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Ushio & Tora Episode #25 Anime Review

5 min read

Ushio & Tora Episode 25Drop the H.A.M.M.R

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.

The Review:
Content (warning as portions of this review may contain spoilers): Unfortunately we’re nearing the end of this half of the show, with a whole season long break before we can get the conclusion. In the

Unfortunately, we’re nearing the end of this half of the show, with a whole season long break before we can get the conclusion. In the meantime, though, it’s at least setting things up to give us a decent sendoff as we start a new arc this week and a new threat for our main duo to face. What we end up getting here manages to keep up the show’s usual level of consistency, but in the face of the arc we just previously got through, the conflict here feels a bit strange.

After going through their usual husband and wife routine, Ushio ditches Tora to head back to school with Asako, only for the two of them to run into trouble when a mysterious organization comes after them. According to Atsuzawa (who you may or may not remember from the plane episode) who now works for the JDSF under their own yokai hunting division, the group is known as the H.A.M.M.R. Institute. HAMMR manages to capture Ushio, and apparently their objective is…to create a weapon that can destroy Hakumen once and for all. Sound familiar? It should, because we just got done with an arc involving this exact same scenario only two episodes ago and it feels a little weird for the show to be recycling plot lines that quickly. I suppose to be somewhat fair, that may be a natural consequence of the show presumably cutting out material to make the important stuff fit into 39 episodes, but that’s still more than a little jarring.

There is one thing that separates these guys from Kirio and the flunky priests that followed him, though, and that would “the power of science”. These guys see supernatural phenomena from a scientific point of view and while it’s far from the first time anime’s had it’s own Men In Black, there’s something amusing about that kind of organization being involved with yokai of all things. Anyway, it doesn’t take long for Asako to tell Tora about what happened and Tora can’t even be bothered to keep up the usual tsundere act for three seconds before coming up with a plan to rescue Ushio by letting himself then be captured, and keeping the guards occupied while she looks for Ushio.

During said search, though, we find out that HAMMR doesn’t have much appreciation for yokai life, and has been performing various experiments on the yokai they’ve captured, including one named Baldander that Asako ends up befriending. Even Ushio and the Beast Spear aren’t immune to their inhumane treatment as they treat the spear as though it’s a mere tool, and given that he’s seen the history behind its creation first hand, that’s not something Ushio takes very well. This ends up backfiring on them before long as the pieces of Hakumen’s flesh that are on the spear end up forming into a giant beast as a result of their experiments and it soon goes on the warpath.

In spite of their cruelty, Ushio decides to stick his neck out for the HAMMR guys but ends up getting injured when he hesitates to destroy the beast after Asako reveals Baldander got fused with it and that he’s okay with being sacrificed to protect her. This infuriates Asako who gets angry with the scientists for being unable to help Baldander when science is supposed to be used to bring happiness to others. It  comes off as kind of goofy (ah 90’s-isms), but it also ties in pretty well with all the empathy-related stuff the show’s thrown at us with yokai before hand, since we’ve seen they’re living creatures just like humans are and that HAMMR’s noble intentions don’t justify their methods. Again this is all stuff the show has kind of done before, but at least we get to see it from the perspective of another character, and it gives Asako more involvement than she’s had within the show for a while. With all hope seemingly lost, she gives the signal for Tora to come to the rescue and it’s looking like the conclusion to this showdown will make for our season finale. I’m just hoping that whatever said finale brings gives us material that’s a bit more fresh.

In Summary: As Ushio & Tora heads towards the finale of As Ushio & Tora heads towards the finale of it’s first half, we’re dropped into a new story arc that feels more similar to the previous one that it probably should. While it’s kind of interesting to see a more sci-fi esque group like HAMMR appear in a yokai fantasy show, their goals feel a bit too similar to what we just went through with Kirio, and while it’s nice to get yokai-empathy related material again, that also doesn’t feel terribly different to what the show’s done previously on that end. As such, here’s to  the second part of this arc managing to differentiate itself sooner rather than later so the show can go into it’s break on a high note.

As Ushio & Tora heads towards the finale of As Ushio & Tora heads towards the finale of it’s first half, we’re dropped into a new story arc that feels more similar to the previous one that it probably should. While it’s kind of interesting to see a more sci-fi esque group like HAMMR appear in a yokai fantasy show, their goals feel a bit too similar to what we just went through with Kirio, and while it’s nice to get yokai-empathy related material again, that also doesn’t feel terribly different to what the show’s done previously on that end. As such, here’s to  the second part of this arc managing to differentiate itself sooner rather than later so the show can go into it’s break on a high note.

Grade: B

Streamed By: Crunchyroll, Hulu

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