Third in this little regular post – you can jump back to September where the first post can be found, but this time around it’s a couple of older songs that I’ll quickly share:
“Shell” by Bana (Witch Hunter Robin, 2002)
Suits the tone of the series really well – and it’s got an interesting mix of early 2000s hard rock and power-ballad going on too.
“See you Space Cowboy” by Yoko Kanno/Seatbelts feating Mai Yamane(Cwoboy Bebop, 1998)
This is a perhaps an even more sombre version of the regular ending theme, and maybe hits harder due to where it appears in the series.
But I love this alternate version from the tweak on mood to the vibraphone and the way it still packs a bit of a punch even as it’s more restrained. If you like city-pop you might also recognise Mai Yamane’s distinctive voice from her solo career too.
Okay, next time in December… going for metal perhaps, we’ll see what I can come up with!
Number two! The first post for my OP-ED monthly thing can be found here, but I want to jump right into things tonight with these two, both a little newer than last time around:
‘Kaen’ by Queen Bee (Dororo, 2019)
I really enjoyed the range in Kaen. And the singer’s falsetto surprised me (in a good way), as I wasn’t expecting it at first. The pensive beginning has a great shift to an almost EDM feel, but almost before you know it but there’s another shift AND third one, as the song moves smoothly through the genres and moods.
“Fantasy” by LAMA(Un-Go, 2011)
This one struck me first because piano takes the lead, but the song isn’t a ballad nor a jazz piece. It’s also got an ethereal yet snappy feel at the same time. Finally, I really enjoyed the way the song built a little with the alternating vocals that eventually come together for the ending (fits the tone of the anime perfectly too).
Okay! The second Anime OP-ED post is complete – next time I want to go ‘back in time’ a little with the songs, but I’ll save that until November.
There are a few gaps when it comes to my knowledge of Osamu Tezuka’s works beyond Astro Boy, which is something I’ve been wanting to fix for a long while.
Being well-aware of his other stories but only having having seen a few or just bits and pieces over the years has been kind of frustrating, especially when it comes to finding a copy of Phoenix 2772 🙂
However, when I started Dororo I didn’t realise that the anime was the second adaptation of Tezuka’s manga, so that was a fun surprise! And even through the grimmer, more splatter-filled 2019 series probably doesn’t look like it on the surface, I think there are both character design and story-telling aspects that reveal the source material.
Dororo is a classic underdog story, with both Dororo and Hyakkimaru up against a harsh, unforgiving world – and that’s just the humans. The demons are bad news too, but the duo prove to be a match for the things they face. And while what they face can be, at times, a monster of the week, Hyakkimaru’s quest to restore himself provides a narrative link looking forward, while Dororo’s past offers a similar thread of consistency.
Perhaps the injustice Hyakkimaru must face, and one that certainly had me onside with him right away, was the nature of his birth. After all, not only does his father sacrifice his organs and senses, almost his entire body, in exchange for prosperity, but nearly everyone around Hyakkimaru chooses to overlook the father’s cowardice, instead turning their blame on a more convenient target.
Part of why I watched 4 or 5 episodes each night (more than I’d planned :D) was that injustice, but knowing Osamu Tezuka’s storytelling, there’s no simple answer. There is a cost to Hyakkimaru’s restoration, so Dororo has more than one good moral dilemma.
Reading up on the reception, I see that one criticism aimed at this modern adaptation is that compared to the manga, ronin Hyakkimaru has so little dialogue that it is harder to connect with him as a character. I half agree. On one hand, it meant that the ending had a little extra impact, on the other, it meant that I missed out on hints of how he was dealing with everything.
To compensate, we learn a lot about Dororo throughout – so I was happy with the trade off, myself. In terms of the ‘modern’ violence, I did take a quick look at the manga in an attempt to compare and maybe it’s partially colour, movement and sound that makes the show feel more violent?
But getting back to the anime, I wanted to quickly share a few favourite aspects – one being the pre-Jaws moments but I also really enjoyed what felt like a nod to the ‘hidden Ainu treasure’ trope, along with Izume or Jukai as characters. ‘The Story of the Jorogumo Silk Spider’ was another favourite; it had a few twists and a non-typical ending perhaps.
I suppose that in some moments, the character design might bring to mind that late 1960s look, especially with Mio and the golden horse to give two examples, and I wondered whether they ‘fit’ the grimmer aesthetic of things elsewhere, but I can’t really complain since I liked it all.
Oh, and when folks joke about Hyakkimaru being the original ‘demon slayer’ there will be aspects that appeal to fans of both shows, at minimum the historical setting and the slicing up of monsters, however the two are obviously different in a lot of ways.
Really enjoyed Dororo and I’m keen to find the first anime one day too.
Review count: 151 (Dororo was the ‘runner up’ in the little vote I had for the 150th review)