Episode 22, "Dreams! Ashura's Sleeping Cocoon!"
Synopsis: Dr. Hell contemplates the final battle and is confronted by Duke Gorgon, who mysteriously disappears. It is revealed that Pygman traded places with Ashura during the scramble to get Ashura after his disappearance. At the Kurogane residence, Boss's lackies try to convince Kouji that Boss needs his own robot to pilot. Akokuji agrees and says he'll take care of it. When Ashura awakes from dreams of the past, he/she tries to kill his/herself, but cannot. Dr. Hell has put a suggestion in Ashura that prevents him/her from taking his/her life as long as he is alive. Then Dr. Hell reveals that he's made a special mecha for Ashura and sends him/her, Pygman, and Brocken to attack the Photon Power Labs.
Basically what we have here is a dressed-up clip episode that takes place whenever. I'm not sure when the parts at the Kurogane House take place, since we left off the last episode at night when Dr. Hell's forces were about to invade at full force, but maybe it's taking them a while to get there. Other than a few new scenes, a lot of it is reviewing what happened at Mycenae. I still don't get why it was necessary to put Ashura in the cocoon, though. That's just weird. We also get a bit of flashback to when Kouji first used the Mazinger and when the switch between Ashura and Pygman was made.
Ashura seems to be continuing to reel from having betrayed the Mycenaens while in the dream world of the Kedora. Dr. Hell has now inserted a suggestion that keeps him/her from killing him/herself, much in the way Ashura can't move against Tsubasa directly. Though I don't see why Dr. Hell couldn't have removed that previous block while he was messing around in there. Regardless, Ashura seems moved by Dr. Hell giving him/her a giant robot that looks like him/her, and which creeps the hell out of me.
I guess Boss will be getting a robot of his own, probably the Boss Borot from previous Mazinger incarnations, which I think we already saw in the first episode of the program. Why Akokuji would be able to supply giant robots is beyond me, though. What sort of connections does he have? It'll be good to see Boss be of some use, at least.
So, the final battle approaches. Maybe something worth covering will happen next episode.
2.5 out of 5 (boo, clip ep)