The greedy samurai lord Daigo Kagemitsu’s land is dying, and he would do anything for power, even renounce Buddha and make a pact with demons. His prayers are answered by 12 demons who grant him the power he desires by aiding his prefecture's growth, but at a price. When Kagemitsu's first son is born, the boy has no limbs, no nose, no eyes, no ears, nor even skin—yet still, he lives.
This child is disposed of in a river and forgotten. But as luck would have it, he is saved by a medicine man who provides him with prosthetics and weapons, allowing for him to survive and fend for himself. The boy lives and grows, and although he cannot see, hear, or feel anything, he must defeat the demons that took him as sacrifice. With the death of each one, he regains a part of himself that is rightfully his. For many years he wanders alone, until one day an orphan boy, Dororo, befriends him. The unlikely pair of castaways now fight for their survival and humanity in an unforgiving, demon-infested world.
Dororo had the potential to be truly great, but it wasted it.
I wanted to believe Dororo had well-written characters and deep themes. But truthfully, it had neither. The visuals and directing were promising at first, but the animation quality rapidly declined and the fight choreography became lackluster. There was no substance to the story, it was rarely unpredictable, and the bulk of it was episodic filler. This show had potential with such a fantastic premise, but it squandered it by devolving into a formulaic monster-of-the-week structure.
Dororo is the second adaptation from a manga originally released in the 1960s, and it was first adapted in
1969. Tezuka Productions and MAPPA have collaborated to reboot the franchise with this new darker series; it is violent, gory, and it contains mature content. The premise goes as follows… In Sengoku-era Japan, a baby is born without skin, limbs, or internal organs, but the catch is his father sold all his body parts to demons and in return, they granted him power. And the dad of the year award goes to...! Not him. The demons who were given his body parts live throughout Japan, free to wreak havoc as they please. The deformed baby was set adrift on a river by order of his empathetic mother, and somehow he survived with the help of prosthetics. Later, this baby grows up to be a ronin, Hyakkimaru. It is his goal to retrieve what the demons stole from him by killing them all. At the start of his journey, he encounters the titular character Dororo; he's a mischievous kid with a name that means exactly what he is, a thief. Together they traverse Japan to kill demons and get back Hyakkimaru’s body parts. This is a fantastic plot setup loaded with potential. Imaging the possible routes the story could take inspired so much excitement in me, but unfortunately Dororo squandered its potential and went out with a whimper rather than a roar.
Throughout the vast majority of this overlong 24-episode series, the plot structure is mostly episodic. I expected Dororo to be an epic complete story of Hyakkimaru’s fight to get back what was stolen, in the end, it didn’t live up to its great premise. In the beginning, it was exciting, Hyakkimaru is a blind and deaf ronin with his limbs replaced by swords. He is determined to fight in spite of his defects, so finds a way. We don’t see the training right away, which makes him an enigmatic anti-hero. Right away, the show settles into an episodic structure, at first, the battles are thrilling; Hyakkimaru slices and dices through giant horrifying monsters with blood and gore flying everywhere. The fight choreography is incredible at first; visceral audio-visual feedback with each slash and stab makes combat tense and realistic, but as the show progresses it becomes far less impactful. Choreography weakens to just a simple slice drawn 2D across a monster design, smash cut to the next shot, and boom the demon is dead. By this early point in the show, it already feels like it is lifelessly going through the motions of the plot like a chore. Each monster used to be so incredibly important, he got back an organ or sometimes even a whole ass limb and it felt as banal as if Hyakkimaru was picking up lunch at a fast food drive through. No impact, just progression to the next scene leaving you feeling unsatisfied. It becomes a chore to watch, you just want him to kill the demon, get his body part, then move on to something more interesting.
There are some episodes here and there with good self-contained stories, like Dororo’s bloodstained backstory or Hyakkimaru’s training. These unexpectedly exciting episodes showcased the best art. The visuals CAN be solid, not spectacular, but well stylized and consistent. The gray-scaled flashbacks were somewhat obnoxious with red unnecessarily highlighted. There are less blatant ways of indicating a scene takes place in the past, just gray-scaling it is lazy. It’s like visual storytelling for babies, give me something worth analyzing. If only these episodes didn’t feel haphazardly thrown into the season, they would have been highpoints rather than slightly less average than the rest. Like any episodic plot structure, things somewhat go back to normal at the end of each episode, with the added limb onto the main character. Many episodes don’t feel connected to each other, which lessens the impact of the previous one. After binge watching it I can say it is a very disjointed, which might not seem obvious watching it weekly. It doesn’t flow naturally as a story should, we get a new monster each episode (with the occasional two-parter) and a development episode tossed into the mix at random. Dororo gets a flashback in late in the first cour, and it’s touching if predictable, but it feels forced. He randomly gets a fever at the start of the episode, then suddenly he’s telling us his life story in a fevered haze. This show is made for TV airing, to spark hype each week then be forgotten until it does something different in the next chapter. I don’t want to generalizing here, but it seems like most anime produced by MAPPA have varying degrees of pacing issues and art inconsistencies. Dororo is no exception.
For the most part, the art is decent. Excessive zooming in and out on still images is constantly used in place of animation. The worst instance of this is a giant explosion being zoomed in and out on like an animator dragged it around their screen with a cursor. This happens during the most climactic moment in the entire show! These cost-cutting animation techniques undermine the impact of any scene they are in. The character is art is cell shaded. In other terms, very low in detail for easier animation. Cell shading isn’t a problem on its own but it doesn’t look right on the watercolor background art. I hesitate to call the background art “detailed” because it always looks are so messily drawn. Watching the characters walk across pudgy watercolor backgrounds looks off. It’s as if they were stickers pasted onto the screen rather than a part of the show. This further contributes to characters not being fully fleshed out into real and relatable people. For most of the show, the main perspective is given to Dororo instead. Once Hyakkimaru grows a personality he shares the protagonist role, then eventually his perspective overshadows Dororo—and mind you he has about one personality trait for much of the show. Dororo is developed enough to maintain interest in the first half of the show; he was orphaned at a young age and losing his beloved mother visibly impacted him. By the time Hyakkimaru takes the role as the main character, Dororo is sidelined and he becomes a damsel in distress to be saved in many of the side plots. When the show ends, it feels like he barely mattered to the story at all, other than giving us some emotional investment while Hyakkimaru was an aimless killing machine.
This is the fundamental issue with the two main characters, there isn't much to them. When one of them is developed, the other is unimportant. Dororo follows Hyakkimaru into fights out of habit and belonging, as we learn from his lonely back story. Hyakkimaru is silent because he cannot speak without his organs—which feels more like a plot convenience to avoid writing a character—but once he can speak he needs to learn how. His speech is simplistic, one word at first, sometimes his handicap is played to comedic effect; this is especially annoying in one tonally maligned comedy filler episode. There needed to be gradual character development along the way. But instead, it is episodic, things go back to the way they were. Hyakkimaru is already a capable fighter at the start of the show, and his determination to fight despite his lack of limbs made for exciting fights. As he gains more limbs the show loses what made it so original, it gradually becomes cliched samurai story. Hyakkimaru’s struggle to fight even with defects becomes less of a struggle, he becomes a typical blankslate badass protagonist. Midway through the second cour is a major tonal whiplash. Rather than a continuation of the intense emotional action, the writers opt for an over the top comedic filler episode. It is a mediocre episode in its own right, no action whatsoever with a lame monster of the week. What really gets me is how badly the episode was placed in the series. In truth it doesn’t fit anywhere in a show that takes itself this seriously. Many of the episodes could have been removed entirely to reach the final confrontation faster. Once we do get to the ending it is worthwhile, but by then the damage has been done. Hyakkimaru's characteristic development leaps by the final arc to justify the duality between him and the antagonist. It works at setting up a decent finale that ultimately it felt like an undeserved finale.
Throughout Dororo's twenty-four episodes, one thought was almost always on my mind, "This would be great if..."
If it was shortened to twelve episodes, then the writing would be condensed with more time to develop the side characters.
If they removed the filler and focused more on developing Hyakkimaru.
If they gave Dororo more purpose in the show.
If they connected all the random one-off stories with a main theme.
If it were shorter, then maybe the art quality would have been more consistent.
In the end, I can't say I disliked watching all of Dororo. There were parts I liked, parts I hated, and the rest was average. The most enjoyment I got from this anime was imagining how great it could have been. It is not worth anger, analysis, or remembering, and consequently, I have no reason to watch it ever again.
Older classics from the history books getting back to modern times seems to be one of MAPPA’s hobbies in recent years. We’ve had Ushio to Tora from Summer 2015 and more recently Banana Fish from Summer 2018. Dororo’s remake under MAPPA’s umbrella made an outstanding impression and gives more reasons to bring old classics back. What a time to be alive in this timeline.
The original series aired some 50 years ago in the late 1960s. Most of us probably weren’t alive back then to see this older timer. Manga with content revolving around demons seemed like a popular trend among children those days. The brainchild
behind this work is Osamu Tezuka, who is regarded as a “the father of manga”. With famous franchises like Black Jack and Astro Boy, he goes down in history is a legendary figure.
Dororo is a dark fantasy adventurous tale with supernatural elements and dealing with characters’ emotional journey of discovery. From its very few episodes, I noticed an old school feeling that blends with modern quality productions. The original series had a much simpler animation style with cartoony character designs and black and white quality. MAPPA and Tezuka Productions decided to take their style to bring these characters to modern standards. Immediately, I felt as if the show had a credible outline for its artwork. Consisting of 24 episodes, the roadmap of the show also gives an easy pacing for new viewers. Do note that I have not read the manga but jumping into this anime isn’t much of a problem. We have two main characters – Hyakkimaru and Dororo traveling together during the Sengoku period. Hyakkimaru is the limbless ronin due to circumstances of his birth while Dororo is the thief who joins as his partner during their journey. The two forges a unique bond despite their contrasting differences. And throughout their journey, they face many obstacles ranging from powerful demons, saving people, and overcoming their own personal struggles.
At the heart of the show, Dororo is known for its moody and dark tones. There’s the theme of revenge born from the beginning. The episodic structure (as some fans dubs it as ‘monster of the week’) is a typical style of storytelling for this show. However, Dororo’s intriguing content comes from character development. This is especially true for Hyakkimaru as he begins to develop human characteristics, feelings, and becoming more of himself. Being accompanied by Dororo, they begin to understand each more and more with each progressing episode. At some point, we even see Hyakkimaru laughing, which is something he’d probably never expected from himself. Dororo is also a character that injects a dose of playful energy into the show. Let’s face it, Dororo is a kid but sometimes shows the mature personality of an adult. As a show about survival in a dark and grim world, the duo relies on each other every step of the way. In the latter half of the show, Hyakkimaru’s mentality contains both of a human and demon. His desire to protect Dororo may also be his greatest weakness as he is forced to rely on his demonic side. It makes the overall show very thrilling as viewers will anticipate the consequences of his actions.
In Dororo, notice how almost every character our duo encounter faces some sort of challenge in their lives. Whether it’s about personal relationships or just to survive, this anime makes it clear that it’s not an easy world to be in. There’s carnage with gory content as the show establishes itself as a dark fantasy. The monsters are characterized with a fusion between classic and modern designs while taking ideas from folklore. There’s also a question to be addressed – what really makes a monster? Is human another word for monster? There’s a sense of grey morality explored in later episodes that will no doubt be controversial. This includes the actions of Kagemitsu Daigo and Tahomaru. For their motives and actions that greatly influenced the show’s plot, they can be viewed as monsters. In other words, if we behave like beasts, we are no better than the beasts themselves.
Nonetheless, I don’t see Dororo as a complicated storyteller. The episodic nature and dark fantasy elements brings together a classic adventure. It holds itself together as a visual masterpiece with its aesthetics. Particularly, I find some episodes with the black and white coloring to fit perfectly. What also amazes me is how Dororo doesn’t make battles feel pointless. There’s action to follow, behaviors to observe, and see how each fight progresses change for characters. Hell, such a show with all this despair even has its happy moments. The show’s humor comes off naturally thanks to Dororo’s personality. It doesn’t play out forcefully with questionable dialogues and character interactions. Instead, the character chemistry between our two main leads is what does the talking. The more you watch this anime, the more you’ll feel attached to our duo. It’s not a question of how but the way they develop together in their journey.
For being an iconic classic, Dororo’s modern adaptation will easily get people into the mood for those who has a taste for dark fantasy. Even if you don’t belong in that category, that’s alright because it’s a chance to experience the artistic creativity of Osamu Tezuka. And I’m so glad to be alive in this timeline to experience it.
2019 started off with a bang by having two quality shows air alongside the latest installment of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures—all being strong contenders for Anime of the Year. It was the safest of safe bets that Mob Psycho 100 II, and Golden Wind were going to be great. Usually I feel a sense of relief when that’s proved out, but honestly, both shows were such a mortal lock that I never even worried about it—the euphoria is all from the brilliance of both series itself. Dororo, by contrast, was much more of an unknown quantity which is certainly ironic given that it comes from the
pen of the guy who basically invented both modern manga and anime, and is directed by the guy who helmed Rurouni Kenshin. But this was known as one of Osamu Tezuka’s lesser works, without a definitive ending, and Rurouni Kenshin was a long time ago now. But this is a case where pedigree speaks volumes.
As a viewer, it becomes clear when exactly you’re in the care of master storytellers—without realizing it you’re mesmerized, a door within the fire creaks and all you wish for is to hear the tale told to the end. There’s a real sense of privilege at being able to immerse yourself in a show capable of delivering it. The nature of this series—at least as reimagined by Furuhashi, Kobayasahi, and MAPPA—is extremely cinematic in every way. The series is being directed like a short theatrical film with every episode, and that’s accented all the more by the nature of the story, with each youkai representing a new body part for Hyakkimaru. Stand-alone narratives paired with Furuhashi’s cinematography and the lush backgrounds mean that every episode feels self-contained, with a recognizable introduction, body, and conclusion. That could be dangerous in the wrong hands or with the wrong material, leading to a disjointed feel to the series as a whole, but that appears to be no danger here. Self-contained or not, each episode is contributing a piece of the overall puzzle just as each demon slaying is building towards the completion of Hyakkimaru.
If any anime could ever be timeless it would be a Tezuka adaptation, and Dororo answers the bell. There’s something so timeless about the buddy picture—it transcends not just eras, but language and continents too. Make one of the pairs a kid and you add another layer, and—as Tezuka was especially brilliant at—when you pair two characters who are stark opposites the dynamic can be really powerful. Dororo is a little chatterbox, a force of nature, Hyakkimaru the literal definition of stoicism and impassivity. It’s a recipe for great character chemistry and they complete each other—she (Dororo) becomes his mouthpiece for the most part of the show, guiding him to becoming more human while Hyakkimaru becomes her protector. Both giving each other a sense of hope and belonging in a world that has been unfair to them. I found our duo protagonists were easy to relate to and sympathize with due to how well they are handled, showing layered characterization to their personalities with flaws.
Dororo is an example of the power of great storytelling in anime—there’s just no substitute for it. This series has no gimmicks, no tropes, no pandering or even ingratiation—just a superbly-crafted premise which carries all the dramatic weight under its own power. And while the god of anime and manga in Tezuka explains that to an extent, of course, but this version is so changed from the source material that a great deal of credit must go to the anime staff too. I’m not sure I can remember too many adaptations that have done this kind of giant slalom narrative format, weaving back and forth between original and source content, and certainly not so seamlessly. They manage to pull all the fascinating elements and characters the series has introduced together coherently and its pure and straightforward brilliance, in many ways, are very simple in design despite the subtlety and complexity of the story. You don’t have to reinvent or revolutionize to achieve greatness in anime—you just have to be great, and Dororo is great.
Even without the presence of youkai and curses, the Sengoku period was a pretty awful time to be in Japan. Man’s inhumanity to man seemed to know no bounds, warfare was incessant, and “honor” compelled men to do dishonorable things every day. Add demons tempting us to even worse and you have Dororo’s bloody and terrifying landscape. The genius is in the telling and Furuhashi’s touch is so light and deft—he lets the moments speak for themselves. There so much quiet poetry to this series. It resides in the consistently gorgeous visuals, which tell a story of their own. And it resides in the story itself, which is where the heart of Tezuka Osamu still beats the most loudly in a show that’s changed things quite a bit from the source material. Pathos and tragedy imbue every frame, but the genius of Tezuka is that no matter how bleak a story he’s telling, he manages to convey a fundamental belief that human compassion and love will redeem us in the end. It can be hard to believe that sometimes given what he and Furuhashi show us, but I think that’s rather the point. If the faith of any sort were easy to achieve, it wouldn’t be necessary in the first place.
The story doesn’t pull any punches either—all of the evil, brutality, and savagery humans are capable of is on display in merciless fashion. There are so many crushingly depressing arcs in the best possible way. It’s not possible to produce that degree of pathos without a tremendously high level of writing, which this series clearly has. Watching Dororo grow up too soon for all the wrong reasons is one of the saddest parts of this story for me where she is forced to make decisions where the outcome is a tragedy for herself or the people of the world, or she is a witness to this through Hyakkimaru, in order to survive. This is what evil does—it forces good people to make impossible decisions with no right answers, and that’s the tragedy at the heart of this series. And there couldn’t be any truer words for Hyakkimaru for simply existing due to what his father, Daigo, did to him at birth to achieve power and prosperity. I do believe the question being asked throughout Dororo is that is it better to die with honor or to compromise and live? I think back to Dororo’s father in Hibukuro, and no one can question that he died an honorable death, but he left his wife and child behind, and she died to save their daughter—but not before one of the most gut-wrenching scenes in anime this year, where she shows her devotion by accepting boiling gruel for a starving Dororo in her bare hands in a period of famine.
The narrative structure here is as traditional as it gets—the first cour was used to introduce all the players in the game and set up the board. We now understand exactly what’s at stake here, and mostly understand the people whose lives hang in the balance. The second cour is the reckoning when everyone will have to live with the decisions they’ve made, and irreconcilable desires will clash violently. There’s no question that the story is playing hardball with the moral ambiguities. I personally find the matter of what Daigo did to Hyakkimaru pretty clear-cut—it was evil and should be punished—but now the burden of that decision has been placed on Hyakkimaru’s head. And Biwamaru (a spiritual guide and observer) is not letting him off the hook—he flat-out reminds Hyakkimaru that to get his body back is to destroy his father’s domain, which means hundreds upon hundreds of people will suffer and perish. This situation asks some very difficult questions both of the characters and the audience, of that there can be no doubt. In this world, there are no black or white, only shades of grey.
This is the ultimate moral dilemma Tezuka—and probably at least as much Furuhashi and Kobayashi—have laid in Dororo. As the powerful commit atrocities in the name of the greater good, these two innocents are asked to forgo the chance to better their own lives for the sake of the world that has hurt them so badly. They’re forced to confront the fact that righting wrongs may, in fact, cause great suffering to those who bear no guilt in the matter. It’s a cruel fate, but once more I take small solace in the fact that at the very least, these two have found each other. For me, there’s a distinct sense of hopefulness that seeps through in drips and drops throughout that enriches the diversity of the series as a whole. In a world as dark as the one depicted here it’s nice to see a little light once in a while. And it is not just a single tragic tone either, there are genuine heart-warming moments, some wholesome comedy, and it knows exactly when to implement these elements. If it were tragedy every week, it would soon lose much of its emotional impact. And you have to believe there’s some hope for redemption in this world, or there’s no point in enduring all that existential pain.
The other characters are all great, consistent and well written. Far from stagnant or caricatures. Tahoumaru and Itachi have many of the same characteristics as our protagonists, but they’re misdirected. Biwamaru and Jukai offer love and wisdom, they guide Dororo and Hyakkimaru without holding their hands, and many of the shows questions to the audience are asked through them. Daigo is not a one-dimensional villain, and his actions are mainly the result of being alive in the Sengoku era. And just overall, all the people our main characters meet along their journey all feel like real people. They are charismatic figures with strong resolves and their actions and interactions with each other are all in-character, no one is rewritten. This series presents a true dualistic narrative as few others do. Hyakkimaru and Dororo complement each other perfectly as people as well as they do in narrative terms, with Hyakkimaru’s arc driving the story, but Dororo’s giving everything that happens context and perspective.
Furthermore, Hyakkimaru represents the body of the story and Dororo the soul—or if you prefer, Hyakkimaru’s life is the canvas and Dororo’s is the painting. In a very real sense Dororo, child though she is, has undertaken no less than the task of teaching Hyakkimaru how to be a human being. He’s literally a blank canvas, and she has an image in her mind of the person he truly is (or will someday be). And we can already see evidence of this, a personality emerging in Hyakkimaru as well as a voice. It says something for Dororo’s strength that as much as she’s suffered, she still takes it on herself to perpetually try and lift Hyakkimaru’s soul away from the pain his cursed existence causes him.
The production team at MAPPA with Furuhashi and Kobayasahi at the helm of Tezuka’s brainchild did an amazing job bringing his manga to life. The gorgeous ink backgrounds, the perfect casting, the amazing soundtrack, the impeccable cinematography, and direction—it was just a marvel on every level. Furuhashi’s decision to use mostly black-and-white for the flashback sequences is interesting, given that the original Dororo anime was broadcast in black-and-white. It’s also a marvelous way to use rare splotches of color to really create impact, as he does like splashes of red in a monochrome palette for example, and then more color as the time progresses. The look of the series, which is classic Tezuka character designs and fluid and stylish animation against a backdrop that looks like a series of wall scrolls hanging in a temple or palace somewhere. It is visual poetry of the highest order. All OP and ED are beautifully animated and have great song choices. I personally love the second ED song, "Yamiyo (闇夜)" by Eve.
Dororo is truly like stepping inside a classic Japanese folk tale—it transports you so effortlessly to this turbulent time when death was life’s constant companion. Really, it’s the supreme ease and confidence both Tezuka’s source material and Furuhashi’s direction brings to Dororo that make it the burgeoning classic that it was destined to be. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this series and I am an awe of it. I truly believe and feel that the best of what this year had to offer came in the winter season and Dororo does deserve to be up there with Mob Psycho 100 II and Golden Wind as Anime of the Year contenders. I recommend this series to anyone, its timeless, it has a Disney-esque to it, and is the kind of show that fans of the medium should seek after.
In this day and age we have been presented with remakes of classic anime from various decades.
From Magical Circle Guruguru, Fruits Basket, Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Bogglepop Phantom. With the few exceptions that shall not be named theses remakes have been well received by fans and critics. This leads me to on of the more recent anime remakes Dororo.
Unlike any other remake minus Fruits Basket 2019 I had high expectations as this being done one of my favourite directors Kazuhiro Furuhashi the same director that gave us the underrated cop drama Your Under Arrest, the flawed but highly enjoyable Rurouni Kenshin adaptations and the
atmospheric Hunter x Hunter 1999. Fortunately the series managed to almost perfectly deliver my high expectations as this is easily one of the best anime remake I have seen period.
The story follows a ronin named Hyakkimaru who is born malformed and is required to kill demons to obtain his missing body parts. He is accompanied by a troublesome orphan thief called Dororo during his travel. From there the duo roamed around various countries, hunting for ghouls and demons.
There a lot of things to like about Dororo. For starters this show is very dark both visually and narratively.
It's Sengoku-era of Japan after all. The most darkest period for Japan. The dark nature of Dororo is only enchanted with the show asking us the viewer various deep questions what makes us human and what defines a machine and what makes a monster. Hyakkimaru character arc is a brilliant case study of this. From the first episode he has a personality of a machine where he hunts down demons without breaking a sweat.
As he gains more body parts he starts to becomes more human where he starts to understand the world that he is in but at the same time Hyakkimaru's journey of collecting body part's is slowly breaking him mentally.
Not only the harsh reality of the world starts to mentally creep him he also has to face the fact that he has killed various people along he's journey hunt and as a result it makes Hyakkimaru less of an actual human. This is Dororo biggest strengths by a long shot as it makes you the viewer think about all the actions that Hyakkimaru has done thought he's body part journey.
This is the main reason why it was hard for me to call Dororo a full out episodic series.
Similar to Cowboy Bebop and to a less extant Ouran High School Host Club the series has all the elements of a standard episodic series yet the characters are developing along with the plot.
When the series starts taking the overarching plot approach towards the end it's feels natural thanks to the series strong direction and build up. It didn't pull it's overarching plot from its ass as every single episode of Dororo had a purpose despite it being mostly episodic.
The second best thing about Dororo is how brilliant the world-building is. The series is set in Sengoku-era of one of the most darkest periods for japan yet it does a splendid job of making the world of Dororo feels alive thanks to the spectacular attention to detail towards various locations and races.
Unfortunately Dororo does have some minor faults.
To say that at times Dororo doesn't have enough substance at times is an understatement. Granted that compared to any other MAPPA series excluding Banana Fish. Dororo has the most substance thanks to it's setting, characters writing and thematic exploration but at same time Dororo clearly had its fair share style over substance moments where the writing was put in a bus in favour of visual presentation at times.
This also leads to my second and final problem with Dororo the inconsistent quality of the episodic episodes. Granted there was not an episode in Dororo that I consider to be bad or even average but I still felt like some episodes had clearly better written than others.
The weakest episodes of Dororo went for the more typical approach by featuring less memorable one off characters and stories.
Regardless theses two flaws did not shut down the adventurous party that was Dororo.
A silent protagonist in any fictional work is very hard to pull off as can easily becomes blank stake for that particular work.
Fortunately Hyakkimaru doesn't fall into the same traps of other silent protagonists he is an interesting character from start to finish. His character arc was well-handled thanks to great writing, and he's just a sympathetic character overall despite him being mostly silent.
Similar to a silent protagonist a child protagonist in any fictional work is very hard because they can easily be the most annoying thing in your story. Fortunately the character Dororo doesn't fall into the same traps as most other child protagonists as he's a great and enjoyable character.
She's the perfect companion for Hyakkimaru as she tries to best to help Hyakkimaru succeeds of his journey of getting his body parts back. Her personality is full of life and humanity despite being a child living in a harsh world.
The best part about these two protagonist is their strong character chemistry with each other. I really loved the dynamic duo of Dororo and Hyakkimaru as they have a strong and unbreakable bond. Both Dororo and Hyakkimaru would do anything to ensure that their partner is safe from danger.
The rest of the characters were good. Some of them are better than others, but they all served they roles and purpose in the story.
If, I had two words to describe the visuals of Dororo it would be atmospheric and gorgeous.
MAPPA did a fantastic job of bring this classic series to life with its beautiful soft colour palette, well-drawn characters designs and splendid background secretly that is filled with attention to detail. This is only enchanted with the fantastic visual direction. When the show decides to have a flashback the entire show minus the blood goes to black and white which homages the visual presentation of the original series.
The animation was for the most part is beautifully choreographed and well-animated. It does dip at times notably episode 14-15 but it never dipped to a point of being ugly.
The soundtrack is outstanding. The series uses a mixture of Melancholic and Japanese folk music pieces only enhances the plot and setting.
The same thing can be said for all the opening and ending themes that Dororo has to offer.
The voice acting is strange in a good way.
The Seiyuus that did the voices for Dororo and especially Hyakkimaru were newcomers. With this in mind you would think that the voice acting would be bad because of this but no. In fact, they were amazing as they fitted with they respective roles perfectly.
My favourite Seiyuu out of the two is Rio Suzuki as Dororo as she did an outstanding job at being the cheeky Dororo to life.
There is currently no English Dub as from June 2019 then again the show has gained a big following from both vintages and casuals watching meaning the series will someday get a quality dub and I hope Bangzoom will be the ones that will dub it.
Dororo is what an anime remake should be.
It takes everything that was great about the original series from 1960s and expanded it to new heights with its beautiful presentation, smooth soundtrack, strong characters and intriguing plot that has a purpose.
It did have a few faults along the way but the faults didn't shut down the grim and fascinating party.
Amazing job MAPPA.
You finally made a modern anime classic.