Hello, and welcome to Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle manga and anime recap that accuses Bleach creator Tite Kubo of ripping off Neil Gaiman's Sandman in this week's chapter.
C'mon, look at that dude in the header! It's TOTALLY the mouths-for-eyes guy. Except without the hair. Or sunglasses. Or third, properly placed mouth. Or half-shirt. Or color.
OK, fine, he's no Nick Simmons, but that's the Corinthian, I'm telling you!
Besides Corinthian cameos, though, we bring you recaps of the hottest in hot-blood fighting anime and manga, including Naruto and Hunter x Hunter!
Hunter x Hunter Episodes 63
Oho, so Biscuit is actually Wing's master? What a nice coincidence! If this show has taught me anything along the way, it's that coincidences don't happen. At least, I'd be pretty surprised if that's what it was. Nen teachers certainly seem to have a habit of appearing out of nowhere. You may even be living with one.
Naruto, Bleach, take note of this anime. Hunter x Hunter shows us exactly how training montages are meant to be done. No rubbish about mystical worlds or crazy new special powers, but pure and simple training. Messing about with Edward Scissorfella was a great way of giving us a fighting fix and a training montage all in one. Good stuff!
It seems her appearance is extremely deceiving, as Biscuit doesn't plan to go easy on Gon and Killua. With good reason too, as I'm not sure just how much longer they would have lasted inside Greed Island. Killua doesn't seem all too happy about feeling weak, but hey, at least he's learnt to suck it up and get on with things. Definitely not something the past Killua would have done so easily.
In true MMO fashion, Gon and Killua bust out the shovels and get digging. Those arbitrary skill stats aren't going to raise themselves!
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
Naruto Shippuden episode 296
After the uncharacteristically heavy "Chikara" filler arc, we return to canon with Naruto just now joining the war proper. Strangely enough, that doesn't seem like such a long time...until you look up a list of available Naruto volumes and realize that this very event first reached shelves in November...of 2011. And that's just counting from from the compilation volume debuting in Japan, which means the actual printing dates in Shonen JUMP must have occurred weeks, if not months before that.
And considering that the whole war was in full swing long before Naruto even put his burning orange foot outside his secret training island, the only conclusion we have left to make is this:
This war's been going on for a long-ass time.
With the obvious stuff out of the way, it's entertaining to see Naruto's new tricks in color and motion. Kishimoto's style can make it difficult to parse Super Saiyan Nine-Tails Naruto's new mega-attacks in manga format, so seeing it in animation is a treat. Besides that, the padding is more evident than is entirely comfortable, what with a lengthy elaboration on the nature of White Zetsu (Trees!) and a pair of unnamed ninja being dicked around by a magnetic zombie.
Next week, some hot Kage-on-Kage action as Gaara, the Tsuchikage and more face off against fathers, mentors, and dudes we've never seen before, in that order.
[Get back in the canon saddle with Crunchyroll]
Bleach chapter 523
If we assume that Kubo really is ripping off The Corinthian for his new concept of these proto-Zanpakuto (called the Asauchi), I can only hope and pray that one of them says something about eating Ichigo's eyes. That would really class Bleach up, I say.
Speaking of these Asauchi, there's a bit of canon conflict going on, or at least an element of retconning. As I understood it back in the day, a Soul Reaper's sword was as much metaphorical as literal, a physical representative of the user's soul, hence the whole "bigger sword = more spirit power" thing that justified Ichigo having a big honkin' phallic symbol strapped to his back.
And now, according to this guy, a Zanpakuto's something the user imprints upon over the course of their career, like breaking in a pair of jeans. And even then we're not getting the whole picture.
What's up with that?
That said, the chapter's saving grace comes in the form of the next ongoing training arc, between Kenpachi of the past and Kenpachi of the present. And of course, it had to be the super nice nurse/doctor lady that was secretly the craziest, most hulked-out member of the 13 Squads!
Incredibly cliche', but also pretty badass, so I'll give it a pass on the condition that Kubo squeeze a good fight out of this:
Naruto chapter 616
As close as things seem to be to a real endgame by now, Naruto confounds us this week by introducing another brand-new character:
Who's that Pokemon ninja person?!* I don't recognize him at all, and have no idea whether or not he's important to all the apocalyptic insanity going on right about now.
Speaking of apocalyptic insanity, Naruto's just pulled a giant load of chakra out his nether regions, and literally palming it off to everyone in the form of their very own Nine-Tails chakra bubble.
It's cute and thematically solid, but it's also weird to see literally every ninja on the battlefield wearing that funny red-orange aura, when for the longest time it was Naruto's only other gimmick besides shadow clones and the Rasengan.