Ushio to Tora, 2015
Signed up the 22/05/2017
Legend has it that there is a legendary weapon capable of slaying any spirit or demon. 15-year-old Aotsuki Ushio's mundane life changes forever when he wanders into the basement at home and finds a horrifying sight: a large monster reminiscent of a tiger held fast to a wall by a strange spear. It turns out that the weapon of lore, the legendary Beast Spear had been in Ushio's basement for 500 years, skewering the monster. Upon removing the spear, Ushio inadvertently becomes the Beast Spear's chosen wielder, but the Spear's removal also means the release of the great youkai, Nagatobimaru. Resentful of the Spear, Nagatobimaru decides to haunt Ushio, initiating a strange companionship between Ushio and the great demon. However, the re-emergence of the Beast Spear also spells the impending re-emergence of a threat unlike anything Ushio could have imagined.
Ushio to Tora's premise and formula is nothing special; in fact, I could name several other anime with similar plot lines and characters. However, that happens to be its greatest strength. Ushio to Tora is a traditional Shounen anime - which then implies that the show's greatest priority is its action, adventure and comedy aspects. As a Shounen anime, Ushio to Tora holds fast to Shounen tropes, which include the indomitable nature of friendship and trust. Ushio as a main character is the typical "beacon of light" character seen in most Shounen titles. Before you get to thinking that this show is rank average, allow me to say that Ushio to Tora is a traditional Shounen anime which knows what it is and does its job as a Shounen title extremely well.
Action and adventure are abundant and not a single episode is wasted in expanding the character roster, developing the world, showcasing the incredible abilities of the Beast Spear, as well as in developing characters. Combat in Ushio to Tora is incredibly exciting and despite being a Shounen title, the series does not suffer from blatant "plot armour". Trust the anime to have you comfortably uncertain of how things will play out.
As mentioned before, Ushio to Tora is a Shounen anime, so it deals with themes of friendship, trust, love, legacy, revenge and resentment through the interactions of its fairly large roster of characters.
Ushio to Tora boasts a relatively large roster of characters, some are paperthin and exist solely to fulfill a certain role and do not develop past that role; however, some of the characters are intricate in personality, intention, ambition and history and it is this that Ushio to Tora has on other Shounen titles. Characters like Tora (Nagatobimaru), Hyou and Nagare have interesting roles as characters and develop beautifully into memorable characters.
Overall, Ushio to Tora is an exciting, adrenalin-filled journey into the world of spirits and demons governed by an age-old prophecy, and holds fast to Shounen themes and tropes while managing to develop into something different. It is the kind of fast-paced, electric anime that encourages a weekend binge and for anyone into action and adventure in anime, it's a really good watch.
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