The setting is the middle of the Muromachi Period, during the 1470s after the Wars of Onin and Bunmei. The story begins in the Noto Peninsula of the Hokuriku District. The main character, who lacks as much as 48 body parts, obtains a fake body and eliminates 48 monsters that were made from his body to retrieve his missing body parts. The 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 23rd and 25th episodes are original stories for television, not part of the original story. Half way through the series, the title was changed to "Dororo and Hyakkimaru" because Hyakkimaru was more prominent than Dororo, the boy thief, and viewers inevitably regarded Hyakkimaru as the main character when the story evolved around eliminating monsters. Unlike the pilot, this was done in monochrome only, probably due to tight budget. As it turns out, the monochrome made the monsters look much eerier.
(c) Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd. / Mushi Production
Broadcast via Fuji TV network / 23 minutes / Monochrome / 26 episodes
Mushi Production / April 6, 1969 - September 28, 1969, Sundays 7:30 - 8:00 PM
Original Manga: Tezuka Osamu
Producer: Shibayama Tatsuo
Production Assistant: Kanazawa Shuichi
Settings: Katsui Chikao, Suzuki Yoshitake
Executive Director: Sugii Gizaburo
Animation Director: Kitano Hideaki, Ueguchi Teruhito
Animation: Shindo Mitsuo
Art Director: Tsukima Hachiro
Backgrounds: Akashi Sadakazu
Trace: Kitaoka Mitsuyo
Coloring: Takahashi Tomiko
Shooting Director: Kumagai Akifumi
Camera: Mori Akihiko
Editing: Matsuura Noriyoshi
Planning Chief: Ikeuchi Tatsuo
Production Support: Iwasaki Masami
Production Chief: Katayama Hideo
Music: Tomita Isao
Music performed by: Foolsuns Serenaders, Nakamura Hideo
Sound Director: Tashiro Atsumi
Sound Effect: Kashiwabara Mitsuru
Production: Mushi Production, Fuji Television Network Corp. / chief: Yaosaka Tsutomu
"Dororo's Song": lyrics by Suzuki Yoshitake, music by Tomita Isao and vocals by Fujita Toshiko
1 Hyakkimaru-no-maki (part 1)
Daigo Kagemitsu, a warrior in the Age of Civil Wars offers his soon-to-be-born baby's body to the 48 devils as a sacrifice to fulfill his ambitions. Then the baby is born with 48 parts of his body missing, and is thrown into the river because of its horrifying ugliness. The baby, however, survives. A gifted doctor supplies him with the missing parts, and he grows up with the name "Hyakkimaru." Wherever he goes, demons follow him, but he attacks them with a sharp sword attached to his artificial arms. One day, he meets a thief girl called Dororo who can steal swords of any kind.
2 Hyakkimaru-no-maki (part 2)
Hyakkimaru is tired of being followed by Dororo, so he tells her his cursed history in an attempt to make her go away. The story goes like this: Hyakkimaru was born without arms and legs, like a caterpillar, but a doctor named Juko supplied him with artificial limbs and glass eyes so that he could manage to survive. Hyakkimaru, however, was always followed by demons. They were drawn to him, probably because he should have been dead with such a body. Being in Hyakkimaru's company therefore meant being constantly scared of demons. Hearing the story, however, Dororo replies that she finds it "interesting." Hyakkimaru continues on his journey, believing the mysterious voice that tells him, "If you kill 48 devils, you will have a complete body." At a temple that was burned down during the war, he meets a girl called Mio, who is taking care of orphans. Her gentleness touches him and his mind is calmed for the first time in his life, but warriors break into the temple and kill Mio and the orphans.
3 The Evil Monster Bandai-no-maki (part 1)
Hyakkimaru and Dororo are sleeping in the open by the river when they come across a goblin called Kanekozo. The next day, when they tell the villagers of their encounter with the harmless goblin, they are caught by the villagers and confined in a small hut on the grounds of a female headman called Bandai. That night, a horrifying monster comes out of the old well by the hut. Hyakkimaru tries to destroy it.
4 The Evil Monster Bandai-no-maki (part 2)
Kanekozo is a spirit born of buried money. When he tells Hyakkimaru the location of the loot, the villagers dig up the ground to find the money right where the spirit has said it was. It turns out to be the money once stolen by the horrifying monster. The female headman Bandai, who pities the villagers, has been giving them money. When Hyakkimaru hears this story, he guesses what the monster really is. At night, when the monster assaults the village again, Hyakkimaru injures the monster with the help of the villagers. The monster runs into Bandai's mansion, where Dororo sees it transform into Bandai. As Hyakkimaru has guessed, the female headman is the monster, and she has been controlling the village by giving them money that she had taken from them in the first place. The monster turns out to be a human face-wound on her body.
5 Muzan-cho-no-maki (part 1)
While nursing Dororo, who has fallen ill from a fever during their journey, Hyakkimaru comes to know of Dororo's tragic past for the first time. Dororo was born to poor farmers. In order to survive, they become thieves. In time, her father, Hibukuro, becomes the leader of bandits who attack only warriors and the rich. The three of them, however, are turned over to government officers when Hibukuro's subordinate betrays him. They escape from jail during a storm, with pursuers chasing them from behind. Hibukuro takes on the pursuers alone so that his wife and child can escape.
6 Muzan-cho-no-maki (part 2)
The leader of the pursuers turns out to be the subordinate who had betrayed Hibukuro. The traitor does not kill him because he is indebted to Hibukuro. Instead, he shoots arrows into Hibukuro's legs, making him unable to move. Hibukuro, unable to walk, and his wife Ojiya, who carried a baby in arms, in the end fall as low as beggars. Then a warrior kills Hibukuro as a joke. After some time, Ojiya passes away protecting Dororo from the harsh cold. Dororo looks back on her past as she suffers from fever, but reminds herself that she is still alive.
7 The Monster's Sword
A sword has the evil power of controlling its owner by taking over his mind. A man called Tanosuke, who is possessed by this evil power, suddenly challenges Hyakkimaru to a fight. The sword is craving for blood. Sword-thief Dororo is so fascinated by the sword that she finally steals it from Tanosuke. The evil sword, however, gains control of Dororo's mind at the same time, turning her into a bloodthirsty killer who slays people one after another. After causing uproar in the city, Dororo barricades herself into a blacksmith's hut. Tanosuke, now without the evil sword, is so desperate to get it back that he sets fire to the hut where Dororo is hiding.
8 The Monster's Sword
Tanosuke succeeds in getting the sword back after he sets fire to the blacksmith's hut where Dororo is barricading herself. Immediately after that, she starts to slay the villagers. The sword has become even more bloodthirsty. Hyakkimaru saves Dororo and confronts Tanosuke, engaging in battle with the evil sword. During the fight, Tanosuke realizes he is controlled and manipulated by the sword, and thrusts it through his body. Tanosuke does not want to be taken over by a monster, and this, his act as a human being, breaks the sword into pieces. When Hyakkimaru defeats the evil sword, his real eyes are returned. What he sees with those eyes, however, is a ruthless human world that tries to exclude him by discrimination.
9 Banmon-no-maki (part 1)
On a small hill stands a huge board called "Banmon." When Hyakkimaru and Dororo decide to stay there for a night, the fox goblin of Kuo attacks them. At dawn, the fox goblin disappears, but then the execution of those who have tried to cross the border without permission begins. Kagemitsu, who has put a curse on Hyakkimaru, takes command of the execution. Getting angry about the brutality of it all, Hyakkimaru challenges Kagemitsu without knowing that he is his own father. Looking at Hyakkimaru's abnormal body, Kagemitsu realizes that the young man is the caterpillar-like baby that he had thrown into the river. Kagemitsu gets flustered, and withdraws his soldiers. Later, Hyakkimaru meets a young warrior named Tahomaru. They fight at first, but soon become friends. Together the two decide to defeat the fox goblin of Kuo.
10 Banmon-no-maki (part 2)
Kagemitsu suggests that Hyakkimaru become an officer, counting on his ability to defeat the fox goblin. Hyakkimaru, however, goes looking for Dororo, who has been thrown into the river after an unjustified lynching. There, he meets the woman who is his mother. Even though he does not know his mother's face, he sees in the woman's eyes total love and sorrow. Although they have lead separate lives, the bond between mother and her child reveals who they are in a flash. Hyakkimaru, however, turns his back on his mother. Meanwhile, a boy called Sukeroku saves Dororo on the other side of Banmon, and they become friends. Sukeroku explains the circumstances under which Banmon's neighboring countries have come to hate each other. Both countries would still be friendly if it were not for the wall. Could they someday mend things between them? Sukeroku looks up at the wall while, beyond his gaze, Tahomaru is preparing his army for the launch of an all-out attack on the other side.
11 Banmon-no-maki (part 3)
Sukeroku's parents are killed and the village is burned in a surprise attack by Tahomaru's army. Sukeroku and Dororo are taken to Banmon with their companions to be crucified there. Sukeroku is shot dead with several arrows. Then it is Dororo's turn, but Hyakkimaru saves her in the nick of time. Seeing Hyakkimaru save the enemy, Tanomaru tries to slay him, only to be killed by Hyakkimaru instead. Watching all this, the fox goblin of Kuo laughs scornfully, "You have just killed your own brother." Now Kagemitsu, who is raging about his son's death, begins to pursue Hyakkimaru. He finally loses hope to live as a man, for he has killed his brother, has turned from his mother, and has made his father pursue him. He is driven to so much despair that he closes his heart even to Dororo...
12 Hakumenfudo-no-maki (part 1)
Being left by Hyakkimaru, Dororo cries all alone in the world. Then a woman appears in front of her. She looks exactly like her late mother Ojiya. So when the woman gently comforts her, Dororo goes to her house. Dororo sees her dear mother's image in her, becomes fond of her, and starts to depend on her. The woman, in fact, is working for a monster called Hakumenfudo, who lives in a waterfall among the mountains. As Hakumenfudo does not have its own face, it steals faces from among the ascetics who practice in the waterfall. Now it is after Dororo's face.
13 Hakumenfudo-no-maki (part 2)
Hakumenfudo demands that its subordinate get Dororo's face, telling her to throw Dororo into the basin of the waterfall. Meanwhile, she has developed tender feelings toward Dororo, who is attached to her as if she were her own mother. So she cannot obey Hakumenfudo's orders. When she manages to escape from Hakumenfudo with Dororo, however, stray dogs manipulated by Fudo attack her, tearing her body into pieces. The dogs try to attack Dororo next, but Hyakkimaru defeats them all. He has come into the mountains following the smell of demons. Hyakkimaru finds out about the monster Hakumenfudo that haunts the waterfall, and defeats it. Then Hakumenfudo, who has killed many ascetics by taking their faces, turns out to be just the mold on the rocks.
Dororo and Hyakkimaru set out on a journey again. They spend a night at a temple where Dororo accidentally sets free Amanojaku, who has been trapped by a guardian god at the temple gate. Amanojaku happily runs down to the village where he causes uproar by doing countless misdeeds. Dororo tries to stop him, but the villagers chase her, taking her for Amanojaku's friend. During her flight, she knocks down a stone monument, but this is no ordinary monument. It is there to seal off a dreadful monster. Now the seal is broken, and a monster called Hitokuchi-kajiri rushes out of the ground. It has been born of the perpetual greediness of an extremely cruel headman after his death. Dororo and Amanojaku run into a five-storied pagoda, with Hitokuchi-kajiri after them.
Dororo and Hyakkimaru run into a warrior called Tawara Gorobei, who has enough superhuman strength to easily lift an unruly bull over his head, and the three travel together. Gorobei boasts that he does not believe in monsters and demons, but as long as he is with Hyakkimaru, demons are drawn to them. Soon after they enter a deserted village, a ghostly air engulfs them. Then weird things begin to happen. Blood drips from the ceiling, furniture moves on its own, houses suddenly collapse, and cats and crows are manipulated by demons. Gorobei is scared not of these weird incidents but of Hyakkimaru, who challenges monsters as a matter of course.
16 Yoba Midoro-no-maki
Tokino Kageyuki is almost within reach of becoming a leader of warriors thanks to his pet horse Midoro's good work, but he is conceited enough to believe that the credit all goes to him. Then he blames Midoro's pony for causing Midoro to be slow by following her around. He takes the pony away from her and sells it off. It turns out that Dororo and Hyakkimaru buy the pony. Losing her child breaks Midoro's heart. Then Midoro becomes a ferocious horse and gets possessed by a demon, setting the city aflame and killing Kageyuki. Although she has become a monster, she understands her pony's love for her. Nevertheless, Hyakkimaru defeats the monster-horse Midoro with his sword.
17 Monster Donburibara
A greedy village headman is possessed by the monster Donburibara. It makes the village headman eat as much cereal as possible, and enters his body from the navel to siphon off all nourishment. So the village headman tries to eat up all the cereals in the village, because he does not get full no matter how much he eats. Dororo and Hyakkimaru, who are passing by the village, destroy the monster. It turns out to be the spirit of a turtle in the marsh. The great turtle was too old to eat, so it sent out its spirit in the form of a monster that feeds on others' nourishment.
18 The sea-monster Bira-Bira
Dororo and Hyakkimaru come to a fishing village. Dororo pulls out a harpoon from a rock just for fun. The harpoon, however, has contained a skeleton ray-monster called Bira-Bira. Hyakkimaru dives into the sea following Bira-Bira, which has escaped from underground to the sea. After a duel, Hyakkimaru disappears. The villagers think he must be dead. So in order to calm Bira-Bira's anger, they throw Dororo and a village girl into the sea as sacrifice.
19 The Thunder-fire Dog
Dororo and Hyakkimaru are approaching a pass with a puppy when a monster dog suddenly attacks them. The dog controls thunder, hitting Dororo unconscious with lightning and throwing Hyakkimaru down to the bottom of a ravine. In a village down the river where Hyakkimaru is saved, he learns that dog fighting is popular. When he sees the cruelty happening there, he realizes what the monster dog on the pass is. It must be the accumulated grudge held against humans by dogs that have been treated so badly. More terrifying than the monster is the cruelty of humans that can change even the faithful dog into a monster. Hyakkimaru destroys the monster dog, nevertheless, and buries the corpse with due ceremony.
A Jizo wanted a babysitter. It had been threatening the villagers that it would ruin the village unless they baby-sit it for it. Whenever they send a babysitter, however, the babysitter is eaten to death. So the villagers are forced to hire a traveler, who knows nothing about it, as a babysitter under good conditions. Unaware of the situation, Dororo happily offers herself as a babysitter when she sees the advertisement. Hyakkimaru senses an evil air filling the village. Then he finds out that the Jizo is possessed by a spider-monster. The monster attacks the babysitter tied to the back of the Jizo with a string, and feeds on it.
On the way, Hyakkimaru senses an unusual evil air when he passes by a cow-drawn cart. The cart is drawn by the warrior Sabame riding with his wife Maimaionba. She also senses something extraordinary about Hyakkimaru, and asks Sabame to kill him. Hyakkimaru dodges the attack, and sneaks into the house of Maimaionba to find out what she really is. In the basement, he finds numerous moth eggs. They are all Maimaionba's eggs. As it turns out, she is a huge moth-monster with silver powder.
22 Monster Monmon
There is only one girl in the village. When asked, she says all the villagers have gone to the mountains to look for gold and have never come back. Hearing that there is plenty of gold lying around in the mountains, Dororo also goes there with the girl guiding her. Hyakkimaru thinks the villagers' disappearance did not happen recently. Sensing the presence of a monster in the mountains, Hyakkimaru follows Dororo. Waiting there is a monster called Momonga. The girl is, in fact, Momonga in disguise. She lures travelers into the mountains by telling them about the gold, and feeds her huge slug on them.
23 The Huge Man-eating Tree
A huge tree that is over 2000 years old is going to be cut down because it was hampering the construction of a fortress. Hyakkimaru happens to be there, and he senses something very strange coming from the huge tree. While it is not unusual for old trees to have spirits dwelling in them, this huge tree seems to have something evil about it. A woodcutter tries to drive his axe into the tree, saying that he senses nothing, but Hyakkimaru stops him and tries to cut the tree with his sword. Then his arm, with the sword, is swallowed into the tree. Dororo is stunned to see her big brother being eaten by the tree!
Dororo's arm gets caught in a fishing-trap when she is bathing at the riverside. Hyakkimaru finds her asking for help, and goes to a nearby temple to borrow a tool to loosen the trap. The chief priest of the temple willingly lends him the tool, but Hyakkimaru senses something odd about the priest. When he returns to the river, Dororo is gone. Taking it to be the doing of the chief priest Shikanyudo, he challenges him to a fight. In fact, the priest was buried alive by a warrior for refusing to surrender the temple, and later turned into a demon. Then the spirit got mixed with the spirits of mice, weasels and moles, finally turning into a monster. After killing the monster, Hyakkimaru puts the priest's spirit to rest with respect.
25 The Monster Tsuchibozu
There lives a pauper called Gutaro in the city. He is said to be very lazy, sitting at the same place and not bothering to move for ten years. In truth, however, it is not laziness that keeps him there. He cannot move even if he wants to. On his buttocks is written a text of a sutra, which makes him sit with his buttocks touching the ground in order to keep a monster underground. Out of pity, Dororo washes the pauper's body, and at the same time washes away the sutra. Then a monster called Tsuchibozu jumps out of the ground. Hyakkimaru fights against the monster, but gets pulled into the ground instead.
26 The Last Monster
On learning that poor farmers like his late parents are going to start a riot, Dororo also volunteers to join them, and parts with Hyakkimaru. Hyakkimaru continues his journey alone, defeating monsters one after another. Now he need kill only one more monster to make it the 48 monsters he needs to get his body back. Then a strange old woman says to him, "The last monster is your father, Daigo Kagemitsu." Kagemitsu, who has given his soul to a monster in order to become a general, seems in the end to have become a monster himself. In order to defeat his father, who has put a curse on him, Hyakkimaru runs to his father's house. There he finds Dororo held in captivity. Kagemitsu is executing the rioting farmers. When he sees Hyakkimaru, who has killed his beloved son, his fury is uncontrollable. He offers his wife, Onui, as a sacrifice, and asks for the unearthly power of monsters. Then he becomes the 48th monster, and the last fight between Kagemitsu and Hyakkimaru begins.