What They Say:
Long ago, a ferocious monster terrorized the land, until a samurai, wielding the legendary “Beast Spear”, sealed him away. 500 years later, a middle school student named Ushio Aotsuki accidentally uncovers the monster in a hidden cellar under his family’s temple. The unsealed monster and the spear attract many other supernatural creatures to the temple and Ushio is forced to release the monster in order to defeat them. Ushio names the monster “Tora” and unwillingly work together to battle other spirits and demons.
Content (warning as portions of this review may contain spoilers):
So last time, the main storyline of the series finally decided to kick off as the titular duo headed out on a road trip, and this episode continues along those lines…mostly. Like with any road trip there’s bound to be a few detours and this one just so happens to take place on a plane of all things. It’s both more and less exciting than it sounds but it makes for a solid little entry, even if it feels like a bit more of a distraction than it probably is.
Ushio and Tora decide to hop a plane to Hokkaido in order to continue their search for Ushio’s mom (with Tora’s excitement about riding one being absolutely adorable) and while at the airport they meet a girl named Yuu. Her father was a pilot who died in a plane crash caused by a demon called Fushima, but she doesn’t believe demons could possibly exist so she instead blames his death on another pilot who happened to be flying in the same airspace right before the crash. Ushio of course knows there’s probably a lot of truth to that story and turns out to be right when Fushima attacks their plane.
However actually taking down Fushima proves to be a bit of a challenge since he’s only vulnerable to fire (which we learn for the first time that Tora can actually breathe) but Tora’s powers aren’t enough to take it down. Instead the pilot suggests to them that they could shoot it down with a missile but since the JSDF can’t actually see the demon on radar (though the idea that they’d even take a report of a demon attacking a plane seriously is ludicrous enough) they can’t sortie. With a little help from Tora and Yuu, Ushio manages to knock Fushima off the plane and visible to radar so it can get blown up by a missile. Having realized the truth about her father’s death, Yuu reconciles with the pilot, and our duo continues their journey.
The show’s been a lot of fun so far, and this episode mostly continues along those lines but honestly it’s probably the weakest one to date. Yuu’s story isn’t all that interesting because the truth about the misunderstanding is pretty much spelled out from the get go and it’s predictability makes it kind of weak compared to the other character focused monster-of-the-week bits(and unlike with Hyou, the direction here isn’t quite enough to make up for that). It doesn’t help that the situation feels a bit more contrived than usual even by the show’s standards as the silliness of the JSDF stuff aside, much of the conflict here comes from Ushio not knowing how to use the Beast Spear properly to deal with Fushima despite a lot of the advice Tora gives him on the matter being things he should already be familiar with at this point (like being able to summon the dang thing from anywhere like he has in every other episode). Also it might just be because of where the majority of the episode happens to take place but the animation errors are also a lot more noticeable than usual this time around and it knocks the wind out of the action sequences.
All that said it’s still a pretty fun episode, but it feels like a bit of a step down than usual and especially compared to last week. Though given the show’s need to pack a ton of content into a limited episode count, it’s unlikely to end up being as much of a side story as it seems and the odds are pretty good we’ll see Yuu or the pilot again. I’m just hoping their next appearance is a bit better utilized than their introduction.
After a super strong episode last week, Ushio & Tora slows things down quite a bit with this one and the result is while still pretty fun, probably the show’s weakest effort yet. The monster-of-the-week story here isn’t really all that interesting due to how spelled out the whole thing is and aside from the sheer goofiness that is blowing up a demon with a missile, the action here isn’t enough to make up for that. It feels a bit off putting to start off the show’s road trip arc with a somewhat bumpy detour so here’s to the next part of the journey proving to be a bit smoother.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll