Ushio Aotsuki used to laugh off stories about the supernatural, especially the one about his ancestor sealing away a demon with the legendary "Beast Spear". One day, however, he stumbles across a secret doorway in his family's temple, and finds a tiger-like demon pinned to the wall by an ancient spear. As it turned out, the demon was still alive, and its evil aura drew other demons to the temple.
Frightened, Ushio pulled out the spear from the demon — only for the creature to threaten to kill him. In his anger, Ushio somehow channeled the power of the Beast Spear, and forced the demon — which he named "Tora" (Tiger) — to bail him out. Ever since, Tora stayed by Ushio's side, partly because the boy wanted to keep an eye on him, and partly because Tora wanted to bide his time until he could eat his human companion.
That's the basic plot of Ushio to Tora, an ongoing Summer 2015 series based on Kazuhiro Fujita's 90s manga. Produced by Studio VOLN and MAPPA, the anime is slated to run at 26 episodes, and promises to be a great mix of the supernatural, action, horror and even comedy — not to mention an exploration of the odd relationship between Ushio and Tora.
Before, we mentioned how this series is similar to Tenchi Muyo and Yu Yu Hakusho. If you're a fan of those two, and are planning to watch Ushio to Tora as well, here are six other series you might enjoy.
Similar Anime to Ushio to Tora / Similar Anime to Ushio and Tora
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: Oct 2006 – Feb 2008
By day, 14-year-old Yoshimori "Yoshi" Sumimura is a high school student at Karasumori Academy. By night, he's a "kekkaishi", a human with the ability to battle demons using barriers called "kekkai". When a demon organization comes to Karasumori Academy to steal some of the pooled spiritual energy there, it's up to Yoshi and his friends to stop them.
The story might sound simple, but it's really not. There's plenty of intrigue and conflict to go around, and the characters are fully fleshed out. You're bound to like at least one of them, including the villain Kaguro, who's evil to the core and still manages to be an interesting character. With Kekkaishi's clever use of demons, folklore and magic to drive its themes forward, the series establishes itself as a must-watch like Ushio to Tora.
2. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume's Book of Friends)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 2008 – Sep 2008
Natsume Takashi has the ability to see yōkai — which should be a cool thing, except it scares the daylights out of most people. So he flits from one home to another, never really learning how to properly interact with people, poor guy.
That is, until he inherits his grandmother Reiko's Book of Friends, which contains a long list of yōkai names. Because the act of writing these names bound the yōkai as Reiko's servants, Natsume became the target of good and bad yōkai alike. Knowing this, Natsume resolves to travel along with a spirit named Madara, so he can return the yōkai's names and free them one by one.
Despite the supernatural premise, Natsume Yuujinchou is pretty mellow compared to Ushio to Tora. Yes, it's also about a boy and his otherworldly companion, but the series focuses more on universal human themes — like life and friendship — than fantastic battles. Natsume Yuujinchou has three sequels and one OVA, so if you end up liking the first season, be sure to check those out too!
Natsume's Book of Friends Season1 & 2 - Official Trailer
3. Kishin Douji Zenki (Demon Prince Zenki)
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: Jan 1995 – Dec 1995
A long time ago, the evil goddess Karuma terrorized the world, until she was defeated by a monk named Ozuno Enno, with the help of a demon named Zenki. Several centuries later, the goddess resurfaces with her minions, and awakens the "seeds of possession" scattered all over the globe. When two of Karuma's minions come to Shikigami-cho to break the seal on one seed of possession, Ozuno's descendant Chiaki summons Zenki to help her fight them off. After that, the pair decided to rid the world of the seeds forever.
There are plenty of similarities between Kishin Douji Zenki and Ushio to Tora. You have the 90s feel of the show, the vitriolic relationship between the main characters, the goal to stop a great evil from taking over the world, the fantasy, the action, the horror and the comedy, among other things. Also, Kappei Yamaguchi — who's voiced characters like Inuyasha, Ranma Saotome and L Lawliet — makes an appearance as chibi!Zenki, so watch out for him!
Any Animes Like Ushio and Tora / Any Animes Like Ushio to Tora ?
4. Hellsing Ultimate
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Feb 2006 – Dec 2012
Hellsing Ultimate starts off on the same note as Ushio to Tora. Like Ushio, Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing meets her soon-to-be monster companion — a vampire named Alucard — by accident. At the time, she was a frightened little girl, running away from a jealous and murderous uncle. When she accidentally gets some of her blood into Alucard's mouth, the vampire proceeds to help her kill her uncle and become her loyal servant.
Ten years later, Integra becomes Sir Integra, the head of the Hellsing Organization which battles supernatural threats in the name of the British government. When the neo-Nazi group Millennium appears with an army of powerful, undead monsters, the Hellsing Organization steps up to the plate, and sets in motion a bloody war for the fate of the world.
Much like Ushio and Tora, Integra and Alucard have a complicated love-hate relationship. As for the two series' similarities, there are the action, horror and supernatural elements — though Hellsing Ultimate definitely leans more on the "horror" and "action" categories, what with all the gruesome deaths and over-the-top battles in almost every episode. As a remake of the 2001 series Hellsing, Hellsing Ultimate has a prequel (Hellsing: The Dawn), and a summary OVA (Hellsing I: Digest for Freaks).
5. Shaman King
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Jul 2001 – Sep 2002
Yoh Asakura's world is a lot like our own, except there are shamans in it. Being a shaman himself, Yoh has the ability to communicate with spirits like Amidamaru, a samurai who wields the sword "Harusame" and stays beside Yoh at all times. Along with his friends, Yoh aims to win the Shaman Fight, where the winner gets to summon the Great Spirit that'll allow him bend the world according to his will.
Like Ushio, Yoh has a powerful guardian by his side. He also has to engage in a ton of supernatural battles, since that's to be expected from a show that revolves around a major tournament. Yoh's relationship with his close friends is likewise comparable to Ushio's relationships with Asako and Mayuko, although Yoh doesn't really have much trouble with romance.
Finally, you have the dashes of comedy here and there, extended to the five specials that cover events before the second round of the Shaman Fight.
6. Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (Parasyte -the maxim-)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 2014 – Mar 2015
It was a perfectly ordinary night in Tokyo, when mysterious spores fell from the sky, and crawled into people's homes. The spores were actually parasites, which worm their way into human brains, horribly distort their host's bodies, and feast on flesh, eventually killing their victims.
However, one parasite botched up. When it tried to take over the body of 17-year-old Shinichi Izumi, it couldn't get into the brain, because Shinichi was wearing headphones at the time. As a result, the parasite got stuck on Shinichi's right arm, earning it the name "Migi", which literally means "right".
Just as Ushio uses the demon Tora to fight other demons, Shinichi also uses Migi to fight other parasites. Parasyte is famous for its graphic depictions of gore, as well as its masterful execution of a horror-scifi story. And since it's a Madhouse production, you can expect stunning animation quality from this series. If you can't get enough of Parasyte, there's always the 10-volume manga, plus two live-action films that are just as awesome as their animated counterpart.
In case you missed them, Ushio to Tora has three OVA series, which spanned from 1992 to 1993 all in all. That's pretty old by today's standards, but considering how the 2015 TV series is set for at least two seasons, you can bet the producers and animators have something exciting up their sleeves. So let's watch out for that, and in the meantime, have your say in the comments section below!