The second week of a season is where I expect to mostly cover second episodes, but not this time! We’ve had many more premieres this week than shows airing their second episodes, and as such, we’re still in premiere-coverage mode! A short to medium write-up on each, with links to full first-impressions for most. At the bottom of the post I also order all the premieres of the season by how much I liked them, alongside helpful links.
As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst). I’m also going to give each premiere a couple of scores, “Premiere Score” for how well it did its job as a premiere (introducing characters, establishing situation, providing a “hook”), and “Episode Score”, for how well it worked as a regular episode. “Enjoyment Score” should be obvious.
1) Ushio to Tora Episode 28:
Ushio to Tora’s last episode was sad. Really sad. It had shown us the cast, working their way through their issues, only to be torn apart and for a character to feel lonely, for a relationship to be torn asunder. This episode was worse. Much worse. By which I mean, it was so very good at being painful. It had evoked the show’s most heart-rending moment to date (Jie Mei and Giryou’s role in crafting the Beast Spear in episode 20), while making sure its cast is given agency. No matter what, someone had to sacrifice themselves, because they could not live with the knowledge the other one died for their sake. A selfishly unselfish decision. A save in the nick of time, and our heroes, well, also sacrificing themselves. This episode was a string of heavy moments, of the youkai crying as they look on at another’s sacrifice for their sake, for their desperation. The show did have a moment or two of levity, but it didn’t feel as if it robbed the other moments of their effect, but as if the show were giving us a moment to catch our breath, so we could keep on going.