Hey there, and welcome again to this week's installment of Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle recap that's got a look in its crazy demon eyes and a logo on its majestic forehead!
This week we bring both the fight and the fury with bitchin' recaps of the latest in One Piece, Bleach, Naruto, and Hunter x Hunter. At least one of those four is the source for this week's header pic. But then again, after seeing those eyes, are you really sure you want to find out which?
I hope so, lest we do all this fun stuff for nothing! Get on below and battle through!
Hunter x Hunter Episode 59
Hunter x Hunter just doesn't disappoint, does it? Kurapika seems to demonstrate that he just cannot keep his cool around any member of the troupe when he promptly enters Death Note deliberation mode when making his demands to Pakunoda. It's nice to see that he values his friends more than exacting his revenge, but now the entire Troupe knows this. He'll have a hard time dealing with them from now on if he's going to stick around Gon and Killua. Hell, even Leorio could be a target now.
The show is still dropping little hints that the Phantom Troupe is somewhat human, too. The first was how Pakunoda followed Kurapika's demands to the letter, ensuring that her boss (or friend) would not be killed. The second, while extremely subtle, was when Pakunoda makes a little conversation with a cat towards the end. You aren't going to get a cold-hearted killer talking to a little ball of fur, and it almost seemed like she was trying to take her mind off the inevitable. She knew this is where she was going to die, and I'm sure she didn't want to go.
The third, and perhaps the strangest of these little hints, comes when Gon and Killua bump into Phinks and Feitan in the auction house. We know that they were holding themselves back because of Killua, but first of all, they didn't need to chase after Gon and Killua. They could have easily just let them run out of the auction house and not give chase. Phinks then began to talk a little more than he should be, and while Feitan certainly looked like he was scowling because of it, he raised no objections either. Last but not least, he thanked them on behalf of Pakunoda. You know, the woman that just died to pass information to the rest of the Troupe?
Which raises another question, really. They seem to have been thanking Gon and Killua for not complicating the exchange of hostages. Was this simply a thanks because it meant their leader had a guaranteed release? I'd like to point out that the Phantom Troupe (excluding Hisoka, for obvious reasons) has only actually killed corrupt people thus far. You'll have to correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty certain it has only been mafia members we've seen them kill, and while we know that Kurapika's clan was murdered by them, we still do not know the reasons. If this is the case, and the Phantom Troupe are some kind of super-powerful Robin Hood group raising money for their friends back in whateverland, then were they thanking Gon and Killua for not causing an unnecessary death?
We still don't know the Troupe's motives, and that's just another reason why this show is so damn exciting. We know Chrollo wants the Troupe to function even if he dies, so there has to be a reason other than stealing things and having awesome hideouts. We'll find out in due time, I'm sure. I'm going to assume that this marks the end of Hisoka's involvement with the Troupe, as Pakunoda should have passed on the knowledge of his encounter with the boss even when he's not around to say it himself.
So many questions! I can't wait for next week, where it seems we'll be jumping into the Greed Island arc at long last. I wonder if this means we'll get some new music or some changes in the opening animation? A week is too long, guys.
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
Naruto Shippuden episode 292
Well, now that the current canon of Naruto is pretty much past any point of Naruto being unsure of his ability to control the Nine-Tails' power, it was only a matter of time until someone brought that specter up, and it may as well be a filler arc. Today it's his trusty old Four-Tailed Form, that red-black blob of excessive ink and cheap CG that once represented terrifying potential run rampant.
Remember when everyone freaked out because Naruto could summon two tails? Ah, those were the days. Now it's taking tens of thousands of ninja and seventeen tails to even come close to denting the final bosses. But let's save that commentary for the manga recap below.
In the meantime there's another fun, if brief, aside, where undead Hidan and undead Deidara bicker over each others' deaths. It's good stuff, even if I still don't agree with the entire notion that Hidan could be resurrected in the first place.
[Bicker with dead people over your own death and resurrection on Crunchyroll!]
One Piece Chapter 691
You know what's awesome? Law cutting Caesar's mountain lab in half with one slice of his blade. You know what's not awesome? Having deadly gas fill said lab where most of the characters are fighting. Whoops! Well, now everybody has got to get a move on or they'll turn into a calcified statue. The Strawhats, kids and Marines gather their groups and run while Law and Smoker dust themselves off and leave Vergo in pieces in the SAD room.
In a moment of desperation, Caesar drops the act and forces his men to let in the gas. The gas man absorbs Shinokuni and warps into a fierce looking monster. Caesar goes into one of his usual bouts of berating the heroes while we hear Usopp describing why he and the rest of the Strawhats back their captain. The last splash page has Luffy on the verge of nailing Caesar with a haki-infused Elephant Gun, which should end the fight. At least I hope so. This arc has served its purpose in letting the audience know about Joker/Doflamingo and it's time to move on.
Naruto chapter 612
I've said it time and time again, but Naruto's combat is at its best when its ninjas are being diverse above all things, playing Doodle God with their elemental spells and using inventive tactics to both justify overly specialized gimmicks and lead the reader to think "I can't believe they pulled that off!" when everything's said and done.
This chapter is that, but on the largest scale ever. The entire remnant of the Shinobi Alliance's army -sans the Kages, whom I hope will make a grand return soon - takes on two dudes and a giant monster (sounds like a sitcom recipe!), with most of this chapter's effort going into...making concrete. That sounds kind of lame, I know, but making concrete with ninja magic is the coolest way to make concrete, frankly speaking.
That said, with all of this happening and this insanely growing scale, I worry that any kind of final resolution to an eventual reckoning between Sasuke and Naruto himself will be nothing less than an anti-climax. A proper confrontation between the two will need to be either be so huge in scale as to make Asura's Wrath look conservative and restrained, or on a level so intimate that it could be published and sold to fangirl glee on Comiket Day 3.*
I look forward to either.
[*Day 3 is the day they bring out all the porn]
Bleach chapter 519
Exposition! We find out what the Royal Palace of Soul Society is like, and from the hyperbole of things, it's like, five times the size of Soul Society or something. Each of the King's Guards gets a Soul Society-sized floating city-palace to theme according to their taste (providing a bunch of settings and background locations to not bother drawing when the fighting starts), and a lot of ground to cover before moving the plot along.
We also find out more about the nature of Aizen's big plan (clone some Royal Guards and use their built-in access to the Palace to gain entry), but mainly for the purpose of hyping up that the Quincy are way worse. Perhaps. Wholesale slaughter, ostensibly for vengeance, is arguably more despicable than a city-wrecking attempt at apotheosis.
Also of note is the Pompadour King's Guard's unique disposition and status as the healer-type guy, what with his unappealing bedside manner and hot spring-based therapeutic regimen. Because when your hot spring is special enough, you can heal characters that should've been killed off a long time ago *coughByakuyacough* It also seems Urahara has a version of it in his own play-hole, which implies that he knows much more about the King and the circumstances of the war than anyone's letting on, but he's the sort of character who pretty much knows everything anyway, so that's not exactly a surprise at this point.
And did you see the Spirit King's eyes?! Methinks that guy isn't going to turn out a hero, if you get my drift.
[*].disqus.comto your security software's whitelist.