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Shonen Showdown 12-7-2013

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Biting off more than you can chew

Hey there! Welcome to Shonen Showdown, the battle anime and manga recap you can read with your mouth full! And no, we don't know if your mouth is full at the moment. Heck, you could be reading Shonen Showdown with an empty mouth, though we don't recommend it because the intensity of the battling in this week's installments of Naruto, Bleach and Hunter x Hunter could cause you to bite your tongue off!

So check yourself and prepare to be rocked by hot recaps of the latest in action and adventure!

Anime

Chris Walden

Hunter x Hunter Episode 107

Now, this is what Hunter x Hunter is all about! We've got the super chilled guy who smokes for a power fighting a lion who decides to fight with orange Fanta, a surf board and a barbecue prong. Such is the wonder of nen abilities, and it's ridiculous fights like this that make me really happy that the show has been so consistently good. If there were bad filler arcs or slumps in content, who could say how far along I'd have stuck. In fact, I think it's slowly eclipsing One Piece as my favourite shonen show. I digress... 

The twist with Leomon's Fanta ability is that it was 'borrowed' from a friend of Smoker, which unsurprisingly gets him a little riled up. Smoker does demonstrate that he's more than a bit of muscle, figuring out how to beat Leomon without really needing to do much himself. Carbon dioxide poisoning seems like a reasonable extension of his abilities, but it's still a neat way to finish off the lion while he's trapped himself in a place without fresh air. Still, with access to all those abilities, I don't think we've seen the last of him. Remember he mentioned something about an ability time limit? I'm not sure if it'll happen, but I wouldn't be so surprised to see all the fanta disappear in a bit. 

We also get an update from Palm, who has been using her crystal ball ability to figure out how to escape the odd little village she's currently living in, to attempt to see the royal guard and feed intel back to the others. Considering what being in close proximity has done to Nov, it's hard to see Palm faring any better unless she's hiding another ability. From what we've seen of her attempt to get close, I wouldn't be surprised if Neferpitou is already poking around her brain for information. Unless she's somehow saved by an outside party, I'd consider her as good as dead. Hoping to be proven wrong, mind you!

On the Killua front, he's finally ready to get on with the plan after a couple of days out of action. Seems Octobro has stuck with him, even though he really has no reason to do so, and it looks like they are now good buds. It's pretty cool to see that there are chimera ants out there who can think for themselves and don't feel pressured into obeying the King, and it's going to be really cool to see how they aid the hunters in the upcoming fights. Octobro reminds me a lot of Hachi from One Piece, and that's by no means a bad thing. We may be drawing more parallels to that show as we continue onwards, but that's absolutely fine by me!

[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]

 

Josh Tolentino

Naruto Shippuden episode 341

It really does seem like animating something can make it easier to comprehend, because another rather confusing aspect of recent events in the manga is elaborated upon here, namely Sasuke's motivations and method for resurrecting Orochimaru.

Whereas the original manga chapters explained things in half-phrases and the hanging implications that make up much of "anime-style" Japanese (Protip: When conversing in Japanese with actual people, never speak the way an anime or manga character would. It's supremely rude!), which ended up painting a rather vague picture of what happened, the anime gets straight into it, with a no-nonsense linear sequence of explanations.

Sasuke's reviving Orochimaru, because only he knows enough to make good use of the scroll Suigetsu and Jugo found in the old lab. And he can be brought back to life by tapping Anko's Curse Seal (poor Anko, reduced to a plot MacGuffin!) and employing some of Jugo's Sage chakra (a timely hint for what he'd later be able to do as the fights go on).

Meanwhile, the barrage of explanations continues, as the Nine-Tails explains how Tobi got his hands on Eight- and Nine-Tails chakra to initiate the transformation of his Kaiju statue into the Ten-Tails. Interjecting, Tobi explains why doesn't actually need Naruto and Bee to pull off his big plan, while simultaneously invoking that oh-so-precious master plan of anime supervillains: That life would be better if everyone was part of a large, collective consciousness, free of individuality. Practically every bad guy from the jerks in Evangelion to the jerks in Code Geass, has had this as their ultimate goal.

Well, at least Sephiroth wanted to blow up the world because he's a momma's boy at heart.

 

Manga

Josh Tolentino

Bleach chapter 560


I want this design on a shirt!

Anyway, it turns out that Rukia and Renji won't be on the stage quite as quickly as initially anticipated. That makes some sense. In all likelihood the Sternritted they'd be set to square against would be As Nodt, who has the credit for nearly killing Byakuya back during the first round.

Instead, we're diverted to Mask de Masculine, "S"-rank Sternritter, codename "Superstar". He's the wrestler one, and following a thorough trouncing of Hisagi, gets in deep against Hisagi's boss, Kensei Muguruma. You may remember him as one of the Visored, and voiced in badass fashion by Tomokazu "Kyon" Sugita. It's him and Rose, another Visored who served as fodder to get beaten down by Aizen, against the muscular Luchador and his hype man, James. 

The real takeaway for this chapter, of course, is an explanation of Kensei's bankai, Tekken Tachikaze, which he pulled out against Aizen's flunky Wonderweiss, but never explained (or demonstrated). 

Turns out that Kensei's bankai ability is infinite punching! Condensing his shikai's implosion power into a pair of knuckle dusters, Kensei in bankai mode can punch a guy forever as long as his knuckles maintain contact. Which is confusing me, since he breaks contact with Mask at least twice to wind up for more punches. Wouldn't that be cutting his own attack short?

Either way, though, what might have been an easy third win for the Soul Reapers in this batch of fights turns a lot more even when Mask reveals his power source: James. As the "Superstar", he's influenced by the mood of the audience, in this case, young James. In that way he's a cross between Alex Louis Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist, and John Cena.

Obviously, this fight isn't over yet, but I'm hoping that Kensei and Rose get some help from Hisagi, who's been almost as much of an underdog in Bleach as poor Komamura. While he wasn't a "Worf" in the way Komamura was, Hisagi was constantly being followed by misfortune. First finding out his captain (Tousen) was a traitor, then being afraid of his totally badass sword, Kazeshini, and then being constantly looked down upon by his new captain, Kensei. The poor guy's never caught a break. Let's hope he gets his due this time.

 

Naruto chapter 657

For all the momentous stuff that's happened over the last few weeks in Naruto, and in spite of Madara's resurrection essentially invalidating any progress made besides Obito's defeat, surprisingly little of substance happens in this week's chapter.

It's basically confirmed that Madara is even more powerful alive than he was when undead, though he's ultimately mortal and can be killed now (a fact that will likely be quite important as things move along). He strides about the battlefield as seemingly invincible as he's ever been, and this time has the wherewithal to absorb Hashirama's own Sage chakra. 

But! He's still vulnerable. He'll need a Rinnegan from Obito, and now both Kakashi and the Fourth Hokage are in place to keep Black Zetsu from getting away with it completely. As for what else is going to happen next week, it looks like the tailed beasts themselves are going to get a chance to weigh in on the fight.

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures


 


 


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