It's time for a showdown with Shonen Showdown, the weekly anime and manga recap that just CAN'T BE BEAT, no matter how many times it repeats that joke!
All the SHARKAN SHOOTERS in the world couldn't stop our recaps of One Piece, Fairy Tail, Bleach, Hunter x Hunter, and Naruto, no sir!
One Piece Episode 549 & 550
Usopp, Zoro and Brook are stuck in their cage above the rising water until Brook reveals that he can send his soul out of his body. We assume that he'll go for help, but it's entirely possible that he'll peep in on somebody. Back at the Underground Forest, Luffy and Jimbei begin to duke it out, but get stopped by Robin. Jimbei explains that the Fishmen should deal with their problems and not rely on human help. Elsewhere, the princes of Fishman Island work on taking out the members of Hordy's crew. They secure the first area and head out to save their father.
We what else is going on around the island, what with Hordy's troops prepping for some major combat. Hordy tosses back a handful of the Energy Steroids when he starts feeling the effects of Zoro's earlier attack. Hordy ends up overdosing on the Steroids, but comes out of the effects bigger and badder than before.
Fairy Tail Episodes 232-233
Well, last week I was hopeful that things were going to get serious with this filler arc. As I watched the next two episodes, all I really got was fluff, though. The enemies were made to look goofy, and if everything were cut out to just leave in the serious portions, we'd have about 10 minutes altogether. For being in such a dire situation (impending chaos?), the tone is overall lighthearted.
That being said, now things are hopping around a bunch. Everyone is scattered in teams to look for the clock parts, and after encountering someone who apparently knew Jude but didn't say so, Lucy and her team arrive at a desert where their clock part is supposed to be.
I'm pretty interested in what'll happen with Gajeel and the Shadowgear team, but otherwise I guess we'll just keep on trucking through.
[Catch it at Crunchyroll, Hulu and FUNimation]
Hunter x Hunter Episode 34
An entire episode full of fighting? You spoil me, Hunter x Hunter! However, it makes some time to show Killua being a badass again, showing how his threats against the rookie killers of the tower are playing out. He may have scared one of the trio off, but it seems that the other two aren't going to be put off by him when there is the chance of becoming a floor master. I can't help but feel they're assuming that beating the newbies up will prepare them for someone who has probably beaten ten or more competent fighters.
Without dallying around, we jump into the rematch between Gon and Gido. Gon took his first loss against the guy and his Beyblade army, but has since had plenty of time to heal up and learn more about these crazy aura powers. I must admit, when I saw that Gon was going into the fight with his fishing rod, I wasn't too psyched about him using it as a weapon. However, this was on the assumption he would be hitting people with the thing, and I can totally get behind him using it as more of a tool. Flipping Gido over by lifting up a floor tile? Perfect!
To round off a great episode, we get two fights against Riehlvelt, the dude with the beastly wheelchair. First up is Killua, who has a relatively easy time with the fella, even when being exposed to a million volts of electricity. If Gon's smile wasn't enough to convince you he'd be alright, we'd already seen enough Killua torture back at his house. I think we all knew that he'd be able to cope with it, as crazy as it sounds. Gon doesn't waste the opportunity to study Riehlvelt's fighting style, promptly launching a floor tile at him at the start of his own match. We get to see some more smart thinking from him, as he promptly predicts what Riehlvelt will do in response, ending the fight by scaring the guy unconscious. Wait, did I see that rounded the episode off? Hisoka finally acknowledges Gon and asks him to schedule a fight! Next episode can't come fast enough.
[Hunt for this show over at Crunchyroll!]
Naruto Shippuden episode 266
Last week I predicted that this episode would waste time by recapping for the umpteenth time the entirety of the Zabuza/Haku vs. Team 7 battle.
I was wrong, and for that, I'm actually a little sad, since it means that simply so much has gone on in this whole world war that I've forgotten the chain of events.
Ah well, at least I got to remember who the Seven Swordsmen of the Hidden Mist are, and how only a couple of them seem to be using actual swords. One uses a hammer and chisel, another uses an axe covered in bombs, another uses a needle, and another uses two dinner forks. Leave the actual sword-fightin' to the Soul Reapers, I guess (though they're almost as guilty for having non-sword swords too).
Following that is another diagram-tastic description of ninja combined-arms tactics. I'd really love this show (and its manga) more if they could find better ways of showing rather than telling.
Naruto chapter 589
Here's an interesting twist. From the looks of things the Five Kages won't get to finish the fight with Madara after all, now that Itachi's switched off the Zombie Jutsu, just in time for Madara to pull a skyscraper-sized Susano'o out of his undead behind, then going all Bleach-scale with the mountain-chopping and the power-level smack talk. It's kind of funny seeing him basically "Dudes, I'm just too cool for you. OG ninja all up ins."
That actually highlights, once again, what I like about Naruto fights, hard as they are to follow. In lieu of power levels, getting the upper hand in the typical Naruto duel, especially in large engagements, involves clever combinations of unique techniques and tactics, and barring that, pulling some kind of deus ex machina out of thin air.
The downside is that it's difficult to follow and often winds up in "Why didn't you use that at the start?!" frustration, but in the offing it feels dynamic and unexpected, and the winner doesn't need to be the most powerful figure in the room, just the most clever, or in Naruto's case, have the most heart.
Next week - rather, in two weeks, since the series is going on break - expect Zombie Itachi to last just long enough to do that forehead-poke thing to Sasuke one...last...time.
Bleach chapter 495
Even more dudes! In addition to last week's Quincy debut of Old Guy, Crazy Outfit Guy (now called "As Nodt"), Psycho Guy (I'll rename him "Hood Guy"), Big Guy, Punk Guy, Spunky Girl (now "Bambietta Basterbine"), and we now meet Mask Guy, Guy Seen From Afar, Guy Seen From Behind, The Pretty Guy I Forgot To Mention, Luchador Guy, and Black Guy (although "Nanana Najahkoop" sounds vaguely South Asian).
Honestly, I haven't seen Bleach names this weird since Two-Heads-In-A-Jar Guy fought Rukia back in Hueco Mundo. I can understand Kubo's motivation. Everyone of note in Bleach has a crazy name, even the pseudo-Japanese Soul Reapers. Except with the Soul Reapers the craziness is generally locked into the writing thereof. But since the other themes he's picked for the enemies (pseudo-Spanish, pseudo-German, and English) don't use ideograms in writing, he's settled for just making everything sound weird.
If you'll permit my drawing a parallel to western superhero comics, to native Japanese speakers, most Soul Reaper names sound as cheesy and descriptive as "Max Payne" or "Adam Warlock" or "Dani Moonstar" or "Thor Odinson". I believe (and this is only speculation) that he was going for something similar with the Espada and the Sternritter, but didn't quite have it in him to find the right words (or any actual words) to put together in the way names get picked. It probably couldn't be helped, as that sort of sensibility is hard to parse if you're not intimately familiar with the language (or culture) you're picking from.
But enough about that, time to fight! It's Hitsugaya vs. Guy Seen From Afar, Luchador Guy and As Nodt vs. Byakuya and Renji, Bambietta vs. Komamura, Mask Guy vs. Soifon, Kyoraku vs. Old Guy, Ukitake vs. Guy Seen From Behind, Rose vs. Nanana, Big Guy vs. Hisagi, and more!
As a matter of trivia, did you know that a Bleach battle royal very similar to this one, namely the "White Invasion" of Espada vs. Captains, took two years to resolve once it got going?
See you in 2014!
From other sites around the web