Dororo (2019) Episode 1 First Impression Review

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A samurai lord has bartered away his newborn son’s organs to forty-eight demons in exchange for dominance on the battlefield. Yet, the abandoned infant survives thanks to a medicine man who equips him with primitive prosthetics—lethal ones with which the wronged son will use to hunt down the multitude of demons to reclaim his body one piece at a time, before confronting his father. On his journeys the young hero encounters an orphan who claims to be the greatest thief in Japan.

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(I’M NOT DEAD LOL) Was it weird that I got hooked the moment the baby’s horrific face was revealed? How incredibly intriguing. This just feels like an excellently directed first episode for a series: Let the audience know the fundamental backstory, establish the characters and what they are about, set up the key plot points, yet have a good resolution that is mysterious enough to make you want to come back for more. The heavy rain motif was interesting as well, with its use conveying loss, death, destruction, but also a strange compassion for what was lost (with the mother mourning her son, and the doctor caring to the dead).

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They gave Hyakkimaru a more mysterious aura here and his doll-like appearance works well and I love how adorable Dororo looks. Also changing the amount of demons from 48 to 12 was a good call. I think 48 was just too much for a short manga like Dororo. For anyone that doesn’t know: Dororo is a manga from 1967 by Osamu Tezuka and this adaptation is directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, known for Rurouni Kenshin (also Trust & Betrayal), Hunter x Hunter 1997 and Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. As a fan of both and the manga, I’m really looking forward to this adaptation.

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The thing is, if we go by the original anime (which was two cours), we don’t actually see all the 48 demons, we just see something like 20 at most. But there’s only this much because the second half becomes more of a monster-of-the-week show, which was not exactly how it was in its first half. So, what I’m trying to say is, if they rewrite the second half (I say specifically the second half because based on the second PV it looks like this new one is gonna be pretty faithful at least to the events that happen in the first half of the original) to be less episodic and give each demon more screen time (and also other important human characters that didn’t have much screen time) then they can easily fill two cours even with only 12 demons. Hopefully, the animation quality keeps up because that fight scene with the sludge monster was sick.

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