Welcome to another edition of Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle recap whose process goes exactly as shown above. Which one represents the writer? You decide!
After a bit of an absence this week, we return in full glory with catch-up work on pretty much everything, including Fairy Tail, Bleach, One Piece, Hunter x Hunter, and Naruto!
Head on below the break to read, and then tell us what you thought of the week in fighting!
One Piece Episode 552 & 553
Shirahoshi and Jimbei get captured while attempting to free Neptune. She unfortunately joins the princes, who were defeated after the pirates hit up the 'roids. Hordy gloats by showing the 100,000 men and fishmen that he's conscripted into his army. Sharley pops up again and tells Hordy that he is not the one that will destroy the island. For that, she takes a critical shot from Hordy. Oh, and she happens to be Arlong's sister. Just a little twist there. Speaking of twists, Hordy reveals that he was the one who actually killed Otohime and the human found was a patsy. Oh snap, then Shirahoshi drops her own twist by revealing that she already knew that Hordy was the real murderer! Not to be outdone, Vander Decken busts out with the final twist by tossing the giant boat Noah at Fishman Island.
Starting episode 553, Shirahoshi says that Megalo, the giant shark that she rides, is the one who told her that Hordy was the real murderer. She says that she's kept her promise that she made with her mother, to not hate Hordy. The bastard mocks Shirahoshi, saying that her naive adherence to her mother's wishes will lead to the destruction of the kingdom and her family. The idiot islanders finally realize that they need the help of the Strawhats and call out for them. This pisses off Hordy and he goes to kill Neptune, only he's interrupted when Megalo has a seizure. Out of the shark comes none other than Luffy himself, who nails Hordy. Jimbei signals for the rest of the Strawhats to come out and now the fight is on! Oh, an Franky in the Gunbuster pose? Almost too manly for me to comprehend.
[You can watch One Piece over at Funimation!]
Hunter x Hunter Episode 35 & 36
Before we got into the highly anticipated fight between Gon and Hisoka, Wing took more time to teach a few more things about these crazy aura powers that are all the rage these days. After using the time up to the Hisoka fight to practice, we get to see some physical evidence that both Gon and Killua are getting stronger. Good to know, considering what's coming up. I think most of us knew that Wing was up to something, but I can't say I was expecting him to be part of the hunter exam. A nice twist, as I kinda like Wing as a good guy.
The remaining part of episode 35 is dedicated to the start of the Hisoka fight, where we get to see one of the best fights I've seen in a shounen anime to date. Fluid animation, the right kind of background music and Gon being a badass is pretty much what makes this scene as amazing as it is. Using the floor tiles to get a hit on Hisoka is just the kind of smart thinking we've come to expect from Gon, and watching it play out was extremely satisfying.
Of course, episode 36 is largely dedicated to the fight, so we really get to see Gon giving it his all. Hisoka not so much, as he seems to be holding onto this idea that he will allow Gon to mature more before he kills him. Still, that doesn't throw a damper on the fight, as it still remains gripping throughout. Gon also manages to hand back the tag Hisoka gave back to him in the hunter exam, having managed to fulfil his promise of punching the clown in the face.
Considering his opponent, it comes to no surprise that Gon would lose, but there also seemed to be some dodgy calls coming from the referee. It seems that this was done in order to speed the fight up, allowing it to end before Hisoka did too much damage to Gon. Still, Gon didn't seem to beat-up about losing the fight, and Hisoka seemed more interested in fighting somewhere without the arena rules. We also got to hear that the clown can now challenge a floor master, so I don't doubt we'll get to hear more about that soon. For now, Gon has decided to leave the city and go visit home, with Killua tagging along. Meet the Parents, kid edition?
[Hunt for this on Crunchyroll!]
Fairy Tail Episodes 136-137
I was kind of dreading seeing Ep. 136 simply because of the Jiggle Butt Gang. I guess I'd find them more funny if I were a fan of Rave Master, but I haven't read it. The provided some fluff in this episode which included, of all things, farting in Erza's face. Of anything they did though, the only thing that seemed to legitimately upset her is that their fart killed a flower she'd gotten while picnic-ing. She blasted them completely out of the library in two seconds after that. I get why she wanted to kind of "show them the way" earlier, but they really didn't have to take up so much of their time.
As for Gajeel and his group, I had no doubt they'd be all good. What I didn't expect was for Samuel to turn into a big bulky Exceed a-la Panther Lily. So, are they all capable of doing that, or just some of the cats? I wonder what Carla or Happy would look like all hulked out. Probably hysterical instead of bad-ass...
Now the next problem is Hughes attacking Elfman, Lisanna and Mirajane, and Natsu challenging Byro. I can't really say whether the kiddos will make it though this next set of fights. Hughes has that stupid wand, and Gildarts couldn't even stomp Byro in their short time together, so why would Natsu be able to on his own?
The good points: For the first time, someone finally pointed out that while Fairy Tail members have been in statis for seven years, everyone else has been honing their skills. This is a big issue and the main theme for the beginning of the next canonical phase of the story, but it bears mentioning when they're fighting against people who they might have been able to beat to a pulp back in their normal time. With the time passing, all kinds of mages have gotten stronger and we'll be introduced to many more kinds of magic than we're used to seeing in battle. It should get pretty interesting in that sense, but I'm not excited for anything until the real next arc begins.
[Watch Fairy Tail on Crunchyroll, Hulu and FUNimation!]
Naruto Shippuden episodes 267-268
The unfortunate need for an anime to pad out time to give its manga breathing room results this week in Naruto fully indulging its tendency to lecture the audience on everything from tactical movement to whatever a "kekkei touta" is. It's an upgrade of "kekkei genkai", for your information.
Episode 267 spends almost half the episode with Shikamaru's dad explaining the layout of the battlefront, which has the pleasant side effect of making it seem like an actual war rather than a scattered collection of duels, even if the whole story arc is a scattered collection of duels, as far as execution goes.
268 alleviates some of the pain by coupling a closing lecture on chakra elemental properties with the opening scenes of the battle between Darui's group and a ton of white Zetsus. After the crummy CG and crowd-blob animation of recent times, this is the slickest we've seen Naruto animated in a while. Let's hope they can keep it up through the best of the fights to come.
One Piece Chapter 672
The guy who laid out Law is a guy named Virgo. Law tries to take another shot at him, but Virgo seems to turn his walking staff into a metallic substance and properly knocks him out. Outside of the lab, things don't end well for anybody, as the rest of the Strawhats, Smoker and Tashigi are incapacitated. On the other side of the lake, Sanji is able to get the rest of Kinemon's body out of the mouth of a shark and put the samurai back together again. Kinemon cuts the Slime, which causes it to explode, only it seems that the samurai is capable of cutting fire itself, sparking an interest in Zoro who volunteers to join Kinemon in his search. I promise you, that pun was not intentional.
Naruto chapter 590-591
I suppose I knew this would happen, though I couldn't help but go "Oh, come on!" when it did. Zombie Madara is still in the game? How could he be, when Itachi already undid Kabuto's zombie jutsu, complete with just enough time to show Sasuke an opinion-altering flashback that doesn't tell the audience anything it doesn't already know, you ask? Well, it seems Madara was aware of that jutsu, too, and doing it again undoes the undoing.
Long story short, the Five Kages have to continue fighting the most powerful ninja that ever lived (First Hokage and the Sage of Six Paths aside).
The upside of this is that Tsunade gets a long-awaited (not that you were actually waiting for it) reunion with her dead boyfriend Dan, who conveniently acts as a chakra refill. Barring this fight, Naruto and Bee's battle against Tobi, and the eventual Sasuke vs. Naruto showdown, the war, for the most part, is over.
Bleach chapter 490-491
Black-clad buttheads burn by the boatload as the baddies Bogart bankais with their big badges.*
Kyouraku gets shot in the face by a younger, svelter Colonel Sanders, and Hitsugaya can't talk to his sword anymore. Shinji and Kurotsuchi facepalm their way through their respective panels, which either implies that they know more about the Quincy abilities than has been revealed so far, or that translators need to branch out from the phrase "Those idiots!"
As ever, Ichigo is the outlier, and despite the whole power display by his opponent earlier, is winning the fight, partly because they can't Bogart his bankai. References are made to something called "Blut Vene" and "Blut Arterie", which in German means "Veinal Blood" and "Arterial Blood". It seems to be some kind of mode that the Quincy switch between, probably corresponding to offense and defense. The worry on that guy's face suggests that the Quincy aren't as overpowering as has been displayed so far. Once the Soul Reapers can put them on the back foot, things are likely to turn around.
On a side note, will Ichigo ever get tired of Urahara stealing all of his kills?
*Alliteration is the best!
From other sites around the web