「守り子唄の巻・上」 (Mamori Ko Uta no Maki: Kami)
“The Story of the Moriko Song, part 1”

Dororo continues to examine the vulnerability that Hyakkimaru undergoes as his quest to regain his senses and body parts end up teaching him the sorrow and pain that can come from regaining the sensations he would need to feel to reach his goal of taking his body back. With his ability to hear returning, Hyakkimaru finds himself in his most frail state yet as he tries to cope with these new sensations he is forced to face head-on through his interactions with new demons, a severe fever, and the sound of singing.

Much like how he faced the concept of pain, Hyakkimaru is initially unable to handle the overabundance of new sounds that reach him. Having him be forced to learn which sounds are connected to which beings is fascinating in that it examines how much Hyakkimaru has to struggle with his newly-gained abilities as he has to treat the world around him as if he’s a newborn. In a world without pain or sound, Hyakkimaru not only has to figure out what it means to discover how it feels to hear voices and feel pain but also bear with having to learn how to handle having both in a cruel and unforgiving world.

Part of this discovery is through a girl named Mio who draws him in with her singing as the one sound he can stand listening to. Because he finds that her song is his only refuge from the suffering he faces with his wounds, fever, and intolerance of sound, he is learning to gesture towards his mouth to let her know he wants to hear her voice and her song. Mio faces tragic circumstances, however, since she is forced into prostitution to take care of wounded children in her war-torn village. While she could keep the children’s living situation stable using the money she makes from Lord Sakai’s army, the desperation to move away from the empty plot of land places her in a tricky situation where she has to start trying to offer herself to Daigo’s army as well to afford to move her and the children away. The cruel nature of her circumstances can only be initially seen through context clues such as her pulling up the sides of her outfit or the fact that she’s visiting soldiers at night, but the episode’s conclusion reveals the agony she endures in the most brutal and wicked way.

The juxtaposition between Mio and Hyakkimaru has such a profound impact in the closing moments of the episode as they both confront immense suffering and how sound plays a role in their responses to trauma. What was once a harmonic song that was soothing enough to help Hyakkimaru cope with hearing sound became agonized humming to keep Mio from screaming as she was raped by soldiers of Daigo’s army. Simultaneously, Hyakkimaru’s fight with a sand demon ended with his one organic leg being bitten off, resulting in the blood-curdling scream me made as the very first noise he’s heard come from his own mouth. While it continues the torment that Hyakkimaru has to face whenever he regains a new, painful sensation, his pain also acts as an introduction to the neverending cruelty of the world around him. Loss of innocence, or fighting as hard as you can to retain your innocence, is a reoccurring theme in this episode, especially as Mio and Hyakkimaru are constantly torn apart by their circumstances. While Hyakkimaru’s first-hand experience of the sensations he regains beginning with that harsh reminder that suffering and live as a living organism go hand-in-hand, Mio undergoes the worst that anyone can go through in a war-torn village by being driven out of desperation to sell herself to afford raising wounded orphans and end up getting brutalized the moment she thought she could make enough to give the orphans a brighter future. Mio’s song was the only thing that kept both of them from losing themselves, but ultimately, it can only do so much in the face of trauma.

In the midst of Hyakkimaru and Mio’s story, we also find out that Daigo’s fortunes are starting to run low in relation to the demons getting picked off. On top of his conflict with Lord Sakai, Daigo’s land is also going through a draught with little end in sight. That is, until the possibility of Tahoumaru coming into the fold to make sure that the kingdom he is set to inherit will be rid of any omens against their prosperity. As the plot continues to have Hyakkimaru gather the parts of himself he’s missing, it will only be a matter of time before he ends up reuniting with someone in his family ready to strike.


  1. Classic Catch-22.

    Killing Demons for Hyakkimaru =

    + he regains his humanity

    – he is becoming less lethal in combat thus increasing the chances of him getting killed

    – is negatively affecting his Dad’s faction resulting in natural disasters, famine, and war costing innocent lives(just ask Mio and the children under her watch)

    1. The humanity that Hyakkimaru gains is fascinating because it’s not depicted as entirely positive. For every new ability that’s returned to him, he receives a new setback.

      Feeling pain again slowed him down the most, but within the past couple episodes, he was also stunted by being overwhelmed by sound and having his introductions to hearing and speaking come from moments of suffering, whether it be hearing a sister grieving the brother he killed or him screaming in agony from the pain of losing his leg.

      And that doesn’t even go into the chain reaction from Daigo losing demonic influence where the lack of stability would cause him to get tangled up in destructive warfare and environmental decay. This anime has been ruthless towards reminding Hyakkimaru of the price he is forced to pay by wanting to feel more human, and hammers on the Monkey’s Paw dilemma he faces whenever he reclaims a new part of himself.

      1. Wow, I’haven’t heard or seen the words “Monkey’s Paw” since grade 9. Interesting short story. Though I am seeing Dororo more of a Catch 22 since Hyaki’s actions whatever it may be are more negatively affecting him and the people arround him than it is doing anything positive. The death of the demons? him getting more anatomically and physiologically complete? the advancement of the plot?

        I have to confess that right after this episode, I wanted Hyakki to stop killing those demons. But for the sake of plot advancement and it’s growth, he should continue.

  2. The foot animation was weirding me out a little last episode, and it’s clearer in this episode that everyone only has one big toe and an otherwise blobbular foot. Though there was one moment where it looked like it was almost showing toes during a single step.

    Speaking of feet, Hyakkimaru loses he one real foot. Not sure how they’re going to deal with that. Also shows just how self-destructive his quest is. How many people died due to the existence of the demons, vs how many people will die due to the lack of demons?

    One aspect they’re not really touching on, but continues to puzzle me, is whether they’re treating Hyakkimaru as if he can actually understand the words being spoken. Having never even heard sounds before, there should be no way for him to understand language. I assume he’s mostly just reacting to tone (particularly with Mio’s singing), but there were a couple bits, like reacting to Dororo’s warning of “Left!” that leave it uncertain.

    Not sure you can call it “rape” when Mio is literally selling herself (but I guess the alternate wording would be NSFW). Deciding to sell herself to both camps, though, seems to be raising a death flag. There doesn’t seem to be any logical reason for her to change up her behavior like that.

    1. Because Hyakkimaru relies on body language, he was probably able to see gestures or find context clues that would help him understand Dororo more easily. Or maybe feel the reverb in people’s voices to make out what they are trying to communicate with him. Language would be out the window, so it appears that Hyakkimaru would respond more through what he can see via his sight.

      As for Mio, it’d be easier to point to rape because she was apprehended by her village’s opposing army, it was a group that perpetrated it, and much of the horror from the scene stems from both Dororo’s reaction and Mio painfully humming her song.

      1. Because Hyakkimaru relies on body language, he was probably able to see gestures or find context clues that would help him understand Dororo more easily.

        Ah, right. He can likely ‘see’ Dororo point left, even if he doesn’t know what “left” means. I keep forgetting he’s not entirely blind when outside of a fight.

        Still not sure on how he responded to the priest’s narrative, but I guess if there’s one word he’s likely to have learned by now (with the implication that it’s been at least a month since he regained his hearing), it’s “demon”.

        As for Mio, it’d be easier to point to rape because she was apprehended by her village’s opposing army

        Eh? She wasn’t apprehended. And how do you know they were the opposing army?

        Although reviewing things, the priest does make a comment that further exacerbates the issue of Mio working both camps: “For strangers like us to go near them now would be suicidal.” Mio may be known by the men in the Sekai camp (since she lives in that territory, and has visited them often), but would be a complete unknown in the enemy (Hyakkimaru’s father’s) camp, and thus similarly suicidal. If there’s any place she’s [i]actually[/i] going to be raped, it’s there. (And not be particularly surprising, given the “everyone must suffer” motif of the show.)

  3. The part where she tells the samurai she’s looking for work – her face to me looked like she’s trying to steel herself/show some determination but at the same time looks like it’s just on the surface/could break any moment.

    Definitely did not expect actual irreversible damage like that. Perhaps they could bring it back, considering the whole thing’s like a quest to bring body parts back – but I think it’s great if they don’t. Would love if they made it back to that prosthetic maker (and show him how Hyakkimaru has progressed) but I don’t think he has enough awareness of that as an option.

  4. It was a good episode, but the moment they mentioned Mio working at night, it was very clear what she was doing and that made this episode a very painful watch for me. 🙁 I just hope that she’ll make it out alive.

  5. The song that she’s singing is very beautiful and (I’m pretty sure it’s
    the same song) was used in Sora no Otoshimono season 1 ED 12.
    It’s one of those melodies that very timeless.

    I kinda figured that she was selling herself after the first few mentions.
    Hopefully, there will be a non-death ending for her – I wonder if she’ll
    become one of the companions?

    I like how this series isn’t all roses – for each piece that he recovers,
    it’s use isn’t automatic and sometimes regaining that part is a liability.
    So, at the start I was thinking a dark(ish) series that eventually goes
    light, but now I’m not so sure.


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