That’s one hell of a gremlin.
This was another solidly entertaining episode of Ushio and Tora, but I have to say, the silliness factor was turned up quite a bit. I mean, even if you’re not flying high enough that the lack of cabin pressure would kill you, you really can’t walk around in the cockpit of a cruising jetliner with the front windows blown out. I can’t possibly be the only one thinking that, can I?
Well, let’s set that aside under the category of artistic license, and move on to the episode itself. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, given that the story seemed to segue into recurring plot mode last week, and this was very much a monster-of-the-week episode. Frankly I wasn’t sure how many of those would survive, given the major cuts MAPPA and Fujiki-sensei have to make to get this show in at 39 episodes.
As those MotW eps go, this one was pretty average on the whole – UshiTora hasn’t really had any off weeks, but this one wasn’t especially noteworthy. The plot revolves around a teenaged girl named Miyama Yuu (Toyasaki Aki) whose father was killed in a mysterious plane crash which saw it almost crash into a JSDF fighter jet. That plane’s pilot, Atsuzawa-san (Terasoma Masaki), by (enormous) coincidence, was a friend and SDF colleague of Miyama’s father, and both of them are on the same flight Ushio and Tora are taking to Hokkaido.
This week’s youkai villain is Fusuma, a pretty hideous looking sky-gumby that Tora has run into before and has no desire to deal with again. Sadly – especially as Tora really seemed to be enjoying his first airplane ride – Fusuma moots that by attacking the flight, killing the pilot and co-pilot in the process. This is where the silliness creeps in – Atsuzawa (who’s a dead ringer for Razor from “Greed Island”) busts into the cockpit and amazingly enough isn’t sucked through the shattered windshield into the sky. Naturally it’s going to come down to Ushio and Tora to take out the Fusuma, and in the process they redeem Atsuzawa’s reputation in the eyes of Miyama-chan.
Again – not a bad episode, but to be honest nothing much really stood out. Ushio to Tora has done every individual element we saw here as well or better in other stories, and there doesn’t seem to be much canon plot significance. After being taken out by a combo of Tora’s lightning, Ushio’s spear and an SDF jet’s missile, Fusuma does let slip that the presence of the Beast Spear means that the Hakumen no Mono (it would be quite the misdirection if it doesn’t turn out to be the big bad now) is coming back, and it might just be better to die in agony than live long enough to face it, but apart from that bit of foreshadowing this has the feeling of a stand-alone episode, and not an especially indispensable one at that. But if it’s the weakest episode Ushio to Tora offers up, we’re going to be in pretty goof shape.