Dororo Episode 17

Dororo Episode 17

The story of questions and answers

Hyakkimaru and his father figure, Jukai, are finally reunited in this week’s episode of Dororo. Last week we saw the adventure Dororo was on without Hyakkimaru by her side, and this week we’re being shown Hyakkimaru’s adventure as he attempts to relocate her.

However, Hyakkimaru is missing his left prosthetic leg, and is in need of a new one, which is why he first searches for Jukai. It’s unclear if Hyakkimaru knew it was Jukai he was searching for from the start, but then again, how many people go around attaching prosthesis to corpses.

But, I’ll discuss Hyakkimaru and Jukai’s reunion in one of the later sections. For now, I want to take a look at some of the potentially new information we received about the goddess of protection, the demons, and Hyakkimaru.

I’ve mentioned before that the various colors Hyakkimaru sees all point towards different kinds of souls. There are white, red, green, blue, and gold souls as far as we know. And, Hyakkimaru’s soul was previously shown to be white with tinges of red due to the people he’s killed.

However, it looks like his soul has changed color. When he reaches up to touch Jukai’s face with his left prosthetic hand, we see that while Jukai’s soul is white, the prosthesis appears green, which it hasn’t before. Sure, maybe this was a mistake, or maybe the prosthesis is just happy to see its creator, but that seems unlikely.

The Goddess of Protection

The only other time we’ve seen something with a green soul was the goddess of protection statue. Even the ghost of the nun didn’t have a green soul, hers was gold. So, why is Hyakkimaru’s soul suddenly the same color as that of the goddess? It’s not as though he’s had some righteous revelation.

My best guess has to do with what we’re told by Ojiya regarding the fate of the goddess statue. She claims that the reason the goddess statue lost its head on the day of Hyakkimaru’s birth was because it traded places with the boy during one of the exchanges with the demons.

This means that rather than the demon taking Hyakkimaru’s head, it took the head off the goddess statue instead. So based on that we have a clear connection between the goddess of protection and Hyakkimaru. Not only did she protect him from a demon, but she took his place.

However, the goddess statue has since been lost or destroyed (I forget which), which means its deal with the demon has been nullified. So, since the demon no longer has a reason to hold onto the head of the goddess of protection, my assumption is that it was “returned” to Hyakkimaru.

Do I think this is a good explanation for why Hyakkimaru’s soul is suddenly green? No, but I can’t see another reason for this to be the case unless it really was just a mistake. His character hasn’t really progressed in a positive direction, and I don’t see why else he would be on par with a goddess.

Tahoumaru and the Rat

So, Hyakkimaru hasn’t really developed too much as a character other than becoming a bit more stubborn about killing demons, but the same can’t be said about his brother. Ever since their previous encounter, Tahoumaru has been on a steady spiral down the path towards becoming an antagonist.

But, while I call Tahoumaru an antagonist, I don’t mean that he’s evil. An antagonist is simply someone who works against the protagonist, who in this case is Hyakkimaru. It’s kind of like the opposite of how Ainz from Overlord is the protagonist of his series, but also the bad guy.

Hyakkimaru is kind of a neutral character. He’s not really a hero because he doesn’t fight to defend anyone else, but instead simply fights for himself. Likewise, Tahoumaru is kind of a neutral character because while he fights for other people, he does so against Hyakkimaru.

The ghoul rat from the anime series Dororo
The ghoul rat

But, what the pair have in common is their willingness to win by any means necessary. Neither of them really care about the path they take as long as they get the results they desire in the end. For Hyakkimaru this simply means continuing to fight demons on his own, but for Tahoumaru this is a bit more drastic.

When Tahoumaru goes off to defeat the demon rat we get our first glimpse of this change in his character. Rather than simply killing the demon rat, he has his men set the entire building on fire to make sure it and its children are all wiped out without a trace.

Personally, I think this was the right decision from a pragmatic perspective, but it does show that he’s willing to take more drastic measures in his fight to keep his people safe. Theoretically he would rather burn an entire village to the ground than allow a ghoul to escape, and that’s the problem.

Hyakkimaru and Jukai

And now, the section you’ve probably been waiting for even though I think the others were more interesting. Basically, Hyakkimaru is reunited with Jukai, the man who raised him, and he calls Jukai his mother because that’s how he thinks of Jukai based on Dororo’s stories and Mio.

I get it, it was a somewhat emotional reunion, but honestly I don’t think the emotional bits really hit their mark. Instead, what was more interesting about their interaction to me was how Jukai refused to make Hyakkimaru a new prosthesis, or even give him a ready-made one.

Sure, Jukai’s whole philosophy is to not equip the living with prosthesis because it just makes it easier for them to kill each other, but at the same time I thought he’d be sympathetic to Hyakkimaru’s plight. Yes, Hyakkimaru has killed men, but he sort of did it out of self-defense.

Jukai and Hyakkimaru from the anime series Dororo
Jukai and Hyakkimaru

Really, you’d think that the fact Hyakkimaru is going around slaying demons which would otherwise be preying on humans is a good thing. But, as far as Jukai is concerned it’s not good enough to counteract the fact that Hyakkimaru would eventually have to take other human lives.

However, the big surprise came when Jukai actually sided with Daigo, Ojiya, and Tahoumaru, sort of. He doesn’t think that Hyakkimaru should die so that the land can be prosperous, but he does seem to believe that it’s Hyakkimaru’s duty to keep the pact with the demons alive so that the masses can live in comfort.

Hyakkimaru didn’t ask for his body parts to be stolen by demons, and he hasn’t really done anything wrong. So I don’t see why Jukai also thinks that he should have to live with that burden.

Conclusion

What did you think of this week’s episode of Dororo? Do you think Jukai was right not to replace Hyakkimaru’s prosthesis? Do you think Tahoumaru is spiraling downward? And, what do you think will be the result of the next clash between these brothers? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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