One Piece Chapter Recap & Review

Chapter 943, SMILE

Wow. Every once in a while Oda shows his genius in storytelling. Creating unexpected twists, clever plot development and heartbreaking moments. One Piece was always and will continue to be the standard for manga, especially shonen manga. In the previous chapter, Yasuie meet his end at the hands of Orochi. This resulted in the towns people laughing while crying. SMILE was introduced back in the Punk Hazard arc (ch: 689). An artificial Zoan Devil Fruit created with SAD, by Doflamingo and Caesar Clown. We were lead to believe that it created devil fruit users and nothing else.

It is explained that SMILE is responsible for stripping the people of Ebisu Town of their sadness. Shinobu explains that SMILE has several effects, they cause the eater to ” lose the ability to swim as well as the ability to express negative emotions, causing them to only be able to express joy.” SMILE also only has an 1 in 10 success rate when giving devil fruit abilities. This explains the why the Beast Pirates aren’t all devil fruit users, while putting a limitation on the drugs effectiveness. She explains the ranks of the Beast Pirates, The Waiters are those who have yet to eat any fruits, the Gifters are those who obtained an ability after eating a SMILE fruit and the Pleasures are those who did not gain any abilities after eating a SMILE fruit and can only smile.

Kiado, Doflamingo and Caesar named it SMILE after the negative effect. With the defective fruits still possessing the negative side effects, Orochi used them to force the civilians of Ebisu Town to lose their ability to express anger and sadness. He hated the sorrow and grief they expressed when their families members died. The saddest part of this chapter comes when Toko tries to bring her father back with medicine. Orochi notices her and takes aim, shooting at her. Sanji and Zoro save her shocking the citizens. As I predicted the corrupt behavior of Orochi will come back to bite him as the citizens will turn on him. I’m excited to see him get what he deserves.

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Samurai 8: Recap & Review

Chapter 2, A guest from above

Hachimaru begins to experience life outside of his home for the first time. He realizes that food can “taste good,” as he enjoys takoyaki. He use to have many allergies and stomach issues, so all he had to eat was liquid food and apples. Hachimaru and Hayatarou heads for a walk. Hachimaru asks if he will finally get friends. It seems obvious that Samurai 8 like most anime/manga he will collect a number of friends along the way. At this point the world isn’t fleshed out yet, so I don’t feel much connection to it.

We are introduced to a new character, Nanashi. A recluses like Hachimaru use to be, she/he play games and lives at the Yasha-Style Dojo. Nanashi has two gaming gloves called “Left Hand-kun,” and “Right Hand-kun.” It was unclear to me if they spoke or Nanashi has a weird mental illness that results in the hands talking. It’s also unclear what Nanashi’s gender is, her/his hands debate Nanashi’s gender. One hand says that “he’s a boy,” the other says that “her soul is female.” Furthermore, Nanashi even refers to themselves as “a girl.” It seems likely that Nanashi will be a gender non conforming character, otherwise there’s no need to even bring up the question of gender. Right?

Anyway, Hachimaru falls through the roof of Nanashi. Nanashi has no idea about their pasts and has been a recluse for eight years. To get Nanashi to go outside, Hachimaru offers a wager. If he’s wins Nanashi goes outside, if he loses Nanashi can remain a shut in. Hachimaru defeats Nanashi in the game proving that Hachimaru is the highest ranked player. The significance of this game remains to be seen but it’s clear that the online game is important. Nanashi is the number 2 gamer so does the skill in the game correlate with fighting skills in the real world. We are loosely introduced to new pig-like villains, who plan on attacking Nanashi and Hachimaru.

Attack on Titan Episode Recap & Review

Episode 16, Perfect Game

I’m a little annoyed that Attack on Titan has clearly dragged the conflict on too long. I don’t know why they didn’t just have fewer episodes. Also the animation seemed worst this episode and I hated the CGI. The series has animated the Colossal Titan before, they should do it more. Anyway, Armin freezes up when tasked with leading. He leave Jean in charge. Jean orders everyone to ride on top of Eren to preserve gas. Armin is still responsible for coming up with a better plan.

The results of the explosion from the Colossal Titan on Hange’s squad remains unclear. As Levi considers rejoining his comrades, stones fly towards him with devastating force. The Beast Titan wipes out many of the scouts on the front lines. The Beast Titan picks up another bolder and plans on shooting a “perfect game.” Not to nitpick but, how does the Beast Titan know about baseball? It’s possible of course that it’s part of the culture or maybe something that use to exists in the AOT world.

Anyway, the scouts are trapped. Erwin joins them on the ground. The Beast Titan has them defeated. Eren and the others attack the Colossal Titan. It doesn’t have any effect as Bertholdt simply kicks Eren onto the top of the wall. Jean comes up with another useless plan and the Armored Titan re-emerges. Erwin decides that their only plan is to charge the Beast Titan. The problem is he needs to convince the other scouts to ride out to their deaths. In order to do this Erwin must be the leader of the scouts, meaning that he will die first.

Erwin gives a powerful speech and is successful in convincing the scouts to ride with him. Erwin’s leadership is in stark contrast to Armin’s lack of leadership. If Armin is going to replace Erwin the he will need to at least emulate some of what makes Erwin a great leader. Their styles are going to be different, but good leaders share similar qualities and right now Armin is missing a lot of these qualities. Despite the slow burn I’m still excited for the next episode. Erwin and the scouts are probably goners. How will Levi react to Erwin’s death? How would Armin?

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Chapter 1: Recap & Review

Chapter 1, The First Key

It’s always exciting to get into a new series. Not knowing what to expect or even whether you like the series or not. Like most Naruto fans the expectation of Masashi Kishimoto next series was going to be high. Could he managed to live up to the hype? Probably not. Does he need to? I don’t think so. My first judgement of every manga series is the art. Akira Okubo didn’t disappoint. The chapter begins with a look of the galaxy, we see two characters having a conversation that at this point doesn’t make much sense yet.

Anyway, we see a battle between to samurai that ends with a clash. The concept of keys are introduced. The defeated samurai “transfers” the key. He turns into a sphere shaped thing and his spine seems to be the key. All this seems to be a game that our main protagonist, Hachimaru is playing. He’s a sickly kid that has “Trypanophobia – an extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles.” He yells at his father and it’s revealed that he must be connected to a machine otherwise he won’t “last 3 minutes.” His father is planning on creating a “Portable life support system” for him. His father leaves to find more parts.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to our main villain for this chapter at least. One of his henchmen owes him money for something. Ritual suicide is apparently the price he has to pay. The henchmen refuses to do this and is called a coward and is killed for it. Back at the house of Hachimaru, his dog brings him a daruma. Hachimaru prays to it, claiming that he wants to become a “samurai.” The daruma turns out to be a cat like being. At this point it’s made clear that theirs something that separates “warriors” and “samurai.” Our main villain makes this distinction clear.

Humans are warrior, when someone becomes a samurai they become something else. The samurai are cyborgs, chosen by warrior gods. Their spines become “memory units” called “keys.” All other body parts are robotic. The locker ball is a “small star created by the warrior god Acala.” The body of a samurai can even travel in space and stores a “very special soul.” Meanwhile, Daruma formally introduces himself, revealing himself to be a blind samurai. If past knowledge of manga series is any indication, a small blind non-human swordsman means he’s a badass.

We get to see some of his skills when the villain arrives. They clash briefly, revealing that Daruma is the “lone wolf samurai” that mastered the “vajrayaksa style.” Our villain destroys Hachimaru’s pet dog Hayatarou, stabs Daruma and uses the key to open Hachimaru’s chest. To receive the code Hachimaru must die. The villain allows him to commit ritual suicide, with the promise to “let his father go.” Hachimaru admits his love for his father, then commits suicide. He “dies,” and the villain removes the samurai soul of Takatsuna giving him the crimson blade called “the vampire.”

Unsurprisingly, Hachimaru isn’t dead and he is transformed into a samurai. Daruma tells him that he has been given the power of “sanrinshin.” Hachimaru battles the enemy samurai who puts on his samurai armor on. He defeats the samurai and rescues his father. I liked this series. The combination of sci fi and samurai lore is interesting. I love the designs of the samurai armor and the world. It’s only one chapter and if Bleach taught me anything it not just how you start but how you end. Regardless, while many aspects of the story isn’t fleshed out yet I’m excited for what this series will bring.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 5 & 6: Recap & Review

The demon in human form

Episode 5, My Own Steel

A new trope seems to be more frequent in anime and manga, “focusing on the villains perceptive.” This makes the series more than just a kill all the demon series. It will still be that of course. However, by given the demon’s backstory reminds us that he was once human. Like many he was a victim of a demon, before he became one. Tanjiro is a different kind of hero, he’s full of kindness and sympathy. Whether this series makes that a weakness remains to be scene, but so far it appears that it’s an asset.

Tanjiro getting his Kaugai crow

Speaking of kindness, one of the new Demon Slayer members turns out to be an ass. He abuses one of the twins, grabbing her by the hair. Although she does seem to care. He’s likely to have a terrible backstory that explains his behavior. One of the other new members seems like he’s a bit of a coward. We get more details on the world of Demon Slayer. The Corps have ten ranks with the lowest being “Mizunoto.” Of course this is were our new heroes start. Each will have to choose and ore, because their sword will be made for them in a few days. It isn’t made clear which ore they should choose.

The blacksmith, Haganezuka

Interestingly, they are each assigned a Kaugai crow for communication and uniforms. Tanjiro returns home to Nezuko and Urokodaki, who’s understandably happy he survived. He informs Tanjiro that he believes the reason Nezuko sleeps a long time is because she doesn’t eat humans. This is both a good consequence for not eating humans and a convenient way to keep her out of the direct story. 15 days later, Tanjiro gets his sword from the odd, Haganezuka. Tanjiro gets his first mission, from a Kaugai crow that actually can speak.


Tanjiro in uniform

Episode 6, Swordsman Accompanying a Demon

Tanjiro puts on his uniform. Urokodaki explains that it’s made out of special fabric that low-level “demon’s talons or fangs couldn’t even manage to tear it.” Tanjiro’s Nichirin sword is a rare color (Black), such that it’s considered to be wielded by weak swordsmen. He then gives him a “Cloud Mist Pine box,” to put Nezuko in. He heads to the town to begin his mission. Kazumi explains what happened when his girlfriend, Satoko vanished. Tanjiro track’s the demon scent.

The demon kidnapping a girl

Another young girl is abducted by a demon that can liquify itself and pass through doors. When Tanjiro smells the demon he gives chase, however, he can’t see them. He stabs the ground and rescues the girl. He gives her to Kazumi as he prepares to battle the demon. Said demon reappears now split into three. He uses eighth form water basin and cuts off the arms of all three demons. However, the attack is too “shallow,” and fails to do serious damage.

Nezuko showing companion towards humans

The demon mocks them, claiming that they already ate Satoko. Kazumi begins to cry, as Tanjiro gets overwhelmed by the demon. Nezuko joins in. The demon is surprised that a demon and swordsmen are teaming up together. We get a flashback of Urokodaki telling Tanjiro that he used “hypnotic suggesting on Nezuko.” He told her that “all humans are your family,” and “that demons are her enemies.” Muzan Kibutsuji the first demon is the only one that has the means to save Nezuko. This information isn’t useful now, as Tanjiro has to get stronger first.

Yet another factor is introduced for keeping Nezuko demon urges in check. Whether, her sleeping long periods and hypnotizing are significant enough to tame her completely. Some might see this as an easy way out of potential conflict. However, I think that they will introduce conflict later in the series.

One Punch Man – Episode 5 Recap & Review

Metal Bat verses Garou

Episode 5, The Martial Arts Tournament

Metal Knight arrives and tries to defeat Elder Centipede, failing miserably. This episode is filled with a large list of new heroes and monsters. Most of them will be red shirted and exists to be fodder for the stronger characters. Anyway, Metal Bat and Garou square off, with Bat doing far better considering his injured state. Garou admits that Metal Bat would have defeated him if he could have landed a hit. Metal Bat is actually about to hit Garou with a major blow when his sister Zenko arrives.

Fubuki verses Do-S

She gets in the way of Garou as he tries to kill Metal Bat. Garou leaves seemingly having a soft spot for children and goes to find Watchdog Man. Metal Bat collapses. Pineapple and Mohican are attacked by Rhino Wrestler and easily defeated. Two other monsters Phoenix Man and Sludge Jellyfish attempt to recruit Garou into the Monster Association. I don’t know if I missed it, but this is the first that I heard of the MA. It seems that like the Hero Association, the monsters are trying to gain notoriety. It’s unclear whether they are ranked or not.

Lightning Max verses Ring Ring

Many monsters (Martial Gorilla, Do-S, Hundred Eyes Octopus, Pure-Blood, and Make Plasma) arrive simultaneously overwhelming the heroes. Fubuki makes an appearance saving a hero from Do-S. Meanwhile, the Fighting Tournament begins and we are introduced to a massive group of heroes. Lightning Max returns, while new fighters Bakuzan, Suriyu, Ring Ring, Hamukichi, Choze, Zakkos and Snek enter. Saitama is assumed to be “weak” and is paired with Zakkos.

Saitama defeats Zakkos

After the credits, Saitama defeats Zakkos with one slap. The outcome between Zakkos and Saitama was always going to be predictable, I do have an issue with putting part of the episode after the credits. It’s not the end of the world but I often turn the episode off before the credits (mostly to avoid seeing the trailer for the next episode). Anyway, it’s a weird thing to do, I wonder why they made that choice.

Dororo Episode 17 Recap & Review

Hyakkimaru kills the demon

Episode 17, The Story of Questions and Answers

Jukai returns. He’s continuing his mission to proved prosthetic limbs to the dead. He is attacked by a ghoul on the battlefield. Hyakkimaru intervenes. Jukai remembers his experience with Hyakkimaru. Of course Hyakkimaru has change significantly. He now has real human skin, ears and now can speak. At this point it seemed like Jukai wanted to say that he was Hyakkimaru’s father, but he doesn’t. Anyway, Hyakkimaru demands a new prosthetic that he can use for fighting.

Jukai destroys the prosthetic

Jukai is reluctant to do this out of fear of Hyakkimaru having to confront his family. In this series it’s been telegraphed that Hyakkimaru is on the path to becoming a “demon.” However, no one seems to really talk to him about it until now. Jukai even goes so far as to cut the prosthetic with his ax. Suddenly they are trapped in the cave by a landslide. He tells Jukai that he wants his body back because it’s “his.” Is Hyakkimaru better off without his body? Does he actually become less human the more real his body becomes?

Hyakkimaru slaughters demons

If you consider the behavior of the other humans in this series even if Hyakkimaru becomes a mass murder he won’t be much different from most. The main demon is a tree called Ayakashigi. It gives “birth” to demons through the fruit. It’s gross or creepy. Or both. Anyway, Hyakkimaru kills many of the demons and finally kills the tree. While watching him fight, Jukai begins to cry. He believes that Dororo will keep him human. Hyakkimaru asks his name. Jukai refuses to give saying he’s nobody. Hyakkimaru says that Jukai is “mama.” It was a funny and sweet moment.

Hyakkimaru calls Jukai “mama”

Tahomaru has resigned himself to defend Daigo at all costs. He and a small army are send to hunt down Hyakkimaru. Meanwhile, Hyakkimaru somehow finds the Cape Hakkotsu and is rowing a boat to rescue Dororo. A few weird things in this episode. First, Jukai doesn’t make a new prosthetic leg for Hyakkimaru. Second, Jukai is bitten by one of the demons and seems completely unfazed by it. Did it kill him? I don’t know it seemed like odd narrative choices. Anyway, this was largely a lovely episode.

Attack On Titan Episode 51 Recap & Review

Reiner moves his mind to his body

Episode 51, Thunder Spears

This episode was a bit of a slow burn. I liked that. While the scouts rest atop of the wall, the Beast Titan and the other titans wait outside the Shiganshina District. Reiner Braun begins to climb the wall behind the scouts. While he does so, Erwin deduces the motives of the Beast Titan. Erwin orders the scouts to avoid the Armor Titan. He concludes that the horses are a major target for the Beast Titan. If they can take away “the scouts only means of escape.” He orders the Dirk Squad and Marlene Squad join Klaus Squad to protect the horses.

Eren prepares to fight Reiner

He orders the Levi Squad and Hange Squad to defeat the Armored Titan, using the Thunder Spears. However, Erwin orders Levi to protect the horse and when possible take down the Beast Titan. When Reiner gets to the top of the wall, he contemplates his options. Eren transforms forcing Reiner to choose between killing the horses or capturing Eren, he goes with the later. Eren successfully baits Reiner into a fight. Once the fight begins Eren hardens his fingers and they fight in the town Eren grew up in.

Erwin remembers the fallen

As the scouts rush to kill the small Titans, Levi and Erwin notes that the scouts have gotten weaker. Meanwhile, Eren takes the lead in battle against Reiner. We get a detailed explanation from Hange of what the new weapon the, Thunder Spear. Reiner is thrown off by Eren leaving him exposed. Hange and Mikasa fly towards Reiner and use the new spears on his eyes. They exploded, blinding him. The rest of the Levi and Hange squads fire the spears into his back, destroying the armor around his nape. His neck now exposed the scout send multiple spears into his neck and it explodes.

The scouts descend on Reiner

If the scouts are able to create and use new weapons they could gain an advantage in the war against the titans. Most titans are not that intelligent so it would be necessary to waste these weapons on them. However, with special titans like the Armor or Colossus they could benefit from more sophisticated weapons. I’ve mentioned this before, but I think Erwin is going to die here. His backstory only confirmed this. Furthermore, Armin is perfect to replace his mind and Levi is a better fighter at this point.

Does Reiner meet his end?

The biggest question right now is, did Reiner die? It would be implausible if he didn’t. The weapon was designed to kill him and he was largely defenseless against it, plus Eren is still around. There’s now way he can survived right? He did manage to survive the attack from Levi by transferring his mind to his body. Will he get lucky again?

One Punch Man S2 – Episode 4: Recap & Review

Metal Bat

Episode 4, Metal Bat

It is revealed that when Garou was younger he was always a fan of the “bad guys.” He hated the popularity of the heroes and rooted against them. To him ” monsters were always the ones trying their best to win, but will lose all the time because they were seen as freaks.” I feel like this is suppose to tells us something about hero worship, but it was clear to me what the message was. Garou awakens without much memory of what happen when he encountered Saitama the night before.

Senior Centipede and Raffleseidon

Garou targets Watchdog Man and Metal Bat. Meanwhile, Saitama enters into a fighting tournament. He meets “Sour Face,” a former disciple of Bang. He reveals to Saitama that last years victor was a contestant named Wolfman, whose clearly Garou. Regardless, the real Wolfman was found tied up. The result is that a new rule was made to prevent “imposters.” The consequences of pretending to be another fighter keeps getting mentioned over and over. I’m assuming that it will become important later, however, I doubt Saitama would get banned.

The Elder Centipede

The Hero Association decides to assign S Class heroes to protect the officials. Metal Bat is charged with protecting Narinki, a sponsor of the Hero Association and his son. They are attacked by two monsters, Junior Centipede and Venus Mantrap. Metal Bat defeats them instantly. However, he’s attacked by Senior Centipede and Raffleseidon. Metal Bat takes on the two Demon level monsters by himself. When Metal Bat feels that he’s finished another monster, a Dragon Level named Elder Centipede.

Garou and Metal Bat face off

Garou arrives and is surprise to see that Metal Bat was knocked out. He demands Metal Bat fight him, regardless of the fact that Metal Bat is injured and Elder Centipede is rampaging. It seems that Garou doesn’t have any honor, ask he attacks Metal Bat in his weaken and distracted state. With Saitama fighting in the martial art tournament I don’t think he will save Metal Bat or kill the monster. That said, Genos is likely going to help.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 4: Recap & Review

Tanjiro admires the wisteria

Episode 4, Final Selection

Tanjiro is finally ready for the final selection. Urokodaki expresses that he didn’t plan on sending Tanjiro to the final selection, having grown tired of sending children to their deaths. He tells Tanjiro that a demon gets stronger with each human they consume. This will be important later. He gives Tanjiro a fox mask that has a protection spell. It is revealed that Sabito and Makomo are actually dead, explaining the ending from last week. Tanjiro heads to Mt. Fujikasane where he sees a number of teenagers.

One of the teenagers

It’s made clear which of the teens are the strongest and apparently everyone a facial scar of some kind. It’s unclear if the scars this a design feature or if it has story implications. Regardless, the goal is simple, survive for seven days and you pass. Tanjiro runs into the woods and is quickly ambushed by two demons. We finally get to see the fruits of the training that Tanjiro underwent. He uses his Water Style to kill them. The animation of the water style was spectacular and is reminiscent of the waves found in “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” woodblock print.

Tanjiro using his water style

He immediately smells another demon. Another applicant is being pursued by the massive demon. Unlike most of the other demon shown so far this one doesn’t look like a human with fangs. The demon has several arms that are wrapped around itself. Tanjiro rescues the applicant. The demon asks for the year and becomes enraged when he’s informed that it’s passed into another era. He reveals that it was Urokodaki that captured him 47 years ago and he has been seeking revenge ever since.

The massive demon

The demon is the one that killed Sabito and Makomo, along with eleven other students of Urokodaki. The mask that was suppose to protect them actually made them targets. The applicant abandons Tanjiro when he’s knocked down. Tanjiro uses his new training to reach the demons neck, managing to sever it unlike Sabito. This episode was basically perfect. I usually don’t notice the music but it was used to great effect. The effects of the water as I mentioned was a great stylistic addition. Were also given some important info regarding how to defeat demons, wisteria repels them and they use “Nichirin sword” to kill them. I’m excited to see what the other children bring to a fight.

The demon getting decapitated