Bang! Zoom! Straight to the moon! It's Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle anime and manga recap that comes to you like a sucker punch from that cute girl you inadvertently insulted because you're a dense hero-type person!
With the main manga for JUMP's holy trinity of Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece still out on holiday, you'd think the slate to be a bit spare, but don't you worry, because the break's left your intrepid editors with a wealth of material to cover, including the anime adaptations of Naruto and Hunter x Hunter, and of course the hardworking Fairy Tail!
Get on below and enjoy, lest you inadvertently insult someone else, because you're a dense hero-type person!
Hunter x Hunter Episodes 60-62
So with this being the first ShoSho after the new year, there are plenty of episodes to write some thoughts for. Yep, a whopping three episodes in fact, but you won't see me complaining! If you forget what happened at the beginning of episode 60, we had Gon and Killua completing trials for participation in Greed Island. No longer are they the frail boys we've seen stumble about for 59 episodes. We have super powers. Seems the taser training has paid off, because Killua is now even more like Sasuke. We'll have to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't fall into any barrels.
After passing those and messing with a little prep work, Gon finally finds himself in the game. A robot lady who probably has more going on than it seems (with her inclusion in the opening) runs through the rules and objectives of the game. Oh, it's a trading card game? Neat. Collect 100 cards to win? Also pretty neat. When do we get the PS Vita version?
Seems like Papa Gon is in a trolling mood once again, as his message is pretty much useless and he's got his son caught up in another life-threatening scenario. I'm sure he's actually a great dad, perhaps a little misunderstood. Either way, Gon seems pretty happy with just playing Greed Island as his dad was the guy who made it. There's got to be some clues to his whereabouts, right?
A neat highlight was when Killua is attacked by the opportunistic guy right after entering the game. I mean, just look at that face. He's super pissed, and I'm pretty sure the last time we saw him like that someone ended up dying. If the show keeps up these annoyances, perhaps Killua will go ballistic? That's something I'd like to see.
Just to make sure we don't forget about them, the Phantom Troupe decide to join in after stealing a copy of the game. Every kill is making me less and less hopeful that these guys are simply misunderstood, but hey, they sure are entertaining. Feitan, Phinks, Shalnark, Kortopi and Shizuku enter the game, so you know we're in for an interesting arc. No sign of Hisoka yet, but we already know he'll be involved because of spoilers in the opening [/rage].
Pretty soon in, we get to see a group of guys recruiting new players to make a joint effort at escaping. I'm sure all of us are thinking it, but that thing is way to suspicious. The fact that both Gon and Biscuit leave them to it is all that I need to be sold on the idea that there's going to be major foul play. What better way to collect 100 cards than having tens of people do it for you?
Speaking of Biscuit, she's certainly an interesting new character. Judging by her '40 years' of Nen usage and her looks, she's got to be at least 50, right? Who knows what little girls body she stole (he?) and why, but I reckon it's going to make the arc a little more exciting. Killua and Biscuit fighting with each other is something I want to see more of, especially as Killua is very likely weaker than her.
Hunter x Hunter is still looking good, so fingers crossed it'll keep this up over this year and beyond.
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
Naruto Shippuden episodes 294-295
The "Chikara" arc comes to a close with these episodes, as the world-threatening MacGuffin and final bosses are revealed. The final boss in this case is Naruto's four-tail form, against Sage Mode Naruto, and is notable for, chronologically speaking, being the first-ever sighting of Naruto's orange-fire Nine-Tails Chakra mode.
Before canon nerds rend and tear their clothes in lamentation, it's incomplete and barely anyone recognizes it, but it's fairly clear to any reader. Good thing filler arcs aren't canon, right?
Ultimately "Chikara" passes by with minimal consequence, and the proper canon episodes are scheduled to resume next episode, but for some reason, this particular filler arc feels...different than others that have come before.
To me "Chikara" feels like it was originally conceived as the plot to yet another Naruto movie, but was instead broken up and inserted into the main series. In tone, construction, flow and visuals, "Chikara" gave off the aura that it was supposed to be Naruto Shippuden The Movie [Insert Nnumber here]: Chikara, but never happened because Road to Ninja had just come out a couple of months earlier.
Not that any of it matters, of course. Filler isn't canon, nor are movies, which makes this whole discussion moot. It's a sad irony of these run-forever battle anime that an arc titled "Chikara" ("Power") was destined to have no power at all.
Fairy Tail Chapters 313-314
In a move that was completely expected, after antagonizing both Erza and Kagura, horrible-woman-at-large avoided being challenged two against one, and instead put them against each other. Kagura finally comes out to Erza about her grudge against Jellal, and it turns out she's Simon's sister. Erza, being the bigger man, freely admitted that the reason Simon died was because he was protecting her. Though not in those words.
I think chapter 314's ending with the splash of blood is one of the absolute worst Fairy Tail cliffhangers in history. It's also the second Erza death fake-out in the series, since it took Natsu saving her butt from the Tower previously to get her out of trouble, and Mashima went as far as playing out her funeral that time around. I'm kind of glad it's only a couple days to wait for the next chapter so we can see exactly what it is that will save Erza from sudden death, because Kagura is M - A- D. That blood could mean anything, but I'm sure it isn't the end of Erza.
What I'm most looking forward to seeing is how future Lucy is going to handle things. She passed out, but she didn't disappear, and we still don't know what the "impossible outcome" is that would lead to the world ending and requiring the Eclipse Gate to open. Once again, I'm dubious about how time travel would work in this story and I hope it isn't too complicated. Natsu, of course, decided to carry Lucy around with him instead of leaving her at the basement, and Jellal's team is on to something based on a meeting they had before Lucy found her mates, so I suppose we'll see!
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