Haikyuu!! To the Top Episode 22: Recap and Review

Hinata makes an important save in the game in episode 22 of Haikyuu!! To the Top.
Hinata makes an important save in the game

Episode 22 – “Pitons”

Haikyuu!! To the Top episode 22, “Pitons,” Inarzaki becomes inspired by the set from Atsumu. Riseki starts with a service ace. Coach Ukai calls a time-out. He tells the team that “Riseki’s serves should be manageable for them to receive and stop.” After Aran scores on a Tanaka receive, the team’s tie at 11. Riseki’s final serve is successfully countered by Tsukishima. Asahi misses a powerful serve but can return Osamu’s. Kageyama sets to Tanaka, who fails to score on a crosscourt shot. Omimi insults him by calling him a “weaker version of Bokuto.” Inarzaki takes the lead. Inarzaki begins to dominate with the Miya twins performing a “reverse minus tempo quick attack.” Karasuno starts to panic as their lead slipped and the face an unexpected move from the twins. 

Hinata returns

Hinata returns to the rotation, injecting some hope in the team. He is quickly able to get a point for Karasuno. During the next play, Hinata and Tanaka block a shot from Atsumu. However, they were overeager, blocking the shot before the setter could set and the ref calls the point for Inarazaki. Atsumu serves next, and together with his brother, they’re able to set for Aran, who lands a clean spike. However, to everyone’s surprise, Hinata keeps the ball alive with a perfect receive. Karasuno begins a five-person sync attack. When the is deflected after a block it appears to be heading out, however, Hinata once again makes an impressive save. He sends the ball to Kageyama. Hinata rushes back into the court calling for the set. With Hinata distracting the blockers, Tanaka can get past Osamu and Suna. 

Despite this effort, Karasuno loses the next point after the ball clips the net and Inarzaki scores. Ukai attempts to get the team past the last point after another time-out. The team still questions if they can win. Hinata breaks the bleak moment, resulting in the team laughing. Hinata is often praised for his on-court plays but it’s often his behavior off the court that inspires his team. Karasuno is going to need that energy if they’re going to make a come back. 


Fire Force Episode 22: Recap and Review

Shinra looking demonic after Dr. Giovanni mentions Sho in episode 22 of Fire Force.
Shinra looking demonic after Dr. Giovanni mentions Sho

Episode 22 – “Plot for Extinction”

Fire Force episode 22 opens with Arthur and Shinra fighting the creepy Dr. Giovanni. Shinra strikes him with firey kicks, and Arthur uses Violet Flash. However, Dr. Giovanni avoids it by reading Arthur’s pheromones. He counters with Bombardier Beetle, spraying hot gas at the pair. Giovanni goes on to reveal the Evangelist’s plan. He claims that the Toyko Empire, Holy Sol Temple, and the Amaterasu were created for her plan. Dr. Giovanni triggers Shinra’s wrath when he tells him that Sho is waiting to be a sacrifice for the Great Cataclysm.

Shinra goes off, striking the doctor at high speeds. However, each hit doesn’t appear to have any effect. When Shinra tells him that he “sensed” Dr. Giovanni’s bloodlust, Giovanni becomes excited. This proves that they connected and he managed to use the Adolla. Shinra isn’t concerned that Dr. Giovanni can use Adolla, he is confused as it means that Lieutenant Konro has experience Adolla. 

Maki Oze absorbing the flames

Konro didn’t tell Shinra that he experienced an Adolla Burst. The question for the rest of the season is why. Regardless, Dr. Giovanni informs them that the Evangelist resides in the Adolla. He questions how they could stop her if she’s in another world. Elsewhere, Ritsu prepares to destroy Tokyo. Licht explains that she plans on using the Munroe-Neumann effect. It requires a cone-shaped explosion that results in a powerful jet that can blow a hole into anything.

To stop the explosion, the direction of the jet must change. A second generation pyrokinetic is necessary, specifically Maki. She arrives much to the disappointment of her brother. He reveals that his apprehension isn’t just rooted in concern for his sister, but due to casual sexism. He simply doesn’t think women should be in danger. Maki isn’t having any of it. She steps up to risk her life because that’s what her job is as a fire force member. 

Dr. Giovanni after Arthur cuts him in half

Maki proves her worth

Despite Maki’s help, the other fire force members must stop the flames that are produced. Otherwise, they will all get burned to death. Licht says that if both Oze siblings are “in sync” they could redirect the flames. As the Infernals blow up, Maki collects the surrounding flames. Along with her brother, they re-direct them into the Earth. Through Geometric dissipation, the flames are cooled. Elsewhere, Shinra and Arthur realize that the rest of the fire force has successfully avoided tragedy.

Arthur goes into some kind of mindless trance called “Non-self,” and he cuts Dr. Giovanni in half. This doesn’t kill Giovanni and he escapes after releasing a swarm of bugs. Juggernaut will survive but has lost his right hand, left leg, and has burns and cuts. Maki rejoins the 8th as her family learns to accept her decision. Finally, the military decides that it must join the Fire Force to combat the White Clad. After the last two arcs, the Fire Force has established alliances with the Haijima Industries and the Military. It seems like they will need all the help they can get. 

Top 5 Drama-Preserving Handicap in Anime

Shonen anime generally fall into the same trap. How do our heroes going to defeat the all-powerful villain? The trope general requires a hero of modest beginnings and his friends to travel the world trying to either stop a villain from gaining more power or getting released. In order to keep the series interesting, the villain is giving some kind of handicap to give the opposition a chance. This also happens to heroes sometimes, otherwise, the series would be boring if the hero won with one punch (LOL). 

In Soul Eater everyone has a handicap

All the characters in Soul Eater have some handicap that prevents them from being as strong as they possibly can. Black Star has a tendency to show off, preventing him from being an effective assassin. Death the Kid has a weird symmetry fetish, Stein goes insane, and Shinigami cannot move from the spot he’s standing on. 

Sesshomaru’s One Hit Kill

In Inuyasha, Sesshoumaru acquires a sword that can kill almost anything with one hit. This proves to be a problem for Naraku forcing him to kidnap Rin to prevent his destruction. The show ends if Sesshomaru gets his way right. Besides, Inuyasha is the star of the show and must defeat Naraku. 

Orihime’s personality

In Bleach, Orihime possesses the power to “reject physical events in a manner characters in-universe have speculated to be akin to time-space manipulation or completely rejecting the reality of the event having ever happened.” Her only limit is her personality. If she believes that something is impossible, it doesn’t occur to her, or she doesn’t believe she can do something, she can’t. If Orihime didn’t have this limit she would be unstoppable. 

Itachi would have won if he wanted to 

After years of anticipation fans finally got the battle between brothers, Sasuke and Itachi. This fight was epic. The two battled in an intense standoff that sees Itachi gain the final upper hand when he uses his Susanoo. Suddenly, he touches Sasuke’s head just like he did in their childhood and dies. Itachi had been suffering from a terminal disease. However, he wanted Sasuke to win anyway. Tobi notes this, saying that if Itachi wanted to win, Sasuke would be dead. 

Gohan’s broken arm

This is probably the most famous example of a drama saving handicap. After Gohan finally reaches SSJ 2, he dominates Cell. Nothing the villain could do harms the young Saiyan. Goku begs his son to end Cell, but the arrogance overcomes Gohan. After playing around with Cell, the embarrassed villain decides to blow up Earth. Goku sacrifices himself, dying to protect his home. Gohan finally realizes his error. However, due to his Saiyan cells, Cell returns stronger than ever. He kills Trunks and attempts to do the same to Vegeta. However, Gohan diving save keeps him alive. His arm is no longer any use. This results in the far more dramatic and entertaining Kamehame Ha clash, that Gohan wins with the help of his friends. Gohan wouldn’t have need aid if he wasn’t injured.

Source: TV Tropes

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 8: Recap and Review

Aoi Todo is a beast. He attacks Megumi in episode 8 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Aoi Todo is a beast

Episode 8 – “Boring”

In episode 8 of Jujutsu Kaisen, the Kyoto Principal visits the Tokyo campus and brings two of his students, Aoi Todo and Mai Zenin. Before they arrive, Megumi and Nobara are doing an errand for Maki. Meanwhile, Panda expresses concern about principal Gakuganji brings his students. Aoi and Mai quickly accost Nobara and Megumi, mocking the “death” of Yuji. Aoi claims that he wants to see if the replacements for Yuta Okkotsu’s will be “entertaining.” He asks Megumi “what kind of girl he likes.” If he gives the wrong answer he’ll “beat him half to death.” Put off by the question, Megumi hesitates. He tells him that he’s attracted to a woman that has “unshakable character.” Bored with Megumi’s answer, Aoi assaults him. Aoi, in tears, claims that Megumi has “trampled all over his kindness.” Megumi remembers that Aoi was the sorcerer that defeat Cursed Spirits in Shinjuku to Kyoto Night Line of 100 Demons. 

Megumi vs Aoi

Megumi combines Nue with Toad to create winged toads. However, Aoi isn’t bothered and he suplexes Megumi. Overwhelmed by Aoi’s power, Megumi is left bloody before he’s saved by Panda and Toge. We get a glimpse of the latter’s powers as he stops Aoi from moving with his voice. Elsewhere, Nobara is knocked on the ground after Mai shoots her. Maki arrives and the two sisters argue over which is ” more useless.” Nobara grabs Mai in a headlock, demanding she gives her the outfit she’s wearing. Aoi returns and he and Mai leave so he can meet his favorite idol, Takada-chan. On the walk back Maki tells Nobara that she can’t create cursed energy and need special glasses to see Cursed Spirits and uses cursed tools to fight them. Meanwhile, Satoru Gojo meets Principal Gakuganji. He makes thinly veil threats while Gakuganji’s student fangirls in the corner. Gojo states that “the coming age will surpass the special grade classification and they’ll all be fighting to erase the old society.”

Yuji’s new mission

One month later, three teenagers are brutally murdered in a movie theater. It appears that Mahito mutated their corpses. He’s spotted by a young man, who asks if he’s responsible. Mahito is shocked that the boy can see him. Yuji and a new Sorcerer are on the scene to investigate. I’m getting more excited about the Goodwill Event, but I don’t think that it will be that friendly. Considering the small number of sorcerers the culture of interpersonal violence is staggering. Gojo freely and often threatens to kill all the higher-ups and Aoi seems to enjoy abusing other students. Mai feels sadistic. I guess if no one is killed it’s not a problem but the relationship between schools is toxic. The revealing of some of the abilities of Maki and Toge was interesting. So far it doesn’t seem likely that curse tools are enough to harm Special Grade Cursed Spirits, but Maki may be different. Toge powers on the other hand are probably effective. His weird speaking quirks make sense now, I wonder what other limits his power has. Jujutsu Kaisen seems to have more of a horror element than I originally thought. Mahito might be a sadist as well.


Haikyuu!! To the Top Episode 21: Recap and Review

Episode 21 – “Hero”

Haikyuu!! To the Top episode 21, “Hero,” depicts the start of the third and final set, between Karasuno and Inarizaki. Karasuno maintains its lead after Kageyama blocks Aran. Inarizaki’s Suna makes a quick attack, Tsukishima attempts to block but Suna twists his body to make the spike. However, Daichi receives the spike shocking Atsumu. Asahi slams the spike past Suna and Osamu, putting Karasuna up 4-2. The successful play is largely due to Tsukishima who takes the point brought up by Ukai that “it’s not just the spiker versus the blocker but rather the spiker versus six players.” Tsukki believes that “the belief of a kill block being the only type of block to scare a spiker is outdated.” Kuroo explains that if Karasuno attempted to “fully block Suna one-on-one, Suna would be able to manipulate things to his advantage.” Suna realizes that Tsukishima has been deliberately forcing him to hit crosscourt. 

The Hero

Kinoshita steps up to serve. He’s aware that the is his final chance to make an impact in the game. He’s focused and drowns out the crowd and his teammates. He serves and the ball heads toward Osamu, who then receives the ball allowing Aran to score. Kinoshita leaves the court for the last time disappointed that he couldn’t score. He still hoped that he could be “the hero.” Kinoshita originally struck me as a strange character to highlight. However, Haikyuu!! makes a point of reminding us that for the third year, a loss would be their last game. With the stakes so high the players all have tremendous pressure on their shoulders. Hinata scores with a quick attack, maintaining the two-point lead Karasuno earned. When Kageyama serves next the ball clips the net but tips over scoring. Sensing that they’re losing momentum, Coach Kurosu calls a time-out. 

Nishinoya’s fear

On the bench, Nishinoya finally admits that he’s afraid. He recalls how he was “terrified of many things when he was a child.” His grandfather helped him overcome those fears. He remembers that his grandfather told him “it was a waste of time to be scared.” With Atsumu next to serve, he once again targets Nishinoya. This time, however, Nishinoya uses an overhead receive instead of his usual underhanded ones. Karasuno performs a synchronized attack and Asahi lands a spike. Karasuno is up 10 -7. The next half of the episode focuses on the Miya twins. In a flashback, we see when they first meet Aran, how they come to admire setters, and why Atsumu became hated. The flashback is designed to explain what makes the twins so special. In the present, Karasuno can get the ball over but it’s intercepted by Akagi. The return is too low and Akagi is worried it won’t make it over. Suddenly, Atsumu bends low enough to get under the ball and makes an overhand set to Osamu. Karasuno may have gotten the lead but they still have to contend with the formidable Miya twins. 


Top 10 Most popular manga based on MAL

10. Fairy Tail

Manga vols. 63

Aug 2006 – Jul 2017

MAL Score: 7.67

Fairy Tail is a manga and anime series created by Hiro Mashima. Published in Shounen Magazine in 2006, the series released 549 chapters before ending in 2017. Fairy Tail focuses on Natsu Dragneel, a fire mage, as he searches for his dragon foster father, Igneel, with his guild. 


09. My Hero Academia

Manga vols. 28 (Current)

Jul 2014 –

MAL Score: 8.37

MHA has been published in English by VIZ Media under the Shonen Jump imprint. My Hero Academia is still publishing, having just finished its 291st chapter. In MHA the majority of the population has special abilities called “Quirks.” Most go on to become heroes, while, many become villains. The main protagonist Izuku Midoriya (Deku) is one of the few born without a Quirk. However, his life changes when he meets his idol, All Might. He inherits All Might’s Quirk and joins an academy for potential superheroes. 


08. Bleach

Manga vols. 74

Aug 2001 – Aug 2016

MAL Score: 7.66

Bleach was once considered one of the “big 3” manga series along with One Piece and Naruto. Having sold more than 90 million copies it’s one of the most successful manga series of all time. Bleach follows Ichigo as he invades Soul Society to rescue his friend Rukia from execution. 


07. Death Note

Manga vols. 12

Dec 2003 – May 2006

MAL Score: 8.73

Light Yagami is a brilliant high school student that finds a notebook called the “Death Note.” Inside the book, reads the message: “those whose names are written in it shall die.” Light tests this message and when he learns that it works he embarks on a killing spree under the name “Kira.” However, the mastermind detective “L” and the police aim to track him down. 


06. One Punch-Man

Manga vols. 22 (Current)

Jun 2012 –

MAL Score: 8.75

Saitama is an “ordinary” hero that trained for three years, gaining so much strength that he can defeat most enemies with one punch. However, he becomes bored with the ease with which he defeats the villains. He joins the Hero Association along with his pupil, Genos. They quickly rise up the ranks of the association. 


05. Tokyo Ghoul

Manga vols. 14

Sep 2011 – Sep 2014

MAL Score: 8.54

Ghouls are beings that feed on the human race. In response, the Commission of Counter Ghoul organization has been established. The CCG hopes to exterminate the monsters but they can blend into society posing as humans. Ken Kaneki becomes part Ghoul after he’s attacked by one on a date. As he makes peace with his transformation he finds himself at the center of the war between the Ghouls and CCG. 


04. Naruto

Manga vols. 72

Sep 1999 – Nov 2014

MAL Score: 8.07

Naruto is one of the greatest manga series ever created. Created by Masashi Kishimoto, Naruto has sold over 220 million copies, ranking fourth all-time. Naruto Uzumaki is an orphan ninja from Konoha. He dreams of becoming Hokage (the best ninja in the village). Having been shunned by the village, Naruto originally becomes a mischievous troublemaker. Over the series, Naruto becomes the ninja he hopes to become, gaining the love and admiration of the village that once hated him. 


03. Berserk

Manga vols. 40 (Current)

Aug 1989 – 

MAL Score: 9.34

Guts is a former mercenary seeking vengeance after being betrayed by a former friend. Guts had a terrible childhood and set out on a mission that is filled with horrors and misfortune. Guts battles monstrous demons, cutting them down with his massive sword. Berserk is a harsh series that’s not for the faint of heart. 


02. One Piece

Manga vols. 97 (Current)

Jul 1997 – 

MAL Score: 9.09

The last of the “Big 3,” One Piece is considered by many to be the greatest manga series of all time. As of 2017, One Piece is the highest selling manga series with over 430 million copies sold. Gol D. Roger is about to be executed by the World Government before they kill him he confirms that a treasure called “One Piece,” exists somewhere on the Grand Line. This act inspires a new generation of Pirates. One such pirate is Monkey D. Luffy, who aims to get a crew, sail the seas searching for the One Piece, and becoming Pirate King in the process. 


01. Attack on Titan

Manga vols. 32 (Current)

Sep 2009 – 

MAL Score: 8.64

Hundreds of years ago humanity was attacked by massive creatures called Titans. These “Titans” eat humans whenever they can. Unable to combat the new threat humanity sought safety behind massive walls. Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert grow up in this new environment. However, what was once a peaceful life becomes a horror when a Titan burst through one of the walls. After losing his mother, Eren promises to eradicate the Titans from Earth. 

Source: MAL

Fire Force Episode 21: Recap and Review

In episode 21 of Fire Force, Dr. Giovanni and gets creepy insect mods.
Dr. Giovanni and his creepy insect mods

Episode 21 – “Enemy Contact”

Juggernaut loses his left hand as well as the feeling in his leg. He thanks Tamaki for giving him “courage.” As he passes out, the Infernal surround them. Tamaki prepares to fight them all to get Juggernaut to the surface. Elsewhere, Company 2 begins to panic as the Infernal overtake them. Suddenly, the Knight of the Purple Haze, Iron appears. Iron reminds me of Pyramid Head from Silent Hill crossed with a Ku Klux Klan member. Hinawa shoots him, comparing him to Arthur. Hinawa’s bullets do not affect. Shinra is attacked by Dr. Giovanni. He’s altered his body to have “increased affinity with the Insects.” Dr. Giovanni reveals that he has two green insect legs. When he’s attacked by two Company 2 members he kills one by stabbing him in the jaw. Fire Force episode 21 seems like it will continue the more horrific themes in episode 20. 

Company 2 has been useless so far and are cannon fodder. Shinra plans on drawing Giovanni away from the others. Dr. Giovanni claims that the White Clad are here for “him,” and he should be concerned with himself. Dr. Giovanni altered his body to have “Hair-pencils,” these organs are used by male moths to utilize pheromones. Dr. Giovanni used this ability to “read human emotional and psychological states.” Somehow this allows him to read Shinra’s mind, I don’t get it, but I’ll go with it. Dr. Giovanni then goes on to rant on how insects are aliens. What is interesting is that this is the second time Fire Force has mentioned something as being “not of this world.” The Evangelist was mentioned as being otherworldly a few episodes ago. Regardless, Dr. Giovanni reveals that he has six insect arms.

The White Clad plans to blow up Tokyo

Elsewhere, Arthur takes on an “army” of Infernals. He weirdly abandoned two wounded members of Company 2. They’re attacked by an Infernal while Arthur interferes in Shinra’s and Dr. Giovanni’s fight. Meanwhile, Hinawa and Takigi Oze continue to fight Iron, who Hinawa suspects is a third-generation pyrokinetic that uses his power “within his body.” Iron can harden his body, allowing bullets to bounce off and creates massive strength. Iron heats and cools his body changing his hardness. Takigi and Hinawa spent most of the time bickering over Maki. When Iron attacks again, Takigi nullifies his flame and Hinawa uses his Ricochet Control to hit his joints. Tamaki continues to battle Infernal, suddenly, two more White Clad appear. When it looks like Tamaki might die, Captain Obi and Gustav Honda, and Vulcan appear. One of the White Clad, Sasori, challenges the “nonpowered” Obi who knocks out Sasori with one blow. Honda does the same to the other White Clad. After they regroup, the crew learns from Licht that the White Clad are planning on blowing up the research facility. 


Haikyuu!! To the Top Episode 20: Recap and Review

Episode 20 – “Leader”

In episode 20 of Haikyuu!! To the Top, “Leader,” Inarizaki’s team captain Shinsuke Kita enters the game. Kita is blunt. He immediately intimidates his teammates. Once the game continues, Kita is up to serve. Daichi receives then Kageyama gets the set to Asahi. When Asahi thinks he made the block-out, Kita dives to keep the rally alive. Osamu and Akagi get the ball over. Karasuno responds by using a synchronized attack. Despite getting the spike past the blockers, Kita makes another save. The game is now 23 – 15 in favor of Inarizaki. Kita’s presence has a powerful effect on his team. He’s known for being straightforward and not wasting any movements. Kita is through, and he doesn’t make mistakes. Yamaguchi serves for Hinata. Kita shocks everyone by returning the serve. Ginjima lands a spike that puts Inarizaki up set point. They win the set on a Suna spike.

Nishinoya is having difficulty. Asahi promises that Nishinoya will get an opportunity to score. The third set begins with Atsumu serving. The serve appears to be going out before it curves and lands inside. After missing that serve, Nishinoya releases that he’s scared. Daichi serves, and Aran makes the first touch. Osamu fails to get the spike because Tsukishima blocks him. Ukai changed the rotation so that “Tsukishima can commit to Osamu and Suna more during this set as he is the one who will most likely stop the twin’s copy of the freak quick attack.” Asahi hits past a double block, but Atsumu makes the receive and calls his brother to make a set. Osamu instead chooses to set, Aran makes the spike. Kageyama can block, maintaining Karasuno’s lead. 

My Top 5 Naruto Arcs

Chunin Exams

Manga Volumes: 4 – 13

Anime Episodes: 20 – 67

The Chunin Exams marks the moment we get to see the rest of the current ninja generation. We are introduced to the rest of the Rookie Nine, Team Guy, the Three Sand Siblings, and Orochimaru. Until this point, I found Naruto to be mediocre but characters like Rock Lee and Orochimaru made me fall in love with the series. This arc also displayed the value intellect was to ninja. The first phase of the exam required the genin to use their skills to acquire information. However, the most exciting part of this arc was the preliminaries. With too many teams passing the exam, the 20 remaining genin we pitched against one another to cut down the numbers. Some of the matches we duds, but a few are classics. The same is true of the finals matches between the surviving winners. 

Best Fights:

  • Orochimaru vs Sasuke
  • Rock Lee vs Gaara
  • Naruto vs Neji
  • Temari vs Shikamaru

Five Kage Summit

Manga Volume: 49 – 51

Anime Episodes: 197 – 214

This arc is filled with action but I think it’s most interesting for is the focus on the political aspect of Naruto. The arc centers on the Summit between the current Kages, Gaara, Onoki, Mei, A, and Danzo. While we’re familiar with Gaara, the other Kages are more of a mystery. Danzo uses Tsunade’s coma as an opportunity to claim the title of Hokage for himself. Danzo is revealed to have possession of the Sharingan. The Kages argue over their ideological differences, with A claiming (correctly) that each of the other villages used the Akatsuki to gain power. Of course, the summit is interrupted by Sasuke and the rest of Taka. In the fights that follow, A proves to be a powerhouse, and Onoki and Terumi show off some of their abilities. Finally, Madara declares war over the remaining tailed beast. 

Best Fights:

  • Sasuke vs The Kages
  • Killer B vs Kisame
  • Sasuke vs Danzo

Pain’s Assault

Manga Volume: 45 – 48

Anime Episodes: 152 – 175

The beginning of this arc introduces us to Killer B, the host of the Eight Tailed Beast. He quickly becomes a fan favorite, while the rapping is bad and stereotypical, he’s a fun character that gives Sasuke a fight. It’s also the first time that we witness a Jinchuriki fight alongside his beast. After this fight, Pain invades Konoha. It’s a devastating assault that results in the “death” of Kakashi and the destruction of Konoha. The highlight of this arc is the fight between Naruto and Pain, with the former using the senjutsu (Sage) techniques and the Wind Release: Rasenshuriken technique. Hinata confesses her love for Naruto and the latter finally meets his father. 

Best Fights:

  • Sasuke vs Killer B
  • Naruto vs Pain

Sasuke Recovery Mission

Manga Volume: 20 – 27

Anime Episode: 107 – 135

Sasuke defects from Konoha in pursuit of power. This marks the moment Sasuke becomes a villain. Tsunade sends a five-man genin squad to retrieve him. Lead by Shikamura, the team of Naruto, Neji, Choji, and Kiba face off against the Sound Four. This arc features several battles that felt consequential. Each fight showed the depth of skill each ninja from Konoha possed. Furthermore, we got to see the specific techniques of the Akimichi, Hyuga, and Inuzuka clans. While Sasuke was becoming a villain, Gaara and siblings became allies. Watching the siblings fight for Konoha gave me chills. Throw in drunken fist Rock Lee and the epic battle between Sasuke and Naruto, this is one of the best Naruto arcs. 

Best Fights:

  • Neji vs Kidomaru
  • Kiba/Akamaru vs Sakon/Ukon
  • Shikamaru vs Tayuya
  • Rock Lee vs Kimimaro
  • Gaara vs Kimimaro
  • Naruto vs Sasuke

Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant

Manga Volumes: 40 – 42

Anime Episode: 127 – 133

This arc is short but it was the most impactful for me. Jiraiya was always my favorite Naruto character. I loved everything about him, his character design, humor, and abilities. However, we never saw the extent of those abilities until this arc. Jiraiya investigates Pain, infiltrating Amegakure. While there he encounters former students Konan and Nagato. Pain gets introduced and he’s a stoic villain that plans on forcing the world to stop wars, by creating a jutsu powerful enough to “wipe away entire nations.” It’s not the most original of motives but Pain proves to be a formidable villain. The battle between the two is probably my favorite and what made Naruto the best shonen series. 

One of the Legendary Sannin finally got to fight with their full power. This fight perfectly balances the powerful techniques of Jiraiya and Pain, while including strategy, and skills that feel earned. When you feel like Jiraiya has defeated a mysterious opponent, it’s revealed (not completely to the audience) what Pain is. After Jiraiya loses his arm and has to face The Six Paths of Pain you not sure he can survive. However, just when we begin to think he will escape, he sacrifices his life to protect Konoha. It was a heartbreaking moment that made me cry. I think it’s the best Naruto arc ever.

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 7: Recap and Review

Episode 7 – “Assault”

Jujutsu Kaisen has been teasing us regarding the “strongest sorcerer,” Gojo. Episode 7, “Assault,” gives us a glimpse of Gojo’s power. We weren’t misled. Jogo attacks Gojo, attempting to crush him. He misses and crashes into the road. Jogo creates a volcano behind Gojo that erupts, releasing magma into the forest. As typical for anime, Jogo believes that he killed Gojo. Gojo emerges from the magma unharmed. He marvels at Jogo’s ability to speak and his abundance of cursed energy. Gojo believes that because he’s above Sukuna’s current level, Jogo is an “unregistered special grade.” Gojo is excited to fight.

Jogo uses Ember Insects. Gojo stops them by appearing to create a “glitch” around him. This stops the insects. However, they explode using sound. Gojo avoids the attack but not Jogo’s follow up. Once again Jogo is surprised that Gojo is unharmed. Gojo explains that this is because of the “infinity” that’s between them. From this point on Gojo dominates the fight before unleashing Cursed Technique Reversal: Red. Jogo accepts that he’s not strong enough to defeat Gojo. Suddenly, Gojo returns with Yuji. He intends for his student to watch the rest of the fight. Gojo specifically wants to teach Yuji about Domain Expansion. When Jogo calls Gojo a “fool” for bringing Yuji, Gojo responds that it won’t matter because Jogo is too “weak.” This enrages Jogo, who then activates his Domain.

Coffin of the Iron Mountain

Jogo’s domain is a lava pit inside a mountain. Gojo explains that “Domain Expansion buffs the user’s abilities and imbues the user’s innate technique into it as well. Additionally, all abilities unleashed within a Domain Expansion will always hit their target.” He also states that you can counter the “automatic hit” with a Cursed Technique. However, he thinks that countering a Domain with your Domain is best. He removes his blindfold revealing his bright blue eyes and activating his Domain Expansion: Unlimited Void. Gojo traps Jogo in an environment that overwhelms his sense with too much information, paralyzing him. Gojo decapitates Jogo and ends the Domain.

As Gojo interrogates Jogo, Hanami and Geto watch from afar. Geto leaves not wanting to be seen. He leaves Hanami to rescue Jogo. The latter refuses to tell Gojo anything. Hanami sends a spear-like plant into the ground creating beautiful flowers on the ground. The flowers appear to make Yuji and Gojo passive. Distracted, Hanami escapes with Jogo’s head. Gojo doesn’t pursue. He tells Yuji that he wants him and the other to become powerful enough to defeat Jogo. Geto heads to the Cursed Spirits hideout. We are introduced to Mahito a zombie looking spirit with two different eyes. Hanami and Jogo arrive. After fighting Gojo, Jogo agrees to Geto’s plan. Seal Gojo on October 31st in Shibuya. 

Gojo must be sealed

The outcome of the fight was never in doubt. However, witnessing Gojo’s power gave us two things. First, a greater understanding of his power and why he’s considered so strong, and secondly, a better understanding of the fight mechanics of Jujutsu Kaisen. Speaking of which, the concept of Domains is interesting. The fact that all attacks are “guaranteed” to hit was particularly surprising. The series will likely undermine that aspect but I hope we get to see how it would work at least once. Now that we’ve seen Gojo’s power, we know that the only way to defeat him is by sealing him. I’m curious if Gojo will train Nobara and Megumi. I can’t imagine that they would get the same level of training from second-year students. Regardless, I’m excited about the Goodwill Event.