Dororo Episode 20

Dororo Episode 20

The story of the Nue

While I didn’t find the demon’s storyline in this particular episode to be all that unique or interesting, I still thought it was a really good episode overall. There were some themes carried throughout the episode that were interesting, and we learned some major information regarding Hyakkimaru’s body.

The theme present throughout the episode was the change in Hyakkimaru’s heart. At the beginning of the series, and in fact for a large portion of the series, Hyakkimaru was fairly indifferent towards Dororo. However, more recently, and especially in this episode, he shows a much warmer side to his companion.

In the beginning of this episode this change in his heart is signified by him giving Dororo food and asking her to tell him more of her stories. Before this point, while he may have cared for Dororo, he never showed any real interest in her life before they met or her thoughts on the world.

But, as we’ll see, this theme becomes twisted as the episodes carries on. We’re made to believe that Hyakkimaru is becoming more human, but physically this isn’t actually the case.

Sumire Saburota and Nue

If you’ve watched Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, then you might be familiar with a creature called a Nue. In that series, it’s the personal summon of Sumire Kakei. Also I know this review isn’t about Boruto, but my reviews of that series will be coming back once the next major arc begins.

Anyway, a Nue is essentially the Japanese version of the Greek Chimera. It’s a monster made of different animal parts, often including “the face of a monkey, the legs of a tiger, the body of a tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog) and the front half of a snake for a tail.”

Now, that description is just one that comes from Wikipedia, but like Chimeras, Nue don’t necessarily always follow the traditional description. In this particular case, it has the face of a demon, the mane of a lion, the body and front legs of a tiger, the hind legs of a hawk, and the front half of a snake for the tail.

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

The fact that a Nue is this episode’s demon doesn’t bother me in any way, but the storyline that goes along with it does. The Nue works alongside a ronin “samurai” by the name of Dice-spot Saburota. After leaving his mother to die when they were attacked by the Nue, he now lures other travelers to their deaths.

If this sounds familiar, that’s probably because it’s a fairly similar storyline to the one involving Shiranui and his two demon sharks. In fact, just as Shiranui feeds a portion of himself to his sharks, Saburota eventually feeds himself to the Nue to make it stronger.

Dororo and the Boulders

After their first encounter with the Nue, when they’re initially betrayed by Saburota, Hyakkimaru and Dororo are knocked off a cliff in a rock slide. Upon awakening, they find that Dororo’s left arm is caught under some of the boulders, and due to not having real arms, Hyakkimaru is unable to free her.

I know I already brought up Boruto when talking about the Nue, but this also reminded me of Obito Uchiha from Naruto: Shippuden. However, it was obvious that Hyakkimaru wasn’t just going to leave Dororo to die the way Obito was left by his comrades.

That said, I truly believed that Dororo was about to have her arm cut off by Hyakkimaru in a desperate attempt to free her. You see, not only was she stuck, but there was rising water, meaning if she wasn’t rescued quickly, she would drown.

But for some reason Hyakkimaru never seems to even consider cutting off Dororo’s arm, even when she’s completely submerged underwater and he still hasn’t moved the boulder a single inch. Instead Biwamaru shows up just in the nick of time and pry’s the boulder off Dororo’s arm with his own sword.

It’s nice that Biwamaru saved Dororo and all, but I feel like his character is kind of like a walking Deus ex Machina. He appears to rescue or give information to Hyakkimaru and Dororo whenever they need it most, and that kind of takes away from the story a bit. But don’t get me wrong, I still like him.

In this particular case though, I think it would have been much more interesting for Hyakkimaru to have at least been forced to consider cutting off Dororo’s arm. Since his entire purpose in life is reclaiming his own body parts, it would have been interesting to see him have to decide to rob Dororo of one of hers, even if it meant saving her life.

Hyakkimaru’s Heart

And now we get to my favorite part of the episode, when Hyakkimaru kills the Nue after it consumes Saburota. We don’t actually get to see this portion of the fight, but we do see the aftermath. Dororo finds pieces of the Nue scattered around the forest, and eventually Hyakkimaru with his blade through Saburota’s chest.

Saburota then says that he now sees Hyakkimaru isn’t actually a human, and we see a red patch of Hyakkimaru’s soul where his heart should be. Not only is this significant because it implies Hyakkimaru’s soul has been tainted, but it pairs up nicely with some information we’re given about the Hall of Hell earlier on in the episode.

Hyakkimaru kills Saburota from the anime series Dororo
Hyakkimaru kills Saburota

One of the demons featured in the Hall of Hell, presumably the main demon, has recently started giving of the faint sounds of a heartbeat. Is this why Hyakkimaru’s soul now has a red spot where his heart should be? Has it been claimed by this demon now that the Goddess statue has been destroyed?

It’s possible. Though it’s also possible that Hyakkimaru’s soul has begun to turn red due to his obsession with reclaiming his body, and the heartbeat in the demon statue beginning around the same time is just a coincidence.

Even so, there’s one other thing that doesn’t seem to be a coincidence, and that’s the fact that Hyakkimaru doesn’t win back a part of his body. Just as was the case when he defeated the nine-tailed fox demon, Hyakkimaru once again fails to reclaim a lost part of his body after defeating the Nue demon.

Instead, we’re shown that the “main,” heartbeat demon statue in the Hall of Hell appears to gain more power when the statue next to it cracks. My guess is that due to having Hyakkimaru’s heart, this demon is now receiving the body parts Hyakkimaru should have been reclaiming.

So at this point the main demon should have three of Hyakkimaru’s body parts, and I only think there are four left for him to reclaim in total: two arms, his eyes, and his heart. With that in mind, there should theoretically be one more demon battle before the final one to end the series.


What did you think of this week’s episode of Dororo? Did you find the new information we were given about Hyakkimaru’s body to be as interesting as I did? And, if he had to make the choice, do you think Hyakkimaru would have cut off Dororo’s arm to save her or not?

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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