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):
The end is nigh as Hakumen has finally revived and things are looking worse than ever. Now it’s up to Ushio to bring down the beast once and for all, but it’s a task that’s easier said than done when dealing with a monster that spreads fear everywhere it treads. Ushio’s been through quite a bit over the course of this series, but this week’s events finally push him to his breaking point, and the fallout has some devastating consequences.
With Hakumen now able to roam free, the pillar that sealed him starts to crumble and takes Japan with it as the country starts to sink. Panic spread everywhere as everyone in the nation gets a full view of Hakumen’s terrifying form, and he feeds on every bit of that fear as it only makes him grow stronger. Even Ushio’s not immune to this effect, as he can’t help but find himself feeling utterly helpless in the face of this monster and wants desperately to just run away with his mother. She, on the other hand, has steeled herself to finish Hakumen no matter the cost, but when she tries to slap some sense into Ushio it ends up having the opposite effect. Instead of calming him down his fear only ends up turning into rage: rage at Hakumen for repeatedly robbing him of all the people he loves.
This is exactly what the beast wants, however, and he plays even deeper into Ushio’s sense of desperation by claiming he’ll kill Asako and his father next. Eventually, it’s up to Tora of all people to try and cool him down but that’s when Hakumen decides to toss ultimate apple of discord by bringing up Nagare’s untimely death. Ushio still doesn’t know what really happened with that and Tora is left to decide between revealing that Nagare was a far more complicated man than Ushio gave him credit for and shattering his image of him, or taking the fall for it and losing Ushio’s respect. In the end, he chooses to go with the latter, causing Ushio to reject him and to try facing Hakumen on his own. But at this point, his efforts are all in vain, and when he attempts to use the spear, it shatters as Ushio sinks to the bottom of the sea.
Over the course of the show’s run, Ushio’s sense of courage and empathy have always been his most endearing traits. Those qualities have always pulled through no matter what kind of monster he was dealing with, and they’ve been vital in winning others over to his side during his journey. Hakumen on the other hand, is a literal embodiment of fear and rejection, making him the perfect anti-thesis for Ushio and the show takes full advantage of that this week as he proceeds to completely strip Ushio of those strengths. With nothing but rage and despair left in his heart, Giriko’s spirit calls out that Ushio is now no better than he was after Hakumen took everything away from him, and with Ushio’s anger here leading to a similar wave of self-destruction, things have really come full circle. Seeing Ushio reduced to such an emotional wreck is downright painful to watch, and I once again have to give some serious props to Tasuku Hatanaka’s stellar performance here, as he sells every second of Ushio’s turmoil. Even more heartbreaking though, is that Hakumen’s manipulations proved effective enough to shatter Ushio and Tora’s bond, and with how much those two have gradually become friends over the course of the show, it really hits hard when Ushio refers to Tora as nothing more than a monster. Now that Ushio’s lost both the Beast Spear and his friend, it’s a wonder how he’ll be able to stop Hakumen, but I have the feeling that it’ll take the strength of his bond with the latter in order to save the day.
Things take a devastating turn this week as Hakumen’s revival brings out the fear in everyone. This includes Ushio, and when Hakumen preys on his insecurities, he throws himself into a pit of rage and despair, resulting in the Beast Spear’s destruction, and him abandoning Tora. With his greatest foes now out of the way, it seems there’s no stopping Hakumen now, and if there’s any hope left, it’s in Ushio’s bond with Tora, and him finding the courage needed to face Hakumen’s overwhelming powers of fear.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll, Hulu