The Tale of Hyakkimaru and Dororo - A Tezuka Production
by: Gari Chutney
Osamu Tezuka, the Godfather of Anime, has certainly blessed us with the gift known as 'Dororo'. As part of the Winter 2019 simulcast, Tezuka Productions (partnered with Mappa Studio) released the series celebrating its 50th year since the first 1969 anime adaptation. Using current animating techniques coupled with a revamping of plot and storytelling, Dororo is a series that will impress most while possibly boring some.
First of all, who is Dororo? Dororo is an orphan child who hustles to get by. Fairly precocious and ambitious, Dororo often gets into the wrong kind of trouble. Eventually, Dororo encounters Hyakkimaru, a person without personality.
...And skin, and eyes, and limbs.
I wonder why the anime is called Dororo when Hyakkimaru's story is so intriguing. Hyakki is the first son of Daigo, samurai and lord of his land. Around the time of Hyakki's birth, the economy of Daigo's land and surrounding territories are suffering. Famine and war ensues, and people die when they are killed. Fed up with his citizens dying and crops failing, Daigo abandons his Buddhist beliefs and makes a pact with several demons to revitalize his land. In exchange for protecting his land, he sacrifices the livelihood of his newborn son. Hyakkimaru, literally a hollow being, is ripped from his mother's arms and tossed away.
What makes Dororo a fascinating anime has to be the various people that Dororo and Hyakkimaru encounter. Some stories stand as moral lessons while other stories will just leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Despite the polarity, with each fateful meeting, Hyakkimaru becomes closer to his goal, and quite honestly, it's worth the journey.
According to other fans, Dororo takes a hit when it comes to animation and story progression. Around halfway through, the quality drops and for some that is a deal breaker. In addition, compared to other anime that was currently airing during the Winter 2019 semester (Quintessential, Kaguya-sama, Shield Hero, etc.) the story line may appear to stagnate after awhile. To be honest, Winter 2019 had a lot of decent releases which would make committing to an episodic show like Dororo that much harder. All in all, watching Dororo is a great way to pass time and enjoy Tezuka's work. Would recommend if you enjoy action.