Anime

Weekly Shonen – Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 175

Sendai Colony, Part 2

Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 175 concludes the battle between Yuta Okkotsu and special grade cockroach: Kurourushi with an unusual ending. Yuta cuts the arm off of the special grade, then pins it to a rock with his sword. Yuta overwhelms Kurourushi at first forcing the curse to be on the defensive. Yuta is able to deduce that he’s being watched by Ryu Ishigori and Takako Uro. He realizes that they’re likely players with “high scores,” but he doesn’t want to reveal that he can use the “reverse cursed technique.” Kurourushi asks him why he’s “interfering.” Yuta responds by questioning “why he’s eating people,” to which the curse says it’s because he likes “the taste of iron.” Kurourushi then uses Blinding Earthen Insect Trance which surrounds Yuta with a tornado of insects.

Yuta exterminates the insects, but when he and the curse clash he’s hit by a projectile from the sword. Suddenly, two cockroaches emerge from Yuta’s shoulder. As he kills the insects, the special grade hits Yuta directly in the chest with his sword. Yuta is damage greatly and coughs up blood. Ryu and Takako assume that it’s “over.” With no choice remaining, Yuta uses reverse cursed technique and converts it into “output,” delivered via his mouth. As Ryu notes, it’s a gross way to kill Kurourushi but it was necessary. Takako says to Yuta that it “seems like you can use reverse curse technique” shocking Yuta as the environment distorts.

Yuta Okkotsu is more powerful and skilled now than he was in Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0. His abilities have improved enough to largely dominate a special grade curse. In the end however, even Yuta had to use reverse cursed technique. Keeping his abilities a secret from future opponents is a sound strategy but it does have it’s dangers. It’s not made clear why Yuta wishes to hide his abilities but I can only assume he wishes to surprise his enemies. It’s too late now. With Rika still hidden, Yuta may only have one wild card left. Takako seems to have reality distorting or altering abilities. Yuta will probably need to use Rika leaving the civilians in danger.

Anime

Weekly Shonen Recap and Review : Sanji abandons his Germa suit, Yuji gets Judged guilty, and Shigaraki reaches Star and Stripe

One Piece Chapter 1031

Warrior of Science

In Chapter 1031 of One Piece, Eustass Kid and Law manage to hurt Big Mom. She emerges from the rubble using her Soul Pocus ability to extract the souls of nearby Beast Pirates and create Homies out of the metal beams. She claims it been over a decade since she’s felt “this much pain.” She challenges them to come for her throne if they can and grows larger. Elsewhere, Apoo tries and fails to convince Drake to join him. Their fight is interrupted when Yamato burst through the wall. She can’t slow down and barrels through.

Apoo and the Numbers, Fuga, Inbi, and Zanki give chase forcing Drake to follow as well. Meanwhile, CP0 locate Nico Robin and Brook. While escaping thanks to the Minks, Robin wonders why the elite CP0 are in Wano. In the brothel, Sanji is accused of attacking a young woman. Sanji is confused what happened. Before he can figure it out, Queen arrives. Unsure if Luffy would prefer a Sanji that can’t harm a woman or one that’s a “soldier of science,” Sanji destroys his Raid Suit. After telling Zoro to kill him if loses his humanity, he attacks Queen with Diable Jambe: Hell Memories.

I’m still disappointed with the lack of focus in this arc. Moving from fight to fight and scene to scene is irritating. I would prefer if Oda just focused on one fight at a time. He could occasionally switch to other characters to keep things fresh but I’m having difficulty getting in to any of these fights. I’m not sure how I feel about Sanji’s fight. I don’t believe he’s capable of hitting a woman and I can’t imagine he thinks Luffy would ever prefer a heartless fighter over a mindless killer. I think this has more to due with Sanji having an identity crises.


Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 164

Tokyo No. 1 Colony, Part 4

Jujutsu Kaisen continues to surprise me. I was certain this was going to be another knock down drag out battle. Only for Gege Akutami to introduce the domain expansion version of a courtroom. This is obviously necessary considering Yuji cannot kill Higuruma. Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 164 adds more to the lore of the series. According to Master Tengen, Domain Expansion use to be “more common.” The “deadly can’t miss” Domains of the current series, is a modern era invention. In the past, Domain Expansions simply forced targets to follow the curse users rules.

It makes since that Higuruma would uses his Domain Expansion to imitate a courtroom. What is surprising here is Yuji’s intellect. He’s able to figure out how to rules work even though he may have made the wrong choice in the end. Higuruma explains that they each have “one chance to make a statement.” The shikigami he calls, Judgeman, will determine the “verdict.” Higuruma claims he doesn’t know what the outcome is if Yuji is found guilty. Regardless, Yuji has three choices: Stay silent, confess, or deny. He’s permitted to lie if he must. Higuruma notes an obvious truth; “if everyone told the truth there be no need for trials.”

Yuji deduces he should tell a half truth. He’s accused of entering a pachinko parlor and gambling. Yuji is guilty, but decides to leave out the gambling part and claim he only “took a dump.” Yuji is found guilty of “unlawful entry.” Due to the legal loopholes regarding gambling it was possible for Yuji to avoid guilt if he “denied it.” Anyway, Judgeman announces Yuji’s guilt and the domain disappears. Higuruma attacks Yuji with a gavel that alters its size. Yuji can’t control his curse energy, which he considers a good thing.


My Hero Academia Chapter 332

State-of-the-art Hypersonic Intercontinental cruise

I argued that I thought the limits on Star and Stripe Quirk was enough to balance of her potentially broken powers. I was starting to waver on that opinion before Shigaraki survived the State-of-the-art hypersonic intercontinental cruise punch. Star and Stripe has ONE over the top Quirk, Shigaraki has hundreds. Early in the chapter, Star and Stripe is told she compares herself to All Might too much. Compared to her idol she’s behind. This was a flashback, so her current ability isn’t only greater than All Might (his powers are gone), it’s could be argued she surpassed him at his peak. Which admitted, we haven’t seen in the main series.

In the previous chapter, Star and Stripe created an air version of herself that’s “1,000 times bigger than herself.” This figure is invisible to Shigaraki, but he senses it’s presence. Using this ability she’s able to hit Shigaraki with a devastating blow from her Super Move, Fist Bump to the Earth. She concludes the only way to defeat Shigaraki is to “bust him down to atoms.” While continuing to hold him in place with the laser move United Hyper-Max Output Laser: Keraunos. In this moment, Star and Stripe reminded me not of All Might but Zeus. Regardless, Shigaraki can’t move but has deduced her plan.

Shigaraki finally reaches Star and Stripe

She calls to American Military Commander Agpar. He initially chastises her for being too independent, but then praises her for making American “shine.” Using her previous, air formation, she grabs a number of Tiamat missiles. She smashes them into Shigaraki, creating a massive crater. However, Shigaraki used his Decay ability to make a hole in the ground beneath him. Avoiding his likely death. As Shigaraki ascends toward her, Star and Stripe’s ally tells her to destroy his ship along with Shigaraki. The act would have killed him as well. Unwilling to kill her comrade, she hesitates. The final page shows Shigaraki grabbing her face.

Is this the end of Star and Stripe? I hope not. Endeavor was shown briefly but I don’t think it was for nothing. I can’t imagine he doesn’t rescue her. Maybe she have some scars from Shigaraki’s decay but the speed of Quirk would likely kill her instantly. Of course he could try to take her Quirk, which from what we’ve seen takes a little time. Either way, My Hero Academia is stepping up the action.

Anime

Bleach Special One Shot

Howl from the Jaws of Hell

It’s the 20th anniversary of Bleach and Weekly Shonen Jump’s 35th issue decided to celebrate with a special Bleach One Shot manga chapter. The last chapter of Bleach saw the Kurosaki family open the Kurosaki Clinic, Yasutora “Chad” Sado becomes a famous boxer, Uryu Ishida became a doctor, Ichigo Kurosaki and Orihime Inoue have a son, Kazui Kurosaki, while, Rukia Kuchiki and Renji Abarai have a daughter, Ichika Abarai. The Bleach One Shot opens in the World of the Living. Apparently, Kazui keeps leaving his house during the night to meet some strange man. He takes him to a shrine and opens a gate to Soul Society.

It’s not clear how Kazui knows how to open this gate, not to mention how his powers work. If we assume his power is a combination Orhime’s and Ichigo’s then he may have very few limits. One issue I’ve always had with the children of powerful characters like Naruto (Boruto) and Ichigo is the next generation is always more powerful and their parents were already overpowered to begin with. In Soul Society, Ichika trains with Madarame at his Martial Arts Dojo. She’s arrogant, claiming that Madarame has “improved.” For his part, Madarame is well . . . abusive. He keeps calling her a “little shit.” Maybe I’m getting too old but I didn’t like him calling her names, at least “little shit.”

Ichika notices an odd hollow
Ichika notices an odd hollow

A New Soul Society

Anyway, Soul Society is preparing for the Soul Funeral Festival. Renji tells Ichigo that it’s a ritual that takes place every 12 years after the death of a Captain. Kubo uses the fact that Captains rarely die to cover the fact that we never heard of this ritual. It’s not a feasible argument, but it’s not necessary to make the argument either. I would have simply made the Soul Funeral Festival a new ritual and I think it still would have worked. After the Thousand Year War, Captain Commander, Captain Unohana, and Captain Unitake all died. Each one will receive a ritual. The vice captains capture a hollow in the world of the living and kill it in front of the grave of the captain. While the ritual may be an old tradition, Soul Society has been developing new technologies, TV’s, phones, and social media.

Rukia mentions that Soul Society now has TV’s invented by Urahara. Captain Kurotsuchi takes issue with this assumption. While using his new invention, holograms projected from a creepy bug. Kurotsuchi has implanted one of these bugs in each of the divisions barracks. Kurotsuchi tells the Vice-Captains it “time to capture the Hollow.” Kubo introduces two new Vice-Captains, Rindo and YuYu. Rindo is deaf and Yuyu has an unhealthy obsession with gyarus. Ichika sneaks into the World of the Living, where she has little time rejoice as a odd looking hollow appears unnoticed. None of the hollows have reiatsu making it impossible to detect without seeing them. Rindo’s Shikai is interesting, because he’s deaf, he can’t speak and needs to draw on his sword to give commands.

Rinko’s Shikai seems to be inspired by origami

Szayelaporro Granz returns

It appears he’s writes “taka (Hawk),” and his Shikai releases a group of hawks that tear the flesh of a hollow. Yuyu’s powers seem to be new. She doesn’t have a sword, instead uses her well manicured nails to create bear that takes chunks out of the hollows. Akon gets a moment. The third seat of the 12th division was rare in combat during the Bleach series. As the Vice-President of Shinigami Research and Development Institute, Akon uses science more than a sword. He pours a substance on the ground, he counts a series of numbers then utters the command “Ron (melt).” When Renji prepares to join the fray, he’s stopped by an old enemy, Szayelaporro Granz. The former 8th Espada was killed by Mayuri Kurotsuchi way back in the Hueco Mundo arc.

He’s been freed from Hell. When Szayelaporro seeks revenge on Renji and wants to start with his daughter. Ichigo interferes. Szayelaporro who never actually fought Ichigo threatens to kill him. Will-o-wisp from hell begin to fill the air in Soul Society. Kubo introduces the concept of “Reii” or “spiritual authority.” According to Shunsui, it’s a “unit of measure that used to be utilized by nobles,” . . . “it represents the concentration of reiatsu that resides in reishi.” the average division member is a Reii grade of 20, with Vice-Captains between 4 and 5, and Captains grade 3 or higher. When a soul reaper dies their bodies reishi returns to the Earth in Soul Society. However, Captain have a high concentration of reiatsu making a return to the Earth impossible.

Is Bleach Special One Shot just the beginning

In order for them to return the “Soul Funeral Ritual” must be performed. However instead of being sent to the Earth they’re sent to Hell. In the World of the Living, Szayelaporro explains the rest. The balance “has been broken.” Soul Society sent too much reiatsu to Hell, allowing the mouth of Hell to be forced open from the other side. Somehow Szayelaporro is able to return as a result. The chapter ends with a title page that seems to announce a new Bleach arc, Howl from the Jaws of Hell arc.

Considering how this chapter ended, I willing to bet that there will be at least a mini series at some point. Although, I’m also hoping that it is. Bleach Special One Shot has expanded the universe, but some of the additions felt forced. Tite Kubo’s art remains on of, if not the best in manga. Kubo seems to want at least one character with an disability. It was Tosen (blindness) now it’s Rindo (deafness.) Adding new ways to perform Shikai, non-sword combat, new characters, and ideas, Tite Kubo has inject new life into his stories franchise. It would be a shame if he didn’t complete the arc.

Weekly Anime Round-Up

Weekly Anime Round-Up (May 10th – May 16th): Simping for Snipers, Battle shonen’s male-centrism, and Anime’s relationship with media

Redgeek reviewed chapter 311 of My Hero Academia. The shocking ending of the last chapter revealed that Deku is being hunted by a woman with a sniper Quirk. She also has Overhaul with her. The villain isn’t conscience and doesn’t seem dangerous, not to mention that Shigaraki and Mr. Compress destroyed his arms. Redgeek speculates why he might be present:

we know he wants to heal his mafia boss so… What if he wants to make some sort of deal with Deku? Maybe Overhaul tells him everything he knows about the main baddies’ current location and/or what they’re up to and he convinces Endeavor to let him heal Eri’s grandpa.

Redgeek

Battle Shonen’s male-centrism

Alise Miller explores women in shonen. She points out women are often ” the damsel in distress, the “strong” female who gets mocked for being too “manly,” the faux action girl who’s talked up as badass but never seems to do anything important . . .” Miller points out something that I’ve noticed, even when female characters are considered good fighters when it comes to the Big Bad they’re sidelined. While she credits Black Clover for “making some strides,” with female characters, they still fall into typical shonen tropes. She writes:

The start of Black Clover gave me some reason to be excited for the women onscreen. Women fight competently alongside the men instead of being cast aside. . . However, the kind of screen time girls and guys get is clearly different. Many men, including the secondary characters, show significant character growth throughout the series.

Alise Miller

Anime and the media

Scott over at mechanical anime reviews writes about the relationship between the media and anime. I avoid discussing the often childish gatekeeping and oversensitive fanboys that can’t tolerate even mild criticism of their favorite anime, not to mention the troll that deliberately triggers fanboys for clicks. Scott notes:

The nitpicking can come too far though. Especially with articles recently focused on the growth of the industry or articles about certain concepts. I think when talking about anime fandom in general, there is something wild about how people get defensive about their positions. I remember seeing some buzz recently where an older anime fan attacked the article for explaining how the anime fandom has exploded recently when that line was not even the point of the article the person wrote in the first place? Audience matters when writing an article because it is hard to write an article about everyone

Scott
Manga

One Piece Chapter 903: Is Luffy now the fifth emperor?

The 903rd chapter of One Piece, “The Fifth Emperor” focuses on the aftermath of the Strawhat’s battle with the Big Mom pirates. One Piece is one of if not the best action anime/manga out there and it’s often a pleasure to read those chapters. However, Oda does excel at telling a story that effective builds the One Piece universe, reminding the readers what’s at stake and how large the world actually is.

After a major arc many pirates receive different amounts in what’s called a bounty. For those who may not know, a “bounty is issued by a government official or by the Marines.” It’s amount is determined by the strength or the danger level the pirate presents.

Most pirates actually like bounties as it’s potentially high amount is a symbol of their strength to the world. The bounty is a tangible symbol of the stories progression. For example in the beginning of the series Luffy was excited to receive his first bounty, which after defeating several top pirates in East Blue was 30 million berry.

Watching his bounty and his crew-mates bounties increase represented their grow both in strength and experience. In this chapter Sanji’s bounty increases to 330 million berry, he’s joyful because it has surpassed Zoro’s 320 million berry bounty. However, he’s not so happy that his bounty seemed to increase due to his familial connections.

Another tool that Oda uses to expand the world and basically recap the recently ended arc is the newspapers. This chapter shows several major characters reading about the exploits of the Strawhat pirates, one of the first news items the paper reveals to the masses is that Luffy now “commands” a fleet of 5000 subordinates, called the “Straw Hat Grand Fleet.” This fleet is formed by seven organizations that have pledge to serve under Luffy.

The fleet’s membership includes, seven divisions, the Beautiful Pirates are First Division and are commanded by Cavendish. The Second Division is led by Bartolomeo and features his Barto Club, the Third Division features the pirate crew, the Happo Navy, the Fourth Division, the Ideo Pirates lead by Ideo, the Fifth Division is headed by the Tontatta Tribe, and their armed forces the Tonta Corps.

The New Giant Warrior Pirates are a five member pirate crew that make up the Sixth Division, lead by Hajrudin. Finally, the Yonta Maria Grand Fleet that features 56 ships, they’re the Seventh Division. We see that Dalton, Dr. Kureha, Crocodile, Cavendish, Bartolomeo, the Firetank Pirates, Blackbeard, Van Augur, Doc Q, Avalo Pizarro and Princess Vivi.

We get to see Koby and Helmeppo as they save the Riku family. I’ve been excited to see the progression of these two, the series obviously focuses on pirates not marines and only in conflict do we get a since of their strength. Helmeppo now possesses Kenbunshoku Haki, and Koby is strong enough to deflect torpedo’s underwater, he’s now a Captain.

The series now heads into the “Reverie Arc,” the 13th story arc of the series and will focus on the royalty gathering for Reverie. This chapter revealed so much and I would recommend reading it, some highlights included Sanji receiving a Raid Suit, Zeus abandoned Big Mom for Nami, Kaido is angered at Luffy for ruining his operations, Big Mom is angry that Morgan (the newspaper writer) suggested that Luffy had defeated her.

The World Economic Journal calls Luffy the fifth Emperor, placing him in the league with the Yonko, Shanks, Big Mom, Kaido and Blackbeard. Brook reveals that he made an error in reporting Luffy’s bounty earlier, and that it’s actual 1.5 Billion berry bounty, the largest known so far in the series.