I kind of knew what was going to happen, and yet that didn’t lessen the blow of the tragic end at all. Terrible decisions led to terrible consequences continuing this neverending cycle of pain and anguish. Last week I was too shocked to even let out a tear from my eye, but this time it’s full-on waterworks from me. I always am excited for a new episode of Dororo, but this time I was actually afraid to watch it.
I can’t even pinpoint which part of the episode was the most heartbreaking. Was it learning about their dream of owning a rice paddy? Mio and the children dying? Hyakkimaru turning berserk, possibly unleashing the monster inside him? Dororo doing everything in his power to help Hyakkimaru? There’s so many things and my mind is racing. But if I had to pick the worst part of the episode, it was Hyakkimaru embracing Mio’s corpse, with his first words being her name. I think that put me over the edge the most. It was tragic, heartbreaking, but so significant and a little beautiful that his first word was her name. It showed just how important Mio was to him. Whatever kind of love it was, it definitely was love and you can’t tell me otherwise.
I will have to say though, that the pacing was a little rushed this episode. I feel like things in the end happened too quickly and wasn’t savored. I would have liked that maybe Tahoumaru’s part was saved for the next episode just so the moments between Mio and Hyakkimaru were longer, and the soldiers suspecting Mio as a spy was revealed a little earlier. Even then, those issues are small because the storytelling of the show is still so damn solid that everything else in the episode made up for its small setbacks.
I feel like I haven’t talked about Dororo as much but I’m going to praise this child because he’s nothing short of amazing. Upon finding out about Mio’s prostitution, you could see how conflicted he felt but he never judged her for it. He knew the only reason she was doing it was for survival. Even though he’s young, he knows about prostitution through his travels with his mother. It was the only job his mother would never do, but because of that she ended up dying (i’m guessing of starvation?) He praises Mio because she’s doing it to live, so I’m glad he never judged her. Another thing is how protective he is of Hyakkimaru. I feel like Hyakkimaru hasn’t been as close with Dororo (or the plot is making it that way) but I hope he cherishes this little boy now, especially since he experienced his first loss. Dororo has always been looking out for him, this episode even feeding him and talking to him, asking him not to become a monster. And in the end in his rampage, Dororo was the one to stop Hyakkimaru so he really wouldn’t become a monster. Even though she died, Mio didn’t lose because she had her seeds for her rice paddy. Hyakkimaru couldn’t lose either. He couldn’t lose himself. While Mio was a significant person in his life, Dororo is just as significant as well. I hope we see them form a stronger and warmer relationship after this, mostly on Hyakkimaru’s side because Dororo has been nothing but caring and kind to him. He’s so young and yet Dororo is so strong, I just love this child. Also, with him talking about his mother I’m really so curious to learn about Dororo’s backstory and how he lost his parents. Of course, that signs me up for more pain and depression.
Hyakkimaru’s aura has always interested me. We saw that he always had a little bit of red inside of him, with the old man deducing that it’s the remnants of the demons that were in possession of his body parts. As Mio sang to him, the red streaks in his aura completely disappeared. But depending on his emotions, it can go out of control. I can’t imagine how awful his aura must have looked at the end but thankfully Dororo talked him out of his rage. Hyakkimaru is still new to many things so it’s easy for him to just turn into a terrifying monster killing machine. Let’s hope in the future he doesn’t go down that path.
My favorite moment of the episode definitely was the one with Hyakkimaru and Mio. It was the only fluff we got this episode but there was still some sadness to it. It was very cute that Mio tried coaxing him into speaking, laughing when learning that his own voice was too loud for him. But it took a little sad turn when she asked him not to stare at her so much. Even though she said she’s not ashamed of prostituting herself, she still believes the color of her soul is filthy. But Hyakkimaru reaches out to her and gently grabs her face. She notes how much she doesn’t dislike his hands and touch, and I think Mio was slowly falling for him. At least, that’s how I saw it. It just pains me to no end that Hyakkimaru was never able to tell Mio that her soul was always a pure white color. The scene was both adorable and sad and furthered added to their bond. Hyakkimaru reaching out and touching her face was very special, and I think it was his way of comforting her. He could hear and feel her pain as she spoke, and even though he wasn’t able to tell her that her soul was white, maybe that touch was his way without words.
This is just an extremely tragic story. Both of them made awful decisions that ended up costing them everything. Hyakkimaru pushing his body too far ended up with him losing his leg. Again, not letting his body rest and being too stubborn goes back to the demon and kills it (getting his leg back). Him being impatient meant he didn’t stay behind to protect Mio and the children. Mio, admiring Hyakkimaru’s resolve, ends up working herself hard and working in both camps. Doing this led to the misunderstanding of her and the children being spies, ending in their deaths. Mio working harder ended up costing her and the childrens’ lives and dreams, Hyakkimaru regaining his leg was at the cost of losing someone dear to him. The story was woven together so well with their actions causing their consequence and stays within the realm of realism. It’s dark and unforgiving, but not in a forced way.
Though I’m upset it had to come to this. I already predicted Mio was going to die from one of the PVs and Mio fading away from Hyakkimaru in the OP. I just don’t like this trope of “main character falling in love only to lose their love” just so it can add development to his character. They gave Mio a lot of depth but in the end ended up as another throwaway character which is such a damn shame. You can add to Hyakkimaru’s character without killing her off, you know. I think it would have been more bold if MAPPA had made the decision to change the source material and made Mio survive and make her a recurring character, like the old man. Of course I’m biased because I just want some more happy and cute moments, but is that such a bad thing?
The one guy surviving is probably going to bite them later as he might tell Daigo about a boy with sword arms. When it comes to Tahoumaru, he suspects that both his parents are hiding something from him. His mother obviously cares for him but we see that she still can’t get over her loss of Hyakkimaru, and we know that Daigo is getting suspicious and his probably thinking about him as the land around him is failing. He’s probably putting two and two together. I can understand Tahoumaru’s position, though I wonder how he’ll react when he learns the truth.
As much as this episode was extremely painful and depressing, it was still amazing. It hurt seeing Hyakkimaru go berserk, and while it was satisfying to see those soldiers die, it hurt me as well because it hurt to see Hyakkimaru lose himself in that moment. The animation was amazing and the scene was brutal, and I love how much more expressive Hyakkimaru has been even if he expressed anger and pain this time. It was still incredibly well done.
It looks like we’re going to go back to demon hunting next week judging by the next episode preview. I’m just begging for this show to slow down for a bit and give us just a bit of fluff. Please, I think we need it badly.