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One of many series by the prolific and much-loved Osamu Tezuka, Dororo is the tale of Hyakkimaru, a wandering swordsman who bears an odd burden: he was born without most of his body parts (including eyes, ears, a tongue, and limbs) thanks to his father, the warlord Kagemitsu Daigo, striking a deal with forty-eight demons. Abandoned by said father and raised by a country doctor, Dr. Jukai, Hyakkimaru learned to use his sixth sense to compensate for his lacking the other five, but eventually discovered his condition made him a magnet for supernatural weirdness...
Equipped with a number of prosthetics made by his adopted father, along with a pair of quality blades, a teenaged Hyakkimaru wanders Japan righting wrongs, helping the helpless, tracking down the demons that stole his parts, and brutally cutting down anyone foolish enough to mess with him. Along the way, he picks up a hanger-on in the young, self-proclaimed master thief Dororo, who as it turns out is the orphaned child of a notorious bandit king who was brought low by the shogunate.
Notoriously, the manga was cancelled before Hyakki had a chance to get most of his parts back, but there have been other media related to it: an anime adaptation from 1969 (including a Pilot Movie and the series itself), a videogame for the Play Station 2 (released in English as Blood Will Tell, and hereafter refered to as such on this very wiki to avoid confusion with other adaptations), a rather bizarre series of Live Action Adaptation movies that moves the setting from the Sengoku Era to a suspiciously similar post-apocalyptic future, a 2019 stage play and a 2019 anime series (and its manga version) by Studio Mappa and Tezuka Productions.
Not to be confused with one of the characters from Keroro Gunsou.
Tropes featured in Dororo include:
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Dororo is a very nice looking teenage girl in the movies plus the finale of Blood Will Tell and the lat parts of the 2019 anime and the stage play, instead of a ratty little orphan kid.
- After the End: The movies. Admittedly, changing the setting to the future the does make Hyakkimaru's artificial limbs somewhat more plausible.
- Anachronism Stew: Why are Sengoku-era swordsmen dropping pop culture references from Japan in The Sixties? Probably Rule of Funny
- Animation Bump: The 1969 anime's ending sequence is surprisingly smooth for these years.
- Badass Long Hair: Hyakkimaru.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Hyakkimaru's prosthetic arms conceal a pair of katanas.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Usually played for comic relief, which was also a common gimmick in many of Tezuka's works.
- Broken Bird: Hyakkimaru's birth mother, Lady Nui, is depicted as a compassionate yet deeply depressed woman who's haunted by the loss of her eldest son and blames herself for it. Hyakkimaru is shown to be sympathetic to her plea despite his father's actions, referring her as a "sad woman" in the 1969 series after she dies in his arms.
- Bowdlerize: The 1969 anime was hit quite a bit with this, due to the manga being QUITE Darker and Edgier than usual in these days (And even then, it couldn't wash off all the darkness). Averted in the 2019 version, which couples both Darker and Edgier AND Bloodier and Gorier.
- Cool Horse: Warlord Kisoji's horse, Midoro. Even before allowing herself to become possessed by a demon after Kisoji forcibly separated her from her foal, Midoro's ruthlessness and power alone allowed the warlord to win many battles.
- Darker and Edgier: While Tezuka has dealed with dark themes in his mangas, this one's really violent and bloody for the era's standards. And the 2019 anime is even darker.
- Deal with the Devil: The one made by Hyakkimaru's birth father kicks off the plot as a whole.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The 1969 series was shot in b&w, even though the Pilot Movie was fully in color. It was believed to be due to lack of budget, but it turned out to be this: the series was so violent and bloody that the anime sponsors were reluctant to work on it due to how much blood it'd be seen. Plus it did fit Tezuka's aesthetics well enough.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: In the 1969 anime, Hyakkimaru's mother passes away in her son's arms.
- Dropped a Bridget On Him: When Hyakkimaru regains his real eyes after vanquishing another demon, he realizes that the Dororo he has spent so long traveling with is actually a girl. His regards towards her change considerably.
- Everything's Even Worse with Sharks : A wily bandit and his men kidnap Dororo so they can use the map imprinted on his back to locate a treasure above a mountain in a small cape. They try to make the captured villagers row them to the cape, but they refuse to do so because an evil spirit disguised as a fish would always eat them before they got there, forcing the bandits to kill them. Then a suspicious man appears and volunteers to row them, and once they're in the middle of the sea, it's revealed the man has tricked them and half the bandit's men become food to his two pet sharks, Jiromaru and Saburomaru, who are actually possessed by demons.
- Evil Weapon: In one chapter, Dororo and Hyakkimaru come across a stray samurai who has been driven to kill by his demonically-possessed sword.
- Filler: The 1969 anime was greenlighted after the manga was cancelled... meaning the anime staff ran out of material soon and needed more stuff to reach the then-minimum of episodes (26). To solve this, seven episodes (14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 23 and 25) were original stories.
- Gotta Catch Them All
- Handicapped Badass: Hyakkimaru, though his goal is to become less handicapped as time goes on.
- One could say he would do better with his handicap, as any major injury can be brushed off since most of his limbs are prosthetics (he once sustained an arrow injury to the back and lived because he hadn't regained it yet) and more that once he's used them to stash hidden weaponry (he did a Your Head Asplode on a nine-tailed fox by throwing his prosthetic nose, which was a bomb, into its mouth).
- I Thought It Meant: This show has nothing to do with a certain froglike alien keeping the earth's environment safe while his friends are trying to invade it.
- Kick the Dog: Surprisingly not the demons (despite taking Hyakkimaru's body parts and terrorizing medieval Japan), but the human warlord Kisoji in regards to his warhorse. When he finds the horse, Midoro, tending to her foal, he forcibly separates them, believing that a warhorse can't afford to be tender. He sells the colt to a nearby farmer so she won't be distracted and beats her whenever she mopes on the battlefield. Is it any surprise that she allows a demon to possess her dying body to get revenge on humanity?
- Little Mister Badass: Originally just The Load to Hyakkimaru, Dororo eventually proves to be a resourceful and clever fighter on his own. In "The Two Sharks" chapter, oarsman Shiranui rows the bandit and his men (along with Dororo, whom they kidnapped to locate a treasure) in the middle of the water so they will become food to his two pet sharks. Dororo alone rallies up the bandit and his remaining men and chooses to dive into the water. Luring one of the sharks as bait, while jumping out of the water Dororo jumps atop of its head as the bandit and his men thrust swords into its stomach. Pure. bad. ass. In reality, Dororo is a girl and therefore she's a Little Miss Badass.
- Magnetic Medium: Hyakkimaru, yeah.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Dororo can apparently cause enemies to pass out simply by yelling loud enough. He does this twice in volume 2 of the manga, calling it his "secret move".
- Mama Bear: Dororo's mother Ojiya pretty much starved herself to death to make sure her kid would survive. At the very end of the 1969 anime, Nui-no-Kata calls Daigo out on his cruelty towards Hyakkimaru knowing that she's risking her life for siding with her son over her husband, and is struck down protecting Hyakkimaru as Daigo ends up going mad and begins killing anyone in his way.
- Mood Whiplash: The second OP of the 1969 series has pretty funny scenes featuring Dororo running around, sneaking around, pranking a pompous samurai and getting away with it... combined with deadly serious ones where Hyakkimaru fights and slays demons.
- No Ending: Tezuka had to cut the original manga short, leaving the TV series, video game and other adaptations to come up with their own endings.
- Opposite Sex Clone: Dororo in Blood Will Tell.
- Painting the Fourth Wall: Blood Will Tell changes the game's interface when Hyakkimaru receives some of the sense organs. For instance, the game is in black and white until he get ats least one eye, and the controller vibration function doesn't work until Hyakkimaru obtains pain receptor nerves.
- Palette Swap: Since Tezuka never got around to designing most of the 48 Majin, Blood Will Tell had numerous recoloured or otherwise modified versions of existing ones to fill out their ranks.
- Parental Abandonment: Dororo's parents died very tragically: the dad was killed, the mom died of starvation to save the child. Hyakkimaru's cruel father threw him away after his birth and cursing (while the guy's kind-hearted mother is haunted by such a cruel action), and later he also had to leave his Parental Substitute.
- Psychic Powers: Hyakkimaru uses these to compensate for his missing bits, using ESP to see and hear, talking telepathically and presumably using telekinesis to do things like move his food where it's supposed to go until he gets his esophagus back. In the original manga it's said to be something anybody can do with practice, but Blood Will Tell wisely changes them to mystical powers he was given by the gods to fight the Majin with. Getting each part back increases his stats because it frees up more of his power to use for fighting instead of keeping himself alive.
- Psychic Link: He also has one of these with Dororo. This is a major plot point in the game.
- Red Herring: In Blood Will Tell, the opening narration states that the Majin created a human nemesis for Hyakkimaru using his missing parts. His estranged half-brother, who is missing an eye, shows up shortly after you get one of your own back. It's not him, though. It's Dororo. See below.
- Redemption Equals Death: After kidnapping Dororo, killing some captured villagers when they refused to row him and his men to the cape where the treasure was hidden, betraying Hyakkimaru by shooting an arrow into his back, and leaving the last of his men to die by being crushed beneath a fallen Buddha statue, the lead bandit, Itachi, redeems himself by protecting Dororo from another group of bandits atop the mountain cape and prays to him to find the money himself before plunging to his death.
- Sadistic Choice: In Blood Will Tell, Dororo was created by the Majin as a vessel for their leader, so that Hyakkimaru would have to choose between completing his quest and his best friend's life. Only upon parting ways until Dororo becomes an adult does he finally get to choose both.
- Self-Made Orphan: More than one media states that Hyakkimaru will sooner or later have to kill his cruel father Daigo. It actually happens in the 1969 anime: Hyakkimaru slays the maddened Daigo in a burning pavillion, while tearfully telling him that the only father he has ever known and needed was Dr. Jukai.
- Shonen: One of the very first, in fact.
- Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: In the 2007 Live Action Adaptation the titular Dororo was changed from a young child into a teenaged girl.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Hyakkimaru and Mio, because no matter the media, she will always be murdered..
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Dororo is really a girl, but doesn't act like one because she's convinced that she's a boy (or at least in denial about it). Her parents raised her that way and didn't tell her otherwise, probably to keep her safe. Handled differently in the 2019 anime: the story doesn't really hide Dororo being a girl, Hyakkimaru finds out pretty soon, and as it turns out she was always aware of her sex/gender.
- Tagalong Kid: Dororo.
- The Chosen One: Not in the original manga, but in subsequent iterations of the story such as the video game, Hyakkimaru was said to be a messiah chosen by the gods and given supernatural powers to defeat the 48 Majin, which not only explains why the Majin chose to cut a deal with his father, but also how Hyakkimaru can survive with most of his organs missing.
- Unusual Weapon Mounting: One of Hyakkimaru's legs has a spray-gun in the knee that he uses to douse demons with holy water. His nose is also an explosive, though luckily he grows a real nose after he uses it to blow a demon fox's head off.
- Younger Than They Look: Hyakkimaru is supposed to be 15-16 years old, but in older media he looks like a young adult than a teenager. He does look his age in the 2019 series, however.