Welcome to another week's worth of Shonen Showdown, the weekly anime and manga battle recap that's really pissed at the loss of its loved ones to the nasty powers of its best friends. Our distress and rage at the sucky state of the world will surely lead to dire consequences for all who believe in Friendship, Justice and Living Life to the Fullest!
However, we've put aside our resentment and bitterness for the moment, to watch Japanese cartoons and Japanese comics about people fighting. Because we're into that sort of thing.
And this week, that sort of thing includes hot new writeups on the latest in One Piece, Hunter x Hunter, Bleach, Naruto, and the glorious return of Fairy Tail! Welcome back to the land of usable internet, Kristina!
Hunter x Hunter Episode 49
I feel the paths of the main four are about to cross soon, as Gon and Killua begin their hunt for Phantom Troupe members. After a but of tailing, they wind up following two members across the city, unaware of whether they were undetected or not. We also get to see a bit of Killua overconfidence again, as another comment from Gon with good intentions riles him up a bit. We already know just how terrifying the Troupe is, so it was of no surprise for the duo to end up in hot water.
Seeing Gon and Killua completely shut down was also great to see. Killua especially, as he puts up an impressive display trying to escape before being caught. The two will be heading to the base of the Phantom Troupe, so it'll be interesting to see just what they'll want to do with them. As for Kurapika, I have a feeling that he'll want to get in on that empty Troupe position, if only to team up with Hisoka in fighting the leader. I doubt it'll go well, but hey, that's my hunch.
Also, looks like Killua's Dad will be showing up for some fighting. Things are about to get even more interesting!
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
One Piece Episode 567
The Strawhats celebrate their victory over Hordy's useless lieutenants. Unfortunately, Noah is still falling toward the island. There's a touching flashback involving Whitebeard and how he defended the island before, which leads to the inhabitants of the island staying behind and cheering for our favorite rubber man. Luffy does his best, but there's only so much a single guy can do to a giant ship. Given a couple more minutes and a less severe injury, he could've done it.
Lucky for everybody, a group of Sea Kings arrives and stops the giant ship from colliding with the island. Shirahoshi has a quick conversation with the Sea Kings, who tell her that they heard her cries for help. With that, everybody is saved, though Luffy isn't looking too hot, what with all that blood loss.
Fairy Tail Chapter 302
Hey, I'm back! After some complications and outages and more complications, I've finally caught up again with the Fairy Tail manga. Good timing for me, too, since we've gotten to a point in the story where the very not smart plan of going back in time to kill Zeref has been revealed to Lucy and co, though it doesn't seem like that has been the real plan all along. I have no idea what's going on with the crazy dude, but everyone else is buying the story that they want to kill Zeref and Acnologia, who is back in the storyline shortly after he doomed the guild.
In the meanwhile, I'm happy to have seen such highlights as Wendy battling it out on even ground with another strong witch, Nichiya and Ichiya meeting, Natsu beating the crap out of those awful Dragon Slayers that killed their dragon parents, and Erza single-handedly beating all 100 monsters for the Pandemonium match. Fairy Tail started out kind of pitifully, but now they've predictably come out pretty much on top. If there's one major complaint I have though, it's that Lucy has now thrice been a victim of foul play at the hands of others. I don't even know what'll happen, though, considering this story arc has been narrated from the point of view that she and others have died. Exciting...! But I don't think Fairy Tail is going to end this soon. We also still have yet to learn who the cloaked individual is (and what happened to Jellal) or even what's actually going on with that Sabertooth guild. This guy just totally wrecked their master, and his daughter didn't even bat an eye. Uh oh...
Finally, since I ended up having to re-read a few chapters to brush up on the current storyline, I saw that there is actually canonical reference to a "Zentopia incident." Whether this refers to the current fluff arc in the anime or something different, it's an interesting bit of dialogue. I don't believe in "throw-away" lines for stuff like manga and anime, since everything has to be deliberately animated and voice-acted -- I'm hoping there might be a little more reference to it later on. Then again, I might just be over-thinking it.
That's all I've got for this week! I'm thinking that the next few chapters are going to be mighty excited.
One Piece Chapter 683
Monet and Luffy's scuffle resolves rather quick after the bird girl reveals what looks to be a snow ability. She tries to lull Luffy to sleep with the cold, but he drives his foot into the ground below and plummets into the depths. Elsewhere, Chopper finds that he can't keep the mutated kids from their junkie fits. Before he gets trampled, the currently available Strawhats grab him and join in trying to keep them from eating the candy. A little girl named Mocha tries to help, but she doesn't' fair well, especially after Monet arrives.
Back in the SAD room, Law nearly gets control of his heart again, but Vergo comes in and ruins his plans. After a brief fight, it looks like Vergo is ready to crush Law's heart. In typical shonen fashion, a savior arrives, this time in the from of Smoker. This should prove to be an interesting battle, as Vergo seems to have a good handle on Haki while Smoker isn't anybody to sneeze at.
Naruto chapter 604
Nice going, Obito, you've just found your motivation. Just as Batman's parents are dead, your girlfriend is dead! And not even really your girlfriend, and more like the chick you had a crush on!
Honestly, though? I won't begrudge you that. If one man can turn into a costumed psychopath because some punk offed his old folks and still get some R-E-S-T-E-C-P, a dude can watch some dude off his lady love and want to destroy the world for it.
Not everyone needs an "epic" goal or be mad about his bill getting axed in committee for his motivations to be unquestioned. You're hurtin' man, and if you could deal with it, you wouldn't be a villain. Sure, it's kinda dumb and petty, but that's what villainy is about. Otherwise it would just be the constant hero-on-hero violence infecting today's western comics.
Perhaps now it's time we hear Kakashi's side of the story, yes?
Bleach chapter 510
Last week I presented four predictions for this chapter and the outcome of this fight, and it looks like prediction #2 was right on the money. Indeed, this easily-beaten version of Juha Bach was in fact a throwaway character that hilariously got a backstory in the first few panels explaining the fact that he's basically a living Get Out Jail Free card.
All things considered, the one inconsistency I see here is why Kenpachi had such an easy time offing the decoy's twin, but was nearly offed by the real decoy with little apparent effort. Was it because the decoy was mimicking Bach's power level, thus powering himself up to similar-but-not-quite levels?
Hm. I guess it does make sense.
Well, now things have gone real sideways for the Soul Reapers for the second time this arc, which frankly is how things should be, lest the protagonist be rendered a non-factor. The real challenge will be making him look like a credible threat to this overpowered hyper-villain.
It's certainly possible, considering the Quincies regard him as an unpredictable X-factor whose Bankai they can't steal, but it'll still be a stretch unless he can actually do something new by the final round.
I'm also gratified to note that last week's prediction #4 has not been borne out quite yet. Thanks to a few panels showing Bach meeting with and trying to recruit Aizen to the cause - unsuccessfully. It shows the Quincies may just have a deeper motivation than revenge, or that their revenge extends past Yamamoto, perhaps to the people who hand down the orders from on high, namely the King of Soul Society and the Zero Guardian Squad.
Incidentally, the Soul King (or whatever his/her name is) is the same ultimate threat Aizen was targeting all along, and likely the similarly sinister power Ginjou was referring to before he got himself chopped up. Intriguing!
1. Upon his defeat, Bach will reveal the TRUE FOE, the ones who know the TRUTH behind Ichigo's nature (still mysterious!), who have PLANS that are BAD and must be STOPPED.
2. Upon his defeat, Bach will reveal why the Quincies are terrified of Ichigo, and who is responsible for his nature (still mysterious!), and the PLANS that are BAD and must be STOPPED, those PLANS including (somehow), the extermination of the Quincies.
Notice that both #1 and #2 are basically the same, but it'll likely be quite a while until we see them actually bear fruit, barring another curveball from Kubo in the interim.
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