This fifth episode of Dororo finds Hyakkimaru continuing to struggle with the sensation of sound. It has hit him the hardest of all the things that he’s regained. Hyakkimaru and Dororo are immediately attacked by a gigantic bird monster and, hampered by his new ability to hear, Hyakkimaru is injured severely. The priest Biwamaru shows up and intercedes, defeating the creature before it can do any more damage. Dororo offers to go and find some medicine for Hyakkimaru’s wounds, but Biwamaru warns him that the area is dangerous due to a conflict between the Sakai clan and a nearby ally that they betrayed.
Waking in the morning, Hyakkimaru hears a beautiful voice singing softly nearby. He follows the song down to the river, where he meets a woman named Mio. Sensing that Hyakkimaru is injured, she invites him and Dororo and Biwamaru back to the war-ravaged village where she lives. It is revealed that several injured orphans also live in the ruins, and that Mio cares for them all by working at night for the Sakai clan. Biwamaru heads off into the forest, looking for a safe way to leave the area and avoid the conflict.
We discover that the Sakai clan is at odds with Daigo and his domain – Daigo being Hyakkimaru’s father. It seems that drought and misfortune has plagued his lands, and Daigo is not about to back down from the Sakai armies at his borders. Biwamaru discovers a place where Mio and the orphans can live safely away from the war, but it is inhabited by a powerful demon. Hyakkimaru, moved by the kindness and generosity of Mio and the orphans, sets off to fight the demon despite his injuries. Biwamaru, who can also see the color of people’s souls, senses flecks of red beginning to develop in Hyakkimaru’s essence. Mio, wanting to do more to help the orphans so they can make a new life, decides to work for both armies.
Dororo follows Mio and discovers that she is a prostitute, selling herself to the samurai of the armies so that she can take care of the orphans. Meanwhile, Biwamaru and Hyakkimaru battle the ferocious demon. It manages to get a hold of Hyakkimaru and, nearly dragging him into the earth, bites off his leg. Hyakkimaru’s voice is heard for the first time as he releases a horrible scream of pain.
Once again, this episode of Dororo doesn’t disappoint. The dark, dismal atmosphere is expanded upon with the looming war that threatens the lives of the innocents caught in the middle. Mio’s story is a sad, heavy tale of love and desperation. Overall I felt that this episode was somewhat rushed compared to the previous ones, but it was certainly still very well done. I enjoy how complex the world is and how meaningful the characters are, and Dororo continues to be my favorite anime of the season.
Score: 4/5 (I liked it)