Welcome to the latest edition of Shonen Showdown, the weekly fightin' anime that gets back up, even when it's been beaten so bad that its face is completely shaded-over! The horrors!
What isn't horrific, though, is our sweet slate of satisfying synopses, including our coverage of the latest in Naruto, Bleach, Hunter x Hunter, Fairy Tail, and One Piece!
Hunter x Hunter Episode 69
I can understand that Tsezguerra doesn't want to let Genthru collect the last of the cards, so him joining Gon and company to try and collect Patch of Shore is a no-brainer, but why do the others care about Genthru leaving? I'm not sure if I've missed something, but is this really over the money they've been promised for beating the game? I can't help but think there's more to it than that, but I can't quite tell if it's already been stated or not. I guess it could just be because he's been killing people, something Gon is hardly crazy about, but who can say?
I'm more surprised that they could find enough guys to fill out a team of fifteen. While I can only talk for myself, tagging along with a group that includes Hisoka would only ring the crazy alarm. Anyone who willingly dresses like a clown must be a little loopy, right? People will do crazy things for money, so perhaps they've been promised something in return.
We get a quick confirmation that the 'pirates' are indeed real people, as we get to see Razor destroy the large guys head with an... energy ball of some sort? They sure have plenty of uses for criminals in this series, don't they! It wasn't too long ago when we saw Killua tearing out the heart of another criminal in what could also be considered a game. I suppose it'll help solve problems with overcrowding in prisons, though.
Considering what we've already seen of Razor, settling everything on a game of dodgeball certainly doesn't seem like it'll end well for the challenging team. Watching the yeti get its head blown off was proof enough, but what later happened to Tsezguerra and Gon also goes to show that Razor is right up there with the Phantom Troupe in terms of power. What is more terrifying isn't that Razor is using what seems like his full strength against Gon, but that his dad was fully confident that he could cope. At least, you'd like to think that's the case.
I'm definitely curious to see how this all plays out, but I want to see Bisky show us what she's got. I'm sure we all know that there's more to her than she is letting on, and I want to see her show just a little of her power at some point. It'll happen for sure, it's just a matter of how and when.
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
Naruto Shippuden episodes 301-302
This week Naruto manages to stretch the last two fights in the desert, against the undead Raikage and Mizukage over two episodes, though the padding-out of time to fill the dead air is almost palpable. Some strange, stilted conversations between no-name extras and lengthy pans give the same sense of lingering and discomfort one might get watching the "classic" Family Guy cutaway of Peter Griffin hissing away the pain of a stubbed toe for a minute and a half, except without apparent comedic intent.
I know that sounds harsh, but this is more or less just me being hyped-up for however these fights might end up looking like in Utimate Ninja Storm 3. It's out this week, and our own Chris Walden will be handling Japanator's official review. Look forward to it this week!
[You might not be able to play PS3 and 360 games on Crunchyroll (not yet anyway), but at least you can watch Naruto!]
One Piece episode 586
What happened this week:
-Brook comes and saves Team Luffy from Brownbeard's crew of chimeras. Stealing the chimera's clothing also cracked me up and helped insulate them from the frozen tundra.
-While Team Sanji tries to escape Law and the Marines, Law uses his fruit ability to switch the personalities of the Strawhats. So you have Sanji's mind in Nami's body, Chopper's mind in Sanji's body, Franky's mind in Chopper's body and Nami's mind in Franky's body. Pure comedy gold that.
-Law and Smoker begin the scuffle. Tashigi tries to fight too, but she's out of her element and is quickly defeated. Smoker also details Law ability, which is that he can modify whatever he wants within his sphere of influence. Thus the title, Surgeon of Death.
I was wondering how the mind-body switch would pan out and I'm pretty amused with how it looks animated. I was hoping that the voice actors for each character would try to act like the person switched into their body, i.e. Franky's VA doing Nami, but that must've been a bit much. Still, it's great to see Nami losing her cool when she finds herself in Franky's body.
So, I guess my mini-rant last week about not letting Jura lose was completely off, as it looks like he got his butt whooped anyway. Though I thought I wouldn't like it much if that happened, the combination of that, plus what I expect will be a Juvia x Grey ass-whooping, and another for Erza, I found this chapter to be particularly moving. Does that even make sense? Like, we know already that shonen has already perfected the whole, rise up against the ultimate adversary in the most crazy way, come-back after it looks like your team is losing, and it's all for love and friendship! But Mashima managed to make it extra special this week.
We're probably going to see more impressive stuff next time around. Maybe Juvia and Gray will just do their Unison Raid. But then again, maybe not. Maybe there's an even higher level that they could achieve together. Erza is belting out a whole new level of magic as well, and we already saw what happened to Jura. This is a great moment for the First, as she tells Makarov that it was time for his children to surprise him (and the world). A whole new playing field.
Now I'm interested in what'll happen in the aftermath. Oh, and it looks like the Ekseed is back along with Milliana, so there's one more mystery solved (and one more happy ending).
One Piece chapter 700
Wow, One Piece hits the 700 chapter mark. It's pretty impressive and it doesn't look like it's coming to an end any time soon. Well, enough of that, let's see what happened this week:
-Doflamingo quit the Shichibukai, so Law and the Strawhats prepare the next part of their plan, which includes taking out the SMILE factory. The Strawhats, Law and Kinemon arrive at Dressrosa.
-We get an update on the Shichibukai line up. Buggy joined to fill up the gap left by Moria and there's another that was added that isn't mentioned by name. The Marines now have another two openings, what with Doflamingo's resignation and Law's alliance with Luffy.
-Bonney makes a quick appearance again, showing that she wasn't captured at the end of the last arc. Kinda curious how she managed that, though there's some talk about her being related to one of the higher-ups in the Marines.
-Doflamingo reveals he has the Mera Mera Devil Fruit, which is the one that Ace had eaten to get his fire ability.
Besides the obvious mystery of the identity of the seventh member of the Shichibukai, my biggest question mark is over the Mera Mera fruit. One of my friends insisted that Luffy would eventually find a way to gain a second fruit ability the same way that Blackbeard took Whitebeard's ability. At the time I thought it was far fetched, but now I'm not so sure. The fruit is right here and established norms in the One Piece world have been altered in the last 100 or so chapters, so anything is possible.
[Read One Piece each week at Weekly Shonen Jump!]
Naruto chapter 622
I remarked some time ago on just how strange it seemed that the state of the ninja world as it is in Naruto is barely three generations old, i.e. within living memory, especially considering how awful things were implied to be before the First Hokage, Hashirama Senjuu, established the system we know today.
Now that we're actually exploring that "origin story", it seems a little less far-fetched. The Senjuu and its allies up against the Uchiha and its allies, and not even the children are safe. As ever with Naruto, brotherhood and finding common cause are the main themes, and both Hashirama and Madara are clearly of like mind when it comes to how to end an unending war.
It's also a less-than-subtle hint that the creek where they meet will turn out, by the end of this arc, to be the Valley of the End, which by the present time is a big lake and waterfall. No doubt whatever conflict finally splits the pair will end up both literally and figuratively shaping the landscape of the ninja world.
[Read Naruto Weekly in Shonen Jump!]
Bleach chapter 528
Well, I guess it's prediction #1, then. Well, there's still a little wiggle room here, seeing as this is technically the beginning of a flashback, and not a training arc.
In any case, surprise! Ichigo is half-Quincy! Or, perhaps, whole Quincy, as the exact circumstances of his birth are yet to be revealed. The revelation that Ichigo's mother Masaki was in fact a Quincy isn't entire unexpected, but the confirmation of that truth raises a number of interesting questions, ones that I hope will finally get answered now that Isshin feels it's "the right time" to unseal this bag of cats.