Dororo Episode 21

Dororo Episode 21

The story of breaking the cycle of suffering

This week’s episode of Dororo was definitely one of the better ones in the series. There wasn’t a fight against a demon, but major events for the end of the series were set up, we got some background on a few characters, and there was a great fight between Hyakkimaru and Tahoumaru.

As for the events which are setting up the end of the series, Daigo’s lands are being plagued by droughts, locusts, and disease while their enemy, the Asakura are mobilizing an army. In response, Daigo is mobilizing an army of his own to fend off his enemies, but doesn’t have the resources to spare hunting down Hyakkimaru.

Luckily for him, Hyakkimaru is heading towards Daigo’s lands, and his son, Tahoumaru, is ready to defeat his brother once and for all. Daigo decides to leave the killing of Hyakkimaru to Tahoumaru while he instead focuses his attention on the battle which is surely coming his way.

In order for Daigo’s land to survive, both the Asakura and Hyakkimaru must be defeated. However, there’s one more thing that needs to happen to ensure the land continues to prosper, Tahoumaru must survive to take over as lord after his father.

To this end, although Tahoumaru tells his father that the only two he needs in order to defeat Hyakkimaru are Mustu and Hyogo, Daigo sends another, secret group of soldiers to make sure the prince comes back alive. This group is outfitted with horses taken from the people of Daigo’s land, including one horse which they’re told to bring back in good shape, but then proceed to strap explosives to.

Mutsu and Hyogo

Mutsu and Hyogo are Tahoumaru’s two personal bodyguards; and I’m still not entirely sure whether Mutsu is a man or a woman. Either way, I’ve finally remembered their names (because I wrote them down this time) so I can no longer use the excuse that their names aren’t important enough for me to go back and figure out.

But, in this episode these two play a larger role than they ever have before. Yes, they’ve been fairly important characters ever since their introduction simply due to their proximity to Tahoumaru, but we never really knew anything about them. That all changes now.

For starters, we learn that they’re roughly the same age as Tahoumaru since they were instructed as children along with him. Before this I assumed that they were each at least 10 years older than him, especially Hyogo.

Mutsu and Hyogo as children from the anime series Dororo
Mutsu and Hyogo as children

However, before they were taken in by Daigo and raised alongside Tahoumaru, Mutsu and Hyogo were captives of an enemy of Daigo which we can assume to be the Asakura. As far as I can tell, Mutsu and Hyogo are siblings who were kidnapped by the Asakura after their parents were killed, though they could just be unrelated children who were being protected by adults of the village.

Regardless of who they are, in the end they’re rescued by Daigo and raised to be the personal guards of his son.

Unfortunately for Mutsu and Hyogo, the fact that they’re just now getting a backstory isn’t a good sign. My guess is that both of them will be dead before the series concludes, with Mutsu dying first. It’s hinted that Mutsu has contracted one of the diseases plaguing Daigo’s lands, and when Hyakkimaru sees his(her) life force, it’s dim compared to Hyogo and Tahoumaru’s.

Hyakkimaru vs. Tahoumaru

The fight between Hyakkimaru and Tahoumaru in this episode is probably the best fight in the series so far even if I’m not sure the episode as a whole was the best so far. I enjoyed the art and animation style used in the fight, as well as the reason for it happening in the first place.

So let’s start with why Tahoumaru wants to kill Hyakkimaru since I feel like that’s been explained well over the past few episodes. Basically Tahoumaru is fighting for the people of Daigo’s land and believes that they will prosper once more if the pact with the demons is upheld and Hyakkimaru is killed.

It’s a noble cause to be sure, but I’m not actually convinced that the logic behind it works out. Wouldn’t killing Hyakkimaru void the pact with the demons? I thought it was previously explained that as long as Hyakkimaru is alive for the demons to feed off of then the pact would be upheld, so killing him seems to go against that.

Tahoumaru from the anime series Dororo
Tahoumaru

On the other side we have Hyakkimaru, who has two reasons for wanting to fight Tahoumaru. The first, and more obvious, reason is because Tahoumaru is in his way. If Hyakkimaru is to reclaim his body, he’ll have to get through Tahoumaru first. The second reason, which Hyakkimaru tells us in this episode, is because Tahoumaru called him a demon.

And to be fair, although Hyakkimaru is the one who actually fights and kills demons, he does act more demonic overall than Tahoumaru does. Yes, Tahoumaru wants to kill his own brother to uphold a pact with demons, but he’s doing so for the sake of his people while Hyakkimaru only fights for himself.

Some other notable things that occur in this fight are that Hyakkimaru’s sword is shown to have a teal-colored soul and Mutsu and Hyogo each lose an arm to Hyakkimaru. At this point I have no idea what the various soul colors are supposed to represent, but perhaps Hyakkimaru is going to be killed by this sword in the end.

Midoro

The fight between Hyakkimaru and Tahoumaru ends in a draw, unfortunately. After Mutsu and Hyogo are badly wounded, Hyakkimaru likely would have been able to defeat Tahoumaru if it wasn’t for the interference of the group of soldiers secretly sent to protect him.

These soldiers get rid of Hyakkimaru by knocking him into a crevasse via exploding horse. However, despite knowing that this likely wasn’t enough to kill him, they refrain from going down into the crevasse themselves to finish Hyakkimaru off.

When Tahoumaru attempts to do this, the leader of the soldiers knocks him out with a poison dart so that he can safely return him to Daigo. And, before heading out, the soldiers also decide to kidnap Dororo so that they can use her as bait to lure Hyakkimaru. While I don’t think this is necessary, maybe they’ll set up a good trap.

Last, but not least, we have Midoro the demon horse. Remember that horse that got blown up by Daigo’s men after they were asked to return it unharmed to its owner? Well some random, haunted samurai armor also fell down into the crevasse and somehow brought the horse back to life.

Not only do I not understand why some demonic samurai armor reincarnated an exploded horse, but I also don’t understand why it was thrown into the crevasse to begin with. Did this armor just do that on its own or did someone throw it down there on purpose? Is this literal plot armor?

Conclusion

So what did you think of this week’s episode of Dororo? Did you find Mutsu and Hyogo’s backstory to be interesting? Did you like the fight between Hyakkimaru and Tahoumaru? And, what do you think the deal is with the haunted armor that threw itself into a crevasse after a blown up horse?

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤ down below. Also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on upcoming content or potential schedule changes like the one happening this week. I could tell you what it is, but go check Twitter instead.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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