Welcome to this week's installment of Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle anime and manga recap that's more iconic than a stone wall covered in dog heads!
Oh, who am I kidding, nothing is more iconic than a stone wall covered in awesome dog heads!
In the meantime, as we evaluate our iconic-ness ranking to determine where Shonen Showdown stands alongside the other great wonders of the world, take some time out and see the latest in hot-blooded shonen cartoons and comics, including Hunter x Hunter, One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto!
One Piece Episode 572
While talking with Neptune, Jimbei reveals that the Sun Pirates have allied themselves with Big Mam. Done in order to protect Fishman Island, it's the main reason why he didn't immediately join the Strawhats when Luffy offered. Neptune lets Jimbei know that with the new influx of soldiers, that he shouldn't feel so responsible for the welfare of the island.
The minister of the right rushes in and tells Neptune to get one of the treasures back from the Strawhats, as it's rigged to explode when opened. Of course, since Luffy gave all the treasure to Big Mam's representatives, that poses an entirely different problem. Speaking of treasure, Caribou wakes up and finds that he's missing everything he stole. He runs around and finds Big Mam's reps walking away with huge sacks, presumably filled with gold. Caribou attacks them, but is quickly defeated. With that out of the way, the Strawhats prepare to leave Fishman Island.
Back on the surface, the Marines battle several pirate ships that are emerging from underwater. While they're confused as to why so many are popping up, we know it's due to the end of the conflict on Fishman Island. While things look pretty iffy for the Marines, the arrival of Smoker and Tashigi balance things out.
Hunter x Hunter Episode 54 and 55
Right at the beginning of episode 54 we get to see the leader of the Phantom Troupe in a short flashback, passing a book around with two friends. A book? Well, this could be awfully significant. It also shows that at some point, he was an innocent enough guy. Going to throw this theory out there (please don't spoil it, I haven't read the manga!), but what if the Troupe were just playing Robin Hood for the people back home? I'm positive there's more to them, but it's not going to make Kurapika change his mind any time soon.
After being reunited, Kurapika seems to think it's a good idea to tell everyone all his juicy secrets. Bad idea really, considering we already know that Pakunoda can read minds. Still, it is nice to see the group relying on each other, but I can't help but think that the Troupe will make them come to regret it. The chance of earning reward money for killing Troupe members is also gone, as the mafia have pulled out of the fight after discovering that they come from Meteor City. Crazy haven for criminals? Okay!
Most interestingly, Hisoka gives the idea that everyone should have their fortunes taken via the leaders newly acquired ability. As we soon discover in episode 55, he doesn't just do this to find out what his future holds, but also to use it as a way to keep the Troupe at the base. It's absolutely mad that he deliberately provoked the other members in order to do so, but that is very much Hisoka through and through. He even threw in some orgasmic moaning, just to seal the deal.
In this small scuffle, we also see the leader using some kind of teleportation/relocation ability on Nobunaga when he flips his lid. Might be worth remembering, as I'm sure it'll crop up again eventually. We also see the hairy member showing off that he/she can duplicate the entire base a good fifty times. Boasting, or an actual limitation? Regardless, the sudden addition of more buildings throws Killua off.
After a roundabout friendship speech, the latest Troupe hunt begins. Gon plays decoy, Killua plays spy and Leorio is still shit so he's the driver. Kurapika is going to kidnap a lady because he's sexually frustrated, claiming it's for 'revenge'. Just like the last time. Silly Kurapika, just use a terrible dating site.
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
One Piece Chapter 688
As Zoro and Tashigi escape from the gas, Nami, Chopper and Robin try to keep the giant kids from getting the candy. As they are getting close to ripping it out of Mocha's hands, the brave little girl takes one for the team and eats all of it. Considering the candy is poisonous, things look pretty bad for Mocha, as she's fallen over and is coughing blood.
With little time remaining for treating Mocha, it's fortuitous that Sanji and the G-5 Marines show up to help control the wild kids. Elsewhere, Luffy comes flying out of the dustbin, ready to kick Ceasar's ass. He's going to do it with style, as he's got a dragon boa around his neck. Well, it's Momonosuke, but he's still all dragon-like.
Bleach chapter 515
Here at Shonen Showdown it's standard procedure to "white out" word balloons from the panels of the various manga recover. We have our reasons for this rule, but today, for this panel of the latest chapter of Bleach, I'm going to break that rule:
*Also, spoiler warning*
Oh, come on!
Grragh! It's fitting the very same chapter that houses this shameful display also houses a frame that can serve as a decent reaction face:
*sigh* Two steps forward, one step back, I suppose. I had no doubt Kenpachi would survive the encounter, but all that drama we went through, weeks and weeks' worth, to make Byakuya's defeat seem like something that matters, all for nothing.
Thanks, Bleach, for reminding me why I am sometimes not joking when I call Bleach "dumb crap".
Naruto chapter 608
Do we really need more chapters of people realizing that Naruto's a dude you can believe in? Do we really need more chapters of people who already believe in Naruto reaffirming that belief? Not really.
And in truth, this chapter's supposed to be about Kakashi, beginning to crack under the strain of seeing his best friend and eye-mate Obito alive and evil. It's actually cool to see a character who has been, for the better part of a decade, the epitome of calm and composure, finally crack and almost give in to despair, in a "I thought I was done with this feeling of guilt and uselessness over the deaths of my friends, but nope," sort of way.
Mind, it's not as if I wanted him to die the way I was hoping Byakuya would stay dead, but rather that this moment would be a good way to add some depth to Kakashi's character (depth we know is there rather than the kind of convoluted backstory most shows mistake for depth), but by the end it's twisted into another ringing endorsement for the Naruto Uzumaki Hokage Election Campaign.
Hell, the ending line is practically:
Kakashi: "Hey Obito! You used to be cool! Now you suck! And the guy who's everything you used to be? *Points to Naruto* He's this guy right here! Vote Uzumaki!"
If we're lucky, at some point (sooner rather than later) they'll elaborate on exactly why Rin died to justify the faltering.