Since the days of Ninja Scroll, I have loved anime about samurai (or ninjas), demons, and lots and lots of blood. I always found those kinds of shows interesting so, naturally, Dororo piqued my interest. Not every show gets this premise right. Was Dororo able to capture the mystique of this genre?
First off, for those who think this title sounds familiar, it should. This was a 26-episode anime series back in 1969 based off of a manga by the legend himself, Osamu Tezuka! 50 years later, and this classic piece of anime/manga history is being re-adapted… just with episodes less.
The first episode centers around Daigo Kagemitsu. He steps into the Halls of Hell and strikes a deal with the devils there, turning his back on Buddha. He says his lands have been plagued by famine. He wants his lands to prosper and for him to rule over them. In return, he will give anything that the demons ask for. Daigo ends up getting an X-shaped scar on his forehead as a result of this pact with the demons.
A short while later, his wife gives birth to his son which he immediately names his heir. That’s when lightning strikes and the deal is fulfilled with the demons. They take his son’s organs. Eyes, nose, mouth, skin, you name it… it’s gone. Realizing what had happened, he orders his wife to bear another heir and to dispose of the sacrifice.
The baby, still alive mind you, is placed on a small wooden boat and sent off to its fate, leaving it up to luck on whether it survives. 16 years later, we meet Dororo, a mischievous boy who swindled some traveling merchants. The merchants give chase and eventually catch Dororo. A strange samurai stands atop a bridge as the merchants are beating Dororo senseless for his crime. Suddenly, a demon rises up and attacks and this man ends up saving Dororo. The rain begins to fall, much like the day he was born. Lightning strikes and suddenly, his flesh and organs are restored.
We come to the end of the first episode.
I was really sucked into this world. Everything from the premise, to the atmosphere, the animation, to the soundtrack meshed together and produced that classic anime feeling. Of course, it is a 50+-year-old story but it gave off a feeling of being an instant classic.
I’m not quite sure if I’m enjoying the opening theme. Japanese pseudo hip hop theme doesn’t really fit this but in the same sense, it actually does. I know that doesn’t make much sense but it’s the kind of song that feels out of place but yet it still fits and works. It’ll probably grow on me after a while, though. There’s no doubt that the ending song is phenomenal and I can’t wait to hear a full version of it!
YES – It’s very rare that two anime in one season makes me go WOW. First, it was Promised Neverland and now it’s Dororo. Two completely different shows but each have their own reasons to be watched. If both shows carry forward their respective levels of quality, it will be extremely hard to pick an anime of the season between them. If you’re a fan of classic swords and demons set during old Japan, this is going to be a must-watch for you!