How the Dororo reboot successfully exceeded fan expectations

Remakes can often be hit or miss depending on how they’re executed, but Dororo was one such reboot that proved to be a smash hit.

Anime has changed significantly since its popularity exploded in the late 20th century. Current customizations are a far cry from the black-and-white, hand-drawn animations of the past. Restarts have also become more common, as recent ones show fruit basket and Cinema’s Journey: The Beautiful World adjustments.

However, remaking an old anime comes with its own difficulties as the nostalgia factor comes into play. Studios must strike a balance between honoring the original work and taking creative liberties in order to transform the story into something that satisfies modern audiences. Dororo is a prime example of a remake that achieved just that with a combination of clever storytelling, stunning visuals, and a revamped ending.


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Dororo’s 2019 reboot is a clever mix of old and new


The history of Dororo deviates quite significantly from its original source material. However, it shares the core premise of a wandering ronin named Hyakkimaru, who embarks on a journey to fight demons in order to get his lost body parts back. He is accompanied by Dororo, a child who struggles to survive on the streets in the Sengoku period. The mangaka originally intended the story to be based around Dororo’s adventures in the Sengoku period, while Hyakkimaru’s narration would only be one of the storylines in the boy’s journey. Unfortunately, the manga was canceled so its ending came to an end at the end of Hyakkimaru’s story, causing the protagonist to switch from Dororo to Hyakkimaru.


The 2019 reboot of Dororo‘s anime worked with the original concept but cleverly changed the focus of the story. Instead of focusing on Hyakkimaru’s battle with 48 demons, it shifted the focus to the dynamic between the main characters. In the remake, Hyakkimaru can’t speak or hear when he first meets Dororo – a major distraction from the original where he can do both from the start. As a result, the entire series feels like watching a child relearn how to navigate the world while gradually regaining each of their sensations. Young Dororo almost plays the role of a human teacher to Hyakkimaru as he gradually becomes more human with each lost body part he regains.


Instead of being portrayed as a strong warrior character, Hyakkimaru shows a sense of vulnerability and innocence. In one instance, he puts his newfound foot in the fire. Like a child, he only learns that fire is hot when he has experienced it himself, since he has never experienced such sensations before.

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The stunning graphics and flawless battle scenes of Dororo 2019


The art and animation style in 2019 Dororo Remake is, of course, very different from its 1969 counterpart. The original version’s art style was more cartoonish and simplistic, reminiscent of animation at the time, which still had its roots in children’s cartoons. However, the reboot completely deviated from that style, redrawing the characters and setting with simple lines and colors much more in line with modern tastes.


If there is an example of how beautifully done the fight scenes are in 2019 Dororoit would be the scene where Hyakkimaru first feels true anger in Episode 6. When Hyakkimaru returns to Mio’s temple and discovers that all of the children and Mio himself have been slaughtered, Hyakkimaru becomes angry.

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What comes next is a beautifully choreographed and animated scene where he flies around the place and slaughters all the samurai at random. The reboot’s animation accurately captures the poignant yet violent scene of this carnage. Combined with the more elaborate build-up of emotions between Mio and Hyakkimaru leading up to this event, this results in an epic yet tragic display of the latter’s explosion of emotions.


Dororo has proven to be one of the best anime remakes of recent times. The changes Studio Mappa made to the storyline, character designs, and animation styles proved successful in conveying a modernized and complex story that still has its roots in the 1968 manga. It would be great if the anime community could see more remakes like this in the future.

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