Since the Fall 2018 anime season was such a powerhouse of great shows, I was expecting the currently running season to pull back a bit and give us fewer top-class offerings. But here I am again, writing about an outstanding show you should start watching, the Dororo anime reboot, a dark samurai story originally created by Tezuka Osamu in 1967.
It’s the story of a father who trades the body of his about-to-be-born infant son to 48 demons in exchange for victory in battle. The baby is born, then lightning strikes, nearly killing the child and robbing him of all major organs including arms, legs, skin and eyes. Fast forward a few years and we meet Dororo, a playful orphan thief who gets into trouble at every turn. Attacked by a demon, Dororo is saved by a mysterious samurai with a doll-like mask and swords embedded where his arms should be. The man is Hyakkimaru, the baby whose organs were stolen at birth, now grown into a swordsman. Aided by artificial prosthetics, he’s on a quest to kill the 48 demons and get his organs, and his humanity, back.
It’s really an outstanding show, and not just because of the high production values by animation studio Twin Engine (who brought us Golden Kamuy and Kokkoku). It’s a compelling story that’s fresh and new to modern anime-watchers who want a break from yet another isekai/imouto/harem series. What I like best is that, although it’s a remake of a famous series from 50 years ago, it’s been totally recast into something modern and accessible. Like the recent Gegege no Kitaro revival, it shows that there’s no classic story that can’t be updated and enjoyed by modern audiences, meaning that anime and manga will never die as a medium.
In a post I made about the rule Buddhism plays in daily life in Japan, I discussed how of Japan’s two main religious traditions, Shinto is readily visible in anime, games and manga, while the less colorful visual elements of Buddhism are much harder to find in pop culture. The new Dororo anime is a rare anime that’s filled with images of Buddhism imagery and themes, another reason to check it out.
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There’s nothing quite like playing awesome anime games with your favorite characters, and J-List stocks a lot of fun region-free anime games from Japan, including lots of games for Sony PS4 plus the Nintendo Switch. You should totally browse them all now!