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Well, it seems that things aren’t going much better in this episode. As expected, Hyakkimaru isn’t taking the kidnap of Dororo very well, and his new demon friend probably isn’t helping. It actually makes for an interesting setup for a finale, because it’s hard to truly decide who to root for. Hyakkimaru seems to be standing in a better position, but I get the sense that his current course of action won’t ultimately work.
Mutsu goes through kind of a weird arc in this episode. I think she has a strong performance throughout the episode, but I’m not so sure about the ending. With her speech about being Tahoumaru’s right arm in the previous episode, I really liked this line to Hyogo. With Hyogo’s left arm lost, Mutsu is effectively asking him to fight in her place and fulfill her role as Tahoumaru’s right arm. It’s a great interaction.
Am I the only who thinks that everything about this episode seems to suggest that Hyakkimaru’s mother is going to die? I’m honestly surprised she’s survived so long, but it seems like she’s meant to contribute to Hyakkimaru’s return to humanity.
Look, I know I’m not supposed to enjoy this outcome, but this combination of Hyakkimaru and the flaming horse is really cool. I also like that Hyakkimaru’s clearly exuding the red demonic aura that he typically sees in others.
This scene was one that I feel I initially misjudged. From the onset, Mutsu’s escape seemed to contradict her earlier words to Hyogo, so I was surprised when she comes just to offer herself in Hyakkimaru’s place. I was expecting her to be here asking the demon for power, but she instead chooses to sacrifice herself for the land. It would have put an interesting spin on the moral argument of the episode if it had worked.
I have trouble with the ending, though. Mutsu goes through an impressive character story throughout the episode, but I tend to think it goes away when she accepts Hyakkimaru’s arm from the demon to replace her lost one. To me, it seems to slightly cheapen her ability to let go from earlier. I get that Tahoumaru needs his loyal retainers to fight Hyakkimaru, but I think it’s a bit unfortunate.
I’ll be curious to see how this turns out, though. From Hyakkimaru’s side, it’s hard to blame him for being enraged at Tahoumaru for this move.