Shonen Showdown 7-22-2013


Sponsored by the Soul Society Tourism Authority

Welcome to another installment of Shonen Showdown, the weekly recap brought to you by the Soul Society Tourism Authority! Soul Society, your "Soul" destination!

With Bleach set to go on hiatus for the next month or so, why not plan a vacation to the sunny place where dead people go to turn into ghost-samurai? Catch up with your relatives passed on and gain power in ways new and unimaginable!

In the meantime, the ninjas, hunters, and mages of Naruto, Hunter x Hunter, and Fairy Tail will hold down the fort, keep your chair warm, and feed your pets!


Chris Walden

Hunter x Hunter Episode 89

This show certainly has the most exciting fight scenes I've ever seen in anime, and considering Gon and Knuckle really weren't fighting for their lives, that's quite impressive. Seeing Gon learn new techniques on the fly, adapting the way he fights to best combat his opponent without even having to think about it, is simply a joy to watch. I've said it before, but other shounen shows really need to be paying attention, because Hunter x Hunter is constantly showing that fight scenes have plenty of room to evolve.

While a lot of this episode focused on Gon's Jajanken attack (which, by the way, is a fantastic name) we did also get to see his paper attack, which allows him to launch the ball of energy he charges with his rock attack at an opponent. It was also just like Gon to use it as a distraction to get in a better hit, similarly to how he fought Hisoka in the Heaven's Arena. 

I also feel that Gon's anger at Knuckle not being serious may also come back to bite him, not necessarily in the rematch, but with other opponents. He's very quick to lose any and all composure at the frustration of feeling powerless, so perhaps that's something to keep an eye on during the rest of the chimera ant arc? 

It also seems that Bisky has given Killua some good motivation to beat Shoot in a fight. It seems obvious really, but if Killua continues to run from battles he knows he can't win, he'll never gain the experience he needs to eventually overcome these opponents. It's what's served Gon so well up to this point, at the very least. Seeing muscular-Bisky in her underwear will give me nightmares for a little while, too. 

Oh, and a heads up. I'm hiding away on some mountains for a while, so there won't be a recap next week. Sorry! I'll double up once I'm back~

[Hunt for this show on Crunchyroll!]


Josh Tolentino

Naruto Shippuden episode 321

As hinted back last week, Naruto Shippuden returns to covering canon events with nary an acknowledgment of the months of filler that passed the time - though Killer Bee does drop a hint or two that he was doing more than draining the lizard during all this time apart from the proper timeline.

What follows is an extended status update on the course of the war just as Naruto and his clones arrive to break the stalemate and Madara Uchiha - the real, undead Madara Uchiha - makes his debut on the field.

If there's anything worth noting in this conservatively animated affair (as if you needed the next-episode preview to show where they've allocated the lion's share of the budget), it's the care they've taken throughout all this filler NOT to step on the toes of canon happenings, even as they inserted myriad multi-part adventures in between the lines. It's a lot of work for arguably little reward, since no one really appreciates filler, even when it's good.

Makes a fan wonder whether long-running shows like this are better served by taking seasonal breaks and adopting the broadcast patterns we see in the types of shows covered in Annotated Anime.

Whatever the case, I can't imagine how long this wait has felt for folks not actually following the manga in tandem, but it's finally over. Huzzah!



Kristina Pino

Fairy Tail Chapters 341-344

So, just when I thought that we were going to see more stuff about Zeref, we get this deviation with the guild's #1 team. At the request of one of the ten wizard saints, who also happens to have been around as one of the founders of the Fairy Tail guild (I wonder why Makarov didn't mention this?), the main team goes off to a giant's village which has been frozen over completely. 

I'm not particularly interested in the return of Minerva. She's awful, and I didn't think we'd be seeing her around so soon. I'm somewhat interested in the fight against the treasure hunters, but the biggest thing of interest to me is seeing more of Erza's wandering and searching. I'm curious about the conditions of that village, and why she's seeing herself as a child and all that as well, and whether she'll be stuck looking like that for the rest of this bit. Will Erza be able to fight as a kiddo as she's able to retain her regular thoughts?

For now, I don't have any more real thoughts besides that. A few different things are happening at once, including Gray having more regretful flashbacks of Ul and Ultear, so I'm also kind of wondering whether anything will connect there, too. My one big hope is that things won't wrap up too quickly. If these are supposed to be tough adversaries... they should be tough for these guys to beat, and not just dropped in for gags, ya know? That's my biggest problem with putting Minerva in there, much like that girl with the hair was dropped in to the onsen with the girls of Fairy Tail (hurray for a fan service chapter?), only to be given this total character flip. That kind of thing always throws me for a loop, though I'm glad she said she doesn't want to join the Fairy Tail guild. 


Josh Tolentino

Bleach chapter 546


For once, that really does seem to be the case, what with a chapter title like "The Last 9 Days" kicking off a lengthy hiatus to give Kubo a chance to recharge and then return in September, ready to not draw backgrounds.

Actually, I'm being facetious. Bleach may be a shadow of its former status as one of JUMP's "Holy Trinity", but there's no doubting that it still carries a mindshare that hasn't quite been matched by the series that replaced it in the rankings, at least outside the Japanese sphere.

Of course, Bleach still remains the type of manga where within a given chapter relatively little is said and sometime even less done, and that seems to remain the case here. Captain (now General) Kyouraku and his new eyepatch pays Ichigo's classmates a visit on Earth to deliver the bad news: Ichigo's new upgrades leave our protagonist in a such a state that his presence could cause problems in the living world. In such a case, Soul Society wouldn't be able to let him leave once all things are said and done.

That sounds kind of bunk to me. What would be harmful about dual-wielding that isn't already a point of concern? Soul Society was willing to send five Captains to Earth at the end of the Fullbringer arc to assist Ichigo (or kill him if he joined Ginjou's cause) and give him back his powers.

At the very least, there's likely to be more to this than Kyouraku's telling.

Either way, it's not like the guy has much time to lose, as the Quincies have made their move, pulling some kind of trick to replace Soul Society HQ with their own weird ice-palace. 

The world ends in 9 days (or rather, five weeks and 9 days). Time to hurry up and wait!


Naruto chapter 639

After pulling his epic double-cross, Obito is now Jinchuriki to the Ten-Tails, and you know what that means: A "Oh jeez this final boss is kicking all our asses" chapter. And Masashi Kishimoto and his crew deliver in spades.

Though Obito seems to be acting on some kind of instinct rather than through his own will, his weird chakra-mold stigmata weapons and sheer power overwhelm the resurrected Hokages and even Sasuke and Naruto, while the First Hokage is waylaid by Madara, still jonesing for a final showdown.

While the action scenes seem a bit muddily choreographed for this sequence (not helped by the fact that Obito's power looks like someone accidentally messing with Photoshop's custom shape tool), the impact is undiminished, especially as the Hokages throw themselves onto the figurative woodchipper, taking advantage of their undead bodies to probe Obito for weaknesses.

That said, much of what happens next seems like it'll hinge on whatever Naruto's dad has planned for his next move. Not much to do but wait and see what it is.

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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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