Dororo is a Japanese manga series from the manga creator Osamu Tezuka in the late 1960s. An anime television series based on the manga consists of 26 half-hour episodes that aired in 1969. It was also made into a live-action film in 2007. A 24-episode second anime television series adaptation by MAPPA and Tezuka Productions aired from January to June 2019.
During the late 1960s, manga featuring demons was popular among kids. Dororo was first serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday between August 27, 1967, and July 22, 1968, before being cancelled. Parallel to the anime broadcast the manga was then concluded in Akita Shoten’s Bōken’ō magazine.
Tezuka’s childhood memory of his friends pronouncing dorobō as dororo inspired the title of this work. In the live action movie series, the name is explained to be a southern term for Hyakkimaru, meaning “Little Monster”.
The anime series bears the distinction of being the first entry in what is now known as the World Masterpiece Theater series.
The first anime series was broadcast between April and September 1969. Unlike the manga, the anime version has a conclusive ending with Hyakkimaru slaying his father Daigo Kagemitsu. In 2008, Anime Sols began a crowd-funding project for official streaming of the show. Funding for the first half of the show reached its goal, and the funding continued for the second half. However, Anime Sols folded, and Discotek Media picked up the project and released it on DVD in 2016, including the show’s color pilot in the set.
A 24-episode second anime television series adaptation by MAPPA and Tezuka Productions was announced on March 2018. The series aired from January 7 to June 24, 2019 through Amazon. The anime aired on Tokyo MX, BS11, and Jidaigeki Senmon Channel. Kazuhiro Furuhashi directs the series, with Yasuko Kobayashi handling series composition, Satoshi Iwataki handling character designs, and Yoshihiro Ike composing the music. Twin Engine produces the series. The first opening theme “Kaen” is performed by Queen Bee, while the first ending theme “Sayonara Gokko” is performed by Amazarashi. The second opening “Dororo” is performed by Asian Kung-Fu Generation and the second ending theme “Yamiyo” is performed by Eve.
Characters and voice actors appearing in the anime and video game.
- is a rōnin during the Sengoku period and the son of Kagemitsu and Oku Daigo. Due to a pact forged by his father with 48 sealed demons, the un-named baby was born malformed, limbless and without facial features or internal organs. The infant was set adrift in the river and was subsequently found and raised by Dr. Jukai who gave the child prostheses including a special blade grafted into his left arm forged out of vengeance to kill supernatural entities. The boy became nearly invincible as a result of the prostheses and healing magic. During his travels, he earned the name “Hyakkimaru” among other names for his inhuman nature.
- is a young thief who joins Hyakkimaru in his travels and adventures. In the original manga and 1969 anime adaptation, Hyakkimaru learns that Dororo is female with the latter continuously insisting she is a boy, though this is because her parents raised her as one. In the 2019 version it is revealed earlier, though Hyakkimaru makes no note of it. Dororo’s bandit father Hibukuro was wounded by a samurai official and later died. Her mother froze to death while fleeing in the snow, but before she died she drew a map on Dororo’s back to locate money hidden by her father at Bone Cape.
- Kagemitsu Daigo
- Hyakkimaru’s father and Samurai in the Muromachi period, Lord of Ishikawa and vassal to the governor of Kaga Province. So that he might rule the land and protect it from the repeated famines, epidemics, droughts and disasters that plagued neighboring domains, he forged a pact with 48 sealed demons where each could obtain a piece of his newborn child’s body.
- Tahōmaru Daigo
- Younger brother of Hyakkimaru and the second son of Kagemitsu Daigo. Born after Hyakkimaru was abandoned.
- A skilled doctor and surgeon who used healing magic and alchemical methods to create prostheses for the child who became Hyakkimaru.
- Biwa Hōshi
- An unnamed blind travelling monk and a biwa hōshi (lute priest). He is an excellent swordsman who carries a sword inside his biwa.
- Hyakkimaru’s first love, a beautiful prostitute who took care of orphaned children. She died protecting the other children from a raid ordered by Kagemitsu. In the manga and first anime she dies before the action starts and therefore is seen only in flashbacks, but in the 2019 anime she shows up in person.
- A bandit who betrayed Dororo’s father Hibukuro and sided with the authorities. He later kidnapped Dororo to get the map to find the money hidden by Hibukuro.
- A puppy wearing a hat that travels with Hyakkimaru. Original anime character only and does not appear in the manga. Makes a cameo appearance in the first episode of the 2019 anime.