Manga - The Other White Meat

Back for more are you? While Bleach continues to progress towards the conclusion of this arc, Naruto has settled into a few weeks of origin story material that I’m sure people have been dying to know about since the start of his rise to power and probably since they started noticing the resemblances to the fourth hokage statue carved into the mountain overlooking the village. For your recaps on the developments in this keep reading after the break, but in the meantime let me recommend another anime/manga series that I really have enjoyed over the years.

I’m sticking to some of the more commonly known series (as you can probably tell from my recommendation of Fullmetal Alchemist last week) and along those lines you should really check out Cowboy Bebop if you haven’t in the past. Ever seen the show Firefly? Enjoy the BOOM! Studios comic Cold Space? Ever found that you like westerns and science fiction? You’d like Cowboy Bebop.

I think the best way to describe it would be a space western with style. The story revolves around a ship of bounty hunters making their way in the world of outer space. Spike Spiegel is the main character, a former member of a major crime syndicate with a variety of skills that make him dangerous but also a man haunted by his past. His righthand man, and owner of the ship they pursue bounties on, Jet Black, is a former law officer turned bounty hunter to pursue his own form of justice. Through their journeys the crew increases to include an on-again/off-again love interest, a young computer genius and, of course, a dog.

The entire series has jazz and beat influences, making it unique compared to other things I’ve seen. The characters are complex and it does a nice job bouncing from episodic content to continuing an ultimate storyline. This allows for some sense of continuation, but you could still watch most episodes individually easily enough. In that way it reminds me of the format of X-Files and the way that plotline went back and forth. Either way, this is a series that has been around for a long time and is really just plain entertaining.


Chapter 411 held few surprises as some of the people that had been hinted at a few chapters ago showed up. The action took place in two places: Aizen in Karakura Town and Ichigo as he battles within his soul to power up again. Starting with Aizen, he is about to mow down Ichigo’s friends in the street when a character named Don Kanojii shows up. He is essentially a TV personality with some limited spirit energy that allows him to act like an idiot on TV and be famous for being a spiritual medium and exorcist.

He fires a kidou attack at Aizen, stopping him out of curiosity. I suppose he is stronger then I give him credit for since he doesn’t immediately collapse under the weight of Aizen’s reiatsu. Just before he can land a direct hit on Aizen that would result in nothing more than Kanojii’s immediate death, Vice-Captain Rangiku shows up and uses her zanpaktou’s ability to pull him back. She has some weird romantic history with former Captain Gin (currently Aizen’s last remaining ally) that has never been explained. I’m sure we will learn more about that now.

Ichigo, if you recall, just had the materialized version of his zanpaktou pull his hollow form out of his soul so that he can see that which he is terrified of. For the first time Ichigo sees the new mask he gained while fighting in Hueco Mundo. When he asks if the hollow will once again be his enemy, Tensa Zangetsu (the materialized swords name) says no, they will both be his enemy. The two swords merge in the only surprising move of the chapter. We are left with Aizen and Gin vs. Rangiku and Ichigo vs. Ogihci/Tensa Zangetsu for next week. I am going to predict…3 more chapters before the (hopefully) final fight between SSJ4 Ichigo and Aizen will take place, ending this arc once and for all.


Chapter 501 continues the story of Naruto’s birth. The masked figure that has attacked Kushina and Minato is assumed to be Uchiha Madara, and his desire is to force the release of the nine-tailed demon fox from its current jinchurikii, Uzumaki Kushina, in order to attack Konoha. The figure throws Naruto at Minato who catches the newborn and transports him to a safe location. By the time the 4th Hokage can return to defend his wife Madara has already released the fox. Minato manages to save Kushina and teleport away again but Madara doesn’t bother to pursue as he has what he came for.

The chapter ends with Minato in full battle dress preparing to stop the fox and Madara (again, presumably) from destroying the village. We already know how this is going to end based on the beginnings of Naruto. Minato will die sealing the fox inside of Naruto, presumably with help from Kushina who is from the clan that created the sealing jutsu. There is one new wrinkle in that the story does mention another baby that has been born. The name isn’t revealed unless I missed it, but it very well could be Sasuke. Perhaps in addition to the origin story of Naruto this flashback sequence will reveal how their destinies were intertwined from birth leading to the inevitable conflict between the two powerful ninja.

Both stories seem to be closing in on an arc ending battle, but I suspect Bleach will get there first. Naruto has too many active sideplots still that will take some time to play out. Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you next week!