The Passionate Prince Torn Between Duty and Justice
- Episodes: 24
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Historical, Demons, Supernatural, Shounen
- Airing Date: January 2019 – currently airing
- Studio: Tezuka Productions, MAPPA
Dororo Preview (No Spoilers)
In war-torn feudal Japan, Lord Daigo makes a deal with demons to bless his land with prosperity in exchange for the body parts of his firstborn son. The abandoned baby grows up to be Hyakkimaru, a blind and deaf wanderer with prosthetic limbs who hunts down demons in order to reclaim what was taken from him. Lord Daigo’s pampered second son, Tahomaru, eventually finds out about his long-lost brother when the land starts to lose its blessing and must decide whether or not he’s willing to sacrifice Hyakkimaru’s happiness for the sake of his people.
Tahomaru Highlights (Spoilers Beyond This Point)
1. Absolutely Rocks That “Warrior Prince” Look
We love the aesthetic of medieval Japanese nobles, and Tahomaru cuts a powerful figure in his embroidered white robe and deep red kimono. With his ponytail, loyal retainers, and sharp eyebrows, he reminds us of Takumi from Fire Emblem Fates (but without quite as much of an abrasive personality). Later in the series, Hyakkimaru slashes his right eye in battle and leaves him with a badass scar that serves as a symbol for how Tahomaru has become a real samurai, not just a sheltered kid who has never seen a bloody battlefield.
2. Emotionally Complex and Conflicted
By all rights, Tahomaru should have a happy life. He’s (supposedly) the only son of a powerful feudal lord, a covetous position that grants him luxurious living conditions, schooling, and servants at a time when the average person can barely afford enough rice to feed their family. He certainly isn’t ungrateful, but his mother’s emotional distance and his father’s refusal to let him fight in the war weigh down on Tahomaru every single day.
When he faces off against Hyakkimaru at the Banmon wall, he agonizes over whether to stay loyal to his father and protect their sovereign land or to let his brother take back the parts of himself that were cruelly stolen from him. Tahomaru finally decides to side with his father, but he still seems conflicted over it even after Hyakkimaru slices his eye open. What will he do when he meets his estranged brother again?
3. Cares About His People and Retainers
Tahomaru recognizes that Lord Daigo bargained with demons partially out of his own greed rather than true devotion to his people, so he vows to be better than that. He saves a small town from a rampaging crab demon with the help of Mutsu and Hyogo, his retainers who follow and protect him wherever he goes. He has known the two brothers since childhood and respects them as near-equals, earning their loyalty through fondness rather than fear. Compared to his father, he’s practically a saint!
4. Badass in His Own Right
Even though Tahomaru has nowhere near the fighting experience or resolve of his older brother, he still gets to crack some skulls. During the crab demon fight, he saves both the town and his servants from a watery grave by trapping the demon in a dam and battling it himself (demonstrating some pretty fantastic swordsmanship in the process). We hope he gets more chances later in the series to show off his skills!
5. Much More Interesting Than He Was in the Manga
This applies to almost everything in the 2019 Dororo anime, but Tahomaru is far more complex and interesting of a character than he was in the manga. In Tezuka’s original, his sole defining trait was that he was suspicious of Hyakkimaru and immediately wanted to kill him. He only appeared in the Banmon arc and died on the battlefield without ever learning that the silent warrior was his brother, so his entire reason for existing was to give Hyakkimaru and Lord Daigo yet another reason to hate each other. We’re overjoyed that the new anime gives Tahomaru an actual character arc and enough screentime to establish himself as a proper rival for his brother.
The Dororo anime hasn't finished airing yet, so we still don’t know what role Tahomaru will play in the finale. We’d like to hope that he and Hyakkimaru can put aside their differences and fight together against their heartless father, but considering that this show can’t go more than a few episodes without subjecting its characters to horrific suffering, that doesn’t seem likely. But whatever Tahomaru ends up deciding, we’ll be right there to watch him!
What did you think of our overview? Is Tahomaru your new passionate prince crush? What do you think of the anime additions to his character? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!