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Gold Knight
December 12, 2006, 12:28 AM
http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/7894/00xt5.jpg
Talk about having an acne problem...!

Oh, what the heck. Yeah, I know that I originally said that I'd wait 'til next week to do this review. The reason was a lack of time and a desire to stay away from the computer for at least a week. But later on, when thinking about it more, I realized this chapter was mostly action (for a change!) and didn't really need a detailed analysis, so I decided to just go for it - a quick, short review, which I haven't really done since my days at Naruto Forums. Although if you want a detailed review, be sure to check out Dimska's review here! (http://mangahelpers.com/forum/index.php?topic=11949.0) Thanks, man ^^

I'm not going to add any images to this one aside from the header from Yume's LQ scanlation, so my apologies in advance about that. That does take up about 25% of the work for these reviews, and there aren't even any MQ scanlations yet anyway. But I'll try to deliver a full review next time. (It's more fun to reread the chapter anyway, so do that! ;) )

There's something I wanted to touch on before I start my review, though. That is, the "sketchiness" that was observed in Kishimoto's art in this chapter. Well, you can't blame the guy and his assistants for not always meeting a weekly deadline on finalizing the art. I mean, sometimes I wonder how these mangakas and their assistants do it at all on such a constant basis, week after week, and Kishimoto's been doing Naruto nearly nonstoppable for six years, which is quite incredible when you think about it.

Not to mention that I happened to think the art in this chapter (which, yes, seemed more like pencilwork) was as good as ever, and initially didn't notice that it was unfinished at first until I looked more closely at Hidan's face in some panels. But yeah, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't getting a little worried about Kishimoto's energy, or lack thereof, lately - first, the reduction of 19 pages to 17 pages, and now unfinished art.

At the same time, I can certainly understand if he's getting tired. I've tried to draw comics myself in the past, and I can tell you that it's exhausting work. You can't do it unless you have the passion for it. But I just have to say this, after coming across a post in the R/T/S thread which made me incredulous. Somebody said that Kishimoto owed us more!

You're not really a fan if you think that Kishimoto actually "owes us" something. No, he doesn't, not for delivering solid entertainment for us all these years. Please. He owes us nothing. So don't even say that kind of thing if you appreciate his work at all, or you'd just sound pretty ungrateful otherwise. Think before you say something like that.

On that note, I'd like to thank, once again, Touch, and xi0 for the RAWs they gave us this week. Also to Winterlion, Hisshou, and Pinoy for the translations, and to Yume for the scanlation that allowed me to at least have a header for this review.

Remember that I can't really respond to any posts until next week because I'm currently on a break, but hope you enjoy and feel free to comment anyway. Have fun!


* * * Gold Knight's Ten Comments on Naruto Chapter 334: [u] "Black Transfiguration...!!" * * *

1. Better Safe Than Sorry...!! Sure, we found out a long time ago that Shikamaru was a genius with strategy. That's old news now. But how about this - he's also a pretty darn quick learner, too.

After only one previous skirmish with the Akatsuki, he's learned to not take anything they do at face value, especially when they seem to be defeated. After glimpsing even a little movement from the seemingly vanquished Kakuzu, our chuunin examiner was more than ready to tell Kakashi to get the heck away from him.

That kind of prudence will probably serve Shikamaru very well against similar powerful enemies in the future.

2. Playing Possum...!? And you know what, I actually don't think Kakuzu had even been seriously injured at all here - but after sensing Shikamaru's alarm, he had to play "possum" in order to get Kakashi to think he was done. All it would have taken for Kakashi to truly beat Kakuzu was to deliver another Raikiri straight to the back of his neck, after all.

I'm actually somewhat surprised that Kakashi just let him fall to the ground without making sure of his death. Probably a bit guilty of overconfidence there, as he seemed a bit too ready to shift his focus to Hidan right away.

3. Shaddup, Hidan! Typical of Hidan, by the way, to try to get even with his partner by throwing his own words back at him: "Geez, don't get killed so instantly!"

And pretty delicious to see Kakashi immediately shut Hidan up in the next minute, by pointedly and almost casually saying that Hidan was the next to go.

Reminded Hidan right there and then that he wasn't exactly in the best of situations, either!

4. How's That For a Kick to the Gut? Kakuzu must have taken plenty of kick boxing classes as a child. He sure knows how to knock the air out of jounins with his feet! First was Asuma when his team was beginning to ponder retreat from these guys. And now Kakashi, after he thought Kakuzu was dead. Both led to turning points in these respective battles.

So, just a word of caution for when the next Naruto fighting game comes out - beware Kakuzu's foot.

5. Masked Terrors...!! Okay, so Kakuzu's not just your typical "strongman" at all, which I'm glad about - wouldn't make sense if a member of Akatsuki had powers that simple. Hidan and Kakuzu really are appropriate for each other - talk about "ghosts" and "ghouls." Kishimoto must have been in a Halloween mood when he created these two guys.

So what to make out of the "ghosts" that sprung out of Kakuzu's back? Well, not that much different from a summoning, really, except they seem to have been sewed into his body as a kind of self-protection too. Can't help but still wonder how just one of these masks stopped Kakashi from piercing Kakuzu's heart all the same. Must still have been uncomfortable.

Sidenote: This is the point where I think the RAW scanner got a little confused and put the pages out of order. I believe there were two pages that should have been before the double spread, and not after. Be sure to go back, reread and make sure all of your pages are in the right place sometimes.

6. Just Watch Me, God...! Shortly after Kakuzu revealed his "ghosts," Hidan uttered an almost gleeful prayer to his God, Jashin, saying that he was ready to wreck vengeance on the Konoha nins.

What I found amusing about this scene was that it wasn't so much that Hidan was praying to his God for divine assistance, but more as if he had told him to take a seat and watch him at work.

Characteristic of Hidan, though, to be such an arrogant zealot.

7. Off To The Soul Society You Go...!! At least Kakashi's Raikiri took out one of the "ghosts." Evened the odds a little more by allowing Team 10 to only have to deal with three, not four, of Kakuzu's cronies. So Shikamaru's initial plan wasn't entirely for nothing.

Considering that all the ghosts seemed to be masters of the elements, at least Team 10 doesn't have to worry about being washed out to the ocean by a powerful tide.

That leaves, though, wind, thunder, and fire - and let's not forget Hidan's scythe and voodoo, which is more than enough trouble to worry about.

I found Hidan's almost mournful face and his sudden outburst at Kakuzu in the next panel very amusing, for some reason.

And hey, how about that - I was right that Kakuzu was going to just sew himself back up as good as new. Yay for accurate predictions. But now he doesn't have anything to guard him anymore from back there, so he's a little more vulnerable now.

8. Akatsuki Team-Up...!?! Finally. We get to see the Akatsuki actually team up. I thought that we would see it in the first battle against Asuma, but was proven wrong there. But this time, we get to see Hidan and Kakuzu hook up for a deadly attack on Kakashi. Having the "wind ghost" propel Hidan at Kakuzu with lethal speed was pretty clever.

I wasn't too surprised that they said that Kakashi was the first to escape that strategy (thank goodness Kakashi had already uncovered his Sharingan!)

I've always thought that the good guys would be in serious trouble if the Akatsuki ever did team up. But in this case, not so much because I don't think Hidan has too much to offer in the ways of abilities aside from his voodoo and scythe. Hopefully Hidan didn't steal some of Kakashi's blood on his scythe, though..

9. Kakashi to the Rescue...! Such a nice scene, though, when Kakashi popped out of nowhere to save Chouji and Shikamaru from an electrifying end of their own. Looked a little bit like a superhero for half a page there when he was absorbing these lightning bolts, though it seemed to be more of a close shave as his gloves paid a hefty price.

They've got to figure out how to take out these ghosts' masks if they ever want this battle to end. I wonder if Ino is going to take control of one of them...

10. Got a Fire Extinguisher Handy...!? What's the cliffhanger here? Kakuzu's "fire ghost" is gearing up for a fiery attack. Something tells me, though, Kakashi is about to employ his patent "earth burrowing" diversion (after all, he's done that twice now against Sasuke and Itachi whenever they tried to get him with a fireball.) I also think, too, that Kakuzu is ready for just that.

If Chouji and Ino has any elemental mastery, now would be a pretty good time to show their stuff!

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars. Again, good action but a quick read. Not really much to say, just a chapter where you get to sit back and watch the fight. One of these series of chapters that'll probably be better experienced with the anime.

Predictions: Already stated above after Comment 10. ;)


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Sorry it was so quick, guys...
comment and I'll do better next time! ;)

manu
December 12, 2006, 12:40 AM
Just needed to be first post ^^

Secretly I've been reading your reviews and i'm really glad you did this weeks. Also well I hope you don't mind being "blue" for a while. I'm sure you'll get your adminstrator status soon.

Also possibly I'm the only person who thinks this but I pefer Kishi's "sketchy" art. They seem more alive and less frozen too me. I sorely missed the days of the chuunin exam when Naruto's face wasn't made of perfect lines all the time.

But then again thats my personal opinion.

xi0
December 12, 2006, 12:45 AM
Wow, this is a nice surprise! And I too had read about the art being "different" or "messy" and I hadn't really actually noticed until you pointed it out. I think that there has been so much detail in the past couple of chapters with the scenery and all, that maybe Kishimoto didn't have the time to employ a little quality control. At least, I hope that is the case.

It'll be interesting to see how Team 10 gets out of this one, or whether they end up receiving help from an outside source.

Robotic Red
December 12, 2006, 01:24 AM
Team 8.

venicia777
December 12, 2006, 03:04 AM
7) well, well, well!! right after kishimoto revealed the cyclic relationship b.n the five elements we see an elemental master. It looks like Kishi was waiting just to reveal kakuzu. i am glad that his powers/strengths are soo surprising. It is highly probable that no one expected such a development-- the ghosts :o

anyways-- my question is-- how many of Kakuzu's ghosts have attacked so far? from the translations-- didnt kakashi say that that masked ghost controls 3 elements? i really hope i am wrong-- because if it is right then what can the remaining two do?

and Kakuzu himself-- wouldnt he be an elemental master himself?

8) i think this duo may be quite soo much. So far, we saw them decimate the fire temple and its monks (to our knowledge only one survived and kakuzu may have played a huge role). And we saw them defeat the nibi/yugito in full transformation.

And they have shown the best team work yet irrespective of their bickering. With hidans immortality these guys are dangerous.

also, lets not forget that anytime our heroes met a pair of akatsuki's trouble always resulted. Kakashi has been sent to the hospital on two occasions.

Honestly, i am really just praying for back up to get to the scene pretty quick. With the many 4-man teams still searching and a special team for team kakashi-- i hope help doesnt come until our heroes are on their last legs.
i dont want to see any more hospital visits for anyone.

and i really do hope hidan isnt only about his Voodoo jutsus?

eni
December 12, 2006, 08:21 AM
Sidenote: This is the point where I think the RAW scanner got a little confused and put the pages out of order. I believe there were two pages that should have been before the double spread, and not after. Be sure to go back, reread and make sure all of your pages are in the right place sometimes.
Oh, you noticed it too? :blink ... I thought it was just me for not getting something right here :D

Thank you for your nice comments again :luv

ibra87
December 12, 2006, 09:30 AM
Short but precise comments :thumbs Nice as ever.

Since this was a quicky, I really don't know what to commen on, but Kakashi doing a double Raikiri with both hands was simply awesome. He must have increased his stamina since last time he trained Sasuke. After all, he can use the MS a few times it. And the ghost seemed kinda like Sasori's dolls, but what the hell. I still think that team 10 with Kakashi wouldn't be able to take care of Akatsuki without backup, but they still have to get rid of Kakuzu's fire alone, since Naruto's jutsu will only make it stronger! Who is fire "elemental" from Team 10 then? Ino? Chouji? Or is it Kakashi's second element?

That was all! Have a nice vacation GK and be sure to keep away from all kind of video games/PC. Heh.

Absolutio
December 12, 2006, 04:25 PM
9. Kakashi to the Rescue...! Such a nice scene, though, when Kakashi popped out of nowhere to save Chouji and Shikamaru from an electrifying end of their own. Looked a little bit like a superhero for half a page there when he was absorbing these lightning bolts, though it seemed to be more of a close shave as his gloves paid a hefty price.


Kakashi didnt absorb the lightning bolts. Raikiri - Lightning Edge. The 2nd name of Chidori which was gained when kakashi pierced/cut a lightning with his Chidori.
I think we had a similiar case in here, since Kakashi also said something about the power of those jutsus blabla.. Don't remember it quite well and too lazy to check it up at the moment :P

Anyways, enjoy your vacation GK =D

dfcarolinaguy
December 12, 2006, 05:46 PM
nice job on a good review

Gold Knight
December 14, 2006, 11:16 PM
Thanks all for commenting guys. Sorry this was such a short review. ^^;

@ manu - that's the advantage of sketching (and shading) to me is that it allows the characters to be more 3-D. You can see this done well especially in the Blade of the Immortal manga. I suppose that's why I didn't mind it at all either. In fact, I almost felt like I was getting a little bit of glimpse at how Kishimoto prepares his art, which was fun.

@ xi0 - you may be right on that, I think Kishimoto has been concentrating on background art more lately (assuming one of his assistants isn't doing it). But I tend to think an assistant responsible for finishing touches or inking may have been sick.

@ Robotic Red - Team 8, you mean, will be the backup? That'll be interesting but I still tend to doubt it because Kurenai would be with them. I'd be more confident in Team Gai being the backups.

@ venicia777 - would appear that Kakuzu is a natural master of earth, and I think his ghosts controlled water, fire, lightning, and wind. And the water one was the one that Kakashi killed.

I hope Kakashi doesn't have to go to the hospital again either, and I doubt it too - that would just be overkill, imo. I think it'd be better if he's able to defeat his enemies without relying on techniques that would just wipe him out, and in this case because he's going against two at a time, I think he'd be less prone to doing that. Don't want to fall unconscious before both are defeated, after all.

@ eni - thanks ^^ Yeah, I think the scanner messed up. They're human I guess.

@ ibra87 - thanks, and I agree, Kakashi looked superhuman there. And I managed to stay away from the PC and video games a lot yes ^^

@ Absulutio - that was probably a poor choice of words on my part, but yes, I knew he did a double Raikiri to nullify that lightning barrage.

@ dfcarolinaguy - thanks ^^