Episode 23, "Incoming! Mechanical Beast Baron Ashura"
Synopsis: The scientists at Photon Power Lab complete Sayaka's new robot, Venus A. In the surrounding excitement, Kouji gets closer to Sayaka. Dr. Hell's forces attack Japan's military and the Mazinger Corp are busy. The Lab puts up a forcefield bubble. Boss and his cronies paint his own robot, the Boss Borot. The Mazinger Corp are confronted by Ashura's robot. Kouji, Shiro, and Kabuto visit Juuzo's grave, where a hologram of Dr. Hell appears to offer a chance at settling everything with a fight between the Mazinger and Ashura's robot. Sayaka attacks in the Venus A, but it does no damage to Ashura's machine, and she is subdued. Boss, his group, and Shiro want Kouji to accept the duel, despite it going against Tsubasa's plans, but he promises Sayaka he'll stick to whatever Tsubasa has in mind. However, the morning after spending time with her, Kouji heads off to the duel in the Mazinger.
Most of this episode has been dedicated to suddenly making Sayaka a relevant character, and it doesn't really work out, since Kouji ends up entirely ignoring her opinion and doing what he wants, anyway, and her new robot ends up being as useless as the old one. Nice. Well, at least we got some semi-nudity. That's good, right?
In other words, the only relevant female character in this series is Tsubasa. But that's okay, since Tsubasa is the greatest character in this entire series, and one of the best in anime, ever.
Also, everyone is setting up for the final battle in this episode. I mean, they've been doing that for the past couple of episodes, but I guess things are really starting to move, finally, with Dr. Hell suggesting a duel at dawn between Kouji and Ashura. I wonder what it is that Tsubasa had planned? Also, what was it that Akokuji was talking about with Sayaka's father?
The Mazinger Corps are, of course, worthless, and should have been entirely excluded from this series. They accomplish absolutely nothing and are barely even characters. It annoys the hell out of me that they even bothered to give these retards new mecha. They need to die already.
Not a great episode by any measure, but not terrible, either, I suppose.
3 out of 5