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Toonami Blog #8: Big Battles Draw to a Close

Samurai Jack Episode 5

A lot of things went down in this episode, but the director Genndy Tartakovsky did a great job putting it together. First, Jack’s old partner in crime, the Scotsman, made a return, though only briefly as he was one-shotted by Aku within the first 5 minutes. He’s still around though as a spector thanks to some special revival magic from his sword, and plans to recruit Jack in the final effort to overthrow Aku. Then, Jack shows Ashi the truth about Aku and how he’s responsible for the chaos in the world. With her icy heart melted, she silently partners with Jack to save a group of children, who had been controlled by a chip device. After that, Ashi get’s captured and tortured by some wired guy in a robot. Just when you’re not sure how she’s going to get out, snaps and goes ape on her torturer, somehow overcoming her electrocution. She figures out how to turn the sound system off that’s controlling the children, but it shocks them unconscious, making Jack believe that they had died. His hallucinations call the dark samurai that’s been plauging him for so long, and beckons him, letting him know “it’s time.” Time for what exactly, we’ll have to see in the next episode, as Ashi searches for the man who showed her the truth. This whole episode took so many unexpected turns that I was on the edge of my seat. However, it was a delight to discover how each scene translated into the whole story. In a sense, it was like a box of chocolates! We’re about halfway through this season, and hopefully around the corner, we’ll get some answers about Jack’s mental condition.

Dragonball Super Episode 14/ Dragonball Z Kai Episode 113

The scrimmage between Beerus and Goku concludes in episode 14. Goku courageously stops a planet destroying energy ball from falling to the earth using his last ounce of strength. Beerus ends it with a flick to the head, alluding to finishing blow from their first fight when Goku wasn’t able to compete. Upon returning to earth, the destroyer god threatened to execute his judgement on the planet that denied him pudding, only to fall asleep due to fatigue. Planet earth escaped Beerus’s wrath for the time being but time will tell if he decides to cause ruin throughout the planet because of a missed meal. Episode 14 marks the end of the God of Destruction arc and serves to add anticipation for what’s to come. Action around Dragonball centers around breaking limits with each new foe. Traditionally in Z, a new transformation signifies dominance over a new opponent. What sets Super apart is that we can already see the ceiling of Super Saiyan God’s power. Enemies will be tougher and raw strength won’t be enough to win anymore. It’s going to take intelligence, luck, and a flashes of emotionally charged resolve, similar to what Goku displayed when defending against Beerus’s planet destroying energy bombs, for the Z fighters to become victorious. Though I don’t think it’s the best way to start a comeback series, it gives us something to look forward to, as we wait for the time when Goku and this new Super Saiyan God transformation will rise to the top of the power charts.

Speaking of disappointing transformations, let’s talk about Gohan’s in DBZ Kai. After he heals Videl with a senzu bean, he takes the stage against Kabito for his match. The assistant Kai provokes him to go Super Saiyan. Though it takes him a while, probably due to being rusty, Goku’s son does him one better and transforms into Super Saiyan 2, the form he used to defeat Cell seven years prior. Though the crowd sat in amazement, Vegeta wasn’t impressed, noting that Gohan wasn’t anywhere near how strong he was when he was younger. If his stint as the Great Saiyaman didn’t solidify his decline since his glory days, this observation certainly does. Unlike his father, Gohan doesn’t have the drive to battle and get stronger, preferring to try to live a peaceful scholastic life. As such he’s neglected his training to the point where he’s just a shell of his former self. Obviously this was done because Akira Toriyama, the series original creator, wanted to put Goku back in the limelight. Had Gohan kept up his training, he would have been the strongest fighter on Earth without question, but then there wouldn’t be a fair chance for any other heroes to shine. I suppose for storytelling purposes it’s excusable, but the original Super Saiyan 2 transformation was a key point in DBZ for myself and other fans of the series. While he does regain his abilities later on  I hope he can keep his abilities top notch further into Super . It’s hard to watch a great character not be their best!

Jo-Jo’s Bizzarre Adventure Episode 14 (Final)

Another battle of gods concludes in the final two episodes of Jo-Jo, which couldn’t have ended any better. First, they did a great job instilling fear in Kars’ new form, making it believe that he was truly unstoppable. Next, just when there seemed to be no hope, the situation was completely reversed for the better. It was also the ultimate test of JoJo’s mettel. As a fighter, he’s always been capable of outsmarting his foes with confidence, especially when he knows he has the upper hand. He didn’t break character when faced with an unbeatable enemy, and still came through for a happy ending. It’s a trait that gives him a place as one of my favorite shounen heroes. Even more satisfiying is that there was a happy ending so there’s closure to this arc with the series being done. The Bizzarre Adventure series is a big hit in Japan, and though I’m not as familiar with the manga, the anime has made me a fan. Thanks JoJo, it’s been a heck of a ride!

Sand Whale and Me Episode 5 (Final)

Episode 5 marks the end of of the ever quirky sand whale and Me. If you were confused trying to figure out what this show was even about, it looks like we finally get the point. The sniper soldier and our heroine successfully hunt a giant sand whale and celebrate in a fashion reminiscent of a Final Fanstay fight victory. Then, the scene cuts, with our heroine on the ground. She wakes up to discover an air raid on some sand whales, causing one of them to spit out the same cans of peas she’s been eating for the past few days. After picking one up and glaring at it in contempt, she finds the soldier head first in the ground after a surprise raid. In the final scene the gun girl finally achieves what she’s been trying to do since her first encounter with those sandy beasts: devouring it’s meaty remains. She takes a bite and savors the morsel. Victory, it appears, never tasted so sandy.

Even after the mini series was over, I’m still looking for the purpose of this show. What did the director want us to take away from this experience? Is it supposed to be a metaphor for entrepreneurship and innovation, which shows of the struggles of the trials and error one has to go through before achieving a desirable result in unexplored creative territory? Or is it just some weird tale the director wanted to tell just because he could? Who knows. We may never get the answer, and it’s possible that there isn’t one. All in all, if you like strange Japanese shows, this one is definitely for you.

Hunter X Hunter Episode 47

Our final curtain of combat closes with Kurapika wrapping things up (no pun intended) with the Phantom Troupe member Uvogin. His foe was confident in his brute strength, but Kurapika’s intuition and his Nen powered chains proved to be more than he could handle. Not only was he able to use his conjuring abilities, he also was able to utilize 100% control of all Nen abilities when he switched his eyes red. Outwitted and outmatched, Uvogin submitted to Kurapika, though he went out without disclosing any information about the rest of the Troupe members. With their strongest foe out of the way, Kurapika knew he was strong enough to defeat the rest of them with his abilities.

The blond haired kid has come a long way. A few weeks ago, he wasn’t aware of what Nen was, and he’s now one of the most powerful users. It’s slightly terrifying to see his fighting abilities. Series creator Yoshihiro Togashi doesn’t reveal how strong his characters from the start of the series, and decides to reveal it gradually through battles between opposing characters. We’ve seen what Gon and Killua are capable of, being super human kids with unlimited stamina. Kurapika has shown he has talent and can be deadly when prokoved, but after this battle, it’s possible he’s on par or in fact more powerful than at least Gon. I can’t wait to see more of what he can do!

 

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