「しらぬいの巻」 (Shiranui no Maki)
“The Tale of Shiranui”
Coming back from a tense cliffhanger where Dororo is abducted by Itachi, this episode follows her experience as she is forced to follow him until she gives him the second half of the map to her father’s fortune. In the process, we get a general impression of Itachi’s whereabouts after Dororo’s mother passed that shed light on what kind of person he is. However, the revulsion that Dororo has for the twisted nature of Itachi’s mindset has to be put on the backburner when Shiranui summons the demon sharks, Jiromaru and Saburomaru, to devour Itachi’s men.
It’s hard to discuss this episode without mentioning the shark attack that occurs throughout the mid-section of its run-time. Although the demonic shark rampage has got to be the most ridiculous moment in the Dororo remake yet, I have to say it was a treat to see. It was just the right amount of goofiness to see a massive shark straight up gobbling up half of Itachi’s crew as their trek for Hibikuro’s fortune turns into a scene from Jaws. In a moment where Dororo mirrors her father’s spirit and tenacity, she comes up with a plan to use herself as bait to swim up to the boat so that Itachi’s remaining men can harpoon Saburomaru with their swords. On top of Shiranui’s deep love for his sharks that compelled him to feed them his arm, his attachment allows him to synch up with the sharks as well since he’s able to summon them so that they can tear apart Itachi’s crew. When he has the adequate time to mourn Saburomaru’s death after Dororo pressures Itachi not to beat him to death, he riles up the surviving shark Jiromaru to take up arms to murder Itachi in vengeance. This also gives us the treat of seeing an angry shark with man-eyes roar a resounding battle cry in preparation for the second round of gobbling up Itachi’s crew.
Outside of the shark antics, this was a difficult episode for Dororo as Itachi holds her captive. She is rightfully infuriated to hear that Irachi was shameless enough to dig up her mother’s corpse to get the first half of Hibikuro’s map but also has to cooperate with him to survive their fight against Saburomaru. And just because the situation put Itachi in a vulnerable enough spot to open up doesn’t mean he’s given up his awful treatment of her as he forces her to strip to reveal the map, finding out she’s a girl at the same time. There were awkward moments like when she was pouting towards Itachi about being hungry when he had told her the night before about digging up his mother. But overall, it was a serious episode for Dororo where she has to carry herself without Hyakkimaru and prove to herself that she’s as resilient and strong as her parents in the face of danger, adversity, and hatred.
And there’s no better target for hatred than Itachi, who embodies every shameless scumbag trait imaginable. Here’s a guy who betrays his best friend for temporary glory, bounces back-and-forth between people to take advantage of, mocks the family he betrayed while they’re at their lowest points, and even dug up the grave of his former friend’s wife for half of a treasure map. There are attempts to give him a small bit of pity as he knows full well that even the samurai he previously allied with saw him as subhuman for being a brigand and has remorse for desecrating Dororo’s mother’s grave. That goodwill is quickly dashed when he gets back on-shore, forcefully strips Dororo for the map, and upon finding out she’s a girl, continues to hold her up until her map is visible in the light. It’s as if the show is rooting for you to see Itachi get eaten by a shark. But, we may have to put this section of the story on hold for next week as Hyakkimaru rediscovers his father figure Jukai.