Welcome once more to a new edition of Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle recap for whom the term "Paper Tiger" takes on a new and far more terrifying meaning!
This week's pages are backed up with true strength, courtesy of sweet, sweet fighting anime and manga recaps from myself, Pedro, Chris and Kristina, for Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Hunter x Hunter, and Fairy Tail!
Get on below like you've been grabbed by a magic giant cat at read up on the week in hot combat, then tell us all about your favorite fight shows!
Hunter x Hunter Episode 52
Gon and Killua finally get hold of Kurapika, and it seems he's less than pleased that they are going after the Phantom Troupe. It makes me wonder as to his reasons why, though. Sure, it seems that he's worried because of how strong they are, but is it also because he wants to deal with them himself? Regardless, he agrees to help the two out with their nen at a later date.
Meanwhile, the Phantom Troupe are running rampant still, and the yakuza inside the building are getting riled and being all yakuza-like. If wearing a suit and yelling at people is all it takes to be a member, I think I could do a pretty good job myself. Might need to lose the hair. They are soon shut up when the top dogs from the Zoldyck family show up.
Which leads to the crux of the episode, and what a great one it was. A two-on-one fight with grandpa and daddy Zoldyck fighting the leader of the Troupe? It's just as good as it sounds, and the fighting is top-notch, if a little short. We do get to see the ins and outs of Mr Troupe's ability, learning that he needs his book open to use the various techniques he has stolen.
Aside from the fighting itself, don't you just love the minimalistic approach with the audio during the battles? It's such an effective way to drive home the seriousness of a fight, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we see this replicated in other shows in the future.
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
One Piece Episode 568-570
The Seakings drop a bit of science on Shirahoshi and let her know that she's their queen, the first one in quite a while. They also reveal that Noah was designed to be moved by them for MYSTERIOUS REASONS. Maybe one day we'll find out. For now, we discover that the only other human to hear the Seakings was Gol D. Roger. The Seakings drop off Noah and head out into the ocean while the Ryugu guards find the kidnapped mermaids in the treasure room. Seems that Caribou (remember him?) has been busy. Being the end of all the battles, the royal family apologizes for blaming the Strawhats, forcing the populace to reevaluate their prejudices.
That's immediately tested when Luffy comes back in dire condition. His wound has been bleeding and he's low on blood. On top of having a rare blood-type, the citizens of Fishman Island fear violating the old laws banning giving blood to humans. Being the boss that he is, Jimbei steps in and volunteers. When Luffy regains consciousness, he offers Jimbei a spot in his crew.
Elsewhere, Neptune frees Hordy's human slaves and sentences the remainder of the pirates to hard labor. He also closes the Fishman District. In all of the hullabaloo, Jimbei and the Strawhats escape. Jimbei rejects the offer due to personal responsibilities, but says he will join after he meets his responsibilities. One of Neptune's soliders catches up and offers them a banquet for their troubles. The Strawhats can never refuse food and a party, so they come back to the palace for a good time. After the party, Robin and Neptune step out and talk about what she read on the poneglyph. Neptune talks about Joy Boy, a guy who lived on the surface 800 years prior to the start of the series and how he left Noah behind for somebody to finish his work. Robin reveals that Noah is one of the ancient weapons, revealed by the poneglyph she read back in Skypiea. The other ancient weapon? Shirahoshi herself.
Jimbei pulls the Strawhats aside and gives them the run down on what's happened the last couple of years. For one, Aokiji and Akainu had a falling out involving the succession to Fleet Admiral. They fought for 10 days, leading to Akainu barely winning the fight and the new rank. Second is that Blackbeard has taken over Whitebeard's territory. While the Strawhats are talking Caribou tries to kidnap Shirahoshi, but gets kicked out by Luffy. The episode ends with the representatives of Big Mam, one of the Four Emperors, arriving for their monthly candy tithe.
Naruto Shippuden episode 284-285
This is the sort of story I like to see in mid-arc filler. Rather than making up adventures that can never be acknowledged or simply contradicted once the show gets back into line with the manga, Naruto's using its padding-out time to add substance to engagements that the manga could only give a few panels' to otherwise.
In this case it's Kakashi's group's engagement with the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist and other assorted undead ninjas. Episode 284 covers Sai fighting that ninja with the hammer-and-chisel sword, and 285 covers a bunch of no-name ninjas (plus Omoi) fighting another group of no-names who, between all of them, got a total of one page's worth of space when they first arrived.
Now, that's not necessarily a problem, but in a setting that is stuffed up the bum with major supporting characters whose exploits are still virtually unknown, there's a lot of more significant material that could have used expanding. It's not like we're scraping the barrel bottom here.
Fairy Tail Chapters 304-305
It's probably a good thing that I couldn't do last week's chapter since it wasn't too loaded.
It's been revealed that Mavis is some kind of demon tactician that has almost everything figured out for our strongest Fairy Tail team in the games. It was pretty awesome to see Phase 1 of her plan in motion, and I'm excited for next week's dog fight between Grey and Rufus. What I'm looking forward to even more is the fight versus that horrible woman! Who'll it be -- Erza? The entire team versus just her?
As for Jura... I really think that it won't come to a battle with them. At least... I hope not. Jura is so strong that it would kind of take away all his prestige to get his butt whooped by anyone, wouldn't it? He's had some difficulty in past fights, but there shouldn't be anyone in the games that are a match for him one on one. Maybe if all of one guild takes him on at once or something... yeah, I guess I could understand that. Though, what I forsee is that someone's going to play dirty and he'll end up teaming up with Fairy Tail again. Is that a little too predictable? Then again, I may totally be off the mark.
As for the other team, they made it to Lucy's cell but then all were caught by the mysterious Princess of Fiore. The manga suggests that her intentions are unclear, and her expression after "capturing" the crew looked kind of... regretful? Is she against Eclipse? Probably. Will she do something to help them? Also a big question mark. I'm interested in knowing what it is they're going to see in that prison; if perhaps a dragon will come for them, or anything else.
More than anything, what kind of bothers me is the inconsistency with Lucy's powers and her spirits. When it's convenient, they come out and help her on their own. She's also capable of summoning a few at a time if she wanted to. Yet, she's in great trouble and has been separated from her keys -- and they do nothing to assist her. Couldn't Virgo have dug her out of the castle? And more importantly - couldn't the Exceeds and Mirajane have lifted everyone clear of the trap they all fell in? These things bug me. I'll never understand these random plot holes and convenient fixes.
One Piece Chapter 684-686
Smoker and Vergo begin their battle in earnest while Sanji, Tashigi and the G5 marines try to escape the flames in the room. Unfortunately, an explosion causes some of Shinokuni to seep into the room and petrify some marines. Caesar cackles and sets up the floor of the lab to be flooded with gas. We also find out that the accident four years prior was caused by an overly ambitious Caesar, not Vegapunk.
Back in the garbage area, Luffy wakes up and bumps into a tiny dragon. Oh, THIS is Momonosuke. The little punk is snooty, just like his father. Being such a snoot, the kid refused to eat anything after being kidnapped, saving him from the candy addiction the other kids are suffering. This also lead to him sneaking into an open lab and eating an experimental artificial Devil Fruit, which turned him into the little dragon. He also overheard Caesar and his plans, so Momonosuke swallows his distaste of pirates and escapes with Luffy out of the top of the trash chute. There's a quick montage showing what everybody is up to, ending with a 20 minute countdown until Shinokuni enters the black everybody is in. Oh boy, I wonder how long these 20 minutes will last..
While Mocha runs away with the candy, she remembers how the kids looked before their transformations and addictions. Monet proves to be more vicious than originally thought, as she repeatedly attacks Nami, Chopper and Robin instead of fighting Zoro. The girls and reindeer escape, leaving Zoro to fight Monet. The harpy points out that Zoro's only been defending, which probably means he doesn't want to kill a woman or he doesn't know enough about Haki to deal damage. Good thing Tashigi and the Marines arrive. Tashigi knows how to use Haki AND has no qualms about slicing up another woman.
Bleach chapter 513
What?!...what?!. This is pretty much the second time I've done this, and I can't help but to simultaneously facepalm and rejoice.
Last week I noted that it would be supremely unconvincing for Ichigo to be able to engage Juha Bach on anything resembling an equal level without some kind of new twist in the formula. There's simply been no buildup or action to imply that he could have even taken on the sort of people Bach wiped the floor with just minutes before. Unlike with Aizen, Ichigo didn't spend months in time-dilated nega-space duing brain training. He was stuck in a box listening to his friends die.
That's why I'm rejoicing. I am rejoicing that my prediction was correct. Ichigo does have a new twist, one that plausibly puts him in striking distance of big boss power-level. And yet I facepalm because of this new twist, one that plausibly puts him in striking distance of big boss power-level. I know it had to happen, and to be frank I'm at a loss for better ideas of how to do it, but my goodness is it dumb.
The twist? Ichigo's a Quincy.
Or, at least, can now manifest the same "Blut" power as these bad dude Quncies. Yep. I'm pretty sure your palm is on your face as well.
Basically, he's like the Avatar of Bleach, some kind of ubermensch capable of mastering every major power everyone else has, from Zanpakuto to Bankai to Visored mask to Fullbring to Blut. He's Hope Summers or Rogue on steroids and injected with an unhealthy dose of Mary Sue formula. Except he's not a Mary Sue in the traditional sense, because he's the officially sanctioned protagonist.
Well, at least it's not a variation on Getsuga Tensho.
Naruto chapter 607
Obito's set of flashbacks end, finally, with us knowing nothing that we didn't know already. Obito's pissed, has taken Madara's name to lay the foundations for Akatsuki, and summoned the Nine-Tails to Leaf Village. We still don't know why Rin was killed, and doubtless we'll find out once he and Kakashi begin their final battle.
Meanwhile, real Madara's pitting his hard wooden dragon against Naruto's flaming fox (that sounds vaguely obscene) and we'll see how that goes, but my interest will be seeing Kakashi dealing with the sheer power disparity between himself and Obito. They have the same basic Sharingan trick (Kamui), but it's been years since Kakashi's been able to put his whole "Copy Ninja" moniker to use. He'll have to come up with something new, or get some outside assistance (maybe from Guy or the Kages?) to take Obito down.