Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle anime and manga recap that hopes you didn't make the above expression as your week began! And if you did, well, you can stop now, because Shonen Showdown is here!
To wipe away your Monday grimace (and your Monday sharp teeth, and your Monday ridiculous hair, and your Monday weird arms), we've brought sweet recaps of Naruto, Fairy Tail, Bleach, and Hunter x Hunter! So while Monday's still today, get on under the cut and read 'em, then tell us about your week in battling!
Hunter x Hunter Episode 44
Every now and again I'll watch an episode of anime so good that I can't help but watch it again. This was one of those episodes. I know I've been harping on about how amazing this show is for quite some time now, but besides perhaps the Gon versus Hisoka fight in the battle tower place, this episode really has no equal in comparison to the rest of the already high-quality series.
How? By turning everything we've come to expect on it's head. If you remember back to when Hisoka fought a guy before Gon (the one who could split himself into two), Hisoka states that his opponent will die at the end of it. While we see the battles conclusion, it's never stated explicitly that his opponent was killed in the process. I mean, the only time we've ever really seen gore, or just something shocking, was when Killua 'borrowed' the heart of one of the prisoners during the hunter exam. I know I mentioned that the last two episodes were shocking in the last Shonen Showdown, but this takes the cake, it really does. Uvogin is an absolute beast, and I freakin' love it.
But what about Kurapika? We see the incredible fighting potential of an Uvogin that is paralysed from the neck down, so to have him come out of nowhere and restrain the guy with just a few chains in certainly something. His 'conditions' on the technique certainly seem like something that is going to involve Hisoka in the future (due to his non-member status we kind of know about when he throws his Troupe tattoo onto a wall with his weird skin ability), so that's something to look forward to, I guess. Hell, I don't even need to say I'm looking forward to it any more, I think you already know!
[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]
Fairy Tail Episodes 144-145
We finally got confirmation that Michelle is an imposter from Gildarts, but Cana couldn't get the word to the main team on time. It's too bad, but they found out the hard way she is actually a mimic mage and Lucy has once again become the unfortunate kidnapped element in some plot.
Natsu got hauled in and he'll probably spring Coco out since he's escaped, though I'm not sure how they'll save and wake up Lucy. It's got to be him, even though a whole team of allys are on their way there. In the end, the big question is why Ichiya was the only one who showed up on the airship?
The part where the archaeologist turned out to be a descendant of Neville is a cool plot twist I didn't expect. You know, just some incidental encounter that wouldn't come back. But they did, and gave Erza this huge, badass hammer that I can't wait to see her use. Maybe she can swing it to plug the holes in the Christina with huge cork rolls or something.
The last big thing is of course, the fight that broke out at the end there between Racer and Mirajane. I fully expect her to beat the ever-living crap out of that bozo, and I'm also surprised that she whipped out a forbidden takeover already during a filler arc. It wasn't really supposed to come out until the next canonical arc, if memory serves, so that's one interesting move.
Then again, Lucy is going to be at the center of another kidnap plot in the next canonical arc as well, which has kind of been a problem for me since the beginning of these fillers. It's a little too much of the same thing back-to-back.
Needless to say, now that things have picked up and we've learned what the nonsense end-of-the-world plot we're dealing with, I'm excited to see the boss battles to follow. We got all the details: chaos will descend because people will lose all sense of time and become confounded. I wonder how Zentopia plan on controlling that, though? Does it, like, only affect people who are on the ground, while they, up in Zentopia or around the Orobon in the sky, are immune? Who knows...
I just know that I want to see that Sky Orobon go down. Hard. Oh, and that Juvia is a badass. She sure showed that Cleaner...
[Catch Fairy Tail streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and FUNimation!]
Naruto Shippuden episode 276
Outside the appearance of Madara's crazy and clearly difficult-to-animate-cheaply gigantic statue monster, much of the episode is devoted to winding down the first day of battle, as night falls and the ninjas stand victorious over the coastal front.
None should mistake that victory for an in upon the overall state of affairs, given that there's still a lot of battling to burn through in the coming weeks, months, and years worth of air time left. And next week, it looks like a mix of filler flashbacks and other conversation as Naruto builds his rapport with the Nine-Tails.
Naruto chapter 598
If there was ever a time a single panel could sum up a whole nineteen-odd-page chapter, this is one of them:
Yup, Naruto and crew finally managed to nail Tobi. You don't even need to know much more than this. All the side stuff, the evidence for the Tobi = Obito connection, the lecturing on the nature of his jutsu, all boils down to hitting a dude going "!!" in the face with a roiling ball of chakra!
Bleach chapter 504
To a lesser extend the above phenomenon also holds true for this week's chapter of Bleach, except not in the best way:
Here we see Yamamoto roasting a dude, but all the stuff to the side of it, including the lengthy flashback explaining the nature of Sasakibe's bankai (lightning and weather), and the origin of Yamamoto's first name, all of it is ultimately kind of extraneous, because Yamamoto just roasted a dude, and that's all that matters.
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