Ushio and Tora ANIME REVIEW

Ushio and Tora ANIME REVIEW

0 comments 📅24 December 2017, 17:43

Like so many would-be heroes that the shonen genre has brought forth over the years, Ushio Aotsuki lives a seemingly tranquil lifestyle in the rural temple that he calls home. That is, of course, when he and his rambunctious father aren’t engaging in fisticuffs over breakfast. Ushio always disregarded his old man’s stories of a mystical spear kept within the temple and the monstrous yokai that the spear’s wielder is sworn to keep at bay …until the day he discovers a secret basement. Inside is the Beast Spear of legend, impaling a hulking, tiger-esque monster who would like nothing more than to swallow him whole.

Coerced into removing the spear from the monster (whom he names Tora), Ushio is forced to take up arms against the demonic entities that suddenly plague his hometown thanks to Tora’s released spiritual essence. At the same time, Ushio must avoid being caught off-guard and eaten by his new supernatural frenemy!

If Ushio and Tora looks a little dated compared to modern anime series, well, that’s because it is. Sort of. While the animated adaptation itself is relatively recent, originally airing in Japan in 2015, the original manga dates back to the mid-’90s and this latest incarnation of the story retains its source material’s character designs and art style, which both hearken back to a more classic era of anime. While this may not be palatable for every viewer, the series’ animation quality does rival a lot of its 2017 contemporaries, with the battle scenes – this series’ bread and butter – feeling especially fluid and dynamic.

The art might have benefited from the updated animation practices and budgets of the modern era but Ushio and Tora’s story is a faithful version of the kind of fantasy action tale so popular back in the ’90s. Although the series gets more depth as it progresses through its 39 episodes, it remains at heart a ‘monster-of-the-week’ style show, with Ushio and his reluctant demonic ally facing off against a new kind of malevolent spirit in every episode.

This does mean that while the more interesting arcs of the series take a while to get going, there’s a certain light-hearted and nostalgic feeling that comes from the pacing. Watching Ushio and Tora is like finding a time capsule of some never-released series from 25 years ago. How much enjoyment you get out of it is likely to be dictated by your affection, or lack thereof, for the sort of series that the original manga called its peers – the recently re-released Tenchi Muyo and earliest episodes of Dragon Ball Z both spring to mind. But those in the mood for goofy, action-packed fun can switch their brains off and settle down for some good old-fashioned demon slaying. Reviewed by Jacob Boniface

RELEASE: Out Now (Blu-ray), 2018 (DVD)
FROM: Manga UK
FORMAT: DVD & Blu-ray
PRICE: £39.99 (DVD), £59.99 (Blu-ray)

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first one to write a comment

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.