Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle anime and manga recap that's about to go full kaiju on yer asses! We'll have the world in our thrall long before they can boot up that cool Pacific Rim robot to stop us!
Indeed, we've got a ton of sheer power on display in our full-scale roster up for your enjoyment this week! Chris has brought the hotness of Hunter x Hunter, Pedro and Kristina deliver the sweet goods of One Piece and Fairy Tail, and yours truly has Bleach and Naruto in the bag. And by "bag", I mean "below the jump where you can read it and get PUMPED for the latest developments in the world of young male-targeted Japanese superhero comics and cartoons!"
Hunter x Hunter Episode 59
Ooh, a nice any shiny new opening! I don't know who most of these people are, but I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. Interesting to see that Hisoka is shown fighting alongside Killua and Gon, and regardless of whether this happens or not, it more or less confirms our favourite clown will be showing up at some point. There's also a girl that is showing up alongside the young duo a whole bunch, so my best guess is that she'll appear when they actually get inside Greed Island. The main thing I want to know is whether Greed Island players can interact with each other in-game, even on separate consoles.
I'm pretty confident it's a yes, based on Feitan and Phinks entering the game as well. Why even bother showing the Troupe getting involved if they aren't going to be able to bump into Gon and Killua? Interesting to see that they killed some guys to get the game unit, as it's another reason that stacks against my 'Robin Hood' theory from last week. How will Hisoka get in, though? He'd be able to just turn up and use the one the Troupe has, assuming they don't care about his attempted kill, but I don't think it's an option. Perhaps he'll be another player trying out for a spot?
Hunter x Hunter sure has an interesting way of introducing special abilities. In fact, it's quite the breath of fresh air to see them able to 'pick' where they want to excel, rather than have to enter some boring/dumb/both training montage or trial. Killua just started using a tazer on himself to get lightning powers. Crazy! I wonder if there is a limit to how many things he can 'learn' this way, or if he's stuck with electric powers for now.
I think the most interesting part of this arc will come with the memory card, and whether or not Gon can 'carry on' from where his father left off. If he can, what exactly does this even entail? Also, he launched a fireball or something in the opening, so I think I see where his training is going.
Fun fact: it wasn't until earlier today that I even thought about Gon sharing a name with the orange dinosaur. This anime now needs more fart jokes.
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
One Piece Episode 576 & 577
Nami creates a plan to free Lily's father from the raft floating between the Navy ships. Since this is One Piece we're talking about, the plan can't possibly work, can it? NOPE. Luffy immediately ignores the plan and joins an infiltration party. Well, who needs a plan, right? Things almost work out, but the Neo Navy comes in and decides to take Panz Fry life into their hands. Their leader tries to overwhelm the Strawhats and the Navy, but finds himself caught between the two.
One a side note, I believe these fillers have a connection with the new One Piece movie, as the Neo Navy lady named Ain looks a lot like the one in the ads I've seen and there was a reference to Master Z. I love that they're going out of their way to set up the movie in continuity. It shows that they care enough to try and make things cannon. They did with some of the Shiki stuff in Strong World and I enjoyed it.
After a pair of quick skirmishes, the Strawhats escape with Panz Fry in tow. The Neo Navy manage to attach some sort of tracking device, so they manage to catch up to the Strawhats while they're resting in a reef. As the Neo Navy are out of missiles, the smaller ships volunteer themselves to become projectiles in their renewed assault.
Naruto Shippuden episode 293
The "Chikara" arc continues unabated as interesting proof that studios can turn out some interesting work when let free from the shackles of canon, even if forced to operate in the same IP. The folks who ran Gintama for forever and a day debuted with an awesome late-night smash in Daily Lives of High School Boys (aka "Nichibros"), and if this arc is any indication, we may be in for something good if and when Shippuden ends.
That's not to say the latest episode was especially amazing, but what it was was pretty, consistent, and reasonably compelling - filler that doesn't feel like a complete waste of time.
Even limited to just the action scenes, we've got some great demonstrations of prowess from continually underutilized characters, including Team Guy and and the Ino-Shika-Cho trio. Plot-wise, the McGuffin is revealed, and to be frank I'm still not sure I understand what it's good for. Plot, I suppose.
At any other time I'd probably complain that this pre-war retroactive reveal of Kabuto and his zombie jutsus cheapen its impact in the manga and the anime, but all things considered the actual canon's done a pretty good job of cheapening its more compelling villains anyway. Besides, the new arc's pretty!
[See some pretty new animation and pretentiously placed late title cards on Crunchyroll]
One Piece Chapter 692
Luffy finally takes out Caesar and sends him flying out of the lab. Even more embarrassing is that the entire underworld saw Caesar get his ass kicked. AW SNAP! Anyway, the Strawhats, kids and surviving Marines get directions from Usopp as to how to escape the lethal gas. We also find out that Kinemon was exposed to the gas and "died." Guess that means that they'll find a way to reverse the effects of the gas, as Oda can't stand to kill most of his characters.
More importantly, a pair of Doflamingo's lackeys arrive at the island, including Baby, the gal that was trying to kill him several chapters ago. She comes in on a guy a named Buffalo, who ate a Devil Fruit that allows him to spin away. Buffalo uses his powers to blow away some of the poisonous gas so they can get Caesar back. Unlucky for them, Franky in one of his tanks just so happens to be in the area. This aught to be amusing.
Fairy Tail Chapter 311
This last chapter wasn't really too loaded in and of itself, but it definitely has a lot of weight to it for what follows.
We learned that Eclipse wasn't actually the "it" thing, and Hisui has some other thing in mind because the world will be destroyed either way. It sounds kind of confusing for now, and I'm not sure it's necessary to make things more complicated. I will withhold judgement until we learn more, though!
As for Erza's battle, I was surprised to see that she's now with Minerva as well as Kagura. I get the feeling that it'll turn into a 2 vs 1 battle, and Kagura will team up with Erza against Minerva. I could be wrong, though. Maybe Minerva will pull some stupid, nasty move and take out Kagura, and we'll be left with a super angry Erza to finish her off. Or some sort of drama like that. I just hope it's good drama.
Man I hate hate hate Minerva. I'm not even sure if I like her as a character, as I can't really decipher whether she's got a clear motive or some kind of limit. When "bosses" are just too crazy and seem to stop at nothing for chaos, I don't think they make good characters/villains. It just seems like lazy writing to me. We shall see, though. After all, she did aide in the offing of her own father.
Naruto chapter 613 and 614
Well, well, well. And NOW things are happening. It's a bit callous to say that it took Naruto long enough, but I suppose the epic final battle against a gigantic monster set to end the world is probably as good a time as any to start killing off heroes.
And it looks like the series is playing for keeps, too, first arranging a passing of the torch for Ino and Shikamaru, and then something I'm going to spoil. If you're worried about that sort of thing, move quickly to the Bleach recap!
Rest in Peace, Neji. For what little panel time you got post-timeskip, you will be missed.
I honestly didn't expect this one. The previous chapter's torch-passing (from parents to kids in Ino and Shikamaru's case) led me to believe that they'd start killing off the older heroes, to let the new generation take charge and end the cycle. That was at least the implied pattern, considering how close the old Tsuchikage came to buying the farm some six months ago. But it now seems that Naruto has the stones to start offing characters people actually give a damn about *cough*DOITBLEACHDOIT*cough*. Bravo?
Other developments suggest that, barring an eventual Sasuke/Naruto showdown, Madara really will become the ultimate baddie-to-end-all-baddies, given that the final stage of their Moon's Eye plan requires Obito to give up his body to host Madara's spirit, Orochimaru-style. I predict that the man may yet earn a posthumous redemption when all the chips are down.
I guess it's time to start bringing out your bodycount predictions. Here's nine people on my first-draft kill list (in no particular order):
1. Choji's Dad
5. The Tsuchikage
7. The Raikage
Which heroes do you think will die before all is said and done? I want to see your lists!
Bleach chapter 520 and 521
Yep, it's a training arc! That means lots of hijinks and little action, which, to be fair, we haven't had a ton of in the past few months.
The funny thing is is that this time around the training's descended to a level approaching self-parody, and I think Bleach knows it. These continuing jokes about hot spring healing and reenergizing meals, except writ on the scale of the Spirit King and in the incredible, over-the-top-even-for-an-over-the-top-series manner of the Zero squad, feels like even Tite Kubo is fully aware of the patterns of his work and the rhythms his readers have sussed out - and begun to mock.
Come to think of it, that might actually be part of the joke, this time.
So it's a Training Arc, right? Naturally, a Rescue Arc must follow. Except, who's to be rescued that exists on the kind of world-beating scale of the guy who runs everything in Soul Society?
Put that way, the answer is clear: The next Rescue Arc will be to Rescue...everyone in Soul Society.
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