With all the anime that I’ve watched, I can’t say that it has included a ton of Samurai related anime (really, only two titles come to mind). I don’t have anything against the idea of a samurai anime (yet, anyway), but I have yet to run into a samurai anime that compels me to watch it. At least, that was true until I watched the pilot for Dororo (2019).
The pilot begins in kind of an extreme way. The main character is about to be born, and as his father sits outside of the room listening to the birth of his child, we catch a flashback of him visiting a temple for demons. In this temple, he asks the demons for help creating a great empire, and in return, they can have whatever it is they desire that he can provide. When his son is born, that price is taken, the organs of the newborn. Had it not been for the grace and prayers of his mother, the boy would have been killed completely.
Flash forward 16 years and we meet the character for whom the show is named, Dororo. This rascal is up to no good, stealing what he can to live, ignoring any possible consequences, and it finally catches up to him. Just when Dororo is about to be killed, a demon attacks, and his life is saved at the last second by a masked stranger who appears to be both blind and deaf. But Dororo is impressed with the man’s fighting and wants to exploit it to make money, and so joins forces with him and the journey begins.
Apart from a somewhat jarring beginning, the episode carries with it a lot of potential (I imagine that jarring nature was an intentional choice). The art is beautiful, particularly the background art. The music gives weight to this story’s historical setting, and the character design emphasizes that. Like I said before, I’ve never had the desire to sit down and watch an anime like this one. But the mystery surrounding the stranger, along with the playful and mischievous personality of Dororo make me want to give it at least a few more episodes, if not more.