That’s right folks, we have a double issue review thanks to convention and podcasting delays. Not going to do these in their normal SJA order since they are different in both issues, so we’ll just go alphabetically.
Barrage 2 & 3
The Little Prince – Interesting character quirks in chapter two. I wasn’t expecting Tiamat to be weak to girls like Yamcha in Dragon Ball. And Jino’s fear of Prince Barrage makes her spout “I’m sorry, please don’t hit me!” So if you thought that the prince was cooler than Astro, female servant punishment tells you otherwise. I did like that they just went gung-ho for the “Barrage is now Astro” reveal. I assumed it would’ve taken longer, so glad to be wrong in this case. The forshadowed surprise attack did help keep me interested. And will you look at that, Astro gets to keep his promise to the kids as long as he gets to be the prince and save the world. So, anyone taking bets as to when Barrage comes back from the dead?
The Prince’s Job – So the important thing is that Jino wasn’t just introduced as fodder character. Glad she’s safe, but even though she know’s it’s Astro and not Barrage, she still acts the same way (trauma). Now Astro gets to see the world outside of the castle, as he and Tiamat are sent to deal with some bandits. Astro regrets being away from his family so soon, but soon learns of the hardships these villagers face. When the villagers attack, Astro just rushes in, though he doesn’t have any real battle experience besides the previous two chapters. I enjoyed that Tiamat being a soldier took out everyone of the fodder villains while Astro took on this week’s big bad. Also, Tiamat can shoot out his blade. Neat. And who’s the guy that wants to boil the bandit?! We end with Tiamat agreeing to teach Astro the ways of the for-I mean how to wield the Orgue.
Bleach 493 & 494
Light of Happiness -Quilge transforms and just obliterates Ayon. He also takes is left arm for himself. What? The arrancar try to hide Chad and Inoue along with themselves, but he quickly cuts down their barrier and begins to absorb them. Ichigo comes in for the rescue naturally, and already figures out how to stop the absorption process. Back in Soul Society, looks like the quincies took the first move.
The Closing Chapter Part One – Really nice colorspread of the Soul Society captains. Anyway, pillars of fire sprout all over Soul Society. Soldiers gather at the base of the pillars to meet the enemy, but many are taken out very easily. The invading group is revealed to be the Stern Ritter (and why am I not suprised that there’s a token attractive girl in the group). Seven minutes in the attack, and over 1000 soul reapers already dead. And of course, last panel featuring Ichigo just to say that he’s in this chapter.
Naruto 587 & 588
Nine O’Clock – We get an easy to understand explanation of how the Izanami works to get the infinite loop status along with the reasons of developing it. Itachi used it on Kabuto because he saw his former self in Kabuto and wanted to change him. Kabuto still does not grasp what is going on and remains trapped in the technique. On the outskirts of battle, Kabuto’s childhood friend Urushi remembers him and wishes for his safe return home.
Burden of a Kage – Itachi will now stop the Edo Tensei, destroying himself and the other ninja zombies. In the meantime, the Five Kage are struggling against Madara’s minions. Stamina is a key issue, and Tsunade’s ability is greatly draining hers. As she falters, the Raikage loses focus for an instant and is caught by Madara. Tsuchikage is able to save him from defeat in the nick of time. Pretty intense battle moments, and a great combination attack counter. But Madara has a final trick up his sleeve: the Perfect Susano’o. Will Itachi make it in time?
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 203 & 204
Eve of Attack – Rikuo is concerned about Aotabou and Kurotabou’s situation with the Chubu yokai. Rikuo’s friends arrive and are surprised to find Yura there, along with other onmyoji. They discuss the status of Abe no Seimei along with his perception by the world. Kuro and Ao return, which means it’s time for Rikuo’s night parade to take off.
Ressurection – Now we see Nue’s night parade, which consists not of just yokai, but demons as well. And before Rikuo can set off for battle, it seems that his mom wants to have a heart to heart talk with him. At the same times, we get glimpses of Gitsune wondering what will happen when she meets Nue. Rikuo’s mother tells him of a village of half yokai where her father now rests. Rikuo vows to visit once this battle is finally over. It seems that we’re heading on towards the home stretch/final battle for Nura. Think two Shonen Jump series will end in the same year? It could happen.
One Piece 668 & 669
Pirate Alliance – The final “From the Decks of the World” cover story showcasing Whitebeard and Ace’s graves. Someone was kind enough to place the newspaper of Luffy along with some sake for Ace. And all this time, I thought his name was “Portgas” and here it’s “Portgaz.” Luffy quickly agrees to join Law’s pirate alliance, surprising the rest of the crew. While they are at first against it, it seems flattery gets Luffy everywhere. To make good on their alliance, Law swaps back their bodies…except for Nami. Lots of great gags here, including Robin, Chopper’s aftermath, and Nami’s remorse. Law gets more than he bargained for as Luffy makes these demands not part of the alliance, but Usopp does a great job of explaning and making Law see that it’s no use to argue. First, Law gets a new Chopper hat, but instead he gets a Chopper sword charm. It’s funny how Luffy just casually says that besides him, Zoro and Sanji can use haki on his crew. While the Marines charge in to Caesar’s lab, Caesar himself gives orders to release his gruesome creature, simply known as Slime. That is definitely not a Pokémon.
Commence Operation – Oh look, Team Zoro is still alive. Who would’ve guessed? (Everyone did.) So what exactly happened? Well, this flashback will help! The Yeti brothers knock them out with gas and break the ground beneath them to fall onto ice spikes. Before Zoro loses consciousness, he cuts the spike plateau allowing them to fall (still far) down onto the snow. Before they get captured by Caesar’s men, Sanji revives and makes quick work of them. Back in the present, they find the samurai! He’s not just stuck there because he’s freezing. It seems that his torso has fallen into the lake. The three agree to help and after that, Sanji wants to challenge him to a duel. Before they reach the lake, the run into what they think is a mountain. Caesar explains that Slime is the manifestation of the chemical weapon that destroyed Punk Hazard. Back at the lab, the Marines continue to struggle (well, mostly just Tashigi struggling with Smoker’s abilities). And Law somehow uses his powers to transport himself and Chopper to the back door entrance trying to sneak in. But of course, you can’t sneak when Luffy is about, as he, Franky, and Robin come crashing the party.
Toriko 188 & 189
Decisive Battle at Chowlin Temple – Master Chin hurriedly flies back to Chowlin Temple to stop Chiyo’s rampage. Turns out Otake’s stabbing was from a Revival Knife, a taboo art. Thank goodness, because it’s not like Komatsu hasn’t nearly died often enough in this series. Arriving, Master Chin prepares to go all out and isolates his battle with Chiyo to the air. I was not expecting her to get the upper hand so fast, especially not with the first attack. But Toriko arrives, and now he’s a Super Saiyan?
Master of Honoring Food – With Toriko’s arrival, Master Chin uses his techniques to create a spoon dome, further isolating his battle with Chiyo. Glad that his appearance didn’t change for more than a chapter length. Being able to honor the food, Toriko easily takes care of the golem, and not even using his full strength. The spoon dome opens, but Master Chin falls.
Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration 2
The Fight Merchant – Looks like Kanryu has hired a lot of people to take out the legendary Battousai. Though, instead of going together, they draw straws to decide the order. At the Kamiya dojo, we discover that Kaoru can’t cook, even though she’s been learning from Kenshin. The first opponent arrives and disrupts their breakfast, demolishing the door with just his fist. He introduces himself as Sagara Sanosuke, the fight merchant (of course, fans of the original will simply shorten this to Sano). Challenging Kenshin, his fists swing but do not connect. It seems that Kenshin will not really fight him since he’s not there to hurt Kaoru and Yahiko, or take the dojo. But after revealing the Two Layers strike and issuing promise to obey one command should he lose, Kenshin agrees to the fight. Sano goes to break the sword, but Kenshin disrupts the technique by striking Sano with both his sword and scabbard. With the fight done, a mysterious figure appears, and discovers that Kenshin no longer kills. Could he be the next opponent? Fulfilling the promise of the duel, Kenshin requests that Sano use his strength to help people. Looks like Sano will be staying at the dojo. And we get another mysterious figure in shadows at the end?