Considering what a high point last episode was, it’s appropriate to see Dororo settle its two protagonists back on their usual travels. And of course, that means another new demon for them to confront. This time around, the opponent is a spider-like creature who would later go by the name, Ohagi. After a brief fight against Hyakkimaru, she disguises herself as a fatigued woman, drawing the attention of a passbery named Yajiro who proceeds to offer her food and shelter. Obviously, this should bode badly for the human but rather than consume his life force as planned, Ohagi actually becomes drawn to him. The rest is history. To be honest, I’m surprised to see another love story in this show considering what recently happened.
I don’t mean this as a detriment but I did find myself horribly puzzled with this episode. Thing is, Yajiro seems a tad too accepting of the fact that his love interest is a spider demon. Ohagi doesn’t really hide her true nature all that much but when the cat is fully out the bag, Yajiro doesn’t even blink. No shock. No confusion. Nothing. I guess demons are commonplace in the world of Dororo and maybe Yajiro suspects Ohagi has her reasons for, you know, consuming the life force of various men. That or maybe the heart simply wants it wants. It’s all still weird though.
This isn’t to say the relationship between these two guest characters doesn’t work. Yajiro being so understanding and kind may be on the absurd level but it does lend credibility to Ohagi’s interest in him. That she is taking a liking to him is convincing too. During the scene where she prepares to take Yajiro’s life force, you see her restrain herself and instead finish the food the host has left her. This is even in spite of the fact that normal food provides little vitality for her. So by the end of the episode, her willing to protect Yajiro from guards trying to arrest the man is believable.
We’ve previously seen Hyakkimamru refrain from harming a youkai if his soul seeing vision informs him of their decency but this episode is the first time we see the complications of such judgment. Curiously, when they confront again, Ohagi’s soul is in the white, possibly due to lack of harming people or her feelings towards Yajiro. Either way, the change in color causes Hyakkimaru to hesitate from drawing his blades. Of course, when Ohagi starts consuming people’s essence again, her soul reverts to red and Hyakkimaru resumes attacking her though I’d argue the context doesn’t make the situation black and white. As inhuman as her actions are, the intent is techhnically out of self-defense and to protect Yajiro from the guards.
In the end, her protectiveness does show through, shifting her soul to white again. I can’t help but notice that Hyakkimaru didn’t immediately cut through her like he normally would with most monsters. Maybe that’s just a directorial choice to make the scene unfold but I like to think the swordsman did wait and see what color his opponent’s soul would take again. It’s changed enough times after all. One also has to wonder if Ohagi happens to be one of the demons in possession of Hyakkimaru’s original body parts. The only sure way to know is by killing but since Ohagi’s soul is white at the moment, sparing her and allowing her to flee with Yajiro is the only decision that feels right for Hyakkimaru.
Meanwhile, Dororo once again learns that things are not always what they seem. In fact, it’s not just the monster of the week that teaches him that lesson. When Dororo and Hyakkimaru learn of a supposed serial kidnapper, the young boy immediately suspects Ohagi. However, they later learn that the culprit is Yajiro, having been helping townsfolk flee because their lord is enforcing harsh working conditions. Come to think about it, this same lesson was taught to Dororo back in Episode 2 albeit in different circumstances. As weary of the world as this kid may be, he’s surprisingly still quite naive.
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