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Shonen Showdown 6-19-2013

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The face of love

It's time once more for the battle anime and manga recap that you love, Shonen Showdown! And yes, though the header may not quite show our reaction face, it loves you too!

In fact, our love is so strong that we've jumped right up to the minute in time, bringing you a double-dose of Naruto and Hunter x Hunter, with spicy-hot chaser of Fairy Tail recaps, right on time with that freshly-released taste! So get on below and join us!

Anime

Chris Walden

Hunter x Hunter Episode 84


Crikey, what an episode that was. Pretty darn impressive too, considering there was next to no fighting involved. Most of what we saw of Gon and friends consisted of them running through a forest, with the rest of the episode dedicated to the chimera ants and their understanding of nen. Quite frightening, as we soon find out they are very capable of awakening their own latent abilities.

It wasn't surprising to see cicada-ant's plan foiled by Kite's scythe, but it was interesting to see that their commander knew to walk away from the battle. I'm sure we'll see him back for a rematch once the commanders get around to awakening their nen abilities, so there's that to look forward to. Out of curiosity, does anyone know what the girl with the funky hat is meant to have been? Bagworm is my best guess, but I'm pretty sure I'm guessing wrong with that one. Digging the hat though.

Oh hey, Pokkle's still alive. Oh hey, not for much longer. It took me by surprise that they'd introduce a potential escape scenario with him, but recapturing and interrogating him with the help of Neferpitou was certainly an interesting way to learn about nen styles. Seriously though, how grim was this episode? If it wasn't already dark that they have a large pig-ant butchering the humans that are captured, poking around in a living humans head to get him to speak the truth certainly is. 

So yeah, Neferpitou. She certainly seems ridiculously strong in comparison to the commanders, and Gon and co will have two more plus an even more powerful King to deal with shortly. Better hope that those humans from the opening are coming to help out, but even then I can't help but feel they'll all die. Not sure why, just some odd vibes I'm getting from this arc as a whole...

[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]

 

Josh Tolentino

Naruto Shippuden episodes 316 and 317

After the dismal three-episode "Yota" mini-arc I was this close to just dropping Naruto Shippuden until it got back on track, but thankfully for the column, the two installments following were quite a bit more interesting.

Episode 316 is a weird one, and seems almost experimental, if not downright self-mocking in its oddness. And I'm not talking about the surreal non-sequiturs the Bleach anime could get up to when it was between arcs, but a somewhat more subtle skewering of Naruto's shortcomings in general. Y'see, rather than throwing Naruto or the other major players up against some ginned-up "new" threat (i.e. Yota) that would need to be dead and forgotten by the end of things, this episode instead shifted focus to the regular troops on the ground, who usually spent their time dying in droves as the top-tier ninjas got their jutsu on. 

It seems that both Kabuto and Orochimaru had a ways to go in their experimentation with the reanimation jutsu, and used hordes of random ninja as trial runs before attempting to resurrect the named personalities. And seeing his key pieces taken off the board by canon events, Kabuto throws the former test subjects at the Allies in an attempt to return the quality players to his hand.

It's a great premise and makes a ton of sense within the story, without necessarily intruding on "what really happened" according to the main story and manga. It calls to mind the occasional western comic book detailing the lives of ordinary or lesser characters during the sorts of story arcs involving the main superheroes (think World War Hulk: Frontline and you'd be close). In any case, it's a fun throwaway story with a couple of chuckles, and thankfully, none of the annoyance that's characterized this "wartime" filler in recent weeks.

The next episode, 317, is a more traditional one-off filler romp, with Shino getting the spotlight as he takes on the reanimated Torune (formerly Danzo's bodyguard) with hot bug-on-bug action. It's inoffensive, and generally less interesting than the previous story, especially that no one in their right mind gives a crap about Torune, but if nothing else, it makes a decent nod to actual science, and shows off that Shino could grow up a talented biological engineer once the war is over.

 

Manga

Kristina Pino

Fairy Tail Chapter 335


So the mystery of how Gray was going to survive the attack that pierced through his body was solved by Ultear's final act of turning back time instead of killing Rogue. Of course, while she thought that she'd only turned it back insignificantly, we saw that she actually saved several lives. To tug at our heart strings, we saw several people running into trouble besides Gray, and she saved them all. 

Since it was just this one act, this chapter felt exceedingly short. Though, I feel like I'm saying this every week like a broken record. Hopefully next week we'll finally see the comeback battles.

I wonder though - Ultear is really gone, then? Mashima went through the trouble of showing how the spell worked and how it'd exchange her time - but it was only a short time. Could she have been too spent to truly unleash the spell, or did she really die? I can't ever tell with these shonen manga. 

 

Josh Tolentino

Naruto chapter 635

While the reassembled Team 7 lays the smack down on the Ten-Tails, we finally check in with the Five Kages, who were last left by Madara in little better shape than stains on the floor. And lo and behold, they're all still alive. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief that Tsunade's basically been able to survive being cut in half for at least three months now due to the fact that this battle is, in the actual timeline, maybe a couple of hours old at best, but this is beginning to get ridiculous. Either finish the fight or give everyone a break, Kishimoto!

In any case, we learn a little more about Orochimaru's new beneficence, ordering Karin and Suigetsu to aid Tsunade in pretty much the most amusing way possible. He's given up on trying to influence events directly and is having more fun as an observer/enabler. While that sounds like a bit of a cop-out from the guy who was once the greatest villain in the Naruto-verse, it at least makes a bit of sense for his character. That's the scientist and seeker-of-knowledge in Orochimaru talking, the one that wants to set up an experiment and see it pan out rather than attempt to mess with the results himself. 

We also check in with Sasuke, who's still got some of that "burn it all down" darkness within him. After spending the better part of the decade nurturing it, it's hardly surprising that he'd just turn face that easily. The other ninjas don't quite trust him yet either, and rightfully so. Once all the fighting is over, it'll be up to Naruto to convince the world at large that Sasuke can be trusted, and ideally to avoid a repeat of the scenario that separated Madara and Hashirama for the final time way back then.

And on the last page, Obito and Kakashi look to have done each other in...or at least it would look that way if it hadn't already been demonstrated that Obito's body is at least partially indestructible, so as it stands it seems like Kakashi's getting the *ahem* sharper end of the deal.

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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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