OP: 「Kaen」 by Ziyoou-vachi
「醍醐の巻」 (Daigo no Maki)
“The Story of Daigo”
With the first week of the Winter season underway, we start out strong with double episodes of Boogiepop and the first episode of Tezuka Osamu’s samurai epic Dororo. The first episode of the anime goes beyond capturing the spirit of the original by making sure that presentation is vital. As a result, what we’re left with is an engaging story that aims to captivate and draw viewers into the world and struggles that plague Hyakkimaru.
From the start, we are given full background on the circumstances behind his birth when his father Daigo makes a pact with 12 demons to give him the power to lead the world into prosperity. The catch is that they take his son Hyakkimaru’s organs and body parts, leaving him to be a birthed out as a living husk. We don’t get as much information on what lead him on his quest or in the direction of the medicine man who would offer him prosthetics as a customary sign of respect for the deceased. What we’re given, however, is highly substantial as we learn about men like Hyakkimaru who can sense those around them because they were robbed of most other sensations, and how Hyakkimaru is able to slowly recover parts of himself with every demon he slays. His family’s side of the story is also intriguing because Daigo notices that the demons that wished for his strength are slowly getting cut down, and his mother still has difficulty coping with Hyakkimaru’s presumed demise. Even though Daigo was quick to await the birth of another son, Hyakkimaru left a strong impression on her right away and losing him only deepened the sorrow in her heart. It’ll be interesting to see what the anime does with Hyakkimaru’s family now that he’s taking on a more active role in hunting and killing the demons that robbed him of his body.
What will help us understand Hyakkimaru’s personal life, however, is the fact that we are able to look in from the perspective of Dororo, a young and clever bandit who takes joy in pulling the wool over villagers. Dororo’s scheme to resell stolen goods ended up being really funny as were the tactics Dororo used to escape from an irate group of men. Since Dororo seems to do the most to try to level with the stoic Hyakkimaru, it will be neat to see what kind of dynamic they bring to the table. Where Dororo’s talkative, mischevious, and curious demeanor is just the right level of personality to strike a balance between Dororo’s energy and the quiet determination of Hyakkimaru.
Dororo‘s first episode knocks it out of the park with supernatural intrigue, fluid animation, and superb story-telling that leaves you anticipating for what’s to come. The set-up towards Hyakkimaru’s hunt for his missing body parts begins on a high note as we are not only treated to high-quality action scenes, but also an enthralling setting that brings spirits and demons to life in the Sengoku era. Even if the manga came from 1967, this anime adaptation reminds me of samurai anime from the early aughts that revel in the visceral grit of battle and the vibrant lushness of ancient Japan. It also helps that the OP and ED are both catchy and pleasant on the ears. I can’t wait to see more of how Hyakkimaru’s tale unfolds now that Dororo will be joining his party.
ED: 「Sayonara-gokko」 () by Amazarashi