Ed. Note: This whole post is basically one major spoiler so be forewarned.
Hello. The last we spoke, I was facing Owl (Father) at the end of my second trip to the Hirata Estate. I had attempted to fight him five or six times and was not feeling it at all. I was contemplating skipping him, but I knew it would eat my craw (a combination of eat at me and stick in my craw) and make me think less of myself. I also knew that had he come earlier in the game, I would have tried for at least an hour or two before starting to complain. My patience is razor thin at this point, and it’s hard to make myself do the grind.
I took a deep breath and jumped in. He wrecked my shit casually a dozen times before I even felt I had even a glimmer of a handle on him. It’s strange, though, because I didn’t think he was as hard as, say, Genichiro (the boss who took me literal days to beat), but I think that’s because I beat the first version of him fairly easily. This version, however was Owl in his prime, and he was a nightmare for me. I tried the cheese from the video I had watched, but my problem with the cheese was that there was one move Father did that fucked me up every time. It’s when he threw his shuriken then raised his sword high to his left and held it. The cheese is to move forward and dodge twice, but instead, I pressed down LB (block) while dodging, which didn’t do jack or shit. Father would slice through me and because it was a counter-attack, decimate my health bar to a sliver. Then, he would follow up with another attack that would kill me. Every. Goddamn. Time. If I managed to block the attack, the followup would still devastate me.
After an hour, I knew it was the wrong way to counter that attack, but every goddamn time, even as I was telling my brain not to press LB, I would press it. At that point, it was just better for me to try to avoid that attack altogether. This is one of my issues with the bosses in Sekiro–the best way to fight several of them is to bait out one or two of the attacks and run away from the rest. It’s a viable strategy, but it doesn’t really feel great while doing it. Also, with Owl (Father) at least for me, I wasn’t able to bait out the attack I wanted on a reliable basis.
It seemed I had to fight this boss on his own merits, which, as I wrote before, I did not want to do at this time. However, my pride demanded it of me, so I girded my loin and hopped into the fray. I have written before about the five stages of beating a boss before (near the end of this post), and I’ll expand on them a bit here. The first stage is incredulity and fear, somewhat akin to denial. “I have to fight this thing/guy/gal? No. No. No. No way I’m going to beat this boss!” I have literally walked away from a boss arena and refused to deal with it for some time (if I had other things I could do) because I was just not ready. I did it with Genichiro, and I avoided him for hours. The second stage is resignation. “Welp. I guess I have to do this. Alrighty then.” Third stage is anger and rage. This stage can last quite some time. I distinctly remember with Owl (Father) during this stage, I was cursing him, his mother, his father, and everyone else in his lineage. I cursed out FromSoft and Miyazaki, and everyone involved in the game. I was an angry, angry, ANGRY gamergrrl during a large portion of this fight, let me tell you. Fourth stage is having a glimmer of hope. That moment when you realize that maybe, just maybe, you can beat this thing/guy/gal. It can be one block you’d never gotten off before. Or you get ’em to their second phase (which, by the way, was a lie for Genichiro as he had three phases. Asshole). Or you just see things in a way you hadn’t before. The final stage is the ‘I finally beat this fucking boss’ phase, which is the best phase of all.