In the East, demons are ranked by their ability to appear human versus their true monstrous form. So in movies that depict a demon that looks and sounds human, you know that you are seeing a master demon that has done many atrocities to gain that look. Demons gain the ability to look more human […]
In the East, demons are ranked by their ability to appear human versus their true monstrous form. So in movies that depict a demon that looks and sounds human, you know that you are seeing a master demon that has done many atrocities to gain that look. Demons gain the ability to look more human by devouring human body parts. If you pay attention to most movies like Dororo, you will notice that it always goes back to the consumption of humans when it comes to demons.
The Full Synopsis:
It is the Sengoku period and Japan is in the midst of a bloody war for unison of the country. Daimyo warlord Kagemitsu Daigo (Kiichi Nakai) is losing and he knows that his life and clan will come to an end if things don’t change soon. Finding a temple that had 48 demons sealed, Kagemitsu makes a pact with the demons that they could devour 48 pieces of his unborn son in exchange for supreme power. They of course grant it and Kagemitsu is marked with godliness.
Editor’s Note: Now one thing that stood out to me is the honesty of Japanese demons. Here in the west where demons are shown to be vile tricksters that renege on any deal, these Japanese demons actually have a sense of honor.[spoiler effect=”blind”]
The baby son of Kagemitsu Daigo is born but he lacks eyes, a nose, ears – hell everything except a hole where his little mouth tries to move, and a hollowed out body. Repulsed, his father makes to kill him but his mother feels pity for her deformed child and abandons him in a basket to sail down one of the streams into oblivion. Tending to some medicinal herbs on a bank of the same stream some miles down, Jukai (Yoshio Harada) a doctor, and mad scientist rescues the boy and takes him into his home.
Pitying the quivering baby, Jukai uses his alchemy and healing arts to graft magical, artificial innards and limbs for the boy and aside from the ability to physically see (he uses his minds eye to see his surroundings), he is made whole and refers to Jukai as father. This is where it gets tricky, some goblins start appearing to ask the boy for his limbs and it becomes a nightly horror for him as they would appear to try and coerce him.
One day a tired stranger happens by the house and upon seeing the goblins, gives Jukai a demon slayer sword which the doctor then grafts to the boys left hand. Jukai then raises the boy and teaches him the way of the sword; then upon his deathbed he admits to the boy that he is not his true father and makes him promise to burn down his house and all evidence of his inventions.
This is where the boy, now a man begins his journey. A spirit tells him that with every demon he slays, one portion of his 48 lost body parts would grow back to replace the artificial one. 20 years later when we see him slay a spider demon inside an exotic nightclub, his leg detaches and a real one is grown back in its place. In that same night club a dirty little thief sees the demon slaying occur along with the limb growing back and runs away freaked out – only to meet the very same old man that gave Jukai the demon slayer.
The old man tells her the story of the boy and intrigued by the legendary sword (which she wants for herself) she runs after the man to follow him in hopes of gaining the sword when he kills the demon that ate his left hand.
The two become partners after a time and she, an orphan with no name, gives him the name Hyakkimaru (Satoshi Tsumabuki) and names herself Dororo (Kou Shibasaki) because those were the names he said that people called him. Both names mean a variation of monster, demon or something altogether unpleasant. Dororo wants revenge for the man that killed her parents and Hyakkimaru wants to be a real man.
The two have no clue that their destinies are ultimately linked and they set out on a grand adventure of laughter, travel and of course demon slaying.
Kou Shibasaki is the show stealer in this epic, as she is cute, funny and a very good actress. There were times where she would convey important things just with her facial expression and the naughty tricks she would pull on Hyakkimaru goes from annoying to sweet as the movie plays out. She also had a nack for getting demon blood splattered all over her face whenever Hyakkimaru would deliver the Coup de Grace.
The movie Dororo is based on a manga of the same name that had several books which probably didn’t end as satisfactory as this movie does. The choreography on the fight scenes were top notch, and although the CGI is horribly dated and laughable at times, it reminded me very much of the anime titles that we all love (think Ninja Scroll).
The pacing was decent, the strange play on the coloring of the different scenes was a little distracting but the soundtrack was amazing, memorable and very catchy. The fact that I remember some of the tunes speaks volumes on this. It reminded me of the old Spaghetti Westerns the way how the music stays with you.
This is a story that anyone can get behind and the decisions made throughout were very honorable and dare I say adult. Dororo was very impressive (both the girl and the movie) and I was pleasantly surprised to have been entertained by this title.