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Notables: Animation - MAPPA
Daigo Kagemitsu, the 15th century ruler of a famine- and disease-ridden minor province of Japan, is desperate to turn his fortunes around. He offers to give the 12 Demons that inhabit a local shrine anything they want in exchange. They choose to transform his newborn son into a hideous mockery of a human being. The boy, Hyakkimaru, is abandoned but survives and eventually sets out to win back what was stolen from him.

23 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3630#628]
(Eight episodes watched)

I have mixed feelings about this show. I was intrigued by the Faustian bargain at the heart of the premise, and the way it was being taken seriously and revealed in a gripping manner. The generally detailed character designs seemed to promise sophistication in the story. But I have bad feelings about the cartoonish, almost goofy depiction of Dororo, a homeless waif who will apparently become a friend and companion of Hyakkimaru. The word weird seemed appropriate to describe Hyakkimaru's shocking appearance; only some sort of magic could keep a person with such a mere shell of a body alive. I was left with little idea where this was all going. The episode seemed to race by and be over when most first episodes of new shows would still have a scene or two left to go, which is generally a good sign. The basic premise has yet to be revealed after episode one, but the ANN synopsis says it will involve Hyakkimaru trying to recover all the various body parts that were stolen from him by demons and reassemble himself. I guess I cannot pass judgment on whether this show is worth watching after just one episode.

In part because this show got high ratings at ANN, I watched episode two and liked it a good deal more than episode one. I still have little idea how Hyakkimaru acquired the amazing powers he has, but as long as I don't worry about that too much this can be a fun show. He seems to be a sort of wandering monster slayer, and in episode two he and Dororo investigate a plot in a village. The case was interesting and plausible, while in many shows it is easy to guess the general way a case will work out. Episode three explained a lot about how Hyakkimaru came to be as he is, a partially artificial yet amazing fighter. Apparently each of the twelve demons that screwed him has a monster incarnation, and if he kills it he regains a bit of his original body. We are kept abreast of how things are going for his father, so surely the two will meet again someday. 23 episodes is a long time, but the signs so far are that this show might just be able to remain intriguing throughout its run.

I didn't really 'get' the conclusion to episode four, about a Samurai who has been missing for five years then finally returns to his sister. It seemed like a sad, predictable conclusion rather than one with some meaning to it. It also didn't have much to do with the longterm plot (except perhaps for Hyakkimaru getting his ears back, if that's really what happened). In general, this story isn't moving forward very fast. Hyakkimaru and Dororo solve little mysteries, and sometimes as a result Hyakkimaru recovers some ability (like his sense of smell in episode eight), but the mysteries aren't all that deep or intriguing, and the solutions seldom surprise me. I hear this will be a two-season show, and while I'd like to see how Hyakkimaru deals with the father who betrayed him someday, the thought occurred to me that maybe it wouldn't be worth the long wait.

Last updated Tuesday, March 19 2019. Created Monday, January 14 2019.

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