To be perfectly honest, I am very rarely a fan of episodes devoted to a single backstory. I often feel they’re forced drivers of sympathy, the worse offenders being backstories in the Big Three (like Naruto) which seem to just outdo themselves with tragic childhoods. So when this week’s episode of Dororo started, I did let out a sigh of disappointment. But oh boy, was I so wrong. The episode opens with the bloody crucifixion of soldiers, hammered in by none other than the mysterious prosthetist. As the episode continues we learn of his wish to atone for the sins of the past, his loss and ultimately a new beginning with Hyakkimaru.
This episode of Dororo was so incredibly well crafted, from the story to the art, everything was near impeccable. The doctor’s character was tragically human, someone to understand but no untouchable from the evils of the world. I’m really enjoying the themes of divine intervention and the parallels between certain characters. Most notably our doctor daddy (that nickname is not gonna stick) was saved by a boat so too was Hyakkimaru. Furthermore both their lives being saved seem to be based on ‘luck’ or fate. Also just generally, the story of a baby wrapped in cloth sent along a river to survive reminds me a lot of the biblical story of Moses.
One aspect of Dororo‘s design I’ve really come to appreciate is the use of colours. Typically in media, vibrant colours represent ‘good’ or ‘happiness’ and dull or dark colours are more for tones of sadness or evil. The reverse is done in this series, vibrant colours more often than not represent evil or turmoil. As the prosthetist walks through the crucified bodies the screen is filled with a blazing orange and yellow, much like fire. But any scenes with Hyakkimaru and his upbringing are often dull in comparison. Even with Hyakkimaru’s ‘third eye’, individuals which are good or non-threatening are a light grey, not pure white which would be a bright colour.
Like I mentioned in last week’s episode, there’s little spots of detail that don’t quite make realistic sense. Most notably, in this episode, was the stick of wood Hyakkimaru used for training. It was just a normal pole, nothing sharp on it or anything, yet he was slicing demons in half left, right and centre. I know he’s got some extra senses, but nothing really explains turning some wood into working like a perfectly sharpened steel blade.
I honestly can’t believe how much I’m enjoying this show. This backstory episode was perfectly placed, giving insight into both Doctor daddy and Hyakkimaru’s past. In just a twenty minute episode, we’re given so much insight into the different characters are play here. Even just the short scene of Hyakkimaru’s brother, brought a new dimension to him, and I’ve seen some interesting theories of him flying around online. With episode three done and dusted, let’s begin the long wait for next week’s episode.