Welcome to the latest edition of Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle anime and manga recap that this week was orally violated by an imaginary crow...and liked it.
Our brand new fetish aside, we exercised our brand old fetish this week, namely the one we hold for recapping the latest and greatest in weekly hot-blooded justice-allied violence. Head on past the cut to see the latest looks at Bleach, Naruto, and Hunter x Hunter!
Hunter x Hunter Episode 65
Well, it certainly seems that speculating about what the Phantom Troupe are going to do on Greed Island was rather pointless, as it doesn't seem like they'll be back for a little while. I think Bartholomew Kuma used that special card on the Straw Hats, thinking about it. Anyway, I think we'll see those Troupe members come back, as they didn't seem all too happy about Razor flinging them off the island. Also, what's with the shoes? They look like something Nike would bring out.
Was anyone really surprised that the bombers killed everyone? I'm not sure about you guys, but I'd hardly expect a group of loons who plant bombs on people and deliver severed heads in carrier bags to keep a promise. What was surprising is that the forest magic guy survived the ordeal by summoning a...thing to eat it. I'm not sure whether I should feel disgusted or follow my instincts and try to buy one on Amazon.
Something that it seems everyone had forgotten, myself included, is that Killua needs to do the Hunter exam again. It turns out that he needs to pop out from the game temporarily to make it in time for signing up, and we'll also get to see some familiar faces return in the next episode. Hopefully this doesn't mean we're going to see less of Greed Island, but I guess it might work out as a good way of making Gon powerful without overdoing the training scenes.
I kinda dig Gon using rock-paper-scissors as a basis for a new set of attacks. When he masters it, and he will, it'll certainly liven up his fights somewhat. I just hope this doesn't mean we never see the fishing rod in battles again. He can do some darn cool things with that!
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
Naruto Shippuden episode 298
Naruto and Bee face off against the resurrected corpses of perhaps the two most dangerous ninjas in existence (besides protagonists and the final bosses): Itachi and Nagato. Nagato's the dude with the Rinnegan (though future reveals show where he got them), and Itachi's basically the Naruto equivalent of Batman, the man whose plans never fail, and who seems to have a contingency for everything, including his own death and brainwashed zombification.
To be fair, the plan itself was intended more a contingency for the Sasuke v. Naruto showdown, but in this case it worked just as well as if it were custom-tailored for this highly unlikely situation. Which it likely was, considering this is all plotted out by an omnipotent author/creator god, after all.
In either case, it's fun to see these top-tier fighters go at each other, and for Nagato to confirm that yes, he's able to use ALL of Pain's powers without the whole "Pain" part, which is cool. His multiplying mega-dog is still one of the weirdest creatures in Naruto, though (except for that talking Ninja Ostritch from the pre-timeskip filler).
[You'll multiply every time you watch this show on Crunchyroll]
Naruto chapter 618
Now, I thought we'd all be done with Zombie Ninjas, but I guess I'll make an exception for this because...all four Hokages are back. They're important dudes, and it's likely they have important things to say to Orochimaru, Sasuke and crew.
Yes, I said "Sasuke", rather than joking about "the new character". It finally looks like we're going to get some insight into just what the angry young man is after, and from the looks of things, it's not actually revenge against the village.
The other unknown in this new path is Orochimaru. He's back, and he's likely got plans. Do his eventual plans conflict with Madara's? Will the group actually join the fight against him, assuming Naruto can't end it on his own?
The story's finally picking back up after the relative stasis that is the war so far, and that's a good thing, not least because it's finally folding what used to be its second most important character back into the series proper.
[Read the adventures of no-longer-a-stranger man in Weekly Shonen JUMP]
Bleach chapter 525
Oh, boy. I see what you're doing here, Kubo.
But before I get into that, let's see about the latest happenings in the training of Kenpachi (the current one). Turns out that whole "Can't Die" thing was a boondoggle - Unohana's been killing and reviving him repeatedly.
The "why" of that, though, is the interesting/infuriating thing about this newest wrinkle in the saga of the Strongest Soul Reaper.
As it happens, Kenpachi (Zaraki version) is the strongest reaper, and was the strongest reaper long before he was ever a reaper! He was unconsciously holding back the entire time, afraid of - get this - running out of challengers. Now it's up to Unohana to return him to his strongest state, by killing him over and over again. Yeah, I'm not sure how that helps, either, but I'm no doctor. Or Soul Reaper.
But, back to Kubo and why he's doing this.
It's simple, really. Building Zaraki's secret past up as the STRONGEST SOUL REAPER EVER, Kubo's rejiggering the power level curve to shore up with the next round of battles against the Vandenreich - and if my gut instinct is correct, against the Zero Squad and Spirit King.
Last arc pretty much all of Soul Society's best and brightest got creamed beyond belief, with more than a few apparently injured permanently (i.e. everyone who lost a bankai in the fight).
Sure, those guys could do some training and come back more powerful, but no other action for the Captains will ever have as much impact or make as much sense as finally - finally! - revealing the limits of Kenpachi Zaraki's power.
But, of course, Ken's no protagonist. After becoming the gold standard for Bleach's power-level status quo, Ichigo will be revealed to be even more powerful, and in all likelihood, the big bad final boss will trash Kenpachi despite all the training.
Alternatively, he'd get stuck in some alternate dimension and slaughter hordes of boss-level characters, but STILL be unable to help out against the final boss. If this sounds familiar to you, it should be, as it's basically the setup for the final battle against Aizen. Soul Society's strongest and most popular fighters were stuck in Hueco Mundo, chopping apart Godzilla, leaving the weaker captains to handle things on their own, failing miserably until Ichigo came along.
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