「縫の巻」 (Nuu no Maki)
“The Story of Nuu”
In past episodes, we have only seen small snippets of Hyakkimaru’s mother Nuinokata, whose guilt over holding onto the sin of letting him go to preserve her husband’s kingdom continues to disturb her psyche. But in Episode 22, we’re given a welcome change of pace when Nuinokata sees her chance to properly atone for Hyakkimaru by leading Dororo to safety. It has been difficult to get as invested in Dororo throughout the second cour, but I have to say that this episode is the first one in this half that has left me fulfilled and excited to see what will happen given that it offers more insight on Nuinokata and her desire to see her son again.
With all of the vague doomsayer dialogue we’re usually left with for your standard Nuinokata scene, it was a breath of fresh air for this episode to dive inside of her mind in a way that explains why her guilt racks her mind to this day and her decision to free and follow Dororo. She had already planned to help Dororo break out because she didn’t want another child to be used by their Kingdom, but the scolding Dororo gave her for telling Hyakkimaru she couldn’t help her compelled her to put her foot forward. This combined with having the chance to bond with Dororo placed Nuinokata in the right position to make amends by facing Hyakkimaru directly. Even though she does make this decision under the guise that she would be charging into dangerous territory that could easily claim her life if Hyakkimaru is still feeling vengeful, Dororo’s influence could help guide her towards the right path on being honest with Hyakkimaru about seeing the beauty in him while she was holding him as a baby.
Through Nuinokata’s presence, it also emphasizes the growth that Dororo has developed throughout the anime with the moral conscience that she holds dear to herself. Although Hyakkimaru has been unreceptive to Dororo’s criticism or pleas, she’s able to find a breakthrough when she has the chance to talk with Nuinokata about her connection with Hyakkimaru. In this episode, Dororo almost acts as a life coach, giving Nuinokata the criticism she needed to hear about shunning her son away for their village’s sake and the motivation she needed to explain why she’s been so torn up about him after all of these years. Despite her initially rocky perception of Nuinokata, Dororo is quick to see the warmth that she had within her by curling close to her as she hides and encouraging Nuinokata to tell Hyakkimaru exactly what she told her when she talked about the devastation she felt when she was separated from baby Hyakkimaru and the endearing feeling she felt when holding him.
Above all else, this episode set a precedence for what will shape Hyakkimaru’s conflict as Tahoumaru, Mutsu & Hyogo happened to inherit the eyes and arms that he’s been looking forward to the most. I did prefer Nuinokata and Dororo’s side of the story the most within this episode as it had the most heart with Dororo trying to get Nuinokata to express her true feelings to her son while Nuinokata decides to spend her time with Dororo being far more compassionate and empathetic. That and the darker aspects of the episode were spent either setting up the moment where Tahoumaru and his retainers were gifted Hyakkimaru’s missing parts or showing Hyakkimaru go on his comically violent rampage through Daigo’s men using his flame pony of vengeance. However, it was hard not to get hyped up when Hyakkimaru found out that Tahoumaru and his retainers took his missing arms and eyes. With that level of adrenaline built up over the confrontation between Hyakkimaru and Tahoumaru now that the former has an even bigger reason to go agro and kill his brother, it’s been the first time in a while that I’ve been itching to see what’s in store for the next episode of .