Bick­er­ing Friends vs. Mon­sters and Demons

Animation Magazine - - Anime -

more than 20 years, then MAPPA ( Maruyama An­i­ma­tion Pro­duce Project As­so­ci­a­tion) and Stu­dio VOLN cre­ated this 39-episode broad­cast se­ries.

Ushio and Tora feels cu­ri­ously pre­scient. With his square nose and spiky hair, Ushio looks like Ippo Maku­nouchi, the nerd-turned-feather­weight boxing cham­pion in Fight­ing Spirit. Ushio’s slugfests with his dis­mis­sive fa­ther re­sem­ble Ichigo Kurosaki’s fights with his nutty dad in Bleach. Although su­per­nat­u­ral fox spir­its are com­mon in Ja­panese folk tales, and an­cient, nine-tailed ones com­mand sin­gu­lar pow­ers, the mon­strous Haku­men no Mono will re­mind view­ers of the ter­ri­ble multi-tailed demons in Naruto.

The open­ing, with Ushio free­ing Tora, an­tic­i­pates the orig­i­nal OVA Tenchi Muyo!, when Tenchi Masaki frees Ryoko, the de­mon en­tombed in his fam­ily’s shrine. It’s even closer to Ru­miko Taka­hashi’s smash hit Inu-Yasha, which de­buted in Weekly Sho­nen Sun­day in 1996: In the long-run­ning manga and broad­cast se­ries, Kagome Hig­urashi, a nor­mal 15-year-old girl, falls down a dry well on the grounds of her fam­ily’s shrine — and finds her­self in the War­ring States pe­riod (c. 14671603), 50 years af­ter her an­ces­tress Kikyo trans­fixed the half-hu­man/half dog-de­mon Inu-Yasha to a tree with a magic ar­row.

De­spite their end­less bick­er­ing, Ushio and Tora emerge as very lik­able char­ac­ters, and this new ver­sion of their ad­ven­tures looks con­sid­er­ably bet­ter than the cheaply an­i­mated OVA. As Neil Si­mon proved in The Odd Cou­ple, friends who don’t get along are more fun than friends who do.

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