「虎は死んで皮を残す」 (Tora wa Shinde Kawa o Nokosu)
“A Tiger May Die, But It Leaves Its Skin”

I wasn’t emotionally prepared for this how wholesome Ushii’s relationship with Tora was going to be! There was reason to believe that she was angry at Ushii because of something standard like vengeance, but I didn’t expect it to be because she wanted him to recognize her after he helped her improve herself. Although Tora fell into her vices hard, having Ushii be the one to aid her in rediscovering the “Bu” and “Michi” that had vanished does justice for both character by making them complex and multi-faceted.

It says a lot about Tora in particular, who comes to realize that she needed to face the emotional turmoil she is in, and the fact that her drinking did very little in hiding the sadness she was trying to drown out. However, many of her actions throughout the Zodiac War hint at how susceptible she is to breaking. After working so hard to shape up and make amends with her callous sensei to participate in the War, she is distraught by Ushii not recognizing who she is. From that point forward, she’s spent her time in the War angrily attempting to track him down only to get distracted by the city’s alcohol that she was more than happy to indulge in. Ushii’s forgetfulness possibly sparked the desperation that lead her to taking up drinking in the first place.

And then, you have the events in this episode that lead up to her demise. Tora jumped in front of Usagi’s knife, knowing he could’ve parried it with ease and that trying to take the stab for him would only get her killed. Later, when she had the chance to tell him who she was, and how much he meant to her, she sabotaged that by lying about never meeting and only wanting to challenge him because he looked cocky. Tora’s decisions in this episode were infuriating based on how easily her death could’ve been prevented and how she could’ve at least had him recognize who she was in her last moments. At the same time, the way Tora kept talking about how pursuing her own desires wasn’t her speed hinted that she didn’t feel like she deserved to get the closure she would’ve wanted. Telling him who she was or asking for a kiss seemed like requests that she felt weren’t her style, so doing things her way meant a tragic end paralleled with the pure luck of having Ushii deliver the final blow.

While Tora was the most emotionally compelling person in this episode, Ushii won a ton of brownie points for giving us insight on the emotional core and nurturing side to his character. I was extremely worried that Ushii was going to stab her along with the soldiers in her flashback, but seeing him show concern for Tora’s safety and health was a relief. On top of that, he was reassuring about her convictions, outlining his personal ethos about accomplishing goals and acknowledging the responsibility one should have when doing the wrong thing. Additionally, the unease he had about Tora sacrificing herself and requesting for him to deliver the finishing blow shows that he’s not always as composed as he comes off. The nobility he shows in honoring debts and duels is one thing, but his emotional range in this episode went far beyond how we’ve seen him up to this point. His role in helping Tora reignite the spark she once had, and tending to her after trying to rush her to safety adds a layer to depth to him as he isn’t merely the cold warrior who has killed systematically throughout the Zodiac War.

With Tora gone, we only have Nezumi, Ushii, Usagi’s zombified body parts, and Zombie Shuryuu left in the game. Those who predicted that Usagi wasn’t going to be killed that soon were right on the money, but it is baffling how Usagi would even be able to fulfill his wish if he were to win it in pieces. Nezumi popping up out of nowhere is all, but guaranteed, though I am wondering how everything is going to go down with all of the strongest combatants now pitted against each other.



  1. Definitely one of the best episodes alongside Misaki’s.

    I was also really glad to see Ushii not be just some emotionless killing machine, and being almost Yoda-like with Tora, lol. “Do or do not. There is no try.”

    A ship made, sailed, and sunk all in one episode.

    1. I agree that it ranks up there with Misaki’s episode. Sadly, the show’s genre guarantees that the ship is sunk right away, as sweet as things could’ve been had the situation not been to figure things out within a deadly tournament.

      Sensei Ushii was a breath of fresh air compared to killing machine Ushii that we are left to think of him after his confrontations with Uuma and Niwatori

  2. Um.. Do he no Age?… Oh well, strange that last episode she already had an flashback and now again, this time they add more stuff..

    Seems like the different episode director are talking about the others, but not together..

    A way to blow out Money out of the Window, too

    1. Many of the episodes have the flashback/present day sequences. To me, it felt like they did a better job at working with any budget limitations that might’ve occured by staying within 2D. Like I didn’t mind them reusing stills during conversations like Tora’s last scene because it looked visually more appealing than wonky 3D Models.

  3. We should likely get Ox’s episode next week, with Rat’s episode ending the series.

    …it is baffling how Usagi would even be able to fulfill his wish if he were to win it in pieces.

    That’s what made him so mysterious, being the only character to not get any backstory or motives. Some find it annoying, some like how it doesn’t cheapen his craziness.

    1. I guess it’s the Joker effect where he’s freakier the less we know about him. For Usagi to be enigmatic is ultimately his greatest strength as a character, and he would be the kind of person to win the tournament and then ask for his wish in gurgles or letters spelled out with whatever remains of him. With Ushii and Nezumi still in the game, his likelihood, however, is less than likely.

  4. >>”Tora jumped in front of Usagi’s knife, knowing he could’ve parried it with ease and that trying to take the stab for him would only get her killed.”

    Is that right? Ox seemed to think he owed Tiger a debt for this. Well, either way she was still drunk.

    1. Both things are right. Tora jumped in front of it knowing that Ushii could have handled it easily anyway/ it would kill her, and Ushii felt he was in debt to her because she did that (remember, he said that nobody had ever saved him before). She was probably still drunk, but at by then it didn’t really matter, because that was her moment of deciding to do the right thing, and then doing it.

    2. To me it looked like he would have been stab, with his attention being focused on his “duel” with Tora. Still, she could’ve pushed him aside without getting nailed at the same time or just deflected the bloody thing.

      Frankly, I was half expecting him to cut her down when she jumped at him (as this would clearly look like an attack to him) and then get stabbed in the back, but then we would not have had this emotional episode.

  5. Hmm. I agree with you saying that “the way Tora kept talking about how pursuing her own desires wasn’t her speed hinted that she didn’t feel like she deserved to get the closure she would’ve wanted”, but I think her (incredibly infuriating, I’m so with you on that) decision to not tell the truth could also be read another way. At that point, no matter what she decided to tell him, she was going to die anyway, so getting those things might not have made much of a difference, so she decided that she was satisfied with the fact that A: he had actually challenged her to a duel and B: that he’d make sure that she wouldn’t become one of Usagi’s zombies. That it was enough for HER to know all these things. Though while I offer that alternative it could easily be tied into your interpretation in that her thinking like that was sort of a wishful thinking on that part-that is to say, she didn’t think she deserved the full closure, so she decided to die happy with what she had managed to gain.
    Either way, it’s still incredibly sad. Tora’s story/arc was definitely one of the more compelling ones of this series.

    Also, while the whole issue of wishing-in-pieces is definitely baffling, I’m personally more baffled by the logistics of controlling one’s own dead body…

  6. I would have never guess Ox was such a nice guy, not in the caliber as Misai but still pretty close for a guy whose life is war. His personal philosophy is also very interesting, doing the right thing is indeed a choice.


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