Haikyuu!! To the Top, Episode 17: Recap and Review

Episode 17 – ‘Cats vs Monkeys”

Haikyuu!! To the Top episode 17, ” Cats vs. Monkeys,” pivots from the Karasuno match. Mika and Suguru arrive to watch the first set between Nekoma and Sarukawa Tech High. We get a flashback of the third year discussing Kenma Kozume. Kuroo tells Kai and Yaku of when “Kenma would become sick after difficult practices or matches during their time in middle school and confesses that he felt guilty about it.” Kuroo wonders if Kenma is ready for the Spring Tournament. Kenma has so far is a character that isn’t in love with Volleyball. He comes across as actually not even liking the sport. However, as Kuroo points out and Kenma confirms, “if he did hate volleyball that he would have left it.” Kenma maintains his neutrality, noting that “he has no reason to stop playing but also doesn’t have a reason to keep playing and while he dislikes sweating and being out of breath, he does enjoy leveling up.” 

Kenma’s Stamina

What they do acknowledge is that Hinata has had a profound impact on Kenma. Back in the game, Iori Kanazawa can get a feint shot over Kenma and Kuroo. Kai makes the save, Kenma makes the set to Fukunaga. The spike from Fukunaga is deflected. Both teams are defensive-minded. Suguru notes that Sarukawa is “deliberating not trying to score quick points.” He believes that this is in service “ruining Nekoma’s rhythm.” Kenma’s stamina comes into question as he’s always had this limitation. In another flashback, we see how difficult Kenma found training. During this period Yamamoto and Kenma develop a rivalry. It’s largely negative with Yamamoto often dismissing Kenma’s help. They even get into an alteration. Fundamentally, Yamamoto and Kenma are different personalities. Yamamoto gets too intense when it comes to volleyball and Kenma is too laid back. 

In the present, Sarukawa takes a two-point lead in the second set. Coach Shishio still thinks his strategy will continue to break down the Nekomata defense. It seems that the plan is working. It’s a little jarring for Haikyuu!! To the Top episode 17, to shift towards another team. I was critical of the series focusing on other characters before, and that criticism remains. It’s not bad to focus and develop secondary characters, but it feels inconsistent. Furthermore, I hate the break up of action. Regardless, Haikyuu!! is attempting to make the players more three dimensional. It may feel distracting but might be important. 

Fire Force Season 2 Episode 17: Recap and Review


Fire Force Season 2 Episode 17: Recap and Review

Nataku Son fires a powerful blasts in  Fire Force Season 2 Episode 17.
Nataku Son fires a powerful blasts

Episode 17 – ‘Boys, Be Weak’

Fire Force Season 2 Episode 17 shows that Shinra is ineffective against Nataku. The radiation continues to rise as Nataku continues to panic. Nataku reveals that he’s always been under oppressive pressure to succeed. His parent pressured him to be perfect in school, hoping he can become a doctor. However, when he failed to continue to be flawless (he got 87% on one test), his parent didn’t respond well. His mother handed him over to Haijima, expecting him to do well there as well. Nataku believes he has to continue to improve. He then releases a massive amount of radioactive energy, shooting a powerful blast towards the earth. 

Charon the Reflector

Charon has a second-generation ability to absorb kinetic energy and turning it into thermal energy. He’s able to use this ability to reflect that power from Nataku’s attack. The attack is so powerful that it leaves a crater in the moon. Annoyed that Nataku almost killed all the weak people, Korono destroys the Giant Infernal. He tells Nataku not to “get stronger.” This triggers a surprising response from Nataku. He feels free from the pressure to get stronger because Korono doesn’t want him to be stronger. Seeing that Korono is willing to “protect” Nataku, Charon is put at ease. Charon is a complicated character. He sees all the pillars as important and only wants their safety. He’s neutral in this regard. Of course, he’s willing to die for any of them.

You can’t survive with Haijima as your foe

After the devastating events of the Haijima, Licht, Shinra, and Obi met with the President of Haijima. He makes it clear upfront that he would like to form a “united front” to counter the Evangelists. In exchange, he will reconsider the hit he put on Licht. If Shinra is willing to participate in the experiments, Haijima will change the experiments they practice on the children. At one point, the President tells Shinra not to get “too emotional.” This seems to be the central belief of Haijima. To the Haijima Corporation money is the most important. When questioned by Licht on the Amaterasu, Gureo admits that an Adolla Burst user was sacrificed. He argues that the sacrifice of one person is acceptable if it helps 15 million. 

He asks if Amaterasu is shut down what will “become of the people who live in this country?” This does suggest that if the Amaterasu is shut down the first pillar might survive, but it wasn’t confirmed. Suddenly, Vulcan barges in claiming that he can create a new power generator better than the Amaterasu. Gureo Haijima becomes almost childlike (he’s playing a Gameboy like device the whole time) in the hope that Vulcan is right. If he’s right then Haijima will back the 8th. So Haijima will support the 8th as long as they can recoup their profits. While the 8th remains the most “good” of all the organizations, Fire Force continues to introduce complicated moral characters like President Haijima, Charon, and Licht. 

One Piece Chapter 993: Recap and Review


One Piece Chapter 993: Recap and Review

Chapter 993 – “Wano Country’s Dream”

One Piece chapter 993 opens with an explanation of the Fire Festival. Every year in the Flower Capital, the people of Wano celebrate in the hope that someday the samurai of the Kozuki will save them. This dream was the driving force that kept them going. Able to breathe clean air, taste great water, and avoid death, the Fire Festival was the one day they were free. Oda is reminding us of what’s at stake. Meanwhile, Queen releases Excite Bullets indiscriminately into the crowd infecting victims, turning them into icy demons. The infection spreads through contact Queen orders the doors closed to trap everyone inside. 

Out of the way, you Bastards

Meanwhile, Luffy is on the first floor of the basement. He and Sanji encounter the Beast Pirate Headliner, Briscola. The Beast Pirate creates a Gorilla on his arm using it like a fist. Most Beast Pirates have rather silly devil-fruit abilities. This is more than usual (you can argue that most devil-fruit abilities are silly). Regardless, Luffy and Sanji bicker over Luffy’s tendency to waste energy picking fights. Suddenly, Jinbe arrives, using Shark Tile Punch. Jinbe says that he’s going to “escort” both Luffy and Sanji to the roof to fight Kiado. Elsewhere, Bao Huang uses her ability to see through the eyes of cats. She locates Yamato and Momonosuke leaving tower one. King orders his men to kill Momonosuke hoping it will kill the samurai’s spirit. 

I’m participating in this war

Shinobu is attacked by Sasaki while holding Momonosuke. Yamato steps in to block the attack and face the Hundred Beast Pirates Armored Corps. Elsewhere, Kaido rises unharmed by the Samurai. He tells them that their “cuts are too shallow,” and they’re “nothing” like Oden. He fires several wind scythes, cutting off Kikunojo’s left arm. I’m a little disappointed that the Red Scabbard wasn’t more effective. They were never going to defeat Kiado, but I thought they might do more damage. Luffy is going to defeat Kiado, and considering how long it might take him to get to the roof, the Red Scabbard might all be dead. Finally, I am excited to see what Yamato can do. 

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 4: Recap and Review

The Finger Bearer appears in episode 4 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
The Finger Bearer appears

In episode 4 of Jujutsu Kaisen, the first years, Yuji Itadori, Megumi Fushiguro, and Nobara Kugisaki investigate the appearance of a “womb.” Kiyotaka Ijichi, the assistant director at Jujutsu High, informs Yuji that they believe that the womb could transform into a special-grade cursed spirit. He also explains that a “window” is a “member of Jujutsu Tech who can see curses.” They’re not sorcerers. Ijichi explains the various “grade” of weapons and the effectiveness of each. Grade 4 means “a wooden bat is enough,” Grade 3 means a handgun is sufficient, followed by Grade 2, which means a “close call with a shotgun.” Grade 1 means, “even a tank may be insufficient,” and finally, Special Grade means “even footing with a carpet bombing of cluster bombs,” might not get it done. 

You’ll often take on missions beyond your power

The trio learns that they must investigate but not fight. Ijichi tells them that their only options are to “run or die.” The goal is to verify and rescue the survivors. Suddenly, the mother of one of the survivors, Tadashi. Ijichi tells her that there’s poison in the surrounding area, and she collapses. Yuji is eager to rescue all the survivors. As the trio enter the detention center, Ijichi creates a barrier to conceal them from the neighborhood. Once inside, the trio is stunned to see that the two-story dorm had changed. The door disappears. They enter another room with the corpses of three prisoners, one being Tadashi. Yuji and Megumi get into an argument over what to do. 

Megumi refuses to risk his life on prisoners like Tadashi. He killed a little girl while driving without a license. Suddenly, Nobara yells at them to stop. She falls through a curse on the floor. Megumi’s dog is decapitated, and the special-grade curse appears, Finger Bearer. Yuji and Megumi are so afraid that they struggle to move. Remembering his promise to his grandfather, Yuji strikes with the cursed tool, Slaughter Demon, he was given in the last episode. It’s no use. His hand with the tool is severed. Meanwhile, Nobara is trapped in a different realm with several curses. Yuji attempts to negotiate with Sukuna, however, the curse tells him that he will kill Megumi and Nobara if they switch. Yuji decides to distract the curse while Megumi escapes with Nobara. He’ll switch to Sukuna when they’re safe. 

It hurts, it hurts, it hurts!

Nobara kills some curses but is running out of nails. Elsewhere, the curse dominates Yuji. Using curse energy Yuji is knocked through a wall, then while attempting to block another attack his fingers start to burn off. Meanwhile, Megumi saves Nobara from being eaten. Yuji being to accept how “weak” he is. He hoped for a “proper death,” but realizes this isn’t possible. Accepting all the negative feelings Yuji generates curse energy but it’s still not enough. Regardless, Yuji hears the howl from Megumi’s remaining Shikigami. Hearing the signal, he gives Sukuna control. Sukuna is annoyed with Yuji and contemplates a way to get back at him while ignoring the Finger Bearer. He decides to join forces with the Finger Bearer to kill Yuji’s friends. However, the Finger Bearer attacks him. Yuji deflects the attack and mocks the curse ripping off its arm. 

What curses really are

Sukuna aims to teach the Finger Bearer what curses really can do. He shows the curse a “real jujutsu,” Domain Expansion. He cuts the curse into several pieces and it burns in a purple flame. He then takes back another one of his fingers. However, when he assumes Yuji will take back over, Yuji doesn’t. Episode 4 of Jujutsu Kaisen ends with Sukuna smiling, suggesting that maybe Yuji’s control is limited. Jujutsu Kaisen is still in the beginning stages of building the world, so we have only just started learning the universe works. The grading system seems simple but pointless, especially if my hunch is correct and the trio will only fight special-grade curses. It’s obvious that Yuji is going to get stronger but I wonder if Megumi and Nobara will as well. All three are lacking in power, even together. Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen episode 4, was entertaining and action-packed. 

Haikyuu!! To the Top, Episode 16: Recap and Review

Episode 16 – ‘Broken Heart’

“Broken Heart” is the 16th episode of Haikyuu!! To the Top. Yamaguchi scores a service ace. However, Aran retrieves Yamaguchi’s next serve. Ren Omimi smashes a spike. Yuto Kosaku subs in for Omimi, and his serve overpowers Daichi, resulting in the ball flying over to Inarizaki’s side. Surprisingly, Kageyama runs under the net and sends it back over towards Karasuno. Asahi executes a block-out, taking the point for Karasuno. The dynamic between Karasuno and Inarizaki has shifted in Karasuno’s favor for now. Regardless, they have won the last two points. Karasunp and Inarizaki are tied at 24-24. 

Tanaka takes center stage for the worst reasons. Underperforming, he becomes the weak link and main target for Inarizaki. Tanaka notices that he a target and is prepared for the challenge. Karasuno manages to score on a back-row attack from Daichi. Karasuno has a set point with Asahi serving. The two teams engage in a spirited rally. Tanaka is given the chance to spike and take the set. However, he barely misses as he’s blocked by three Inarizaki. With the score now tied again at 25-25, Tanaka feels guilt. If Tanaka wasn’t feeling bad enough, when he calls for the ball, Tsukishima sends it to Asahi instead. 

Tanaka comes through

Karasuno is now up another set point. Tsukishima can be harsh on his teammates and many might assume this was another moment of that, but I think that Tsukishima made the right decision for the team. Volleyball is a team sport, so if one member is a liability his feeling and ego shouldn’t take precedence. Hinata in typical fashion gives Tanaka a peep talk. In the next rally, Tanaka comes to the aid of Hinata as he tries to block Osamu. With no options left, Osamu hits the ball towards Daichi. As the ball soars through the air, Tanaka has a flashback on his potential. He calls for the ball and spikes it crosscourt, winning the set. 

Fire Force Episode 16: Recap and Review


Fire Force Episode 16: Recap and Review

Season 2, Episode 16 – “Mind Blown”

I don’t know what to make of this episode. Fire Force episode 16 felt distracted. With so much going on, so many characters, it was difficult for this episode to focus. It would have been much better to slow down and deal with one fight at a time. The last episode introduced a three-way battle between the Fire Force, Haijima, and the White Clad. The episode opens with Maki considering what I suggested in my previous review, joining with Haijima. That alliance seems to be the most reasonable. The Puppeteer fights with Haumea using her Dominator. Haumea uses her electricity on it, but the Dominator is immune. 

Arrow steps in, shooting the Dominator. However, before she can get another shot off, Maki stops her. Arrow is put on her back foot as Mika’s close-range combat skills are superior. Meanwhile, Vulcan searches for Arthur so that the latter can counter Haumea. Korono attacks Iris and Tamaki looking to get at the “weaker” members of Company 8, however, Arthur deflects his assault. Ritsu uses her power, Necro Pyro. It’s a power that requires a lot of prep work. She needs an Infernal as a “base” then she resurrects the dead (meaning she needs corpses first), then the zombies eat the Infernal. The result is a massive Infernal like the one we saw in the first episode. 

Nataku loses his mind

Nataku is placed at its base. I know he’s a victim but I find him annoying. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s a scared child but he’s whiny. Regardless, Kurono is chastised by his boss and decides to team up with Shinra. Haumea escapes from the Puppeteer and uses her imagination infection on Nataku. He goes “mad” a starts attacking indiscriminately. He uses a radioactive laserbeam that explodes on contact. The radiation becomes a potential problem for the Fire Force’s none pyro users. The alliance between Kurono and Shinra is shot live as he becomes enamored with the strength of his opponents. 

In an odd twist, Charon comes to Shinra’s aid. He’s mostly helping him because Shinra’s a “pillar.” Charon offers to help cover Shinra while he gets Nataku. Elsewhere, Arthur and Vulcan finally meetup. Vulcan manipulates Arthur with his Camelot fantasy promising him a legendary sword. Arthur sticks his plasma sword into the roof of the matchbox triggering an EMS pulse. This nullifies Haumea’s powers. When she locates Arthur and Vulcan, the Puppeteer sends her Dominion to attack her. Finally, Vulcan tells Shinra to do something while they have time. 

One Piece Manga Chapter 992: Recap and Review

One Piece Manga Chapter 992: Recap and Review

Kiado battles the Nine Red Scabbards in chapter 992 of One Piece
Kiado battles the Nine Red Scabbards

Chapter 992 – ‘Remnants’

Marco and Perospero alliance ends

One Piece, chapter 992, Remnants, begins with Big Mom meeting her son, Perospero, and former Whitebeard Commander Marco. She explains that she decided to ally with Kaido to Perospero. He interjects that he and his siblings wanted to see her become “the Pirate King.” Big Mom says that she “understands that.” With Perospero accepting his mother’s alliance his partnership with Marco ends. The “remnants” that the title refers to are the remaining former members of the Whitebeard Pirates. Big Mom wonders why Marco is “helping those kids.” He responds that neither he nor his former crewmates are “bound” by Whitebeard word. I wonder how the Whitebeard pirates will impact the future of the series. Will they become villains or allies? I bet they will be both. Meanwhile, Carrot charges towards Perospero seeking revenge for Pedro.

Kiado vs the Samurai

Kiado has been presented as nearly untouchable. However, it appears that all of the Nine Red Scabbards can harm him. Nekomamushi scratches Kiado with his Dance of the Red Cat attack. Kawamatsu performs a circular sword attack that surrounds Kaido’s head. Kaido and his followers are shocked that they could even wound him. Inuarashi stabs Kiado with his prosthetic sword leg, Izo shoots him while Kikunojo slashes him. Angered, Kaido uses his Bolo Breathe at point-blank range. However, Raizo uses his Maki Maki ni Mi devil fruit ability to absorb and then reflect the Bolo Breathe. 

Finally, Kinemon, Denjiro, Ashura, and Inuarashi use the Oden Two Sword Style to cut Kiado in the scar he received from Oden decades earlier. The Yonko in One Piece has proved to be very difficult to defeat. Whitebeard took on an army and barely lost while having an illness. Comparatively speaking Kaido is viewed as being more durable than Whitebeard was. The question became, who could harm Kaido? We thought it was Luffy but after Kaido crushed him our confidence wained. Luffy is still likely to defeat Kiado, but I think that he always needed help. Is the damage Kaido sustained enough? One Piece chapter 992 sets up the possibility that Kaido will have to face Luffy and the Nine Red Scabbards. 

One Piece Chapter 947: Recap & Review

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 3: Recap and Review

Episode 3 – Girl of Steel

I’m the one woman in your group

Jujutsu Kaisen, episode 3, Girl of Steel, introduces us to the third first-year, Nobara Kugisaki. She’s a brash, confident woman that’s occasionally silly. Nobara doesn’t take to Megumi or Yuji right away. Gojo takes the trio to an abandoned building to “test” Kugisaki’s ability. She and Yuji enter the build and split up. Alone Yuji is attacked by a curse and kills it with the cursed tool, Slaughter Demon. Gojo notes that Yuji is capable of fighting curses without fear. Jujutsu sorcerers often quit due to fear and disgust that curses cause them. Like Yuji, Nobara doesn’t appear to fear them. She casually tells the curse possessing the mannequin to “come out.” 

The Girl of Steel

She exorcises it with her hammer and nails curse tools. Nobara notices a boy hiding behind several boxes. Suddenly, a curse appears and captures the boy using him as a hostage. Curses can be intelligent or as Gojo puts it “cunning.” This curse was too low level to be a physical threat, so it had to rely on threats to innocence. Jujutsu Kaisen is setting our expectations for future curses. If the weak curses have intelligence then so could the strong ones. It’s unlikely that they will get off as easily in future battles. Regardless, Yuji punches through the wall behind the curses. He cuts its arm off and rescues the little boy. Losing its leverage, the curse flees. However, Nobara uses a straw doll and her cursed tools to pierce the arm of the curse. The curse’s heart is then pierced by large nails. 

Nobara’s backstory didn’t impact me but it was centered not on her childhood, but on her relationship with her neighbor Saori. I wonder if Saori will return in this series. If she does I don’t think it will end well for her. The relationship between Yuji and Nobara is typical for an anime with the bickering sibling dynamic. Jujutsu Kaisen episode 3 ends on an ominous note, several non-jujutsu sorcerers witness a “curse womb” and three first-years are sent to investigate. One dies. We are lead to believe three students are our trio but I think they might be different first years. 

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 2: Recap and Review

Haikyuu!! To the Top Part 2 Episode 2: Recap and Review

Episode 2 – ‘Found’

Episode 2 of Haikyuu!! To the Top (Part 2) opens with Karasuno being shocked that the Miya twins were able to mimic the Quick attack, Hinata and Kageyama made famous. Atsumu admits that his sets aren’t as accurate as Kageyama’s. Still, Karasuno is stunned. Atsumu serves another float serve, Daichi receives, and Nishinoya sends the last hit to Asahi. However, the twins score again. Karasuno next attempts another quick attack but fails when Atsumu, Suna, and Aran block them. Atsumu begins learning how Kageyama’s plays. Suddenly, Tsukishima blocks Osamu. Ukai notes that “the biggest counter to the super quick attack is a blocker who can get used to it.” 

Tsukishima steps up

Tsukishima often takes a back seat to Hinata and Kageyama, but he provides something that they can’t, defense. During the next rally, Tsukishima steps back to prepare for a spike. With his height and Kageyama’s sets, Tsukishima overwhelms the Inarizaki team. Kinoshita Hisashi subs in for Tsuki, and he’s visibly nervous. Ukai reminds him that he’s not up against “college guys,” giving him some confidence. He delivers a good service, but Inarizaki returns it. Hinata guards Osamu, using his speed and jumping ability to shock everyone and score. What I find interesting is that Hinata and Tsukishima have switched places. Hinata has the most surprising shift because he’s so short. However, his jumping ability makes up for it. 

Lost in the Crowd

Despite the ability of the Inarizaki, the score is even at 18-18. Hinata is bested at the net by Osamu, who insults Hinata. Karasuno calls a time-out, and Ukai tells the team that it’s time to try “Lost in a Crowd.” A spirited rally begins resulting in a Karasuno point when Aran touches the net. The Miya twins argue over whether Osamu is “slacking” and is “afraid” of Hinata. Osamu is adamant that he has no fear of Hinata. Meanwhile, Hinata imagines the blockers that have given him trouble in the past. Hinata forces Osamu to hit a “line shot,” then Karasuno uses a synchronized attack. The Inarizaki team has no idea where the next spike will come from, Karasuno scores tying the game. So far, Karasuno has been able to keep up with surprises and confusion. It seems implausible that they will be able to keep this style of play up. 

Haikyuu!! To the Top Part 2, Episode 1: Recap and Review


Fire Force Episode 15: Recap and Review

The Puppeteer and her dominator in episode 15 of Fire Force.
The Puppeteer and her dominator

The 8th will safeguard Nataku

Things are hectic at the beginning of Fire Force episode 15. Nataku Son activates his Adolla Bursts. Licht contacts Company 8, and Vulcan crashes through the gate. Licht opens the gates telling Shinra to leave. So far the Fire Force has been on the losing end of acquiring the Pillars. Nataku seems too young and scared to function well with the Evangelists. Nataku would be taken care of with the 8th, but I’m not sure they will rescue him. Elsewhere, the rest of Company 8 encounters the Puppeteer. Armed with a small mech, the Puppeteer was able to flip the matchbox.  

Vulcan and Mika battle her with Sputter and Flare. The Puppeteer and her Dominator use a vulgar Poot-Poot Blaster that releases a power beam after emitting a fart sound. It’s not my sense of humor but someone might find it funny. Anyway, the Puppeteer dominates the battle for the most part. However, Mika and Vulcan switch Sputter and Flare to Fire Scene Mode. Using even more power with Mika rotating the two Tekkyo, they’re able to create enough force to destroy the dominator. Vulcan and Mika think that they’re out of the woods, the Puppeteer releases several more. 

Trying to protect the weak is a waste of time

Kurono and Shinra’s fight heads outside. Kurono has Nataku in a headlock. Meanwhile, the white-clad arrive to collect the sixth pillar. Charon makes a move on Kurono attempting to steal Nataku from him. The concept of my enemy is my friend is a common trope. It can create interesting alliances as it’s difficult to fight in a three-way fight. I assume that if there’s any kind of team-up it will be between the Haijima and the Fire Force. Regardless, it feels like the Fire Force is outnumbered and outmatched once again. 

Fire Force Episode 14: Recap and Review