BAM! Welcome to the latest edition of Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle anime and manga recap that hits you like a rage-infused headbutt, especially since you were expecting it to strike last night instead of right now! Hah! Surprise attack, ninja-style.
Indeed, in true ninja style we're delivering an extra helping of Naruto and Bleach recaps in addition to our coverage of One Piece and Hunter x Hunter, just to shove a bit more force into the sucker-punch that is our delayed assault!
Now that you've had enough time to recover your faculties, head on below and get your mind blown again! Except this time by the latest in battle anime and manga!
Hunter x Hunter Episode 56
More hot details on the hairy guys ability, as we discover that he is in fact a GPS with legs. Seems to be a pretty handy ability, and I bet he won't incorrectly tell you to drive your car off a bridge in order to reach your destination a little quicker. It also seems he can 'lock' onto these items after creating a connection, as he could tell that the eyes were moving even though he was no longer holding onto the copy. Handy, but likely pointless extra information.
So much for staying put in the horde of copied buildings, as more or less all of the Troupe members decide to head after who they think is a fleeing chain user. Kurapika, in his Wednesday street corner garbs, panics and almost ruins everything. Seriously, the living angst almost had his two friends killed. Good job, asshole.
It was also nice to see Melody back in the fray, rather than shopping as we've seen her the past few times when Kurapika should have been doing his job. Able to hear footsteps in the rain? Awesome. In fact, I'm going to take this time to throw in the idea of her being a love interest for Kurapika, later on in the story. She seems like the ideal person to make him calm the hell down, plus we've been told of her own little quest. We also know that hearing that music made her appearance change, so I'm calling the transformation into a beauty for later on. Not too crazy, right?
The big 'thing' to happen was of course Squala and his lack of weight on his shoulders. There wasn't really enough coverage of him and his lady friend for me to care too much, but it sure made the rest of a show a bit of a bummer. Did you see that sweet bounce his head made off the car, though? Impressive! What I'm curious about now concerns Pakunoda and her mind reading. First, why bother questioning him when she already knew the truth? Is it for fun, or would she have spared him had he told the truth? Second, how did she find out she could shoot memories, and who were the test subjects?
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
One Piece Episode 573
With the Fishman Island arc wrapped up, I wonder if One Piece will go directly into the Punk Hazard arc or go the filler route. One Piece is paced fairly well week to week, so one chapter can work well as an entire episode where most other shows would feel stretched out and forced. If done right, the timing can still work well in the shows favor so they don't catch up. Then again, some fillers now would be much better than a ton of fillers later.
I'm also interested in the long prospects of Luffy's feud with Big Mam. He isn't even completely in the New World and he's already managed to piss off one of the strongest factions in the world. While the manga is currently exploring some of the Marine's dirty laundry, I can't wait to see how the Strawhats will deal with pirates of that caliber. I'm wondering if that's when Madame Sharley's vision into the future will come true, as I'm sure that Mam won't be too happy with Fishman Island's turn toward the Strawhats.
Naruto chapters 609 and 610
It seems that things are going way south, given the Ten-Tailed Beast looks like a real beastly sort of thing (complete with solo Sharingan), and Madara and Obito don't seem especially off-put by the fact that the plan seems to be going off early. But that's not really important because Naruto just did that thing I really like Naruto for.
It's a given that battle anime and manga are cool because of the varied powers and abilities of its many heroes and villains, but Naruto's always been especially good at one particular approach, which is making its many, many, many power sets and characters operate in synchronization. Naruto's ninja magic smacks not just of power, but intelligent, synergistic use, where even the most obscure trick never goes without purpose.
This set of synergies works out pretty well, taking an old trick (throwing Naruto), combining it with a little-used bit of info (Bee's tentacle transference) and using it in a novel way alongside some new lessons we've learned (the nature and relationship of Obito and Kakashi's spacetime abilities) to pull off some insane new gamble to turn the tide against enemies that would just plain win, were the Bleach approach being in effect (Tailed Beast Bomb right in the eye!).
Weak as some of the earlier chapters have been, it's this kind of stuff that makes up for Naruto's many foibles. One can only hope they'll think up an equally inventive way to present the battle once Naruto and Sasuke square off, whenever that happens.
Bleach chapter 516 and 517
Zero squad is here, and it consists of just five people, all of whom have a power level greater than all of the 13 Guardian Squads combined! GASP!!!
It's a good thing, then, that these new characters (yet more of them) exhibit more personality than all the 13 Guardian Squad Captains combined, at least on a superficial level. Exposing the readers to the Gangster Guy, Spider-Woman, Rapper Guy, Dynasty Warriors Refugee and Fat Lady tends to reveal how serious and self-important the captains are in comparison. You'd think the Zero Squad captains might have fallen out of One Piece or Fairy Tail, or perhaps that one of the criteria for recruitment into the Royal Guard was "has an outlook other than 'dour'".
That's not to say I'm ready to abandon all my old favorites for the new hotness. Like I said, I'm really more interested in their novelty rather than actual depth. It's actually amusing that the Pompadour Yakuza man was the person to actually mentor the prim and proper Captain Unohana. And there's obviously more to these folks than is being let on, what with their mysteriousness and treating the 13 Squads like peasants. In all likelihood they'll turn out to be evil, or at least not-friendly, if they don't end up trashed by the Quincies whenever that plot thread picks up again.
It looks like things are moving again in Bleach. To what destination, I'm not entirely sure, though. Probably a training arc.