Dororo Episode 23

Dororo Episode 23

The story of the demons

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this in at least one of my previous episode reviews, but Tahoumaru is probably my favorite character in Dororo. He was already a great character before this week’s episode, but this episode really did a lot to emphasize his role as Hyakkimaru’s foil.

I think what I like most about him is that he’s not really the villain of the story despite working against Hyakkimaru. Hyakkimaru is himself more of an antihero than a true hero. This in turn makes Tahoumaru an antivillain, if that makes any sense.

An antihero is someone who sometimes does the right things, but often for the wrong reasons. Hyakkimaru is fighting against demons, but he’s doing it out of selfishness.

From this definition of antihero, an antivillain would be someone who does the wrong things, but for the right reasons. I find this to be a great explanation of Tahoumaru’s actions and ideals. Sure, he’s working with demons to kill his own brother, but he’s doing so to save the rest of the civilians living on Daigo’s land.

On an unrelated note, it was revealed that Hyakkimaru’s body parts Tahoumaru, Hyogo, and Mutsu are currently in possession of might actually be the final three Hyakkimaru needs. Last week I went through the body parts he’s reclaimed and has yet to reclaim, and I noticed we were short by one.

Even accounting for his eyes (which count as one), and arms (which count separately), he would still be missing one body part. Because of this, I’m still fairly convinced that his heart is the final piece of the puzzle, but with only one episode left I’m not sure how there’s enough time to wrap everything up if that’s the case.

Demon Horse

Also last week I had mentioned that since Tahoumaru had the purple accents under his eyes that it meant he may be possessed by the twelfth demon. However, I noticed that in this episode, Hyogo and Mutsu also had these purple accents, so I guess it’s just to represent that they have been granted power by the demon.

I get that this is a supernatural series, but I do sort of think the abilities granted to Hyogo and Mutsu by the demon were a bit much. Not only did the demon grant them, and Tahoumaru, Hyakkimaru’s body parts as replacements for their own, but it also gave them superhuman physical abilities.

In Tahoumaru’s case, we see that he’s now able to react to Hyakkimaru’s superhuman-like attacks. That’s all well and good, but what we see from Hyogo and Mutsu crosses the line just a bit as far as I’m concerned.

Tahoumaru witnessing the deaths of Hyogo and Mutsu from the anime series Dororo
Tahoumaru witnessing the deaths of Hyogo and Mutsu

While Tahoumaru takes on Hyakkimaru, Hyogo and Mutsu fight the demon horse that teamed up with Hyakkimaru (which there is still no explanation for). Even after severely wounding the horse, Hyogo and Mutsu are defeated by it.

The horse rips off Hyogo’s head with its mouth, and then kicks Mutsu so hard that she loses her replaced arm along with a significant chunk of her chest. But although these are clearly fatal wounds, they’re not enough to immediately stop Hyogo and Mutsu.

Even without a head, Hyogo’s body stands up once more to deal one last blow to the horse. And the same goes for Mutsu’s body, which flies up into the air before making one, final attack. I get that this was the demon’s power at play, but I would have preferred the horse to simply succumb to its earlier injuries after killing those two.

However, regardless of how it happened or what their bodies do, it’s important that Hyogo and Mutsu are killed here. Their deaths allow for Hyakkimaru to reclaim the arms he had lost, meaning he only needs his eyes from Tahoumaru.

Land of Daigo

The land of Daigo is more than just the physical land over which he rules. It’s also the people who live and die on the land. So when Tahoumaru exclaims that the arms and eyes granted to himself, Hyogo, and Mutsu belong to Daigo, he really means they belong to the people.

But Hyakkimaru doesn’t want to give up his body for the sake of the people. After all, it’s his body and it was stolen from him, he never willingly gave it up. In this sense, Hyakkimaru is the “right” one and Tahoumaru is the “wrong” one.

However, as I mentioned earlier, the opposite side also has a valid argument. If Hyakkimaru simply sacrifices himself, then all of the people living on Daigo’s land will prosper. And it’s not just Lord Daigo and Tahoumaru who believe this is the way it should be.

Most of the civilians who live on Daigo’s land also seem to think that Hyakkimaru should give up his own life so that they can live in peace, or at least those who know about him. As far as they’re concerned, he should be honored to be sacrificed and become the hero of the people.

Luckily for Hyakkimaru, he’s not alone in his views. Dororo also believes that Hyakkimaru shouldn’t be forced to sacrifice himself for people who never cared about him to begin with. And, although it takes her a while to get around to this conclusion, Lady Nui sort of believes the same.

Nui instead suggests that the people of Daigo should work to create a prosperous land on their own and stop relying on someone else to do it for them.

Two Demons

Finally, we have what I assume is going to be the final battle between Hyakkimaru and Tahoumaru. Their fight doesn’t conclude in this episode, but my guess is that only one of them is going to come out alive (at most). It’s possible that they both die.

Unfortunately, while this is a really good fight, it doesn’t have the animation style that we saw from their episode 21 fight. That’s not to say the animation is any worse, it’s just not the particular style I really enjoy for fluid fights.

So why are these two brothers fighting to the death? Couldn’t they find some solution that they could both agree on? Earlier on in the series that may have been a possibility, but no longer. Each of them has been taken over by the rage inside themselves, and it’s safe to say they’re more demon than human at this point.

Tahoumaru fighting against Hyakkimaru from the anime series Dororo
Tahoumaru fighting against Hyakkimaru

However, as much as I enjoyed this fight and everything it stood for, there was one thing that kept bothering me the entire time. Why is Hyakkimaru still using the blades from his prosthetic arms? He has real arms now, and yet he’s holding the blades without hilts, cutting himself.

Now, I get that he’s used to those blades, but still, he has an actual sword too. I mean, why else has he been carrying around a real sword this whole time. Have we ever seen him use it? I can’t remember a time when he has.

Maybe he’ll finally use it in the next episode. I want to see a true sword fight between him and Tahoumaru, not one of these fights where Hyakkimaru is flying all over with two swords. I think he’d be a much cooler character if he used a sword properly like Tahoumaru does.


Overall I have to say that this was a great episode of Dororo. I think the series has really picked up over the past few episodes and I just wish it was more like this for the majority of the series. But what do you think of this episode? Was it good? Bad? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the final episode is available here.

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