Most of Osamu Tezuka’s works are gifts that just keep on giving, as they’re some of the most timeless classics in the world today. Whether it’s favorites such as Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and Blackjack, to some of his more obscure titles, companies love finding his work and remaking them for new generations to enjoy. The latest is Dororo: Complete Collection from Sentai Filmworks, which is given a darker, more violent edge than its original material, but still has that emotional Tezuka charm that’ll keep you hooked.
Taking place in feudal Japan where samurais roam the countryside, the lord of the land realizes his country is dying due to bad weather making it hard to grow food and such. In order to save his land and people, he makes a deal with some demons who can fix everything in exchange for his newborn son. Sadly the lord agrees and the demons take the boy’s organs, limbs and senses but mistakenly leave what little of his body is left.
Thankfully his mother learns of this horror and has him sent down the river to escape the evil his father has unleashed. As the demons ravage the land with their newfound organs and body parts, the baby is found by a kind man who forges prosthetic limbs for him and names him Hyakkimaru. Now as a young man and ronin samurai, he vows to reclaim his parts from the demons terrorizing the land by killing them and making himself whole again.
Not long into his quest he comes across Dororo, a young boy who also tends to cause trouble and steal things. It doesn’t take long for Hyakkimaru and Dororo to get along and help look out for each other as they take on demons and get back Hyakkimaru’s missing parts that sometimes have both good and bad emotional consequences, as well as reverting the land back little by little to the plagued way it was before the demons came.
I knew I was going to enjoy this series when I learned that it was based on a work by Osamu Tezuka, and when I read about the plot. Thanks to this and the anime studio MAPPA who has put out a lot of hits lately to become one of the top studios out there, this turned out to be one of the best shows I’ve seen in some time.
The art and animation is very well done, though it does tend to dip some as the show goes on, and I love how the series is just as dark and violent as it is emotional. A good example is when Hyakkimaru gets his sight and hearing back just to see and hear how sad and dark the land has become. It’s moments like these that will keep you hooked as you always want to see what part or sense Hyakkimaru gets back next and the consequences that come with it, good and bad.
Not much in the special features department outside of the clean opening and closing animations, and a few original Japanese promotional videos, but it’s understandable since these discs are packed with 24 episodes of excitement in the Dororo: Complete Collection. It slows down a bit near the end, but the series overall is another great classic by Tezuka that will pull you in and won’t let go until the end.