Anime Review: Dororo

Author: Ian Webber
Twitter: @darksummerwind

It’s near the end of the year and the start of a new decade, which means more new anime to catch up on while the never-ending list of shows I need to watch grows ever longer. But over the Christmas weekend I binged a new anime on Amazon Prime named Dororo (not Durarara, another great show but completely different, though if you haven’t seen that either, go watch it!). Twenty-four episodes later, I can definitely say that this show is worth the watch for those who want to start off 2020 right if you haven’t seen it already.

Dororo is set during the Sengoku period of Japan, near the territory of Lord Diago, where constant warfare, plague, and famine have driven him to desperate measures to save both his pride and his people. Abandoning his faith in the Buddha, Diago turns to twelve demons and makes a deal with them. He promises them anything in exchange for making his land prosperous once again. Coincidentally, his pregnant wife just happens to go into labor soon afterwards and just as the baby is born, a bolt of lightning strikes from the sky and when everyone can see again, they are aghast to find the baby is nothing more than a body of boneless, featureless flesh that is somehow still alive. Diago, against his wife’s protests, decides to have the midwife carry the baby off to kill it. Instead, taking pity on the baby, she sends it off down a river on a boat. Cut to a young wayward thief named Dororo who encounters a ronin named Hyakkimaru while being attacked by three thugs. Hyakkimaru is revealed to be the same baby from years ago whose body is now made of prosthetics, including a pair of swords hidden underneath his fake arms. He now roams the land in search of the twelve demons in order to kill them and gain his body back. Saving Dororo from the thugs, the pair journey together to gain back Hyakkimaru’s humanity.

From the get go, the story got my attention. It reminded me of a Greek epic with a hero on a great quest to retrieve something of value to him that he lost such as Orpheus’s quest into the Underworld for his love, with mixes of tragedy thrown in as well. The show does a great job of expressing Hyakkimaru’s struggle with regaining his body and thus his humanity, showing how his regaining what was taken from him without his consent could possibly not only hurt him, but could turn him into the very things he’s been fighting against. Hyakkimaru realizes that his struggle to regain his body and humanity comes at a cost. His quest hurts the people of Diago’s land who thrive unknowingly because of his sacrifice. Every time he kills a demon and gains a part back, more of Diago’s land goes back to being a barren wasteland full of suffering for the innocent people living there.

The coloring for the animation is very muted; flashbacks are mostly in a toned-down black and white, while the present is made up of dull colors sometimes broken up once or twice by more normal tones whenever the characters are near a beach or rice field. It gives a sense of bleakness to the current state of affairs the country is in, driving in that feeling of hopelessness. The only downside I’d say for the show is that somewhere near the middle, around episode fifteen or sixteen, the animation gets a bit cheap and they cut to a lot of wide shots to save on drawing character features so most of the time you’re looking at stick figures. This only lasts those episodes though and I particularly like that style because I think it fits with the theme of that arc. It picks back up after that and the ending fights are probably going to be in quite a few people’s top ten fight lists for 2019.

I give this show my full recommendation as something you should be watching. It is on Amazon Prime but you can pick up a full thirty-day trial for free, binge, and then quit if you don’t want to continue it. You can also wait for the Blu-ray to come out as well and then binge it. Happy New Years to everyone and happy watching!
Anime Review: Dororo Anime Review: Dororo Reviewed by Blerds Online on Thursday, January 02, 2020 Rating: 5

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