the Fudo statue became inhabited by a demonic spirit which requires human sacrifices. That’s probably not something the creator would have wanted, as we learn at the end of the episode.

Okaka the Carver

So, who is the original creator of the blank-face Fudo statue behind the waterfall? While he was definitely depicted as a man when he was alive, after his death, the demon possessing the statue brought him back to life in the form of a woman named Okaka.

Okaka could have been his name when he was alive, but it sounds like a feminine name to me, so my guess would be that this wasn’t the case. If you’re more familiar with Japanese naming conventions than I am, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Anyway, now that Okaka has been revived, she (I’ll be using feminine pronouns from here on out) has been tasked by the demonic statue to bring victims to be sacrificed. But, these victims aren’t merely sacrificed any old way; they have their faces cut off by the statue.

We’re told that the statue is attempting to find the right face for itself, but none of the faces Okaka has brought so far are good matches. At least not until she finds Hyakkimaru, whose face she refers to as the perfect face.

Okaka from the anime series Dororo
Okaka

But, how does a woman like Okaka lure her victims (who seem to all be adult males) to the statue for their executions? There are two steps to her plan:

  1. Lull the victim into a false sense of security.
  2. Drug the victim so they can be overpowered and tied up.

The second step is fairly straightforward, as she mixes a drug into the food and drink she provides to the unsuspecting victims, but the first step is a bit more interesting. Thanks to the fact that she’s not a living human, Okaka has some very inhuman abilities.

She’s able to change the appearance of her face and the sound of her voice to match those of a loved one of her potential victim. We see that to her previous victim, she appeared as his (probably deceased) wife, and to Dororo she appeared as her mother.

Unfortunately for Okaka, this trick doesn’t work on Hyakkimaru because he can’t see her, and he also doesn’t know what his mother looks like. We can also probably attribute the fact that her change in voice didn’t affect Hyakkimaru because he hasn’t really heard his mother that much either.

Hot Springs

So, after the demonic Fudo statue and Okaka were defeated, Dororo and Hyakkimaru are able to continue on with their travels. Their next stop is at a nearby hot spring where they find none other than their old pal Biwamaru.

Here they also meet another old man and two young boys. As the boys question Dororo about her travels with Hyakkimaru, it’s revealed that she has some sort of tattoo or scarring on her back which appears to be a map. But, when we’re shown this “map,” I couldn’t really make anything out.

Is there really a map on Dororo’s back? If so, what does the map depict? Is there a secret treasure to be found? Or, is it merely scarring? Maybe a tattoo from her days as a brigand with her parents? My guess is that we’ll learn within the next episode or two, because this seems too important to simply be forgotten.

However, I’m not sure how to feel if it turns out there really is a map on Dororo’s back, especially if it’s one that leads to some sort of treasure. That might be a bit too much of a twist.

But, this also brings up an important question regarding our old “best girl,” Mio. When it was revealed that Dororo is actually a girl, and she asks Mio if she “saw,” what was Dororo really referring to? At the time the assumption was that Dororo was asking if Mio found out she was a girl, but perhaps she was talking about whatever’s on her back.

If that’s the case, then I’m inclined to like the whole map on her back route. I like when series do things later on that then make earlier parts suddenly make more sense. You know, like the entire Monogatari series, especially Kizumonogatari if you watch it in the anime release order.

Conclusion

What did you think of this week’s episode of Dororo? Do you think the creator of the Fudo statue originally had evil intentions? And, what are your thoughts on Dororo’s Yakuza-like back tattoo? Let me know in the comments.

You may have also noticed that this review is being uploaded on Monday instead of Tuesday. Well, now that TenSura is over, my Dororo episode reviews will be in the Monday slot rather than the Tuesday slot.

So, before I end this post, let’s briefly take a look at the Spring 2019 review schedule:

  • Sunday – Boruto
  • Monday – Dororo
  • Tuesday – TBD
  • Wednesday – Shield Hero
  • Thursday – TBD
  • Friday – JoJo’s Part 5
  • Saturday – Demon Slayer

I like having two days per week of miscellaneous posts, so Tuesday and Thursday would be those days. However, I also want to bring something a bit different to my weekly review schedule. As you may be able to tell, it’s basically all shounen action series.

With that in mind, I’ve put up a poll on Twitter to determine what series will be taking one of those two open slots. The two choices are Fruits Basket, which is a shoujo romance series, and Cinderella Nine, which is the baseball equivalent of Love Live! The poll is only up until Thursday, so make sure to get your vote in.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to let me know by clicking the like button ❤ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on my latest content and the polls which determine what that content is. I also write for other sites, and links to that content can also be found on Twitter.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you can become a supporter of this blog, and the benefits you receive for doing so, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of the next episode is available here.

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