Ushio & Tora Episode #22 Anime Review

Ushio & Tora Episode #22 Anime Review Fullmateria Alchemist

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):

Gotta give credit where credit is due. I wasn’t expecting Oyakume’s death last week to have as big an effect on things as they did, but the show’s really proven it knows how to make good use of it’s more emotion driven cliches. As such a lot of the material here is centered around the fallout and what it means for our hero. While this doesn’t exactly result in another heartwrentcher,  it still makes for a pretty effective episode and one that throws a curveball I wasn’t quite expecting.

Ushio’s left completely devastated by Oyakume’s sacrifice and so much so that even Tora trying to beat some sense into him with his old “you’re just my food” threats can’t do the trick. However the situation’s much worse for the sect since they’ve not only lost their leader, but also saw that the Spear they’d put all their faith in was utterly useless against Hakumen, which starts to cause some dissension amongst the group. Kirio takes advantage of the rift to make his move on Ushio, and manages to take the spear away from him in order to convince the elders to adopt the Elzaar Scythes instead. This feels a little weird honestly because the scythes weren’t really shown to be terribly effective either, but it’s an interesting enough spin on things that I can mostly handwave it.

After another talk/couple’s therapy session from Nagare(and one that feels a bit too similar to when those two first met), Tora decides to stick it out with Ushio while Ushio himself learns what Kirio’s deal is. Kirio’s dad, Inasa was a priest utterly obsessed with creating a weapon that could rival the Beast Spear in power but could never produce the results he wanted. His fortune ended up changing when he met a woman named Towako aka Hakumen who convinced him the spear  isn’t up to the task of snuffing out Hakumen on it’s own, and aided him in the creation of the Elzaar Scythes as well as an artificial being called a Materia that could wield the weapon properly. It’s no surprise that this “Materia” turns out to be none other than Kirio himself but the circumstances surrounding his creation are rather disturbing to say the least since Towako/Hakumen kidnapped him as a baby in order to turn him into their desired tool and when Inasa realized they may have gone too far, it’s implied Hakumen was the one who killed him but we haven’t gotten the end of the story on that yet.

Most of the meat in this week’s episode revolves around that bit of backstory but it’s a decent one. The whole thing with Kirio’s creation felt weirdly reminiscent of FMA 03′ since Towako/Hakumen was giving off some pretty heavy Dante vibes and I’m hoping we can see more of that angle going forward. Aside from that though, the other standout part of things ended up coming from a brief conversation between Tora and Nagare where Nagare remarks how much Tora’s nature is becoming like that of a human’s which of course we already know, but it’s something that Nagare himself finds fascinating because he pretty much just rides through life looking for a sense of thrill and it’s why he joined up with the sect in the first place. In that respect he and Tora are actually pretty similar which does make Tora’s brief contemplation earlier in the episode to just follow him around instead rather than Ushio an interesting one and it makes their team-up for the rest of it a lot more entertaining. Certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more of these two hanging around each other and we might be getting more of that since they end up running into Ushio and Hinowa towards the end of the episode and the four of them get ready to face up against Kirio before he can finish getting rid of the spear.

In Summary:

The continuation of the Kirio arc isn’t as strong as last week’s entry, but it’s still a pretty good one and I’m glad it focused more on the fallout Oyakume’s death would have on the sect than I’d given the show credit for. Also glad to get some fun banter between Nagare and Tora  as well as seeing a bit more of how creepy a villain Hakumen can be. With the spear still in  Kirio’s clutches, the upcoming battle should be entertaining and I’m looking forward to the confrontation between him and Ushio even more in light of this week’s revelation since it’s bound to have an effect on the latter.

Grade: B+

Streamed By: Crunchyroll, Hulu