Right here, idiot. Open your damn eyes.
— Even though we’re back to the monster-of-the-week formula, this episode is still a bit of a departure. After all, it’s rather Tahomaru-centric.
— Problems are mounting for Daigo. Not only is the drought continuing unabated, it sounds like he’s about to go to war again. So finally, he heads to the demon statues and asks them directly for a sign. Show him what he’s up against! So a beam of light causes a small, controlled fire, and somehow, Daigo is able to see what his grown son looks like within the smoke. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.
— Speaking of Hyakkimaru, he and Dororo are doing their thing. Y’know, killing demons and talking about delicious food they’ll probably never get to eat. Again, this is a Tahomaru-centric episode, so we won’t spend too much time with them.
— Elsewhere, Tahomaru’s servants have captured and drugged one of Daigo’s agents. The kid demands answers!
— We learn that it has only been sixteen years since the start of the anime. Huh, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Anime is all about kids, after all. Still, I expected Hyakkimaru to be a little older than that. Plus, this makes Tahomaru about what…? 13? 14? 15?
— Despite having all the necessary clues, Hyakkimaru’s kid brother can’t quite put two and two together. The agent then proceeds to bite off his own tongue. Welp, I guess we’ll never find out! Man, what a mystery. Dad is always gloomy, and Mom is always sad! I just can’t figure it out!
— Tahomaru tries to bring his concerns directly to his father, but the old man just yells at him. Parents, man. They just don’t understand.
— Off to the side, the guy whines to his servants, but I mean… he kinda is a child. The guy is standing here, complaining that his daddy won’t let him fight in the war like it’s just a goddamn field trip to the zoo. Honestly, it’s hard for me to feel any pity for the kid. Sure, it sucks that his parents are keeping a deep family secret from him, but considering how the state of the world around him, he’s doing pretty fucking well. Try having to prostitute yourself to try and raise money in order to feed a bunch of a paraplegic children. Then again, I doubt the story is trying too hard to get us to empathize with Tahomaru.
— Anyways, the commotion from a nearby village eventually catches Tahomaru’s attention. When he gets there, he learns that a giant sea monster (a sea crab, to be exact) has been terrorizing people, but the samurai won’t do anything about it! The kid then puffs up his chest and acts all heroic. Yeah, if he helps them out, he’s doing a good thing… but does he actually care about them? That’s where I’m doubtful. When Daigo’s agent bit off his own tongue, Tahomaru didn’t have an ounce of compassion on his face. I don’t see any compassion on his face here either. I think he’s an opportunist. One, he’ll make a name for himself by saving the village. Two, I don’t think he cares so much that they suffer, but rather, their suffering reflects poorly on his family. These are important distinctions.
— These geniuses proceed to take a bunch of rowboats out into the large body of water in order to confront the giant crab. Somehow, the kid’s katana is sharp enough to slice through one of the monster’s pincers. Nevertheless, they’re sitting ducks once the crab decides to hide underwater. As a result, Tahomaru and his servants are eventually forced to retreat.
— No shit, Sherlock.
— Mutsu, the more feminine servant (they’re both men), comes up with an idea. Hey, strap some bombs to someone, and when they sacrifice themselves to the crab, you can blow the monster up from the inside out. Mmhmm, mmhmm, good idea, but who here wants to die?
— Obviously, Tahomaru’s idiot servants are more than willing to die for his cause. That’s just how it is. But they’re the only people that he can truly rely on, so he puts his fault down and rejects Mutsu’s idea.
— It’s actually not that bad of a plan, though. Couldn’t you just strap the bombs to a cow or something? Or even a scarecrow drenched in animal blood to lure the sea crab. It might work, it might not work. But hey, you gotta experiment. But knowing this show, it’ll probably be something dumb like, “Durr, the sea monster will only eat live humans.”
— Tahomaru proceeds to deliver a proud mini-speech about how this land used to suffer greatly until his father showed up and turned everything all around. The irony is delicious, because the old man only managed that by sacrificing his own kin. You gotta wonder how Tahomaru will react when he learns the truth. Will his worldview completely shatter? Will he turn against his father? Or will he try and protect the family and go after Hyakkimaru?
— Okay, so no bombs. What else we got? We’ll do this instead: let’s dig a pair of sluices, and this way, we can drain a lake and trap the giant crab! Are we sure we don’t really wanna try the bombs? Oh, alright…
— At first, Tahomaru’s genius plan is working without a hitch. He and his two servants proceed to do some serious damage to the trapped sea monster. Meanwhile, the villagers cheer on their new “hero.”
— But as they often say, a cornered animal is the most dangerous. The crab isn’t dumb, so it bashes open one of the sluices. With the water coming in fast, Tahomaru and his servants are back to being sitting ducks again.
— Predictably enough, Hyakkimaru shows up at the very last second to save the day. Now what? Come back in one week to find out, because the episode simply ends with both Daigo and his wife looking all serious and gloomy.
— Killing the crab didn’t help Hyakkimaru get anything back, huh?
— Even though this series is continuing into the spring season, I bet MAPPA is aiming for some sort of high point to cap off the winter. I just wonder what that might be. Do you suppose Hyakkimaru and Dororo might spend some time apart? They’ve been inseparable since the start of the series. Oftentimes, stories featuring a duo will try to shake things up by separating the two. Ah well, we’ll find out soon enough.
The depiction of Tahomaru is much better than in the manga, actually. As far as i remember, his role in the manga is much smaller. He got one fight with Hyakkimaru and the very end of the story, I think it’s also his introduction, but not much else. Almost all Tahomaru’s scene in the anime is original, I think.
And I like the direction they took with Tahomaru. He’s aloof, prideful, but still he showed some responsibility to the people in his terriory. Maybe as you say, it’s not out of compassion and maybe he just sees it as a chance to prove himself to his father, but at least he’s probably the one of the very few nobleman who would do something could be regarded as honorable to ease his people’s suffering, regardless of his own personal motive.
It’s interesting. I haven’t touched the manga, so all I see is a character that I don’t really care for. I suppose if I had read the manga, I’d be pleasantly surprised at the positive changes they’ve made.
Ah, I am sorry that I often write about the manga, but because this is a very interesting adaptation that they changed and added a lot to improve the story, so I think it might be interesting to share…
I enjoy yo sharing the differences. I sure as heck won’t be looking for a manga that old.
I’m aware that our protagonist “spoke” by moving his lips and telepathically sending words to people? Something like that, found it really weird. I like that they made him mute, makes it feel like he actually lost organs you know?
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