Dororo (Winter 2019) – The Sacrifice and the Human Condition

Rebooting or remaking in anime is probably one of the bearable things. A lot of people appreciated and received it directly. Well, in movies, everything about reboot or remake is bad. We live in this era where remakes are everything. You get this remake from classic films of the 60s and others. But in anime, people might be able to accept it openly and reasonably. There are some good examples with a reboot or remake anime. You can say it such as “Devilman: Crybaby”, “Megalo Box“, and the most recent, “Fruits Basket”. There are many reasons why they exist and how there can be a remake. But, to say at least reboot and remake anime is bad, maybe you should look more to the past. You have to know how an anime from 50 years ago could be made into modern anime.

Under MAPPA as one of my favorite studios, “Dororo” makes an appearance after having aired in the 60s. We don’t know whether people in such a year knew very well what was “Dororo”. Today, this might be true. Behind the anime and the remake, Osamu Tezuka, the father of manga, was behind all this. To begin with, “Dororo” is a dark fantasy anime with supernatural elements. It’s dealing with the character study of the protagonist. Besides it brings another modern thing, this show also carries a close influence on old-school style. It combines with some black and white parts in some of the episodes too, the Schindler’s List style.

“Dororo” is a gore, dark, and a slow-burn type of anime. Yet, this show is honestly very easy to follow. Maybe you will say that the color is soulless or the outline is just too simple, it’s not. The story focused on an adventure of Hyakkimaru (Hiroki Suzuki) and Dororo (Rio Suzuki). During the Sengoku era where they both lived in “hell”, Hyakkimaru and Dororo began their journey together with different missions. Along their journey, they make a unique bond and directly call each other as siblings. They learn a lot about how the world is cruel, how to save a life, through various obstacles, and others.

“Dororo” has a dark tone and probably, most of the fans would drop it in three or four episodes. Honestly, it’s not that slow or else. The show follows a structure like how TV series and anime work. You can call it a show like “Cowboy Bebop” or “Samurai Champloo“. However, this show relies on how our two protagonists connect their bonds and become more mature later in the story.

Hyakkimaru lives as a ronin born without limbs due to sacrifice between the devil and his parents. Therefore, the village tried to isolate himself while his village lived peacefully thanks to Hyakkimaru’s sacrifice. As he began his adventure, he tried to find his limbs by killing many demons. But, there is one thing Hyakkimaru never knew that he was also a half-demon. Therefore, he must be careful not to fall into the demon hole or the dark hole.

Hyakkimaru wasn’t alone and Dororo also accompanied him on the way. Dororo is the most important character who gives encouragement and teaches Hyakkimaru how to be a human. Although she is just a kid, she becomes more mature than other adult characters in this anime. She lives alone and tries to survive in any way. In a dark and grim hell, both of them stepped up little by little. Yet, they learned how demons and humans are just the same units of creatures. There is no difference between them.

“Dororo” is progressing little by little. We see Hyakkimaru developing little by little. His limbs, senses, and others began to return. We begin to see him speak and begin to see him listening to the sounds around him. We begin to see him laughing, sad, and angry. The show uses the point of view of the two protagonists cynically also innocent. But, it’s understandable how this reality and world work improvise. They encounter a different problem. They learn about their relationships, a good devil, the horror of war, and so on.

This is a bloody gore show. It’s full of blood and gory content. You see a lot of corpses in a land of war. You see many limbs scattered in the action sequence. The show also combines a classic, folklore, and contemporary stories. On the other hand, it still being a modern anime and not old-fashioned. The sense of gray and the soulless colorful of the world in this show; it illustrated what we saw directly as well as the two protagonists also saw. The black and white sequence is also probably one of the most favorite parts of this show. It used a similar technique as in “Schindler’s List”. In the movie, Liam Neeson’s attention only focused on a kid in red. She was trying to find her parents in the middle of the holocaust. “Dororo” also uses a similar style, especially in Dororo’s flashback.

While the show is about Hyakkimaru and his condition, the show tells a lot of characters from different glasses. There is a ton of exploration in terms of character if you want to analyze one by one. And yet, “Dororo” fit perfectly, besides character, to the animation, natural dialogue, and music especially the first opening theme song. The show also doesn’t seem off and awkward when it comes to comedy. Regardless, this is a dark anime. The humor comes naturally without seeming forced to whatsoever.

As a modern adaptation of the 60s anime, “Dororo” works well in terms of a remake. It’s a timeless cult-classic dark fantasy. I adore this anime so much from the first episode, the exposition in the first episode. If you still think this is a complicated anime, it’s not, to be honest. This show only follows normal structure just like anime in general. Even if you have never watched the 60’s version, you would love this. I was thinking, is there an arthouse within the scope of the anime besides Studio Ghibli and Makoto Shinkai? I need those types of anime.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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