It’s clear at this point that Askeladd is Vinland Saga’s most interesting character. Originally presented as a greedy mercenary that only existed to be motivation for Thorfinn to get stronger, Askeladd has step up to be the most complex character. We learn that Askeladd has Welsh heritage. Before the credits, we see a young Askeladd carrying his pale nearly dead mother back to her homeland. Kept as a concubine by his father, Olaf, his mother was abandoned when she became ill. Askeladd begins his negotiation with the leader of the Brycheiniog forces. The relationship between Wales and the Danes is terrible. Askeladd reveals his heritage to create some trust between himself and the negotiator. One of the last descendants of Artorius, a famous former commander of the Britannia army in the 5th and 6th centuries.
His mixed blood allows him to “blend” in with the Danes. However, Askeladd secretly hates them. He plans on becoming an insider in Denmark, making Canute King and becoming a high member in his court. With this new power, he could create a treaty of non-aggression with Wales. It’s possible that Askeladd is making some of this up or at least his goal regarding Canute. Regardless, he manages to get the Brycheiniog leader to cooperate. This episode once again highlights the importance of bloodlines in this world. Canute, Thorfinn and Askeladd all hail from strong bloodlines. Askeladd and his men are permitted to travel through enemy land.
After some teasing from Thorfinn, Canute finally speaks. He tells Thorfinn that he’s not a coward. He’s merely cautious. Being aware of his potion as a prince, his “words have political repercussions.” In a foreign land he must be careful and doesn’t have the power to enter into treaties. The men all stop in, shock of the broken silence. Thorfinn’s lack of respect for him seems to have forced Canute to step out of his shell. It seems like being in such close proximity to Thorfinn may have a positive impact on Canute. That said some potentially harrowing developments are beginning. If Askeladd does indeed mean that he “hates” the Danes, then his men are going to be possibly betrayed by him at some point. Furthermore, Bjorn seems to be doubting Askeladd more and more. For now, he seems resigned to follow him. As they had north, winter begins to approach.
To celebrate my 900th blog post, I decided to make my top ten anime of all time lists. When coming up with the top ten I focused on series that had the most impact on me. At the same time I also choose anime that can and have stood the test of time (even from an animation stand point), and I would recommend to anyone. I don’t think any of these series are going to be surprise anyone, as most are mainstream to an anime audience.
[Note] One Piece, Naruto and Bleach aren’t on the lists because I prefer(ed) the manga.
10. Dragon Ball Z
If this was a list of the series that I was the most nostalgic about Dragon Ball Z would be number one. Most of my childhood was centered on DBZ . The Cartoon Network would torture me by repeating the same arc’s over and over again. I must have watched the Radditz arc at least 50 times before they moved on to the saiyan arc. The series has come to define anime for many anime fans and non-anime fans. It’s hands down one of, if not the most popular anime series of all-time. Dragon Ball Z has been often mocked for it’s constant screaming and it’s “inaction sequences.” My mother would often comment “did they start fighting yet” as she would walk past the t.v. Despite it’s iconic status, DBZ as a series had a lot of problems. This is mostly due to running up against the manga. DBZ had many bad fillers, dragged out fights and at one point took ten episodes for planet Namek to explode. Even with this, the series had some of the most epic fights and has clearly left a mark on anime in general. Dragon Ball Z still remains an anime series that I consider a must see.
9. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
A mecha anime series by Gainax, Gurren Lagann focuses on mankind’s rise from a subterranean existence to the galactic exploration. Taking place in a future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, a young digger named Simon and his “brother” Kamina dream of reaching the surface. As they and Team Gurren make their way to the skies, they engage in epic, over the top mecha battles. Gurren Lagann features high quality animation, surprising deaths, fanservice, theme music power ups and cool mecha designs. Gurren Lagann resulted in another anime classic for Gainax.
8. Made in Abyss
My favorite anime genre tends to be shonen, but Made in Abyss made me appreciate the seinen genre more. Made in Abyss plays with expectation, if you think the adorable characters are going to have a fun adventure, you are wrong. While only having one season under it’s belt, Made in Abyss had a profound impact on me. Exciting, ruthless, filled with body horror, tear jerking moments and has a intriguing mystery to discover. Made in Abyss is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth the emotional scarring.
7. Hunter X Hunter
For some reason I kept avoiding Hunter X Hunter. After running into a little bit of an anime drought, I decided to give the series a try. I wasn’t disappointed. On the surface Hunter X Hunter feels like a typical shonen series, but it’s more than that. Gon Freecss, the main protagonists, is a prime example of the undermining of shonen tropes this series does. I loved it’s complicated power system (Nen), character development, action and the uses of a narrator. Narration seemed unnecessary at first but I think it is an amazing addition to the series that adds to it.
6. Mob Psycho 100
An anime from web-comic creator ONE, Mob Psycho 100, is about a 14 year old boy named Shigeo Kageyama. He aims to be ordinary despite the fact that he’s extraordinary with telekinesis. He is a complicated young man struggling with his emotions and fear of his power harming others. Mob Psycho 100 main moral lesson is that despite having an extraordinary abilities you still need work to improve yourself as a human. Mob in particular embodies this theme. Despite his psychic powers he doesn’t think he’s better than anyone. That said, Mob Psycho 100 is still a shonen series with fluid animation, bright colors, humor, funny characters and epic battles.
5. One Punch Man
The creator of Mob Psycho 100 is also the creator of One Punch Man. The title is to be taken literally, as the main protagonist, Saitama is capable of defeating most monsters with one punch. One Punch Man is a parody of the shonen superhero series. It makes fun of the over the top and somewhat silly nature of the typical shonen anime, that results in the main character always defeating the bad guy. It’s surprising how satisfying you find Saitama’s one hit victories. The series does have interesting action, usually it’s other less powerful characters are doing the fighting though. Despite this the series does manage to keep us wondering, which monster can make Saitama hit it more than once. The first season is considered perfect, the second one, not so much. Still, One Punch Man remains an important series for anime fans to watch.
4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
The story of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse is a sad, tragic tale. Born into a world that practices alchemy, the brothers arrogance leads them to believe that they can break one of the most important rules of alchemy. Trying to resurrect their mother, Ed loses his right arm and left leg and his brother loses his entire body. The brothers go in search of the “philosopher stone,” so they can transmute without consequences. While maintaining a sense of humor, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is full of themes like sacrifice, death, selfishness, what is truth, and the value of life. If you want to watch an anime series that balances dark themes, comedy and great action, FMA is it.
3. Attack on Titan
If you read this far it’s clear that I love anime series that manage to successfully combine dark, mature themes with great action and top animation. Attack on Titan is a series that lives up to those standards. What separates Attack on Titan from typical series is the level of dreariness. While the main characters are largely safe, you’ll never certain. Secondary characters and any other character are fair game. With characters that are constantly underdogs, failure is the most likely outcome. Often in anime you feel that everything will be fine, in Attack on Titan your surprised that half the squad is still alive. Attack on Titan has mystery, what are titans (weird giant humanoids) and why do they eat humans? Conspiracies, what is the government doing? As they fight for human survival, the scouts deal with trauma, lost and death.
2. Cowboy Bebop
For many Cowboy Bebop is the greatest anime ever. Considered to be a masterpiece, Shinichiro Watanabe blends elements of westerns with elements of film noir. The classic anime series Lupin the third was a visual influence and the three main characters of Cowboy Bebop are inspired by Lupin, Jigen and Fujiko from Lupin. The overall story is influence by Japanese cinema. Cowboy Bebop also uses a jazz heavy soundtrack that is iconic on it’s own, marking a major departure from the common use of J Pop. Cowboy Bebop focuses on mature themes like loneliness and difficulties escaping the past, it’s well animated, well (voice) acted and generally entertaining. Cowboy Bebop is considered a “gateway series” for anime, and I couldn’t agree more.
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion
When I first began watching Neon Genesis Evangelion it was for the epic and violent mecha battles. I couldn’t comprehend the more complex themes and imagery woven into the narrative. Evangelion is credited with revolutionizing anime as a medium. Set in the year 2000, a global cataclysm called the “Second Impact,” changes the world. Antarctica is destroyed and the planet’s axis shifts, causing flooding and a altered climate. After nuclear war, half the worlds population is wiped out. Teenagers, Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami pilot massive mecha called Eva’s. Their enemy are physic altering monsters dubbed Angels.
Evangelion explores complex themes like depression, human subjectivity, and child abuse. The series makes many references to philosophical, psychoanalytic concepts, as well as references to Kabbalah, Christian and Jewish religions. Evangelion even uses religious texts like the Book of Genesis within the series and the Angels share names found in religion like Sachiel. The series has been described as both a ” both a critique and deconstruction of the mecha genre.” On the surface, Neon Genesis Evangelion, is a mecha anime with distinctly designed robots that engage in brutal battles. However, the series has levels of deeper and more sophisticated themes that makes Evangelion one of the most well regarded series ever.
I have often pointed out that I found Powers of X to be inferior series to the House of X. A large reason for this the future timeline that I find to be uninteresting. Set a thousand years into the future, this timeline mostly depicts how “humanity” or the current inhabitants of Earth end. I think this issue makes a case for why this timeline matters or at least made the timeline more interesting. It turns out that mutants still exists, but in a zoo, the Preserve, for “near extinct species.” The Librarian encounters Wolverine and Moira that have been trapped in the Preserve. The Librarian informs them that they will be absorbed by the Phalanx, which will then merge with the god intellect, a Dominion. He will have Moira and Wolverine sent “off-world.” He believes that if Moira dies that timeline reset, resulting in the intellect of the Librarian not getting carried on.
However, if he is absorbed before Moira dies he will be absorbed into the Dominion, which exists “beyond space and time.” This would allow his knowledge to exists even if Moira does reset the timeline. He is uncertain of his decision to ascend. Would it be better to “existence as a portion of a divine intelligence or to continuing to exist as he does.” The Librarian notes that “mutants are an evolutionary response to their environment,” but humanity “stopped being beholden to the environment.” With “man” freeing itself, using the “building blocks of biology and technology,” a new “superhuman race” was born, Homo novissima. We were given the impression that the machines took over humanity, betraying them. According to the Librarian it was the opposite. Using machines to “stall for time,” humanity was finally able to transcend mutant kind.
Despite his assumption that humanity has won and he will be “immortal,” Wolverine kills him. I found this moment funny even if it was intended to be. Regardless, Moira sixth life finally ends as Wolverine kills her again. Armed with the knowledge of how humanity evolves, Moira meets Charles Xavier once again. She tells him that this time she plans to ” break him of his hope and idealism,” and “unite all mutants.” In the present, Magneto and Xavier discuss the first meeting of the Quiet Council. Moira makes it clear that they cannot resurrect Destiny, at Mystique’s request as ” they (precogs) will see the truth Moira has endeavored to keep secret; that mutant kind always loses.” This is a potentially interesting conflict that could arise. Mystique isn’t stupid so it’s only a matter of time before she realizes that they don’t intend to give her what she wants.
To that point, it seems implausible that there isn’t another precog mutant in existence or that there won’t be in the future. How would Xavier and Magneto stop those mutants, how far would they go? Anyway, that’s a question for another day I guess. Despite my criticism of the future timeline, I loved this series. I assumed the Librarian was a future mutant, but it turns out he was a future human. This and the House of X series make it clear that humanity is inferior to mutants on an evolutionary level. This issue showed us what happens when humans simply ignore evolution. House of X and Powers of X have set a new bar for storytelling in comics (or at least recent X-Men series) creating a new status quo. Unfortunately, I’m certain this quality of art and story will not be the standard. Hopefully, Hickman will continue to write new stories and I’m hoping other writers can keep up.
Season premieres of established series can be dull. They’re often used to reintroduce the series. This is probably more important for introducing new fans than reminding old ones. We start at Juko News, as several reporters attempt to write a special issue in honor of All Might’s retirement. Freelance journalists, Taneo Tokuda, offers the angle their looking for. He believes that All Might has a successor (which is true), he plans on investigating Class 1-A to discover who that is. If you been following this series you know that it’s Midoriya. Taneo initially feels like his a threat. Trying to expose the secret that All Might and Midoriya have, gives off this impression. Shota Aizawa informs the class that they will take part in a newspaper feature. Shota suspects that Taneo is “up to something,” but concludes that he’s not a threat to the students. Taneo takes a series of pictures of the students, while he reminds the audience who they are and what their quirks are. He limits the potential successors down the top six students, then easily narrows it down to Midoriya.
Taneo reveals that his father was rescued by All Might. He claims that the moment “created a spark in his life.” He reveals that he knows Midoriya is All Might’s successor and he has a quirk. Called, whole body lens, he can produce cameras from all over his body and print the photos from his chest. He admits that he never intended to write about dorm life. Taneo and his investigation acts as both a means to remind the audience of the characters, but also to remind us of the main theme of the series. Hope. Taneo was afraid that with All Might’s retirement there was no hope left. Being a manga reader this episode doesn’t happen. Taneo is actually an anime exclusive character. This kinda makes this episode a filler of sorts. It’s not nearly as bad as typical filler episodes, but it doesn’t add anything to the series. To that point, the first episode is unnecessary and you could skip it.
Blade of the Immortal (Mugen no Junin) is an animated adaptation from the Hiroaki Samura manga of the same name. Set in the 18th century Japan, Blade of the Immortal, tells the story of Asano Rin and her bodyguard Manji. Cursed with immortality due to being infested with “kessen-chu (blood-worms), these worms are able to knit together any potential life threatening injuries. However, Manji isn’t truly immortal. He can die by beheading or by a rare poison. The publisher of Blade of the Immortal, Kodansha, stated that this series will adapt the entire manga series. This series was on the top of my lists for anime this season. I wasn’t disappointed. The first thing I noticed was the artistic style that this series possess. Blade of the Immortal combines the use of color manipulation, with dramatic sound to magnificent effect. The opening scene is in black, white and red. As Manji slaughters his enemies, the red of their blood is striking. This all happens as the sound of a water wheel turning echos in a rhythmic manner.
Were introduced to Rin as she meets Yaobikuni. She subtly tells Rin that she is 800 years old. Rin instantly thinks she’s joking. Rin tells her of the dream she has to get revenge on the 30 members of the Itto-ryu that raped her mother and killed her father. The Itto-ryu are a group of master swordsmen, that massacre any dojo that gets in their way. Yaobikuni informs Rin that in the two years since her traumatic encounter with the Itto-ryu, they have expanded their ranks. Despite training for two years, Rin isn’t good enough to take them on single handily. Yaobikuni suggests she hire a bodyguard, Manji. Blade of the Immortal uses Rin’s search for Manji to explain him and the first scene. He’s wanted by the shogunate, killed his sisters husband, got her killed and is now on a mission of atonement that’s imposed upon him.
When Rin meets with Manji, he questions her morality and dedication to vengeance. He articulates a belief that humans merely choose whether they are “righteous or evil” based on their own “interest.” He doesn’t wish to become an accomplice to a criminal. Samurai, according to Manji, don’t kill “meaninglessly.” Manji doesn’t immediately believe that Rin’s family was “innocent.” His decision to become her bodyguard was obviously never in doubt, but this moment is intriguing. How did Manji develop his view of morality? Will it change? He seems to be leery of the “chain of revenge.” So why did he say yes? In the future, I have no doubt that this series will answer at least some of these questions. The climax of the episode sees Rin meeting with one of the members of Itto-ryu, Sabato Kuroi. Having been sending her love letters for two years after killing her father and raping her mother, Kuroi hopes to kill her too.
Rin has prepared herself to kill him but is clearly outmatched and unwilling. Manji intervenes, challenging Kuroi. However, Kuroi ignores Manji who attacks, only to get his leg cut off. Rin does land an attack, revealing the monstrous reality that facing the Itto-ryu will bring. Kuroi has grafted the stuffed heads of his former wife and Rin’s mother to his shoulders. I imagine that this moment is meant to shock the audience, while it’s surprising, I wasn’t horrified (It might say something terrible about me). I was also surprised by how quickly we got the conclusion on what happened to Rin’s mother. Rin’s quest for vengeance only becomes greater with this moment but I thought they would have extended this narrative for longer.
The biggest issue I have is the actual action scenes. I think the fighting will be secondary to the characters and story, but these scene are lacking to me. For example, Manji kills Kuroi with several weapons, it’s barely noticeable. Finally, we never get to see how “skilled” Kuroi is. If all the members of Itto-ryu are defeated this easily I’ll be disappointed. Blade of the Immortal is well crafted, using sound, colors and minimal dialogue. The violence is graphic, but the action is too simple. Both characters, Rin and Manji feel like they might be more than tropes. While I found the first encounter with a member of Itto-ryu to be disappointing, Sabato Kuroi did make me wonder what insane behavior the other members get into.
Askeladd runs into a man fishing. He asks if the fish are “biting,” the man doesn’t care, he’s operates the ferry. Askeladd tells him that he wants him to deliver a letter to an elder. Thorkell’s men continue to pursue, Askeladd and his men are able to detect them. Or I should say that the man called “the Ear,” can detect them. We have seen him at work before, however, in this episode his skill are put in more focus. Vinland Saga manages to give it’s characters almost supernatural powers, without sacrificing realism. The “Ears” talents are pushing those boundaries, but I think the shows realism remains intact. Anyway, he is able to hear the soldiers and their horse march. He determines that they’re only one day behind on foot. The Ear quickly detects two men on horse back. Exposed, Askeladd says that they can’t win in a fight, they must keep running until the reinforcements he sent for arrive.
Askeladd’s men are exhausted and worried. However, Askeladd says he doesn’t care. Bjorn asks him why he’s behaving so strangely. Askeladd explains that he’s able to read people, just by looking at their faces. When seeing Prince Canute he realized that he’s doesn’t have the “face of a king.” As Askeladd and his men continue to evade Thorkell they finally reach the reinforcements. Thorkell is shocked that Askeladd was aided by Wales. Thorkell explains the history of Wales, a small mountainous region to the west of England. It was never unified under a single country. In East of Morgannwg Kingdom of Wales, Askeladd and his crew. He tells Ragnar that they must walk to Gainesborough on foot. Ragnar hates the idea, mainly because the people of Wales hate them. Askeladd tells him that he has allies in Wales and he will have Thorfinn act as Canute’s guard.
The general of the Kingdom, Gratianus, will help them to Gainsborough. He makes it clear that the only reason that their helping Canute is to receive a “non-aggression” treaty. He asks him to swear that “once he (Canute) becomes King of England he wouldn’t interfere in the affair of Wales.” Canute is quite. He barely speaks and when he does, it’s only to Ragnar. Canute’s demeanor doesn’t garner much respect. He can barely look people in the eyes and twirls his hair like a child. He appears profoundly innocent, especially when you compare him to Thorfinn. As they continue to travel, they are attacked. As Canute looks around in shock, Thorfinn get’s really for battle.
This episode would be a let down for anyone that only cares about Vinland Saga for the epic battles. I think that the series willingness to slow the narrative down and focus on the larger world and it’s history is refreshing. Canute is barely noticeable but is slowly showing his personality. He’s appears to be the foil for the brooding, angry Thorfinn. Time will tell if he will be “corrupted” by the realities of the world, but I think he will serve as a contrast to Thorfinn. Vinland Saga manages to balance the history of the world, realism, and deep characterization with epic violent action.
Granblue Fantasy is a role-playing game by Cygames, released in Japan on March 2014. The first season of Granblue Fantasy The Animation aired between April 2nd and June 25th of 2017. It was animated by A-1 Pictures, with the second season being animated by MAPPA. Season 2 premiered on October 4th of this year and will have 14 episodes. Like my review of Fate Grand Order Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia, Granblue is better understood if you had at least seen the first season (Streaming on Netflix). Basically, a farm boy, Gran and his companion Vyrn stumble upon Lyria. She’s a mysterious girl with the power to connect to Primal Beast. Together with her guardian Katalina Alize, the four join forces to protect Lyria, while defeating the Erste Empire.
Having gained some fame, Gran and his skyfaring crew are dining together. They’re given a job from Sierokarte, the owner of the “Knickknack Shack.” Sierokarte believes that the mission will result in the discovery of a Primal Beast. The following morning they head to the tiny island and learn that there’s been an “ominous sound,” emanating from somewhere. While searching for the location of the sound, Gran and the others run into children trying to retrieve a dropped wood sword. While retrieving the sword, Gran and Vyrn hear the sound more clearly and rescue an injured young girl.
The girl is Aliza, who’s on a journey as part of her martial arts training. They locate the sound as, Aliza reveals that she known exactly what they’re looking for. It’s a Primal Beast, trapped in a force field of “dark essence.” They’re discovered by Pommern. He leaves them to face the primal beast, Tezcatlipoca. Gran and Aliza fight the beast. Gran notices that there’s a dark crystal at the base of the beast’s neck. They notice that it can’t see through fire, so Aliza decides to use her Fangs of the Dragon and Talons of the Phoenix attacks. Lyria summons a Primal Beast to help. Gran jumps on the back of the Tezcatlipoca and manages to destroy the crystal. Lyria “tames” the beast and captures it.
As a video game adaptation I like Granblue Fantasy. As a series, Granblue is generic. All the RPG elements are present, mages, cute talking magical creatures, airships, summoning and a evil Empire. If your looking for a series that’s going to change your understanding of anime, Granblue Fantasy isn’t for you. The series hasn’t really done anything new, but it is a solid video game adaptation.
I’m only going to include anime characters from anime/manga I’ve read or watched. Mainly because I would be familiar with their powers.
I’m only going to include ONE character per series. This is difficult to do, because there are many strong characters in any given series, but I want some variety.
I think it will be difficult to determine how each character on the list would fare against each other, so I going to focus how strong they are within their series. However, I will be thinking how they compare relative to each other.
[Note] This list and any others will focus on characters that MOSTLY or significantly use the element. In this case electric. What that would result in is having a list of characters that will have more that just the element in their abilities and I will be factoring these other abilities in as well.
5. Gilthunder (Seven Deadly Sins)
Gilthunder is a Diamond-ranked Holy Knight and son of Great Holy Knight, Zaratras. Taught by Meliodas in the fundamentals of swordsmanship and “the way of the Knight.” Like all Holy Knights, Gilthunder has magic and power that can match entire armies. He can match Meliodas in skill. His main weapon is a long sword that he uses to channel his lighting magic.
Gilthunder’s top electric abilities:
Thunderbolt – greatly increase his physical capabilities and allow him to move at extraordinary speeds. This power allows him to perform such feats as creating rings of lightning that bind and paralyze his opponents.
Raitei no Shukusei – Gilthunder slashes his sword through the air in a specific sequence before pressing his hand to the blade. The target is then engulfed by a huge burst of lightning.
Raitei no Sendo – Gilthunder uses electricity to enhance his body and allow him to move at lightning fast speed.
Combined Technique: Dragon Castle – An enormous and devastatingly powerful black tornado is created. The attack is brought about by the union of Gilthunder’s Purge of the Thunder Emperor technique and Howzer’s Rising Tornado technique.
Laxus is an S-Class Mage of the Fairy Tail Guild. The Grandson of Guild Master, Makarov Dreyar, Laxus is one of the strongest members. Laxus is a Lighting Magic user. He can produce and manipulate lighting and electricity at his will.
Laxus top electric abilities:
Thunder Palace – Laxus creates multiple Lacrima filled with large amounts of Lightning Magic and suspended in the air in a circular formation. This spell has been described as being powerful enough to destroy the entire Magnolia Town, if all the orbs are used.
Lightning Body – through the use of Lightning Magic, Laxus is capable of transforming his own body into electricity, turning himself into a lightning bolt, whose size can vary from mere, fast-moving sparks.
Lightning Dragon Slayer Magic – A form of Dragon Slayer Magic which gives Laxus the power and characteristics of a Lightning Dragon,along with a Dragon Slayer’s signature ability to eat external sources of his element to heal himself and regain power, thus making him immune to lightning.
Enel is the “God” of Skypiea and was defeated by Monkey D. Luffy. Enel was extremely powerful. He possesses great physical strength, he’s acrobatic and has good endurance. He real strength comes from his devil fruit, Goro Goro no Mi. A Logia type devil fruit user, he can create, control and transform into electricity at will. It was considered to be a devil fruit that was “invisible,” however, Luffy proved that it wasn’t true.
God Enel’s top abilities:
1, 5 Million, 10, 20, 30, 50, 60 Million, 100, Max 200 Million Volt Bari – Enel releases various levels of his electric energy, eventually becoming a living body of lightning.
El Thor – Mostly used to destroy targets from long range, Enel focuses a large cluster of electricity above his target, then uses it to send a huge and powerful lightning bolt crashing down from the sky, frying the unlucky target.
Raigo – Enel’s most powerful attack. He combines his own electric powers with the Ark Maxim to create a huge spherical cloud filled with electricity. The ball has enough power to destroy an entire island.
Killua Zoldyck is the third child of Silva and Kikyo Zoldyck. Killua has trained since birth to become an assassin, being recognized as the most talented assassin in his families entire history. He won’t hesitate to kill if necessary. He learns at a fast rate, he has near immunity to poison, high tolerance for electricity, high agility, strength, stealth and high intellect. He can walk without making a sound and even sleep with a larger part “of his brain awake than normal, so he can avoid attacks even in his sleep, even if they come from an armed.”
Killua’s top electric abilities:
Lightning Palm – The first ability Killua named, as well as the most basic one in his arsenal, consists in him electrocuting his opponent by touching them with both palms and pushing them back. The first and only time this Nen ability was used, it barely seared Sub’s sweater, but hurt and stunned him for a few seconds.
Thunderbolt – Killua leaps into the air above the opponent and projects a bolt of lightning from his fingers, paralyzing them for a few moments and causing them pain.
Whirlwind – first core function of Godspeed has Killua react automatically to external stimuli. Instead of the normal process of the stimulus being perceived by the nerves, which transmit a signal to the brain which in turn sends an instruction to the muscles, Killua programs his aura to send an electric signal to his muscles so as to instantly react to a threat, bypassing the comparatively slow nervous system. The aura can be preprogrammed to respond to different stimuli: physical contact, malevolent intent in enemy aura, or someone stepping in a predetermined perimeter, and the specific response is preprogrammed as well.
Speed of Lightning – second application of Godspeed allows Killua to retain conscious control of his movements. His running speed and jumping ability increase dramatically, hence why he uses it primarily to cover long distances in a very short amount of time.
Yoruichi is the former captain of the 2nd division of the Gotei 13 and a former commander of the Onmitsukido. She’s considered to be the most proficient Hoho (Fast Movement) master in all of Soul Society. She holds the title of “Flash Goddess,” because she had ” mastered this ability to the point where she can appear to be in several places at once and wipe out an entire Onmitsukido squadron in seconds.” She’s one of the best hand to hand masters in Soul Society. Yoruichi was able to fight three Captains and four lieutenant level opponents without any real damage. She’s a master assassin, strategist and swordsman. She has enhanced strength and endurance.
Yoruichi top electric abilities:
Shunko (Lightning) – An advanced technique which combines Hakuda with Kidō. This technique surrounds her back and arms with pressurized Kidō based on the element of lightning. Apart from enhancing her arms and legs for combat, the technique allows her to instantly neutralize an opponent’s movement. The Kidō itself can be controlled and fired at opponents from her body, which creates massive explosions. Yoruichi’s version of the technique was developed and studied by her a century ago; therefore, the technique is complete and the compressed Kidō is visible. While using this technique, her Reiatsu takes the form of white lightning. Her skill and control in its usage has progressed to the point of activation taking the form of a pair of lightning wings generated from her back.
Shunko: Raijin Senkei – lightning emitted from Yoruichi’s back creates a circle of electrical energy in the shape of Raijin’s drums behind her as Yoruichi unleashes a giant column of concentrated electrical energy to engulf her opponent.
Shunshin Chohengen – While Shunko: Raijin Senkei is already activated, Yoruichi can transform her mind and body even further.
Shunko: Raiju Senkei: Shunryu Kokubyo Senkei – Upon release a huge column of electrical energy is released. When the energy disappears Yoruichi has taken on the form of a hybrid of Shunkō and her feline form. Her feet become clawed cat paws, this form clads her arms and legs in electricity covering her forearms past the elbow and her legs up to her thighs, each ending with claws made of electrical energy. The energy forms her hair into the form of cat ears and she grows a tail. This form sheaths her in an aura of electrical energy. This form gives her the mentality of a cat and allows the cat nature of “fickleness” to manifest in her Reiatsu. While Yoruichi is naturally moody, she is even more so in this form; her Reiatsu is directly responsive to her changes in mood, and therefore becomes reliably unstable by changing 48 times per second.
Season 1, Episode 1: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia
The Fate/Grand Order is a series based on the Type-Moon Fate/Stay night franchise. The game is extremely popular in Japan, rivaling Pokemon Go. Personally, I’m always leery of anime made from games (Pokemon being the exception). The “Fate” series has so many different titles that I have a hard time keeping them straight. Created by the Japaneses animation studio, CloverWorks (formerly A-1 Pictures), Fate Grand Order Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia focuses on Mash Kyrielight and her master, Fujimaru. They’re sent to the ancient city of Uruk, Mesopotamia in the year 2600 B.C. Located between Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Mesopotamia is in the Persian Gulf. It’s at this point that the Age of Gods “came to an end.” At this time monsters and Gods coexists.
When, Fujimaru and Mash are sent into the world they “bounce” off a shield that protects the city of Uruk. Mash deploys her shield to brace their fall. They’re attacked by some saber tooth “demonic beasts.” Mash attacks them, defeating them easily. Fujimaru is landed on by a woman that refuses to introduce themselves. She asks them if they found something “precious lying down.” The demonic beasts return, but this time they are dispatched by nameless woman. She shows off her power, defeating them in epic fashion. However, more of them show up. The mysterious woman begins to leave. She tells them that if they can’t “deal” with the demonic beast of “this level,” the “restoration of humanity is no more than a dream.”
Mash and Fujimaru are rescued by Enkidu. He’s been waiting for them to come to Age of God. Enkidu defeats all the demonic beasts. Enkidu is a “weapon of the Gods,” created to “return Gilgamesh to the gods.” According to Enkidu humanity is at war with the gods. Specifically, the “Three Goddess Alliance,” have taken over 60% of the lands in Mesopotamia. One of these Goddesses creates the demonic beasts. To counter these Goddesses humanity created a wall called the: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia. I’m not sure about how I feel about this series. The 2D/3D animation mix isn’t terrible, but I don’t think it works that well. The biggest issue is that it’s clear that at least in this episode, having prior knowledge of this series or at least the games. I was confused by many of the things discussed, at least early in the episode. Regardless, I’m interested in what this series has to offer and will probably learn more as it goes along.
Senku, Chrome and Ginro return having secured the sulfuric acid. Senku tells them that they now have everything necessary and now it’s just a matter of “lighting up the all the dark spots.” First the need to heat up the sulfuric acid and add salt. Using a water dripping machine they create hydrochloric acid. Senku adds sinters to create chlorosulfuric acid. With electricity, Senku is able to separate the saltwater. This results in the creation of sodium hydroxide. Each acid comes with its own set of dangers, which Senku loves to tell. Finally, they need alcohol. Luckily, the winner of the grand bout will receive alcohol. Senku and Kohaku plan to enter the bout.It’s the goal of Senku and Ginro to cheat and have Senku lose on purpose. With Kohaku in agreement, they hope that Kinro will win the bout.
After Rui collapses, Chrome enters the bout. However, Kinro and Magma are paired together in the first round. As the bout begins, one of Magma’s men, Mantle, claims that Suika is drowning. Senku and Chrome don’t believe him, but Kohaku runs to rescue her anyway. The first match begins. Kohaku must return to the grand bout before the third round otherwise she will be disqualified. Kinro and Magma face off. While Kinro is a match for Magma, his blurry vision impairs him. Suika, now free from being tied to a tree, sees that Kinro has the same “sickness” that she had. She gives him her watermelon hide improving the sight. Kinro easily defeats Magma, realizing that if he has embraced the science he would have surpassed Magma long ago.
Episode 14: Master of Flame
Kinro is dominating Magma and the others begin to get excited. Magma acts as if he was willing to concede, if Kinro got the ref to agree. When Kinro turns his back Magma takes advantaged an attacks. Magma destroys the watermelon, knocking out Kinro as well. Magma is given the win. The next match is Mantle and Chrome. The fight isn’t particularity interesting. Magma notices that Kohaku is returning from the forest. He tells Mantle to quit so that the second match ends prematurely, forcing Kohaku to forfeit, resulting in Senku “winning.” With Kohaku, Kinro out, Ginro is their last chance. He faces off against Argo. Caffeinated he attacks vigorously. Under a sort of placebo effect he feel invincible. He’s not, but manages to knock Argo off the cliff. He then gets the “runs” a flees to the forest. Magma, Ginro, Senku and Chrome are all left. The next match is Chrome verses Magma.
At a disadvantage, Chrome isn’t expected to win. He’s quickly beaten by Magma, but refuses to surrender. With Rui watching, Magma hopes that she starts to cry, after he paralyses Chrome. Chrome uses his “special attack” which is just throwing dirt in Magma’s eye. He then grabs the remains of the watermelon. He plans on using the glasses in the watermelon to start a fire. However, Senku thinks that it’s impossible. Chrome manages to create a conclave lens with his sweet and tears. Gen returns. He distracts Magma, pretending to put a curse on him. He tricks Magma into believing that if he moves he will die. While waiting Chrome is able to set Magma on fire and knock him off the cliff into the sea. Winning. This leaves all the remaining contestant form the Kingdom of Science.
The outcome of this grand bout was never in doubt, but it was interesting how it came about. The immoral fighter in this tournament was suppose to be Magma and Mantle. However, almost all the participants cheated. You can even make a case that the ref allowed too much interference from everybody. Magma’s violence and cruelty makes him worst but nobody has the highest ethics here. I guess if everyone’s cheating then on some level things are even. The Kingdom of Science rigged the tournament from the start and even with some setbacks and cheating from Magma, managed to get the win.
The final issue of House of X has finally arrived. House of X #6, “I am not ashamed,” concludes the phenomenal series. Having successfully established a home for mutants on Krakoa, Charles Xavier uses Cerebro to inform humanity that they have created three miracle drugs. However, since humanity had tried too kill mutants too often, humans must pay for the drugs. This moment official marks when Xavier announces that he no longer believes in his dream for harmony. Xavier has shifted his view to more of a mutant supremacists view shared by Magneto and Apocalypse. While not hostile in terms of violence toward humans, it is a dramatic change from his initial position. Anyone familiar enough with X-Men, know that this is an important change of heart for Xavier. In a way I find it sad, even though it’s necessary.
The first meeting of the Quiet Council of Krakoa
The council consists of Professor X, Magneto, Apocalypse, Mister Sinister, Exodus, Mystique, Sebastian Shaw (Black King), Emma Frost (White Queen), and empty seat for someone known as the Red King, Storm, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Cypher and Krakoa. The Great Captains were separate from the Quiet Council, they were responsible for defending the state of Krakoa. The Captain Commander is Cyclops, with Gorgon, Bishop and Magik rounding out the group. Their first business for the council to address is to pass judgement on Sabertooth. He is guilty of murdering several guards while on a mission. The council are tasked with creating new mutant laws. Apocalypse points out that mutants cannot truly be killed now, so how can they be murdered? Jean suggests that because of this, killing a human would be the crime of the highest order. Then council establishes that the other two laws are “make more mutants,” and “respect this sacred land (Krakoa).”
Punishment in Krakoa
Xavier tells Sabertooth that he will be the first to be judged. He believes that “no one is above mutant law.” The judgement for Sabertooth is unanimous. Guilty. Sabertooth of course is pissed. He threatens to kill them, their kids, their grand-kids and “make their lines extinct.” Sabertooth is sentence to “Stasis inside Krakoa.” Professor X suggests that “prisons aren’t tolerated on Krakoa.” This seems a bit hypocritical to me as prison is not just cages and bars. Exiling Sabertooth to the center of Krakoa with him remaining “alive but immobile” is far crueler than prison is. The issue ends with a big party, marking a turning point in the X-Men series.
As you know by now I love this series. It’s ending is hopefully, but it’s unlikely to last. Humanity isn’t going to tolerate this utopia, even if most of the mutants seem to. House of X marries the two things that make a comic book series great, magnificent art (Pepe Larraz) and great storytelling (Hickman). This assumes that the quality of writing will be on par with Hickman, which is unlikely. That said, the future of the X-line seems to be bright. House of X is worth the read and will change your understanding of the X-Men universe. Let’s hope that future writers and artists take the newly established world, and continue to create great X-Men stories.
Zelada kidnaps Kei and Tilarna, putting them to sleep. Tilarna awakens and shes not pleased. Kei is being questioned by FBI agent Chan. Zelada plans on using Chan to start the war between the humans and Semanian community. Zelada and Chan talk about the conspiracy they created with Marla Mozeleemay. The assassin was named Ethan Dole and he was a marine that disappeared while in the Semani world. He returned with knowledge of magic and swordsmanship. Tilarna realizes that Leeze was probably responsible for training Ethan. Zelada tells her that he “fears for the future of Leto Semani,” the world for Semanian. He believes that the Semanians and Earthlings much “hate each other.” He wants to protect Semani from humanity. From the weapons, tools, porn and even the music. Basically the “danger” isn’t just violence, but cultural. He reminds Tilarna of Sir Elbaji, that became corrupted by humans.
Zelada believes that despite his killing innocent people, he at least hasn’t “given in to decadence.” Zelada is basically being elites here. He thinks that Semani culture is superior to humans and is being tainted. Meanwhile, Chan interrogates Kei for the picture of Marla and Ethan. He offers Kei $50,000. Kei escapes and confirms that Randall is dead. Elsewhere, Tilarna tries to convince Zelada that he needs to accept change. Zelada is disappointed. Tilarna challenges him. She tells him to go ahead and kill her but he failed to convince her that he’s right, so how can he convince the masses. In theory she right, but if he can make the two races fear eat other he won’t need to convince them of anything. Zelada tries to kill Tilarna. However the two work together and even switch weapons, tricking Zelada and killing him. The partnership between Tilarna and Kei, acts as a form of symbolism. Showing that the Semanian and Human can work together for a greater good. It’s a little on the nose but effective regardless.
Finally, whether to turn Marla in. The decision from Tilarna was never going to be to keep it a secret so her answer was surprising. It’s the right one too, but a small part of me wanted her to make the wrong decision. It would have been more interesting. Tilarna decides to “trust the people”. She remains the partner of Kei and Roth is sworn in as mayor. The racist cop apologies to Tilarna suggesting that her decision to trust the people was the right one. I can’t say that Cop Craft was a well made anime due to it’s dreadful animation. However, the series did manage to get me to overlook that weakness (something I rarely do), with it’s enthralling story. I think that it could have been better if they made the racism more apparent at the beginning of the series. I also think that they should have tease the conspiracy throughout the entire season, instead of leaving it completely in the middle, then picking it back up. It would have been more effective that way. Overall, I’m glad I ignored my animation sensibilities for this anime. I probably won’t make a habit of it, but it was worth it.
Riots spark in town after the assassination of Cole Mozeleemay. After the assassination of Khan as well, Domingo Tourte is the last mayoral candidate standing. According to Kei, he’s a “typical right-winger.” His rhetoric gets him bashed in the media a lot. He has managed to gain a following regardless. Kei suggests that it’s because he’s “easy to understand.” Tourte engages in typical racism, suggesting that Semanian, “don’t understand Earth law.” This apparently causes them to be lawless and poor. Tourte complains that the Semanian are “stealing jobs and money from hardworking Earthlings.” Tourte view is one that is common when politicians are anti-immigration.
They (the Semanian) are living on Earth, “reaping the benefits of Earth’s advance civilization.” After the confrontation between Tilarna and Tourte, Kei asks him an interesting question. Would Tourte consider himself an Earthling or a politician? Tourte answers, politician. It’s an odd answer to an odd question. When Tilarna asks why he asked the question, he reveals that the question was derived from a conversation he had with Roth. During that conversation Roth said that he was “more an Earthling than he was a police officer.” Kei believes that this is why he was willing to abandoned his job as a police officer, because he was “concerned about Earth’s future.” As I predicted in my previous review, Marla Mozeleemay, wife of Cole, enters the race.
She acts as a moderate, proposing increased wages for Semanians, expanding job training programs and new free clinics. Tilarna suspects correctly that Marla is responsible for the assassination of Zoey. However, this would likely result in Tourte winning election with his anti-semanian views. Suddenly, Kei gets a suspicious call from a reporter. He goes to meet him in the park. He gives Kei a photo of Marla with the assassin. Randall begins to panic as he’s now a target. They’re surrounded by FBI, one of which is dead. Special agent Ronald Chan arrests the two of them. Tilarna realizes that all the agents except Chan are dead. As they’re thrown into the van, they see the wizard Zelada in the driver’s seat.
To say this chapter is the greatest One Piece chapter is certainly a stretch, but it feels like its true. The chapter begins with Admiral Sakazuki and Admiral Fujitora discussing the abolishing of the Shichibukai system. Sakazuki wanted it to remain, but Fujitora was against it. Fujitora tells him to have faith in the SSG (Special Science Group), a newly established project lead by Vegapunk. The conversation pivots to the new alliance between Big Mom and Kiado. Fujitora mentions how their forming the “new Rocks” to which Sakazuki responds “don’t be so dramatic.” Elsewhere, Brannew and Sengoku are briefing the Marines about the alliance. Sengoku comments that most marines aren’t familiar with the story of the Rock Pirates.
Led by Rocks D. Xebec, they formed when they gathered on the pirate island Hachinosu. They were so violent that they often murdered each other, even while on the same ship. Big Mom, Kiado, Whitebeard, Shiki the Golden Lion, Captain John, Silver Axe and Ochoku were members. Due to the unfriendly nature among the crew, many didn’t survive to tell the world about their exploits. Rocks use his crew like a terrorists organization, hoping that he would one day become the Pirate King. Of course the World Government erased the acts from history. Despite this, their actions did reach the generally public. They were defeat 38 years ago, on an island called God Valley.
Monkey D. Garp and Gol D. Roger defeat the Rock Pirates
Garp has been known as the “Hero of the Marines,” for some time now. Having performed heroic acts for decades. One such act was the defeat of the Rock Pirates. He refuses to talk about the accomplishment though. Sengoku notes that there’s two reasons he won’t talk about the feat. First, he had to partner with Gol D. Roger to do it. Second, he was fighting to protect the Celestial Dragons. Normally, the Marines are expected to protect the Celestial Dragons. However, Garp’s morals prevent him from protecting the Celestial Dragons. It’s the primary reason he refused to become an Admiral, as it will put him under their direct control. This event may be the main reason that Gol D. Roger trusted Garp with the protection of his son, Ace.
The bounties of the Yonko
Commodore Brannew explains that Kiado and Big Mom are much bigger threats now than when they were with the Rock Pirates. He then reports the bounties of the Yonko. After a year as a Yonko, Blackbeard has amassed a bounty of 2,247,600,00 billion. The youngest Yonko, with highly regarded executives, Lucky Roo, Usopp’s father Yasopp and Benn Beckman, Shanks has a bounty of 4,048,900,000 billion. Big Mom bounty has reached, 4,388,000,000 billion, with Kiado rounding it out at 4,611,100,000 billion. For comparison, Brannew notes that Whitebeard and Gol D. Roger both had bounties over 5 billion. Expecting both Big Mom and Kiado to create more havoc at Wano, he believes that they both will surpass the bounties of Whitebeard and Roger.
Bounties in One Piece are actually an inaccurate measure of power. They are given based on “perceived level of threat to the world.” The combat abilities of the pirate do matter, but so do number of criminal acts, inciting other to commit crimes and having possession of illegal knowledge like Nico Robin. Finally, Sengoku notes that legendary pirates like Shanks, Roger and Whitebeard all liked Kozuki Oden. Once a division commander in the Whitebeard Pirates, he later became a member of Rogers crew. Sengoku wonders why, “so many powerful individuals have ties to Wano.”
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s phenomenal first season ends with the introduction of a new movie. More on that later. Muzan Kibutsuji calls the remaining lower six moons. They’re summoned and trapped in a warped space that’s controlled by a female demon with a biwa. Muzan appears in a new female body, having changed his appearance and aura. This ability is obviously why the Demon Corps have had a difficult time finding him. Demon Slayer has made it clear that Muzan is the most evil relative to other demons. During this meeting his displays why. Muzan asks them “why are they so useless.” Granted he has a point, but if giving demon his blood makes them stronger isn’t he the real reason they’re weak. Apparently, the lower six moon are significantly weaker than the upper moon.
Muzan states that it’s been a century since anyone has graduated into the upper ranks. It’s the upper ranks that kill the Hashiras. It’s in this moment we learn just how unforgiving he can be. When one demon thinks to himself, “that’s easy for you to say,” he shows that he can read their minds. When Lower Four tells him that she doesn’t flee from Hashira when they arrive, he kills her for disagreeing with him. Lower Three realizes that they’re in a hopeless position. If they agree with Muzan or disagree with Muzan, they died. Smartly, but fruitlessly, he flees. Kibutsuji captures and decapitates him. Lower Two begs for more blood, Kibutsuji kills him for ordering him around. When asking Lower One for their last words, they state that they “considers it an honor to die by Kibutsuji’s hands and thanks him for killing him last as he got to witness the agony of the other five.”
This is the answer that Muzan wanted. He rewards him with more of his blood, offering more if Lower One can kill Tanjiro. This episode shows what Muzan values in his demon subordinates, complete subordination. They’re means to an end. He creates them from humans, gives them powers and expects obedience in return. Their strength is his, their thoughts are his and so are their lives. Muzan is short tempered, self absorbed, cruel and lacks empathy. This makes him the perfect villain. I anticipate that he will inspire one of his demons to betray him at some point, if he doesn’t eat them all. Meanwhile, the rest of the episode focuses on the trio. Tanjiro, Inosuke and Zenitsu have all completed their training and are given their next mission. They’re sent to join the flame Hashira, as he investigates the disappearances on the “infinity train.”
After the credits we are given a surprise announcement. The next arc will be a movie. I’m not sure why they choose to make it a movie (I’m hoping that it’s because it’s quicker) but I’m excited. Demon Slayer has been a spectacular series. Combining amazing animation with brilliant action sequences. The characters, both good and bad ones are given deep stories making them complex. Tanjiro is a new spin on the typical Shonen hero and it’s refreshing. Demon Slayer is a remarkable series. I hate to see the season end but can’t wait for the series to return.
I’m only going to include anime characters from anime/manga I’ve read or watched. Mainly because I would be familiar with their powers.
I’m only going to include ONE character per series. This is difficult to do, because there are many strong characters in any given series, but I want some variety.
I think it will be difficult to determine how each character on the list would fare against each other, so I going to focus how strong they are within their series. However, I will be thinking how they compare relative to each other.
[Note] This list and any others will focus on characters that MOSTLY or significantly use the element. In this case ice. What that would result in is having a list of characters that will have more that just the element in their abilities and I will be factoring these other abilities in as well.
5. Shoto Todoroki (MHA)
[Note] I’m putting Shoto fifth despite his ice powers being more powerful (in my opinion) than Gray and Haku. In My Hero Academia he often uses abilities without names and the heroes in the series really only have a handful of techniques. Shoto really only has one ice attack at the moment, because he hasn’t reached his full potential yet.
Shoto is a student in Class 1-A, where he got through with official recommendations. The youngest son of the number one hero Endeavor, he’s one of the best young heroes in the series. As a child he was trained to be the successor of his father from an early age. His Quirk is called Half-Cold Half-Hot, a powerful versatile Quirk that grants him both fire and ice powers. While Shoto has begun to use his fire side he’s far more advance with his ice side. He was capable of freezing entire buildings and creating large waves of ice. He has enhanced durability, stamina and agility.
Shoto’s top ice abilities:
Heaven Piercing Ice Wall – Shoto creates an enormous ice glacier, that can either encapsulate his opponent or block the immediate field of battle in ice.
Haku was an orphaned ninja from the Land of Water, and a member of Yuki Clan. He became a mercenary ninja under the tutelage of Zabuza. He posses the Kekkei Genkai: Ice Released. For his age, Haku was advanced. Haku was also incredibly fast, and was capable of killing without making a sound. Haku could also perform hand seals with only one hand, a feat that remained rare even at the end of the series. His uses of Ice Release granted him unique offensive and defensive abilities.
Haku’s top Ice abilities:
Demonic Mirroring Ice Crystals – a technique is performed by Haku. He creates several large mirrors out of ice, which he surrounds a target with. By entering one of these mirrors, Haku’s reflection will appear in all of them. Haku can travel between these mirrors near-instantaneously, giving the appearance that he occupies all of them simultaneously.
Ice Release: Ice Rock Dome of Magnificent Nothingness – Haku can quickly freeze the surrounding air and create an icy, transparent igloo-like dome around himself and/or allies to act as a defense. It is strong enough to withstand the air assault of so many explosive tags at once, remaining almost undamaged.
Thousand Flying Water Needles of Death – Haku creates a thousand long needles from the nearby water, which surround the target. The user carefully aims the needles at the target and fires them at rapid speeds. Targets who are struck by the needles suffer significant injury.
Gray is a Mage of the Fairy Tail Guild. He’s the master of Ice-make magic. This allows him to create ice at will and shape it into anything he wants. He uses Static Ice-Make that allows him to shape his ice into inanimate things or weapons. Ice-make is known for being effective as both offensive and defensive magic. He also has resistance to ice and snow magic. Gray also has “Ice Magic” that allows the user to create and manipulate ice. He can even freeze, boiling water and flames.
Gray’s Top Ice abilities:
Ice devil Slayer Magic – A form of Devil Slayer Magic that Gray can manifest at will which allows him to produce, manipulate and control the element of ice. Like other Slayers, he is able to consume external sources of ice in order to replenish his strength and enhance his power while immune to it.
Unison Raid – Gray is capable of using this ability, although he has only performed it alongside Juvia till now. During their fight against Daphne’s Dragonoid, Gray and Juvia were able to fuse their Magic together, causing massive amounts of water and ice needles to erupt all over Magnolia Town.
Shotgun – Gray utilizes water provided by a Water Mage in conjunction with his Ice-Make Magic to solidify the water, which is then aimed at the target and released as sharp, thick spears of ice.
Rukia is the current Captain of the 13th Division. She’s the adoptive sister of Byakuya Kuchiki, friend of Ichigo and wife of Renji Abarai. Rukia is an expert swordsman, kido user, shunpo expert and hakuda combatant. She also has enhanced strength and endurance, along with high intelligence.
Rukia’s top Ice abilities:
Shikai Special Ability – Rukia possess an ice-type Zanpakuto called Sode no Shirayuki. Her Zanpakuto has general freezing abilities, basically anything its wielder touches freezes.
Tsugi no mai, Hakuren – Rukia, calling out the name of the dance, punctures the ground once, creating a large ice circle, similar to the first dance. She punctures the ground in front of her four times in a semi circle. As ice particles begin to flow up from the punctures she made in the ground, she takes a battle stance. The particles, building up at the tip of Sode no Shirayuki, are released as a large, powerful avalanche of cold air. It flash freezes whatever it comes into contact with, encasing it in ice.
Bankai (Hakka no Togame) – increases the area of influence of Rukia’s ability to reach the temperature of absolute zero. Upon release, a pillar of cold mist rises up into the air from where she is and covers a wide area in her vicinity. Anything within the area of influence of the mist is frozen. Once frozen solid, victims crumble away within seconds. Physical contact with Rukia herself causes other people to begin freezing solid due to how cold her body is.
Also know as Kuzan, Aokiji was a Marine Admiral. He was nominated for “fleet admiral” by Sengoku, but lost the position to Sakazuki. As a marine admiral he had a large number of marines under his command. He could holds his own against a pirate as powerful as Whitebeard. He also has a great deal of speed as he was able to sneak up on Doflamingo with him noticing. He has enhance endurance, being able to fight Sakazuki for 10 straight days before being defeated. He was able to take a Haki imbued kick from Marco and Jozu. He possess acute hearing, even being able to hear things underwater. He possess Haki, Busoshoku Haki and Kenbunshoku Haki. Aokiji ate the Logia type devil fruit, the Hie Hie no Mi. This allows him to turn himself and his surroundings into ice. It’s strong enough that he could change the weather of one half of an island.
Aokiji’s top ice abilities:
Ice Age – An attack used only near the ocean or another large area of water. Kuzan places his hand in the water, then in an instant freezes it (along with anything in/on it) completely solid.
Ice Time – Kuzan touches his opponent’s body, then freezes them into a human ice statue. They can remain alive in a form of suspended animation for some time in their icy prison, but any decent hit will shatter them to pieces. This ended up being the case for Jozu, whose right arm broke off at the shoulder upon falling over while completely frozen.
Ice Time Capsule – Using his powers, Kuzan sends a wave of ice along the ground. Anything it hits is frozen in place.
Batman and Superman are the two most iconic superheroes in comics. So putting them together in one comic series seems to make sense. I’m personally not familiar with the work of Joshua Williamson and David Marquez, but from what I’ve read they’re both great creators. The familiarity with Superman and Batman allows Williamson to jump right in. Batman/Superman #1, starts off with Clark Kent working on a story at the Daily Planet. Batman calls Clark in a panic. It’s quickly apparent that somethings wrong with Batman. His “voice sounds different,” as Superman notes. He seems petty, as he compares the tragic events that costed them their parents. He believes that “there is nothing that should make them allies.” Confusing Superman.
Enter the Batman Who Laughs
When Superman arrives at the Justice League satellite, he witnesses the carnage that the Batman who laughs created. He poisons the air with “kryptonite-infused gas,” as Superman asks why? We return to current time on Earth-O, in Gotham City. Batman is explaining the Batman who laughs to Superman, while Commissioner Gordon waits. He explains that a thirteen year old boy named Danny Mills was kidnapped. According to the boys brother a “laughing Superman” kidnapped him. Batman and Superman leave to search for the boy. Batman asks Superman, “how would he stop an out of control Batman.” Superman crashes through the ground in Crime Alley (where Batman’s parent died) to enter a secret passage below.
Enter the Shazam Who Laughs
Batman and Superman encounter Batdrones in the Batcave of the Batman Who Laughs. They investigate the cave, learning that he has infected his batarangs with the serum that created him. As they question the motives of the other Batman, they notice a “message” on the chess board. When Superman moves a piece, they see an image of the Justice League, the Titans and Teen Titans with x’s on their eyes and lipstick on their mouths. Batman deduces that this is all part of his plan. They can’t know who’s infected, so they would suspect everyone. Suddenly, Batman is attacked by one of the Batman who laughs, Robins. He begins to talk about being “taken from his family and hit with a batarang.” This boy isn’t Danny. It’s Billy Batson. He says Shazam, transforming into the Shazam who laughs.
Batman/Superman #1 was spectacular. There can be a sense of inevitability to the outcome when both Batman and Superman are working together. Who can best them. If they encounter several members of the Justice League that have been infected with the laughing serum, they may not have a easy time. The Batman Who Laughs is a villain that can contend with these to. The writing from Joshua Williamson is magnificent. We get some insight into the relationship between Superman and Batman, while the mystery of what the Batman Who Laughs is up to is intriguing. The art of Marquez is perfect. His detailed art style matches well with the tone of this series. These two together have created a series that is worth reading. I highly recommend it.
Thorkell and his men talk about what’s great about fall. The food taste better, especially the fish. They talk about the “modest” Christian women, which pivots to a conversation about the religion itself. Considering the limits of Christianity, Thorkell’s men notes that “if your Christian . . . you can’t do this or that.” One of the men talks about the statue of Jesus on the cross and how “weak” he looks. It’s understandable that compared to Odin and Thor, Jesus despite his “magic” doesn’t really seem cool. Thorkell decides that they should ask a Christian. He asks Prince Canute which is better, Jesus or the gods in Asgard? Canute refuses to speak.
Suddenly, Thorkell and his men stop. Thorkell picks up a spear and hurdles it into the head of a soldier. They demand that Ragnar and Canute be returned. Thorkell returns them to the soldiers, but Thorkell tells them to “show him their best attack.” What we end up with is a stand off. The soldiers feel that Thorkell and his men are challenging them as warriors, and to retreat is to become a “coward.” Ragnar tells him that rescuing Prince Canute is the “victory.” Thorkell asks them if they’re “scared,” even with “2000.” They are provoked by Thorkell and attack. Meanwhile, Askeladd and his men start fires.
Thorkell with two axes, slaughters many of the soldiers, hacking pieces of them off. Thorkell realizes that the fire was started by a third party. Askeladd has his men pour water on Thorfinn and sends him to capture the Prince. He arrives just in time to “save” Prince Canute. Surrounded by fire, Thorfinn prepares to fight Thorkell and his men. When Thorkell arrives he asks Thorfinn two questions. He reveals that he knows that who Thors is and Thorfinn’s mother. Thorkell says that Thors is the only man stronger than him. He leaves as the fire rages. Thorfinn returns with the Prince. Askeladd offers his services as a “bodyguard” and asks to see Canute’s face.
Power of X #5, begins with an explanation of who created the new Cerebro. Professor X and Forge discuss improving Cerebro so that it can copy and store minds of mutants. We discovered that Forge is successful in the last issue of House of X. The biggest hurdle is the power source. Xavier states that the storage space and energy supply limits can be solved with Shi’ar technology. Magneto and Xavier contact Emma Frost, hoping for her aid. She dismisses the idea of putting mutants in one place, so they can be easy targets. They manage to convince her that Krakoa is a good idea, but they need her help with the distributing of the miracle drugs. Using her Hellfire Corporation, she will be given an exclusive 50 year contract and two seats on the twelve person council.
Finally, they ask her to recruit Sebastian Shaw. While Emma conducts official trade and negotiations with Krakoa allies, Shaw will work with the countries that reject Krakoa. Sneaking in drugs and sneaking mutants out. Emma agrees with the terms except that she wants three seats not two. Xavier telepathically sends messages to all the Earth’s mutants offering a home on Krakoa. When Namor is offered a place he rejects it. He doesn’t trust that Xavier truly believes that mutants are superior to humans. He tells him to return when he does.
In my least favorite part of this series the future, the Phalanx agree with Man-Machine Ascendancy. They kill the Elder. Nimrod the Greater, says that the Phalanx serve “even greater masters.” These masters are a collective of machine-minds that are “so massive and dense that they have collapsed into black holes, and whose collective intellect and power is indistinguishable from that of what human stories describe as God.” Having been accepted, the Phalanx will absorb the collective intellect on Earth and consume the entire planet.
Powers of X has always been a satisfying as it fills all the holes left by House of X. That seems to have always been the purpose of the series. The best part of this issue has to be Emma Frost and Namor. They both have an arrogance about them that I find fun. I have a hard time believing that Namor would actually leave for Krakoa though. Unless, they can move his entire Kingdom to Krakoa it’s unlikely he would want to leave to become just another mutant, rather than a mutant King. Like Wakanda, I think Atlantis will remain on Earth, but will be an ally of Krakoa. While I find the future section of the story uninteresting, I’m guessing that Hickman is telling us how life on Earth eventually ends. Everything becomes part of the Phalanx hive mind. I’m think that’s a good end.
Prince Canute seems to be disinterested in fighting Thorkell. However, Thorkell becomes excited at the news that Canute is leading the Danish army. He rushes out to attack the them. Askeladd and his men are separated form the main army and are trying to make some money before the winter. A messenger from Prince’s Canute army runs into Askeladd accidentally and informs them of Thorkell’s attack. Thorkell has taken the Prince hostage and is going to confront the main army. Askeladd becomes excited at the possibility of recusing the Prince and holding him ransom to the Kingdom that offers him the best price.
There wasn’t a whole lot to this episode, but there’s some things of note. First it seems that Thorfinn’s consciousness is getting to him. He remembers his family and clearly misses them. I think they’re going to be his remaining source of humanity that prevents him from becoming a true monster. Another theme that this series always highlights is the decline of the powerful. Askeladd tells Thorfinn that he will eventually kill him. His age will cause him to get weaker, while Thorfinn will continue to get stronger. At some point Thorfinn will be stronger and win. He then explains this view further when talking about, the decline of the Roman Empire and the Saxons.
Thorkell’s excitement when hearing that Canute was leading was surprising. The distance in their fighting ability and experience is vast. It’s unlikely that he was excited to fight him, but by taking him hostage can force the main army to come rescue him. The immaturity of some of the vikings in Askeladd army is profound. Two of them get into a fight over name calling and literally fight to one dies. If Ragnarok, teaches us anything it’s how Askeladd and his men don’t value there lives or the lives of others.