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Shonen Showdown 7-1-2013

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Always Kung Fu-fighting

Welcome to another week of Shonen Showdown, the weekly battle anime and manga recap that's the perfect accompaniment for your blocking rotation practice! Keep those arms moving!

Joining you for today's sparring session will be Chris Walden, disciple of Hunter x Hunter, Kristina Pino, Fairy Tail practitioner, intrepid swashbuckler Pedro Cortes and his One Piece wonder, and yours truly, dual-wielding the dubious duo of Bleach and Naruto!

Ready...FIGHT!

Anime

Josh Tolentino

Naruto Shippuden episode 319

Poor Kankuro! It seems not even Studio Pierrot and its hardworking teams of Naruto filler-creators couldn't find a way to have him carry a whole episode on his own. Instead, his inheritance of Sasori's puppet body is used as a framing device to fill out Sasori and Chiyo's past. Sasori was, as stated before, the Sand Village's local creepy kid (pre-Gaara, anyway) with serial killer tendencies, so we don't actually gain all that much beyond the introduction of a new, vaguely Naruto-esque buddy character to be victimized as part of Sasori's growing psychopathy. 

It's unfortunate, but this episode simply doesn't carry any weight. Unlike Shino's episode a couple of weeks ago, where we learned more about not only the dead guy he was fighting (Torune), but about Shino's entomologist leanings to spectcaular effect, here we're learning more about Sasori and Chiyo, two people who are very dead and have little discernible impact on the war at large (especially not if you're also following the manga and thus know how this all turns out anyway). It's fundamentally useless knowledge that even in the aspect of adding detail or texture largely falls flat (we already knew Sasori was a creep, and that Chiyo learned that fact the hard way).

Worse still, it doesn't really add much new to the supposed beneficiary from this story, Kankuro, who (surprise!) restored Sasori's "parent" puppets, uniting the family in an undeath befitting his creepy legacy. Chiyo somehow regains her will and promises to teach Kankuro her secret techniques...and then the episode ends. Wait, that's it?

For a variety of reasons, I really hate calling anything a "waste of time", but dammit, Naruto Shippuden, you wasted my time.

 

Chris Walden

Hunter x Hunter Episode 86


Oh, hey Bisky! It must have been about... a month since Gon and Killua left Greed Island? Ah, what does it matter. Even if it's hella creepy seeing such a muscular lady parade around as a child, she's still one hell of a mother figure away from home. Even if she is training them to get better at killing...

Actually, I take that back. You can't really say that's creepy when we've just had the Corpse Bride reject show she's getting feelings for Gon. That's aside from her being all-up creepy, anyway. Considering how bad she was getting for Mr Black Suit while talking over tea, I wouldn't be surprised for ol' creeper to take a hit for Gon later down the line. We'll see, I suppose.

It was a generally slow episode, though we did get to hear from Netero that he's not all that confident about his chances against Neferpitou. Butterfly guy has a crazy long name, as does unborn red dude, so I'm not even going to try and write those down. Oh, also Neferpitou may have developed powers to raise the dead? Cat's sure do like to toy with their prey.

[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]

 

Pedro Cortes

One Piece Episode 600-602

Damn, 600 episodes. Helluva a testament to the popularity of the One Piece that after so long that it's still so popular and capable of producing some solid stuff. 

If anything, these episodes show just how much of a bastard Caesar is. Manipulating kids that are suffering from withdrawal, heartlessly killing former subordinates, preparing weapons of mass destruction for all sorts of scumbags, that sort of thing.

Back in the lab, Caesar prepares the prisoners to be part of the Smiley experiment while reminding Law that he has his heart. No, literally, he has Law's heart as part of the deal they made for working together. Amid further evil reveals, he lays out what exactly Smiley is: an incredibly destructive gas bomb that originally devastated Punk Hazard. As it's a new substance, he renames it Shinokuni.

When Shinokuni goes off, it petrifies every person it touches, which of course begins with Caesar's hapless henchmen. Zoro's team manages to spot a wayward dragon, perhaps leading them to salvation.

 

Manga

Kristina Pino

Fairy Tail 337


Alright, so last week's speculation about what would happen with Rogue and Frosch bore fruit today - Rogue told Natsu to warn his past self to protect the exceed in a year's time, or it'll be the day he gives in to the shadows and goes evil. Natsu will probably tell Rogue something about it, but I'm interested in how he'll broach the subject. 

In the meanwhile, everything seems to be winding down in terms of this arc. The next question (I have one every week, don't I?) is whether Fairy Tail will get the money from winning the tournament to pay off all their debts, or if they'll donate it to the city instead so that Fiore can rebuild. Yeah, I know, random thing for me to be thinking about, but hey. 

Everyone is celebrating and the crisis has brought everyone together, in a way. Particularly the Dragon Slayers, who all now feel completely inadequate in their skills to, yanno, kill dragons. Even Mavis just watched in deep thought as things cleared up. I suspect more heavy training is in their futures.

Future Lucy's thing was kind of creepy, wasn't it? Everyone was dead, right? That was just one of those, ".... damn." moments. Like... damn. 

 

Josh Tolentino

Bleach chapter 543 


With Ichigo now fully powered up (at least until we see what the bankai for his newest form looks like), it's time to turn towards the enemy's Quincy legions and find out who their set of baddies is. 

And what a lineup it is. Contrary to the ten-odd Espada and the half-dozen Fullbringers of Xcution, it looks like the Vandenreich's Stern Ritter has the largest potential badass lineup of them all, with a full alphabet's worth of power rankings for the heroes to chew through on their way to letter "A".

Even with four of those letters apparently dead in the first assault on Soul Society (three killed by Kenpachi, another cooked by Yamamoto), none of the upper ranks ("O") were touched. And with every letter except "W" and "Z" taken, there's still at least one unnamed Stern Ritter (that Colonel Sanders-looking dude), possibly holding one of those "low-ranking" letters, that still managed to put Kyoraku's eye out. Whenever this battle royale goes down, the Captains are probably in for a rough time. 

That aside, our time is spent exclusively in wherever the Vandenreich hang out, as the king names his successor and joint-holder of "A"-rank: Uryuu Ishida! Let's all gasp like we didn't see it coming! The flunkies sure didn't, and the Quincy copy of Grimmjow is pissed at the interloper's rise to power.

That actually does raise a few weird questions, that I'll list down here in the hopes that they get answered at some point:

  1. Considering the Vandenreich is founded on some quasi-Aryan ideal of "pure-blooded Quincy", how is Uryuu a worthy successor? Wasn't his mother, Katagiri, a "half-blood", as shown in the flashbacks?
  2. Uryuu's introduced as the "last surviving Quincy" in the living world. What about Ryuken, Uryuu's father? Is he dead? Will we find out that in order to join the Stern Ritter Uryuu was made to kill his father? Yhwach seems to all Quincy his "children" (Ichigo included), and doesn't seem like the type to take kindly to "paternity" disputes.

 

Naruto chapter 636


Whoop, Obito and Kakashi have run each other through. Double KO, call it a draw, it's over.

Hah! I'm kidding, this couldn't possibly be over, as there are still at least 19 pages to go. 

Yes, I am making light of this supposedly incredible battle between two former friends with the war hanging in the balance, but besides the clever construction of the fight - juxtaposed with the pair's sparring matches back in the day in a visual flourish that reminds me of a certain fight from Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 - there's very little we haven't heard at least half a dozen times out of Kakashi by now.

Dude, we know. Naruto's got the right path, Obito's lost it, and to preserve old Obito's spirit, Kakashi's willing to bury current Obito. We've known this for at least a quarter at this point, no need to reiterate it again.

Mercifully, we're saved from the spiel by Kakashi's apparent victory, which seems to be the spark for the endgame, as Madara opts to push the doomsday button - forcing Obito to conduct the resurrection jutsu and start the process of returning Madara's reanimated corpse to life, ready to become Jinchuriki to the Ten-Tails.

Now we'll see what Naruto, Sasuke, the Five Kages, the Reanimated Hokages, and everyone else in the ninja army has to say about that.

 

Pedro Cortes

One Piece Chapter 711 & 712

As if One Piece couldn't get any stranger, there are gnomes on Dressrosa. And, well, they have Robin stitched to the ground with gnome magic. As they are a trusting sort of folk, Robin convinces them to let her go, along with some help from one of Usopp's great stories. Zoro also happens to be dealing a gnome, but his little guy lets him know that the Donquixote family is attacking the Sunny. It's all part of Caesar's plan, where we find out that he hasn't actually quit the Shichibukai. 

Things for Sanji aren't much better, as the lovely lady that we was running around with is actually one of the Donquixote family assassins, named Violet. When it looks like Violet is going to axe Sanji, she peeks into his mind using her Devil Fruit ability and finds not only the mind of a pervert, but a decent person who does trust in her. Violet frees Sanji and lets him know what Doflamingo's plan involves. While Sanji was able to let Law know about Doflamingo's rope-a-dope, it's too late. The guy arrives at the beach at the appointed time, along with a group of Marines and an Admiral. Law takes a wild guess that the only way that Doflamingo could pull off such a crazy trick is with the help of the Celestial Dragons…and Doflamingo doesn't disabuse him of that guess. Oh, and Luffy begins his battle royal. That should be pretty nuts in the next coming weeks, jumping between Doflamingo and Luffy's 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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