How interesting, these recent chapters have been extremely cool. While the story of what Tobi exactly plans to do has been covered in bits here and there and has been progressing slowly this arc, I am quite content with Masashi Kishimoto’s pacing. The content of this Shinobi War arc has been of high quality. There may be certain characters some readers may not care about, but Kishimoto is handling them nicely. By Kishimoto concluding the stories of some of the secondary and tertiary characters, it may indicate that Kishimoto has started concluding the story of Naruto. If Naruto really is on its way to ending, Kishimoto may have already thought up the ending and is now spending time on constructing this Shinobi War into something memorable and fleshing out all or most of the characters in Naruto – it could explain why this arc feels like a lot of thought has been put into it. Though you never know, anything can happen, the manga may not end after this War O.o.
I loved this chapter. This chapter embodies and expresses just how much Naruto has developed and why he is such a great shounen hero. Even when the Kyuubi, which is in a way part of Naruto (“housed” inside Naruto’s soul), is trying to add doubt, fear and hopelessness to Naruto’s resolve, Naruto still manages to brush all that off and convey just how focused and confident he is – the last panel of this chapter was absolutely amazing. Naruto doing what he does best; focusing only on what he sees in front of him and overcoming any obstacle in way to reach it. Not concerning himself about what is right or wrong, not worrying about success or failure, not thinking about what is logical or illogical, just purely believing in himself (that he can do it), and having the guts to follow through with that belief no matter what. In his eyes, impossibility is just a wall [for him to smash through with his Rasengan]. It’s hard for me not to want to believe in him, especially when he has overcome himself and all the suffering he has been through (it’s not an easy thing to do). Naruto believing in himself so much that you also want to believe in him. And maybe it’s because of that overwhelming and inspirational will and spirit (and probably also his charismatic personality) that I admire Naruto so much and hold him as one of my favourite anime/manga characters.
Oh Naruto, why are you so cool? Even saying you want to do something about the “hate” the Kyuubi carries, how absurd and stupid, but that’s exactly why I like you so much =D.
Anyway there are a lot of panels featuring the full moon this chapter – is something going to happen with the moon soon? And are Itachi and Nagato connected to some plan Tobi has? It certainly does seem like that. I did like how Itachi and Nagato are acting like best buddies now =P.
The build-up to the killer of the Medical Shinobi this chapter was pretty cool. I do like how Kishimoto threw out hints as to who is could be – the “half-shading” of some character’s faces – you would probably think a certain character when you see a half white and half black face =P (or is it just me reading too much into things? =/). I was curious as to why Kishimoto would make that suspicious guy at the Medic Base SO suspicious when we first see him, I started to wonder if there was something more sinister going on. This actually made me suspicious of Neji. I was 99% convinced that Neji was the Medic Shinobi killer when this came:
How convenient to just stroll in and ask everyone “what’s going on here?” My suspicion radar just jumped then. Kishimoto doesn’t reveal things so obviously, so when he so obviously started to paint that dodgy (love-struck) shinobi as the killer, I had a feeling something was up. And the Neji that was covered in this chapter did appear like a fake or not exactly himself (it’s was probably intended by Kishimoto) – too serious and saying too many convenient things, ie. “I’ll find our spy”. Even though I expected “Neji” to be the “killer” in the end, I was not expecting that suspicious shinobi to be love-struck with Sakura and to be stalking her waiting to deliver her a love letter (quite shocking indeed). I also didn’t know why “Neji” was killing the medical shinobi – the thought that it was Zetsu transformed did cross my mind, but I was leaning more along the lines of Neji being mind controlled – Kishimoto has trolled his readers many times before, so I wouldn’t put this past him =/.
As soon as I found out the “Neji” at the Medic Base wasn’t the real Neji, I had a pretty good idea who that fake was.
I found it quite hilarious how at the start of the chapter, that love-struck shinobi called the person Sakura loves a “great guy”. How ironic it was when Sasuke’s face appeared in Sakura’s mind – it’s almost as if Kishimoto is expressly saying that Sasuke is anything but a “great guy”. The fact that Sakura frowned at the thought of Sasuke once she heard that comment make it even more apparent. Sakura does care for Sasuke, but she realises how far gone Sasuke is and how deeply rooted he is in his hatred (that he is even beyond her saving him). Sakura may have loved Sasuke and she may still be stuck in the past and attached to those feelings she has for Sasuke, but Sakura has shown to have accepted the reality of what is and has acknowledged that the current Sasuke is not the “Sasuke” she once knew and fell in love with (but then again Sakura never truly understood Sasuke and only fell in love with the perception she had of Sasuke).
Sakura is a cool character and I like her, that’s why this chapter for me was amazingly great. I did think when I read chapter 536 that Kishimoto wouldn’t end up showing Sakura, especially her in action, this arc, but boy did Kishimoto make me eat my words. I was so stoked when Sakura noticed the mistake by the “fake Neji” when he referred to Tonton as a human. She handled the situation incredibly (not even flinching when she realised what was going on) and even baiting the “fake Neji” in until, BAAAAMM!!! She really did let him have a seat – that scene felt so good when it came =). Kishimoto went even further than to only convey how Sakura has developed emotionally and physically this chapter, he also highlighted how skilled Sakura is mentally – the fact that she pieced together information she had with the current situation and came up with the answer to how the Zetsu Clone’s transformation works. Hell Kishimoto even took that further and showed that Sakura can pick out a liar. Shrewd and brutal, Sakura was totally badass this chapter, ❤ (I just cannot dislike her character).
A shame the Sakura coverage wasn’t longer but I’m still satisfied with this and who knows Sakura may still get more coverage this arc – I certainly am excited and am looking forward to it.
This scene hahah, how sad:
Poor shinobi, all they wanted to do was to take a slash. Killed while urinating, so cruel =(.
Kishimoto was even able to show off some of Hinata’s resolve this chapter. Unlike Sakura who only began to understand Naruto in Part 2 and yet still doesn’t quite fully understand him, Hinata understood Naruto since long before anyone, and is now displaying just how much she cares for and admires him (“Will of Fire”? more like “Will of Naruto” =P). Oh Naruto, how long will it take until you realise just how Hinata feels about you (her actions during the Pein Invasion arc should have yelled it out loud enough).
Now that the whole Shinobi Alliance is in panic, I’m real curious as to what counter-strategy Shikaku will come up with. It was great seeing Shikaku centering himself and focusing – you just know something badass is going to happen from him. Konohagakure (and Kumogakure) really does have incredible Shinobi.
This chapter completes things off with another great development – Raikage and Tsunade!! Naruto vs Raikage next chapter – oh boy, I can’t wait.
Found this hilarious:
Killer Bee is such an awesome character. How refreshing he is for the shounen genre. I have to say, one of Kishimoto’s best decisions for Part 2 Naruto was introducing a character like Killer Bee. Killer Bee adds so much character, humour, style, flow, badassness, and bromance to the manga (with Jiraiya gone, a character like this was desperately needed =P). I even have to applaud Kishimoto’s handling of the Kumogakure Shinobi – just like Killer Bee, they add a whole lot of badassness to the manga.
Looking forward to next week’s colour opening pages. The main players have taken center stage and things about to get even more serious =D.