Hey again! I'm going to do this one relatively early on, because I probably won't have any time to do it next week, and I did like this chapter a lot that I wanted to give my thoughts on it sooner rather than much later on.
Feel free to comment, but please remember that it might take me a while to read your responses and answer. I can guarantee that I'll get around to it, though. Thanks for reading in advance!
* * * Gold Knight's Ten Comments on Naruto Chapter 311: Nickname * * *
1. Stupid Sharingan. Well, this was a pretty appropriate cover for what was going to be a pretty quiet chapter. Seeing Kakashi in his hospital bed and growing antsy to get out made me think of all the times he's had to rest after over-exerting himself using the Sharingan. It's been about three times now, ya know? Once during the Wave Country Mission, once after fighting with Itachi (though that was more due to facing the dreaded Mangekyou Sharingan), and now, after saving everybody from Deidara's suicide bomber clone.
Some people say that Kakashi isn't getting much air time because he's such an elite ninja, but I think Kishimoto does a very good job of giving him limitations so that he's not TOO ridiculously powerful. But I'm starting to wonder how much Kakashi will actually use his Sharingan from now on, because it's becoming pretty obvious that he should only use it when there's no other choice. Too bad the enemies probably won't get any less powerful from here on.
2. Don't Forget to Bow, Sai. That was pretty interesting to see Sai cooped up in a corner of a library and reading up on social advice from the Japanese's perspective. I'm not sure how I feel about honorific suffixes being actually effective in "closing the distance between minds" because of their tendency to generalize people into separate categories (kinda like if I called a guy a 'kid' and the kid kept calling me 'sir' all the time), though I do like the concept of nicknames and pet names. But anyway, it's cool to see Sai trying to be a gentleman. I can kinda see him working as a waiter or butler, actually, but I'm not getting my hopes too high...
3. Why Am I Not Surprised? ...to see Sakura coming into a library. Yeah, that's probably the one place that I'd go if I wanted to run into Sakura - I wonder if Naruto will ever figure it out an arrange a "coincedental meeting" and impressing her with something he just read in a book. Anyway, it's nice to see that Kishimoto hasn't forgotten Sakura's roots as a bookworm.
I WAS surprised, though, to see Sakura back in her old outfit - although it makes sense as Sakura does want to remain ostensibly feminine. Still, wouldn't she have moved on to a different fashion after all this time? Oh well. You know, without her headband and dressed in that retrospective outfit, she really hasn't changed all that much over the last two years. Strange how a new look can really make all the difference.
4. Ooohh, He's Nervous. Considering that Kakashi is one of my absolute favorite characters (along with Naruto and Shikamaru) in the series, I loved it when Sai showed obvious apprehension here in meeting THE most kick-ass, elite jounin in Kono- such a cool customer. *Ahem*
5. Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke. Well, one thing's for sure, nobody will accuse Naruto of losing focus on an objective once he's got his mind set towards accomplishing it. I do like that he's so dedicated to bringing his friend and former rival back to the forces of good, but I kinda want Naruto to forget it every now and then, or at least push it to the back of his mind. His current thinking is becoming a little too one-dimensional for my tastes.
6. Now THAT'S More Like It. I think Kishimoto read my mind there. I liked that Naruto hadn't completely forgotten about his feelings for Sakura. Actually, that was a pretty smart move on his part, to have them both visit Kakashi together. Not bad at all. Too bad Sai ruined his plans, huh. (Yes, Hinata, you're still in the game... for another day at least.)
7. Challenge of a Different Sort. It's strange, isn't it, how it really does take more courage to open up to people than it does to fight somebody - even to the death.
But, already, Sai's surpassed Sasuke there, with his efforts here. It's almost as if Sai is supposed to reflect what Sasuke could've been like. Sai's definitely going to get a boost in popularity if he keeps this up, but I hope he still doesn't forget to take charge every now and then. He's still probably the best shinobi in that group. Still, if Sai, Sakura and Naruto gets a good enough camaraderie going, they may end up having better teamwork together than Sasuke ever had with them.
8. Good Try, Buddy... Say, Sai. You already took this route before, with insulting nicknames, haven't you learned anything? XD
Though, it was sweet to see Sakura, who had been insulting Naruto practically the entire time they were talking here, get some of her own medicine. I wonder if that's why Sai did it. Even Sakura's gotta admit that she wasn't a very good one to observe for social grace at that point. Oh well, Sai'll learn soon enough... either that, or he won't live very long, and neither will Naruto. XD
9. Long Time No See, Sensei! Kakashi! Huzzah! Well, I guess we were all misled last chapter to think that Yamato would be the sensei for a while, but it looks like Kakashi will be around as well, too. Granted, he's still sitting in his bed, but hey, to me, even when he was on crutches, he was STILL cool, ya know? (Standing upside-down on a tree branch might've had something to do with that, though...) I hope we'll be seeing more of him for a while.
And why didn't I ever think about Kabuto drugging Sasuke up? He probably wouldn't have thought anything of it, drugs were pretty much considered an acceptable tool to almost everybody in Konohagakure and especially to a certain coughing supervisor (may his soul rest in peace...) and besides, Sasuke probably doesn't give a damn if he dies of cancer or something later on as long as he kills Itachi first. That was good thinking by Tsunade. Maybe Sakura can figure out something to counter that. Or... will she end up using drugs herself? That'd be interesting.
10. Surpassing Kakashi. Say again? Whoa, now THAT surprises me, for Kakashi to readily admit that Naruto may get stronger than even him in this training session. Now THAT makes for some intrigue. What sort of training is it that it could do that? I have no idea, but I can't wait to find out. Kishimoto is at his best writing when his characters are training, in my honest opinion.
One hint we got is that this particular training is something only Naruto can do, so I'm betting it has something with his Bunshin ability. Not the Kyuubi, though. I don't think Kakashi would ever encourage Naruto to draw on his bijuu like Jiraiya seemingly did during the last 2 years and half, because they've all learned their lesson there, and Yamato warned Naruto against doing that. I'm beginning to think that Jiraiya wasn't all that great a teacher, so I'm glad to see Kakashi finally take Naruto under his wing and start actually personally training him. It's been a long time coming.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars. I'm glad to see Kishimoto lay off the drama for a while, and just concentrate on life in Konohagakure for a while. After two long fighting arcs, it's a welcome relief. Even the readers need to rest, too! And the chapter was pretty good for characterization purposes.
Predictions: Looks like we're due for our third training arc in the series. I actually think Yamato will do more of the supervising than Kakashi at first, then Kakashi will come along at a later time to do it himself. I also think Tsunade will be training Sakura at the same time too, since Kishimoto hinted through Kakashi's words to Sakura that she needed more training herself. And finally, I think this particular training will require the help of other shinobi. At least that is my hope, because I'd like to see how the other teams are doing.
Okay, I won't be seeing you guys for a while, but I'll be back in July. Until then, be safe and have fun reading further chapters of Naruto! I'll be posting Comments for all the chapters I miss when I get back.