Hello and welcome to the March 11th edition of Shonen Showdown, the weekly battlin' recap that's also doubling up as a "Crazy Cartoon Electrocution-Hair" gallery this week!
Besides that, we've also got hot recaps of the latest and greatest in shonen fight-shows, including Naruto, Bleach, Fairy Tail, and Hunter x Hunter!
Hunter x Hunter Episode 70
You know, for an episode that doesn't directly contain fighting, it sure felt like the action was non-stop. Getting some dark vibes and mind games out of what is essentially men's volleyball is an achievement for any media. Goreinu pulls a great move by switching the position of his spirit beast with Razor, and eventually cocks it up because he didn't think too far ahead. I'm not sure how good his reaction skills are, but he should have just replaced the player that was launched towards the ball with the beast. Or, you know, have done this way earlier and tell Hisoka to use that gum of his.
Razor shows us a few more carnival tricks, namely an attempt at mass decapitation. Killua, Bisky and Hisoka almost suffered some extreme weight loss, but luckily they are pretty good at dodging quickly. Hisoka even managed to stop himself from going out with some contortionist tricks and some of his Bungee Gum, even if it did cost him the use of a few fingers. Bisky would have liked the rules explained properly from the beginning, I'm sure, as that massive dress of hers is what ultimately sees her out.
As the episode preview from last week had shown us, Gon decides to put some of his own power behind the ball with his Rock attack, knocking the large player out of the playing field in the process. Not to leave people stunned too long, he does this again, managing to knock out Razor with a little help from Hisoka. A very nice team play from those two, as it forces Razor to use up his lifeline and return to the field. I feel a little bad for Killua, but it doesn't seem like he's all too fussed about having his hands messed up. Gon doesn't mind messing them up either, so we're all good.
Other than distracting Hisoka by getting close to young boys, this proposed solution to Razor's next throw seems to be an interesting one. Having Killua and Hisoka brace Gon to allow him to focus on protecting his hands and his head seems like the best way to try and catch the ball, but this is all on the assumption that Razor throws in a straight line again. I get an odd feeling it won't be that easy.
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
Naruto Shippuden episode 303
Here we careen into a bit of mid-war filler featuring the sub-character as they struggle to get screen-time. Unsurprisingly, this whole "everyone who was ever dead is alive again" zombie gimmick has given the crew a valid excuse to recall the times characters like Neji, Choji, Shino and the rest were last relevant. This week's blast from the past are the Sound Four - Tayuya, Sakon and Ukon, Kidomaru, and Jirobo. You may know them better as The One With The Flute, the Two-Headed One, Spider-Man, and the Evil Fat Guy, all from the Sasuke Retrieval Mission storyline.
For the most part the episode plays out like the kind of one-off throwaway episode you'd expect. The Sound Four were formidable enemies back when everyone else was a child, but the hardened soldiers of today are a match for them and more, and the show makes a point of it.
Things get a little bit more interesting when that plot point's twisted back around a bit in a bid to extend it into an actual arc. Suffice it to say that fighting resurrected dead people is one thing, fighting them where they go after they die is probably another.
[Catch Naruto Shippuden on Crunchyroll!]
Fairy Tail Chapter 322
So, the fighting ended swiftly in this chapter. At least, the kind of fighting that was guild against guild. Fairy Tail wiped the floor with everyone, and Sting got his happy ending, as well as Erza and Milliana and Kagura (I'll assume), so now the new thing is... what the hell is going to happen with Eclipse 2?
We don't really know anything except that supposedly the dragons are coming. We still don't know why though, nor are we sure they even are supposed to come. What if the Lucy from the future isn't Lucy at all, and she is trying to manipulate things? I'm pretty much just full of weird theories like this, and I expect that the rest of this story arc will quickly wrap up -- so we'll have our answers soon.
What I liked best about this week was Erza beating this stupid girl's face in. She needed the worst kind of whooping, and her face (I'm assuming it was her) was particularly priceless when Sting just outright surrendered his fight instead of taking on the five standing team members. I don't know if Sting would have been able to beat them, though even if he could -- I'd be intimidated if I were up against them, too. I can't judge the guy.
Bleach chapter 529
Given the key plot twist in this chapter of Bleach I'm genuinely half-tempted to believe that Ichigo's father Isshin was revealed to be a member of the Shiba clan - the same clan as Ganju and Kukaku - solely to explain some serious cases of "sameface" that certain characters suffered suffered in comparison to Ichigo earlier in the series. If nothing else, the family resemblance does explain why Kaien Shiba, the former lieutenant of the 13th Division that Rukia used to idolize, looks so similar to Ichigo: They're cousins! Well, as much a cousin you can be to a ghost.
Also notable is Isshin's rank: Captain of the 10th, with Rangiku and Toushiro as XO and 3rd Seat, respectively. Considering that this history is quite recent, probably not more than 20 years old at farthest, it's interesting to wonder whether those two have had any contact at all in the intervening years. And of course, there's Aizen caught up in all of this before his ultra-mullet, still experimenting on stuff with Gin and Kaname.
The twists and revelations have been rolling deep lately in Bleach, but each answer seems to bring yet more questions. I'm really hoping this does lead somewhere.
[Find out more about daddy's old job in Weekly Shonen JUMP]
Naruto chapter 623
As seems to be the fate of any friendship in the world of ninjas, Hashirama and Madara's budding brotherhood hits its first snag as ninjas do what ninjas do - that is, tail each other and set traps and do the whole "betrayal" thing.
It's fairly easy to see where this is going, considering hints dropped prior to the flashback, but as ever the entertainment is in the details, which we're a bit short on this week since it's all setup. Either way, once Naruto returns from break, it'll be interesting to see just how strong Madara and Hashirama's fathers truly are.
[Can your dad beat his dad? Find out in Weekly Shonen Jump!]