♫ Party is over… we’re back to our regularly scheduled sadness. ♫
Except it opens up with Hyakkimaru literally sniffing everything, even Dororo’s head. Dororo thinks he’s crazy but you have to remember that this is the first time he can smell things. If I were him, I’d also smell literally everything around me. I thought he would have made a face after sniffing her head, like it would have been funny if she smelled bad and he made a face.
Oh, that’s right. She. Dororo’s a girl. The nun that ended up helping them washed Dororo’s clothes as she was resting and she revealed that Dororo indeed is a girl.
Things started to get serious as Dororo passed out from a fever. Hyakkimaru carried her, and my heart warmed as he did his best to get help. Hyakkimaru’s pretty intuitive and ever since he got his hearing back, he was able to pick up some words. Dororo is a given, but he was able to learn to say “body” and “hot” probably from when he met Mio because he had come down with a fever at the time too. Hyakkimaru is always listening to everyone and he’s really taking everything in when he gets a new sense. Like with his smell, he’s smelling everything. With his sense of touch, he stood out in the rain. Hearing might have been the scariest and he covered his ears a lot, but he still payed attention and we’ve seen that he can understand. It’s nice seeing him communicate more!
But this episode wasn’t about Hyakkimaru, but about Dororo and her backstory. Her father was the leader of a group of brigands getting back at the samurai for all they’ve done, which is killing their families and destroying their homes. They lived a decent life until one day one of their own, Itachi, betrayed them and joined the samurai and gave away their location on one of their attacks. I hate Itachi but I can kind of see where he was coming from. He wanted Dororo’s father to live not only through his strength but also with his brains, smartly. But I can understand their pride in not wanting to be associated with the samurai. These are simple people: they’re commoners, farmers, just simple people that lived simple decent lives where everything was taken from them because of the samurai. With Dororo’s father not budging, Itachi took matters into his own hands and took his men and left a crippled Hibukuro and his wife and daughter to travel the country and survive. In almost no time at all, they both were losing energy while Dororo was okay. Finding food was a difficult task and the cannibalism part was shocking. I was terrified that Dororo and her parents would resort to cannibalism as well, but in the end tried finding some food from the corpses of the soldiers. Or money, basically anything. But it was enough seeing one person eating a dead body to make me nauseous, and poor Dororo had to see it with her own eyes.
But this episode showed how amazing and strong Dororo is. She saw so many difficult and horrifying things on her travels. The gruesome death of her father, multiple corpses, blood, skeletons, just death all around, and her own mother’s death. And yet after all of those experiences, she’s still able to keep up this loud and upbeat personality with a giant smile on her face. It’s amazing, but on the other hand it’s sad how fast she had to grow up and mature even though she’s still a child.
But again this episode showed how gruesome war is, even though we’ve seen lots of terrible things. But cannibalism, death from starvation and malnutrition. It just keeps hammering home how awful it all is. Lots of anime love to romanticize samurai but Dororo does not. Samurai were really shitty and we keep getting reminded of that. And while the death and desperate measures affected me, just seeing Dororo’s mother take boiling soup in her hands just to feed Dororo was extremely powerful. It showed her desperation but also how much she loved her daughter, that she would even burn her hands just to feed her. She was a fantastic mother, but unfortunately couldn’t stick around for much longer. I loved the use of red in the flashback, while the rest was in black and white. The red color of the fire, the blood, the burn on Ojiya’s hands, the red of the spider lillies best known as the flower of death where Oyaji died. Ahhh, my heart…
All of these experiences have shaped who Dororo is now, and I feel like she’s kind of took Itachi’s advice whether it’s conscious or not. Dororo is only a kid so she’s not exactly strong, but she used her wits before like stealing things to sell. She is pretty smart, but she’s still a child. Her attachment to Hyakkimaru is a lot deeper now as she was worried that Hyakkimaru was going to abandon her. She’s grown to really care about him and doesn’t want to be alone again, which is why she sticks so close to him. Also with Dororo’s gender reveal, her interactions with Mio before are brought up in a new light.
So, Dororo. Which is it? I know what kinds of arguments I’m going to be seeing on the internet, but I honestly think that Dororo is dressed as a boy as a form of protection. From what we’ve seen, being a girl in this time of history is terrible. Probably to protect herself from sexual assault, she dressed up and has been living as a boy. It makes sense, and there’s not enough information as of right now to confidently say that Dororo is trans (like Dororo’s reasoning). Now I wonder how her gender will affect the plot from now on. Hyakkimaru I don’t think really understands the concept of gender and from what the anime decided to show us, I think he knows? But more like “Okie dokie then.” than a “Nani?!” Also, I’m not sure he was able to understand everything from Dororo’s past but he was probably able to pick up certain things, and he could most likely feel the sadness from it as he himself looked sad hearing it. I think in the end when Dororo was freaking out, it was like he was pondering over Dororo and looking at her in a new light not because of her gender but because of her backstory. And dammit I love their relationship. It’s so pure and sweet.
And just like I suspected, word is making its way to Daigo about a boy with prosthetics. He also caught wind about a baby being sent off in a boat by a midwife from his house. And Tahoumaru heard everything. And from the preview, he and Hyakkimaru are going to meet next time! Uh oh! I’m so excited, I’ve been dying for this. I don’t know if they’ll realize they’re brothers or if something bad will happen but I can’t wait.
As usual, while the episode was depressing and painful it was still great. I already love Dororo but my appreciation for her has grown tenfold. She’s a very good girl and I will protect her! Dammit, I’ll protect her and Hyakkimaru
even though he can protect himself fine.
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Crunchyroll’s title is quite clunky – a better translation would be “The Story of the Misery Chronicles” (the adapted manga chapter also uses this title).
Hibikuro’s death in the manga was more closely tied with his stubborn ideals – a princess travelling in a noble retinue notices the 3 and offers food out of sympathy. Hibikuro’s pride flares up and he rudely rejects her charity, throwing the food back in her face. The guards take offense, and attack and kill the father.
Dororo maintaining her innocence and moral purity despite the many sufferings is likely a thematic move to establish her as the show’s moral core, the heart and soul, as someone pointed out.
“I feel it’s because Dororo is the least morally conflicted character out of all the people we’ve seen so far… (able) to reflect on her actions and situation. In a world where everyone is a monster, either literally or figuratively, Dororo stands out for being the single pure individual who is acting on what she feels (is) the right thing…able to reflect on the (overarching theme) of the Price of surviving against the odds…(while others) are caught in desperate situations not of their choosing…(with) little control (and must fight/morally compromise) to survive”.
Also, Dororo’s been getting many Pixiv fanarts. The Hyakki x Mio ship is strong!
Even Ohagi and Yajirou got fanart too. https://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=73267163
PS. Red spider lilies are associated with death in Japanese culture, since they are poisonous and are commonly found at temples or graveyards.
Misery Chronicles, rolls off the tongue better. Still so sad.
I think they were still able to show Hibukuro’s stubbornness and arrogance at least, even if it wasn’t with his death. I wonder why they would choose to change his death completely? Maybe Tezuka Productions/MAPPA wanted to paint him in a new light, because his actions that caused his death in the manga are really foolish while in this version of the anime he jumped to protect his wife and child.
I like that makes sense. Maybe that’s why the story is named after Dororo.
I love all the fanart I’m seeing! The Hyakki x Mio art is adorable but it hurts as well! Goddammit! T_T
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