A darkness ignored by everyone, existences forgotten by all, power sought for control, and voices dampened from fear; the tailed beast chained by the whims of man and entrapped to meaningless conflict created by humans. Within their prisons, chains of hate weigh them down but within their confines deep in the darkness, an echo of hope resounds radiantly within a ray of light; one man, one shinobi reaches his hands out, in hopes for change, and for a present filled with peace and understanding he and many seek, he steps forward and challenges the past, Uzumaki Naruto is here! Within his heart and within his eyes burns a conviction stronger than the sun strengthened by the beliefs and hopes of everyone supporting him, the end and the beginning converge together to reveal the today the tomorrow holds. Yes, I can see it, that path beginning to open up, the end to this cycle of hatred, and the man at the center of this change.
This Fourth Shinobi War Arc really is something; it’s intense, passionate, powerful, emotional and above all seriously epic. This is Kishimoto-sensei at his best, bringing together everything in one massive battleground on an incredibly massive scale. Reading a bunch of chapters at once (re-read chapters 512-550 after catching up with the anime) actually helped me to see and appreciate Kishimoto-sensei’s writing, it forced me to take a step back and allowed me to see a bigger picture than when reading it weekly. You can see what the mangaka is trying to do and understand why things flowed in certain ways.
It really was satisfying catching up with Naruto, this arc is compelling and completely enthralling; it’s epic. I’m shivering and quaking from excitement and smiling from complete joy thinking about what I just read =).
There were so many epic developments and twists throughout this arc; Gaara vs the Second Mizukage, Naruto vs the Third Raikage, Uchiha Madara being summoned, Tobi not being Uchiha Madara (once Kabuto revealed his sixth coffin back in 2010, I began to doubt that Tobi was Madara and over the course of that year phased out using the two names interchangeably ultimately only referring to Tobi as Tobi by the end of that year), the Five Kages vs Uchiha Madara beyond his prime (this is so epic this match-up), Naruto and Bee vs the Resurrected Jinchuuriki, the tailed-beasts true feelings (oh Kurama =P), Naruto befriending the Four-Tails – SON GOKU!! (good stuff Kishimoto), Naruto and Kurama teaming up and becoming friends unlocking Naruto’s new Bijuu Form, Naruto befriending all the tailed-beast and their Jinchuuriki, learning the tailed-beasts and Jinchuuriki names and carrying on their will, Sasuke meeting Itachi. There are just so many amazing developments in this Arc, it’s incredible how pumped up they get you when you read the manga =).
Naruto’s developments are without a doubt driving this arc, just like the manga. Naruto’s realisation about what to do, to starting to rely on his comrades thanks to Itachi’s observation, to his relationship with Kurama improving and his resolves to save the other tailed beast from Tobi. It really is such a great pleasure to read such an amazing shounen manga with such incredible characters, I had a smile throughout while reading these chapters =).
Naruto really is incredible, he is able pierce the very depths of a person’s heart and being and shake their perceptions at its core helping them to open their eyes to a path their were blind to before. Naruto is able to change a person and in turn that person changes another person, slowly Naruto spread that flicker of light he kept alive in his heart thanks to his resolve and unwavering belief. That resolve and that belief embedded within that ray of light changed people’s perception of him and as that light began to radiant outward, it changed people’s perceptions of the world and of what is possible.
And yet Naruto even holds more power; more than changing the hearts of characters in a fictional universe, Naruto’s reach extends through existence and space towards the hearts of real people, inspiring them and moving them. Joy, happiness, belief; Naruto is able to induce such emotions in one’s heart, not just a hero in the manga, but in the reader’s heart as well.
When I’m lost and when despair wraps itself around me, thoughts of Naruto flood my mind – “what would Naruto do?”, “Just how does Naruto rise above pain and despair?”, “Just how can he endure it?” – I admire Naruto, I admire him deeply and respect him a lot and even if he is a fictional character, he is source of inspiration for myself, one I derive strength from.
The Five Kages vs Resurrected Uchiha Madara beyond his prime is becoming intense. Just how powerful is he and how powerful was Senju Hashirama is he was able to stop this man. Tsunade has her Yin Seal released and her Creation Rebirth technique active, that attack she took of Madara won’t kill her. As long as Tsunade has chakra it is impossible for her to die, she gains a form of “immortality” throughout the techniques duration. Madara has mocked the weakness of the current Shinobi but he really does underestimate the Will of Fire – after all that is what Hashirama used to defeat Madara. Madara may have the Rinnegan and his Susanoo and he may have Hashirama’s Mokuton ability, but he is forgetting the fact that he already died once. He is not immortal and he is not God, he is just but one man, one man who died in the past.
Chapter 576 was interesting, it focused on Sasuke and gave me the impression that Sasuke himself is still undecided and unsure of what he should exactly do. He has chosen to destroy Konoha and to kill Naruto, but the fact that he is chasing after Itachi and seeking answers heavily implies that he himself is still unsure of what he wants to do. Even if Sasuke has thrown himself into the depths of darkness, there is still part of him that remembers the light and for that reason he wants to destroy Naruto – because Naruto reminds him of the place outside the darkness.
Sasuke is not a total lost cause, he has not yet lost himself completely in the darkness, he just doesn’t know where he should look – unlike Madara and Tobi, Sasuke hasn’t thought about the world and the future being hopeless. Kishimoto-sensei has been building up to this as well, by bringing Suigetsu, Juugo and Karin into the mix, that part of Sasuke that still remembers the world outside the darkness still has a chance to fight off the darkness. They are Sasuke friends and at one point, Sasuke thought the same, or at least a part of him did. Sasuke may be a fool, but he is no idiot, I’m sure he’ll realise what’s up when he finds out everything, but he does have the tendency to overreact (Itachi probably fears Sasuke may kill Kabuto now that Sasuke has arrived at Kabuto’s location…).
Will be interesting to see just what Kishimoto-sensei has in mind for Sasuke, just what will Sasuke do in this War? Sasuke was likened to Madara by the Kyuubi in the past, so it is possible that like Madara, Sasuke could unlock his Rinnegan, well if he obtains some Senju DNA anyway – hmm Orochimaru.
And Tobi, just who is he? A clone of Madara’s? A resurrected summon of Senju Tobirama’s who remained after the Second Hokage died? And that Sharingan of his, does Tobi have Obito’s Sharingan which enables him to materialise and de-materialise himself at will as well as travel between certains dimensions? Hmmmmm…anyway looking forward to the coming chapters of Naruto a lot.