If you’ve managed to gain access to the alternative version of the Hirata Estate then you’ll eventually come up against Owl (Father) in the same room where you beat Lady Butterfly earlier on in the game.
Your fight against Owl (Father) is very similar to your fight against Great Shinobi Owl, who you probably beat not long ago, but there are some differences. Noticeably, he doesn’t have his anti-healing grenade in this boss fight, and I personally think that makes this fight much easier. You shouldn’t need to use any items to beat him either – just straight up skill. As with a lot of boss battles, this one is all about patiently waiting for your moment to attack without getting greedy, picking away at his Vitality until we can break his Posture.
Beating Owl is all about knowing his attacks and reacting accordingly. He zips about a lot in an effort to confuse you but don’t let this worry you as you’ll soon get used to it, you just need to worry about recognising his attacks that follow. The first of his moves to look out for is a very strong attack where he throws a shuriken at you and then charges forward and unleashes a very powerful swipe which knocks you back. You both take a second or two to recover from this attack so any window of opportunity to get an attack of your own in is gone, so just Deflect both attacks and get ready for the next one.
He also performs a number of combos, but you can Deflect all of these. The combo below is one that you need to watch out for in particular, and it’s easy to notice by the back elbow that’s in the middle of it. When Owl does this combo, the back elbow will be followed by one more swipe and then Owl’s substitute for his anti-healing grenade – Firecrackers (he does use the firecrackers in the first fight too, but they’re very rare). When you see Owl performing this combo, get ready to jump backwards out of the way to avoid the Firecrackers or you’ll be stunned and in trouble. Also, try and keep the fight in the middle and facing down the room as much as possible, this should give you plenty of space to jump backwards to avoid the firecrackers rather than risking getting caught on one of the pillars or against the side walls.
You also need to be wary of how Owl follows up the firecrackers. He sometimes follows it up by charging in to perform either a swiping combo or the strong attack in the first gif, but he sometimes follows it up with a Perilous thrust attack that you need to Mikiri Counter. If he does the first then get ready to Deflect, but if you see him pulling his sword back just before his Firecrackers go off then get ready to use your Mikiri Counter and then get a single hit of your own in. You can see both instances below. As a quick side note, he does also perform this Perilous attack without using the firecrackers first, so keep your eye out for it at all times.
His other Perilous attack is a sweep that you need to jump over, it sometimes comes at the end of a combo or he sometimes uses it independently. If you see him slowly pulling his sword back to his left hand side then get ready to jump when the red kanji symbol appears to avoid his attack. When you land, he’ll slowly raise his sword above his head ready for a downward attack – stand in front of him and wait until the last minute and then Step Dodge when you hear him let out a noise, this will avoid his attack and give you a chance to get a single hit of your own in. If you Step Dodge too early then Owl will telegraph your movement and change his attack, so if you recognise that you’ve acted too early then get read to Deflect immediately.
Much like the first fight, Owl will also throw shurikens at you a number of times throughout the fight, but they’re easy to spot and can be Deflected. Look out for when he throws two shurikens at you one after the other as this will often be followed by him flipping towards you and going for a downward strike. Deflect both of the shurikens and then wait until Owl is in the air right above you, then Step Dodge out of the way and you can get a single hit of your own in again. If you manage to Step Dodge round him far enough that you’re behind him then you should be able to get two hits in, but don’t get greedy and go for more hits if they aren’t available to you or you’ll get punished.
All of Owl’s attacks in the first phase are combinations of all of these attacks, so keep following these instructions and as you slowly wear his Vitality down to about half way your attacks and Deflects will start to fill his Posture bar until you eventually break it and open him up for the first Deathblow. If you need to heal at any point during the first phase then sacrifice one of your opportunities to attack to do so, or use your second of grace between phases.
The second phase plays out the same as the first phase except for one extra trick that Owl pulls from his sleeve, and just to confuse matters, it’s an owl. This owl serves two purposes – in one instance, Owl will disappear (often after his Perilous sweep attack) and his owl will start flying around the room; when this happens you need to start running around the room, as Owl will eventually reappear out of the owl right behind you to try and pull off a surprise attack, so keep moving and you’ll avoid it no problem. If you react quick enough when Owl reappears you can double back and get a hit of your own in, but as always, don’t be greedy and go for a hit if the opportunity isn’t there.
The second use of the owl comes when Owl holds his left hand up and calls the owl to him. When he does this you’ll see the owl become engulfed in flames, and its about to be launched at you as part of Owl’s new Perilous attack. To avoid it, sprint and jump to the side and then get ready to react again, as Owl pretty much always follows this up by performing his charging thrust Perilous attack, so get ready to Mikiri Counter that too and then get your own hit in.
Keep reacting to these new attack patterns and following the tips from the first phase and you’ll eventually open Owl up for the second Deathblow. He takes two Deathblows to kill in the second phase, so pay attention and don’t miss your prompts.
Killing him will earn you Memory: Foster Father, which can be used at a Sculptor’s Idol to permanently increase Attack Power, as well as the Aromatic Flower, which is needed for the Purification ending.