Yakusoku Neverland has been the talk of the internet. A suspenseful tale told through the eyes of a child—a truly wonderful show. BUT not the show we’re discussing today. No, today it’s all about Dororo.
Wow. I literally can’t say enough good things about this show. Definitely one of the anime on my watch list that I thought would be a throwaway, Dororo has ENTIRELY shooketh me to my core. Which to me is kind of strange to be honest. I mean, the story is SO straightforward. Hyakkimaru was cursed at birth due to his father making a deal with demons, and this lead to him being born missing limbs, eyes, skin, and organs (but notably still alive. Also notably, this backstory was the most snooze worthy part of the first episode in my opinion). His whole journey is to defeat demons and reclaim his body parts back. Such straightforwardness. Much understandable. The premise isn’t anything to call home about, especially since Dororo was actually an old manga that already had an anime adaption many moons ago. So what made me like this?
Well the art style is way more up my alley than both the manga and old anime, but it’s also a work of pure beauty. Another MAPPA work, (other notably beautiful ones being last year’s Banana Fish and everyone’s favorite winter sports anime, Yuri on Ice!), Dororo is clearly paying attention to delivering smooth fighting sequences and quality animation. Furthermore, their attention to small details are truly something to behold. For example, when Hyakkimaru’s mask finally falls off, MAPPA made sure to show their being a difference between the color of his skin and the color of his nose which was still a wooden piece. The difference was subtle, but very clearly there. The way the scenes are constructed also fits the tone of the anime to a T, and makes the show visually interesting to watch rather than having characters stand stagnant with a single frame shot. So far, it has seemed a little cinematic to me.
But of course the thing that really gets me is how the story unravels. Like I said, I never read or watched the original, and now I feel like I was depriving myself of a REALLY good thing. I can’t judge whether or not this was unique to the anime or if the story has always been told this way, but considering MAPPA’s track record for faithful adaptions, I’m choosing to believe this was always how the story of Dororo was told. What’s so great about it? Well, see I’d gone into this story assuming that our MC Hyakkimaru would be this OP being that would just get even more OP as he went about and reclaimed his body (y’know, typical shounen stuff). I couldn’t have been more wrong. If anything, it seems as though every part of himself that Hyakkimaru reclaims, he is actually becoming weaker. Why? Because he’s having to learn how to live with all the things he hadn’t had before. For instance (and spoiler alert), when he regains his sense of pain this is, totally shocking to him. Because think about it, he’d never registered it before this point in his life, never once thought “ow that hurt”, and when he regains it he has to learn to be more careful in battle. Because believe it or not, shit can be painful. Each piece of him he regains, ends up being a happy moment where you think “yay he got ___ back!” and then immediately drop your jaw, clutch a pillow and think “not like this!” I tell you, whenever it seems Hyakkimaru is about to get something back, I clutch one of my plushies in anticipation of what possible way they can twist it.
But of course, the most endearing part of the anime so far, has been the characters. Whether it be Dororo, Hyakkimaru, or even some side characters, almost everyone becomes endearing in one way or another. Hyakkimaru, despite being a character who cannot talk, is incredibly likeable. He’s like an innocent child to be honest, one that is simply doing what he knows must be done. Without pain, without sight or sound, Hyakkimaru is only able to live the only way he knows how, and when he begins to reclaim parts of his body, his reactions are totally understandable and often times cute but heartbreaking. Meanwhile, Dororo is just a delight. The younger of the two but more boisterous, at some times Dororo seems like the more mature one, or at least the one who knows more of the world as we know it while still having all the charms of a child. The interactions between Dororo and Hyakkimaru are precious as well, and there’s definitely some brotherly bond between them.
Overall, Dororo is turning out to be such a delight to watch. I’d truly recommend it to any shounen fans, and I’m really interested in if its story is keeping true to the original. Right now, it’s become the show I’m most looking forward to each week, and the one that carries me through the week with the hopes of the newest episode each Monday. Let me know if you’ve seen Dororo and what you thought of it in the comments below! What do you like about it? What do you don’t? For now, these have just been my first impressions.
First Impression Ratings – 7/10 Parties are over but I still want to dance
P.S. We all agree Mio is best girl, right?