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Robotic Red
February 15, 2007, 02:33 PM
BLARGH! (stabs college)

Anyhow, today is a moment of great importance. Naruto Shippuden has finally been released! I've watched it; it is most excellent. Nice animation, good music. Now I just need to wait for subtitles. ^^;

Anyhow, off we go!


Naruto 342: "King"

Cover

Hmm. That's a lot of toads.

Kind of underwhelming after last week's sensational cover, and I was honestly expecting something related to Shippuden. Oh well. Nice color, and it makes me think that there might be more toads in Naruto's future. :P

Page 1

Sakura: OMGWTFyoukilledAkatsukiguy?!?!
Sai: d00d u r strong

Well, that's just the impression I got. Like the touch with the deer walking by Shikamaru's side. And Sakura and Sai just now got to Shikamaru? How far away did Shikamaru take Hidan from Kakuzu and the others? And how big is that forest of the Naras?

Page 2

This was just a page to reinforce Shikamaru's reason to fight Hidan on his own. Nothing altogether special about it; I like how rugged Shikamaru is looking though. Is he transforming into a man's man...?

Page 3

We see Ino using some medical ninjutsu (hey, she's doing something!), and compliments on Naruto's strategy. Which, if you think about it, is a pretty good one for Naruto; no matter which one Kakuzu went for first, Naruto would have him pinned down. And it seems Naruto's broken his limit already! From two to three!

Page 4

Now THIS is a pretty surprising thought. Naruto's surpassed Kakashi? Does he mean in potential? Because in experience, it's not likely, and I'm pretty certain that, in a one on one fight, Kakashi would still win. Maybe. I don't know, Naruto just doesn't strike me as quite THERE yet. But we'll eventually get there, I guess. I'd wager Kakashi referencing something else outside of sheer combat experience.

I like Kakashi's thoughts on how it's time for the younger generation to begin taking charge of the world. It's almost in direct contrast to Orochimaru's viewpoint: he desires immortality to continue his quest to learn all jutsu. In a way, he refuses to let the newer generations become greater than he, even though it's an inevitable part of life.

Heh. Orochimaru's afraid of death. PANSY!

Page 5

Naruto's eyes are un-Kyuubified now!

Kakashi can see how Sasuke is still the one thing that makes Naruto strive to become stronger. He is the one major obstacle (well, one OF) in Naruto's path to Hokage. Just like Itachi is what strove Sasuke to become stronger, Sasuke is what makes Naruto strive. Though I wonder how the difference between how they value their bonds will affect their increase in power...

Page 6

And what does Kakashi see? KAKUZU!

He's still alive. o.o

Weren't all of his hearts pureed and sliced and diced by the Futon; Rasengan? Did he hide one underground? Was one missed?

Either way, Kakuzu's expressing disbelief. He seemed like a calm and composed guy compared to Hidan, but I guess he got his rage get the better of him with Naruto. Remember, he said he had a pretty bad temper.

Page 7

I think some people's "Bad Ass" meters went to 11 with this scene. Although I initially wondered why Kakashi didn't take Kakuzu in for questioning, it's understandable considering Kakuzu's ability. He just has to get close to someone, and his tendrils will pluck a heart out. Then he's back in action!

With that said, I can understand why Kakashi killed him.

Page 8

Back in Konoha, and they all have off-time. You guys deserve it!

Page 9

And once again, we see Kurenai at the gravestone of Asuma. Commence remembrance (and crying, if you wish) of Asuma's death.

And Shikamaru appears...

Page 10

The character development of Shikamaru never ceases to amaze me. If only we had that level of development with the other side characters outside of Team 7; heck, sometimes I think Shikamaru's been developed better than Gaara or Sakura.

Shikamaru comments on what Asuma was to him. Puts some significance to how much this battle meant to him, and what it represented...as we can see by him putting the cigarettes on the grave. Fare thee well, Smoker Shikamaru.

Page 11

Shikamaru's brushing off his old habits! Will he be more take-charge than before? I don't know, but I know that we won't see a repeat of situations like when (during the invasion by Oto and Suna) he had to be persuaded to go pursue Sasuke.

And we see Kurenai drifting a hand down! Could it be...?

Page 12

Official confirmation! Kurenai is pregnant!

It explains why we haven't seen her in uniform in Part II. She's probably on official leave while she's pregnant. This might also explain why we haven't seen much of Team 8; they don't have their sensei! Perhaps Kishimoto is just wondering who the replacement would be...? What's Team 8's role now that Kurenai is out of commission for the moment?

And I don't know why, but that cheesy grin combined Shikamaru saying that he needs to grow up into a "cool adult" made me laugh. XD

Page 13

More Shogi!

Ooh, Shikaku's beating Shikamaru. Guess the Naras are just natural at playing games. Maybe it's just their disposition; calm, slow to anger, always thinking tactically and logically...makes me wonder what would happen if a tactical Nara married an analyticial Aburame (and no, I 'm not referring to a ShinoShika pairing. Freaks!). Think of the babies: they'd be like, super-geniuses or something.

Page 14

More correlation between characters and pieces. So Shikamaru is the Knight...so who's the King?

It is...!

Page 15

...huh. Well that was anticlimactic.

Though, considering Kishimoto, it's kind of understandable, given the themes of NARUTO the manga.

So the unborn children - the next generation - is the king...and it must be protected by the current generation - the other pieces of the board - at all costs. That I agree with.

However, for some reason, this makes me think that whatever Asuma (when he was on his deathbed) told Shikamaru wasn't about the identity of the King. Maybe it's that Kurenai was pregnant? It explains Shikamaru's shock more than the identity of the King.

And Shikamaru swore a rather nasty one.

Hmm. More development than we thought!

Page 16

Ooh! Sasuke and Orochimaru! Sasuke's in the midst of a battlefield, having felled lots of Sound ninja. I don't see a headband, but their attire otherwise indicates their status as Oto-nin. And look at that huge guy Sasuke's sitting on!

Look at Snake Boy smile. He's concerned that Sasuke didn't kill any of them. Jerk. He's almost a perfect opposite to the idea Kakashi espoused; Orochimaru views himself as King, and he thinks nothing of sacrficing any pieces he deems disposable.

Sasuke may be soft...but perhaps it's as simple as he wanted it to be. He doesn't want to kill them, because he has no desire to.

Interesting. Perhaps next chapter focuses more on Akatsuki or Orochimaru/Sasuke? I hope so!

Rating: 4/5

Well, I liked this chapter. It felt 'complete'. A lot happened, but we managed to contain it. Can't wait for a higher-quality scan.

On a side note...

Naruto Shippuden gets a 5/5 from me! :D

qwan3356
February 15, 2007, 02:44 PM
Great Review Robotic Red!

kiddo7
February 15, 2007, 02:54 PM
Well well, I was very excited to say the least to have a scan this early, and i did love the chapter, the Hidan/Kakuzu ark is winding down nicely and many new things got revealed/confirmed. Like the king, Kurenai's baby (boy will Dragonzair be excited) the end of shika's smoking, and what not...
I also loved the fact that Shikamaru's pop schooled him in shougi (who's your daddy now? lol)
overall it was a nice chapter.
I also think that there is great significance in sasuke not killing anyone. remember how he told Naruto that he only left him alive on a whim? I think that was only a half truth. I am beginning to think that during his fight at the valley of "..." (don't remember if it was fate or the end or something else) he somehow came to the resolution that he would make it his primary goal to "punish" (pronounced: Kill!) his dear niisan without becoming what itachi set out for him to become. therefore I believe it has become essential for him not only to kill itachi but also to make sure he is the first person sasuke kills.
anyway great commentary.

MadDog
February 16, 2007, 07:44 PM
I beleive what Kakashi meant by Naruto surpassing him is purely in relation to the skill/talent needed to create the "new jutsu." This is backed-up by Kakashi also commenting that not even Yondaime was able to take the rasengan to that level.

I agree that Naruto is not strong enough to defeat Kakashi in a one-on-one battle at this stage. There is a big gap between the two in experience, but Naruto is getting closer now in terms of overall power.

As for next chapter, I'm thinking Hinata might make an appearence for some reason. Just a guess.

Xeno
February 16, 2007, 11:15 PM
I agree about Hinata (and the rest of her team) showing up. It's my unsubstantiated theory that Kishi "lent" some characters to the anime filler team and just avoided doing anything with them to avoid creating anything completely irreconcilably different. So that should, in theory, mean that Kurenai's old team might get a new sensei or at least might show up now that we're finally out of the fillers.

Doubly agree that the new Shippuuden deserves 5/5.

manu
February 16, 2007, 11:54 PM
and compliments on Naruto's strategy. Which, if you think about it, is a pretty good one for Naruto; no matter which one Kakuzu went for first, Naruto would have him pinned down. And it seems Naruto's broken his limit already! From two to three!


... This match was a tie you know right? If Naruto had actually killed Kakuzu then it would have been a good strategy. The strategy he was using now depened on Ino healing him so he didn't die, and Kakashi killing Kakuzu. So in this sense I don't think it was a win, more like a loss since Naruto was determined to win by himself and he couldn't

Real shame too.

Robotic Red
February 17, 2007, 08:16 AM
A strategy depends on multiple factors.

You know, seeing as how Naruto had other Konoha-nin with him.

And that Kakashi wouldn't have been able to deliver the final blow if Naruto hadn't utterly incapacitated Kakuzu.

amg
February 17, 2007, 12:41 PM
very nice comments. but what now for naruto after the sasuke mini arc

juUnior
February 19, 2007, 02:59 PM
Nice review ^^


Kind of underwhelming after last week's sensational cover, and I was honestly expecting something related to Shippuden
I had the same feeling. In 341 there was amazing cover, and this cover in 342 was.. somewhat dissaponting for me.


We see Ino using some medical ninjutsu (hey, she's doing something!),
Yeah, finally something she done, and furthermore, it's not queite good to see that moment, because medic ninjas are supposed not to fighting heh ^^"


Now THIS is a pretty surprising thought. Naruto's surpassed Kakashi? Does he mean in potential?
hmm I read trans of Lee-nus, and in his, Kakashi says: could he.. so probably he has thought that maybe he surpaased him, but it's not certain.


And what does Kakashi see? KAKUZU!

He's still alive. o.o

And Naruto's chance to kill someone disseapered :x


He just has to get close to someone, and his tendrils will pluck a heart out. Then he's back in action!
Agree.


The character development of Shikamaru never ceases to amaze me. If only we had that level of development with the other side characters outside of Team 7; heck, sometimes I think Shikamaru's been developed better than Gaara or Sakura.
Defiently agree. After reading that chapter, I had feeling, that development of Shikamaru in this arc was really, really great. In my opinion not so great as Gaara's, but Sakura's for sure. Now I'm hoping others from rookies will have some development ^^


Ooh, Shikaku's beating Shikamaru.
The first time probably we see it :D


So the unborn children - the next generation - is the king...
I thought about that and I like personally. Because if it was Naruto the king.. :x


Sasuke may be soft...but perhaps it's as simple as he wanted it to be. He doesn't want to kill them, because he has no desire to.
Yeah, it queite gives us, that Sasuke is somewhat the ame Sasuke as he was, he only needs to kill certain person/persons, and other peoples dont matter.


Rating: 4/5

Well, I liked this chapter. It felt 'complete'. A lot happened, but we managed to contain it. Can't wait for a higher-quality scan.

On a side note...

Naruto Shippuden gets a 5/5 from me!
For me chapter was 5/5. It was much shown in only 17/18 pages, and the "king" was reveled, and development of Shikamaru ended for now I hope.