While I’m at least familiar with many of Tezuka Osamu’s mainstream classics, I admit to having known absolutely nothing about Dororo going into this particular version of the story; I’ve never read the original manga or watched any of the numerous adaptations created since, and couldn’t even remember the basic premise of the show, having long since forgotten what I’d read on MAL back when I first looked it up. Personally though, I think that often serves me quite well when approaching a new anime – the less I know, the more immediacy and therefore emotional impact a series is often able to make. Of course, this makes already bad shows seem that much more terrible, but on the flip side, titles like Dororo really have a chance to stand out from the crowd.
Honestly, it’s been a while, maybe a couple of years, since a first episode has felt like it’s gone by so quick – which isn’t necessarily to say that Dororo is the best anime I’ve seen since then, but it was certainly a highly engaging debut. This is at least in part because, despite knowing essentially nothing about one of the (presumably only two) main protagonists in terms of actual character by the end of that episode, the premise itself is immediately intriguing. It’s not just that it’s an anime with a non-high school or isekai setting, or one that’s not populated by a cast of cutesy girls or take-your-pick bishies. It’s that in its own right (and somewhat ironically given that it was originally created in the late 60s), the story strikes me as being both original and genuinely exciting, to say nothing of also being potentially both gritty and heartfelt in all the right places. Again, while I do see the irony of this statement, I’d say this is the perfect series to try out this season for all those anime fans who like to complain that nothing unique or innovative ever gets released anymore.
Visually, Dororo is also quite an interesting beast. Tezuka’s character designs are always very distinctive, and I find his child characters in particular to be instantly recognizable. It’d be impossible for me to watch Dororo’s OP and not think of Tezuka pretty damn fast. Obviously though, the general art style here has seen a major upgrade, so it’s an odd but arresting mix of super retro and more modern-day sensibilities, all wrapped up in a classic Sengoku-era period setting.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but basically, you should really watch this show guys. I can promise you that it’s unlike any other title being released this season, and that it’ll be more than worth the time you put into it. In fact, it may well end up being the best series to air this winter.