It’s dawning on me that Dororo is looking to be a monster of the week type of story; at least for the time being it does. Last episode, Hyakkimaru and Dororo are in some village and run into a monster who has one of the former’s missing body parts. That more or less happens again in this episode, just with two monsters this time and which one Hyakkimaru needs to kill serves as a bit of a mystery for the viewer. I probably won’t mind the format. It’s not like I dislike “monster of the week” to begin with and given the general premise of Dororo, it’s not only justified but preferable for the demons to be battled one at a time.
What will really keep Dororo afloat as a series is the quality of the chemistry between its two leads. It’s shaping up quite well so far. Given Hyakkimaru’s stoic personality and the fact that he literally can’t talk right now, it helps to have Dororo around. The little thief is quite the chatterbox which compensates for his companion’s silence as well as lead into some one-sided conversations. One could maybe argue that Dororo helps keep the plot moving forward. Were it not for Dororo’s keen ears and silver tongue, it’s doubtful that Hyakkimaru would learn of the village featured in this episode, get hired for a bounty job, and stumble upon one of the demons he needs to slay. Dororo also seems to act as a viewpoint character in the show. Just as we, the viewer try to decipher what the deal is with Hyakkimaru, so is Dororo and that parallel helps us better connect with the aforementioned wanderer and figure out what is making him tick.
A curious (though not necessarily permanent) addition to the cast is Biwamaru (Mutsumi Sasaki), a blind priest who actually showed up at the beginning of Episode 1. A bit coincidental for him to appear now (especially without aging…) though perhaps he is present so that Dororo can better learn more about what is going on with Hyakkimaru. Apparently, Biwamaru and Hyakkimaru share an ability in which they can see the “colors” of one soul, allowing them to readily recognize who is good and who is bad.
This little bit of lore actually plays a lot into this episode, specifically in regards to the monsters of the week. The first one with the strange bell turns out to be harmless (despite being the target of the bounty) while the real threat is actually in the guise of the village leader, Bandai. Hyakkimaru recognizes this thanks to his ability but Dororo does not, leading to the latter feeling baffled for a good chunk of the episode. Once the confusion clears up though, Dororo recognizes his mistake and he acknowledges that perhaps the one who is actually blind is him. While a lesson for the day, I’m hoping that Dororo will further expand on this development. Perhaps Dororo will mature from this experience and learn to trust the adults in his life when it comes to judgment calls. I’m also curious what will happen when Hyakkimaru will regain his real eyes. Will he lose his ability as a result? How might that change affect his view and understanding of the world?
I really only have one complaint with this episode and it’s a scene early on where the narrator explains to us that Hyakkimaru can’t see or hear as well as his ability to see the colors of one’s soul. Not only is it too direct, it also feels unnecessary. Just seconds later, Dororo assumes that Hyakkimaru can’t see or hear him anyway. A couple of minutes after that, Biwamaru explains the soul seeing ability to Dororo. It would’ve been so much better to just let the viewer figure these things out and the revelations play out naturally. The fact that the narrator also calls Hyakkimaru by his name feels detrimental. That reveal is meant to be a big deal at the end of the episode but its impact is robbed a bit since the show prematurely reveals it at the start.
Then again, if a superfluous narration is all I really have to criticize Dororo then clearly, this show is still doing just fine. I’m still really digging this show so I’m going to keep watching it.
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