Welcome to the latest edition of Shonen Showdown, where our new wide-image header format came just in time for the epic panorama shot from this week's chapter of Naruto! Ninjas, we've got them!
You know what else we've got, though? We've got magicians, immortal badasses, training arcs, freedom eagles, and tsundere sand.* Get on below and check them all out!
*By which I mean "Recaps of Hunter x Hunter, Bleach, and Fairy Tail
Hunter x Hunter Episodes 64
More training with Biscuit, and we're seeing some clear progression. Did we just timeskip about a month? Yes, we did, and there weren't any bullshit filler arcs in between. Thank you very much, Hunter x Hunter. All we need now is to see how they do in a proper fight, but my money is on Gon and Killua doing pretty well.
Seeing most of the Phantom Troupe show up by boat is certainly cause for worry. As much as Gon and Killua have increased their power tremendously, I'm not at all convinced they are ready to fight them just yet. Having the benefit of the book and spell cards will help, if they actually get something besides monster cards. I would assume that the Troupe members who arrived by boat won't be getting those.
I had almost forgotten about the 'bomber' side plot, to tell you the truth. Not that it's bad or anything, but rather I care way more about what training is coming next. It didn't take a genius to work out that the 'collect 100 cards' party was going to end in tears, but I certainly didn't expect it to be just one of the guys, and the bomber no less. I also didn't expect to see that guy from the auditions to end up decapitated either, so there's that too.
But man, what about all of these technique names? I'm not sure if it's easier to follow if you understand what's being said, but I don't think I can remember any of them besides Gyo. I'll be honest, I only remember that one because of giant spider sharks and other nasties.
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
Naruto Shippuden episode 297
It's a lengthy recap of Gaara's entire past this episode, with nary a break for actual action to boot. To be perfectly honest I can't remember if this same chapter went exactly the same way back when it first hit print, so I'm in no position to say whether or not they were padding the episode out with redundant flashbacks.
Long story short: Gaara's mom loved him after all, and his dad was a dick for forcing Gaara's uncle to lie about that fact, solely for the purpose of triggering a Jinchuriki freakout. Also, Gaara's mom's ghost lives in his super defense-sand, that high-grade powder that he keeps in the gourd on his back. That's why it's shaped like his mom.
Unfortunately, this raises a question: If Gaara only found out now that the super-sand is powered by his mom (and not the tailed beast that he used to host), did he ever notice that his super-sand had recently gotten into the habit of shaping itself like a lady? And if he did notice, who did he think that lady was?! After all, he had believed all his life that his mother hated him, so he couldn't have thought it was her.
What was going through Gaara's mind? And how can this be milked for future profit?
I have an idea:
*Coming soon to Shonen JUMP the Romantic Comedic Action Adventure, "My Little Pile of Living Sand Can't Be This Cute!"*
Gaara: "Hey sand! Why're you turning into a woman?!"
Sand: "D-don't get me wrong, I-I'm not protecting you because I l-like you or anything!"
Anime of the year!
[Check up on the status of my My Little Pile of Living Sand Can't Be This Cute! pitch on Crunchyroll. It'll get funded, I swear!]
Fairy Tail Chapters 315-316
Sometimes I wonder why people don't ever bother to do their research any more. I mean, of all the things that Fairy Tail guild members are known for.. probably the biggest thing they prove over and over is that they've got a mean-ass fighting spirit, especially when it comes to protecting what they hold dear. This stupid ho steals Milliana away and pits Erza against Kagura... then Erza whoops Kagura... and she gives Milli back wounded? What did she think was going to happen? I'm almost scared to see how Erza's going to whoop her, now.
The important take-away from these two chapters though... is... the big question... are the dragons returning?
Lucy says that they're going to destroy the village.. but is that the only future? What do the dragons want? What are the dragon slayers going to do about it? At this point, I've realized that the outcome of the match has nothing to do with it. It's just that Lucy told the princess what the result would be as proof of her story. But if Lucy told Natsu and others that the dragons were returning.. wouldn't he want them to, so he could possibly meet Igneel again? Jellal is right on the money -- there's something fishy about that story.
I'm pretty pumped to read the next few chapters and find out! And thankfully the anime is on the current arc, so we'll be able to see the whole thing animated soon. Unfortunately I haven't been following along lately, but I'm still looking forward to it.
Bleach chapter 524
Kenpachi dies in this one. The current Kenpachi, I mean.
But! A twist!
Kenpachi can't die!
Or rather, he can die, just not permanently, and each time he comes back...well, let's just say that I think this entire chapter was constructed solely for the sake of being able to say:
"What DOES kill me makes me stronger!"
Ah, Bleach. Never change.
Naruto chapter 617
A brief and largely unnecessary diagram explaining how Naruto managed to get all pills-at-a-rave with his chakra handouts gives way to an amazing freedom bird of pure Rasengan power.
It's a freedom eagle to the future.
That's cool and all, but I'm thinking they could have made a better visual metaphor for/tribute to Neji's legacy. I dunno, maybe emulating a giant palm strike or somehow being able to get the entire army to do some kind of Eight Trigrams Palm Strike or whatever it is Hyugas do, ideally led by Hinata, since she's been critical enough to this stage of the fight.
Ah well, an opportunity may have been lost there, but at least there's this sweet frame of Lee kicking through undead Madara, so I would guess it evens out.
In the meantime, that new character that debuted last week, I think they call him "Sah-soo-ki", arrives at Leaf village to do...something.
[Naruto debuts weekly on Weekly Shonen Jump!]
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