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Kishimoto was probably planning something for Kisame anyway, considering how pointless the revelation he's still alive after the Bee fight turned out to be. Not to mention that whole history with Obito thing and how he was the closest to him and whatnot.
Its like Kishimoto had some grand scheme for him and then all of a sudden he changed his mind and though "fuck... I need to get rid of this guy".
i know he was "gathering information" while hiding inside the samehada
and he was successful in delivering the information, even though it cost him his life, so maybe the point was that he would sacrifice his life to complete the mission like a true shinobi, but it still was a bit of a let down
he was my favorite akatsuki member, with itachi being a close second
i am, however, a huge fan of all of the akatsuki, they were great villains
The problem is the incoherent storytelling. Akatsuki was set-up to be the main antagonist for Part II, but then Akatsuki was shafted by making Tobi + Madara the main antagonists. Part of it is pretty moronic, such as Akatsuki having its own private army and alliances with other ninja villages, especially the smaller ones. On top of that, you have things like Madara being revived and conveniently unbinding himself from Edo Tensei. The story would have been much simpler had Pein (though his characterization leaves much to be desired) remained the intended main antagonist instead of the lamer that is Uchiha Obito.
Of course Naruto is better with the Akatsuki, without them there is no Part 2. The only eventt that doesn't invovle the Akatsuki is the killings of Orochimaru and Itachi by Sasuke-then nothing. The story can progress without them.
Yes, the series was better with Akatsuki, but not because of Akatsuki.
As many have mentioned, the battles now lack strategy. The moment Sasuke started using the Susano'o and Naruto managed to transform in the Kyuubi the manga lost it's style of combat and transformed in some sort of Gundam series. There is also the problem with the power level of the protagonist, it was interesting to see the Jounins fighting the Akatsuki members, but all of a sudden that is lost and Naruto can wipe out an entire army of Ninjas.
And the incoherent storytelling surely doesn't help. But it is probably just part of the poor writting, the moment the series "jumped the shark" was when Nagato revived everyone, and from that moment on it went downhill. The tone of the series was also softened, from a complex world which the Ninja is a tool, it became a simply good vs evil scheme.
That argument is about 8-years old and 8 years too late. If you're upset that Naruto and Sasuke had powerups you should have stopped reading when they first learned chidori and rasengan. Do people really think that final battle which involved the Jyuubi someway was going to be ended with kunai and paper bombs? It was going to be something flashy. All climaxes are finsihed with something flashy. It's why they're climaxes. The days of kunais and shuriken being the path to victory ended with the chunnin exams.
Naruto can wipe out an army of zetsu which is a far cry to an akatsuki.
There is strategy being deployed here, it's just not the one-on-one strategy that was used for most of the last 9 years, then again this isn't a simple one-on-one battle.
As for the storytelliong, tastes vary. Naruto was never seinin, it was always shounen. Shounen never goes to the level that some people crave, that's not the series' fault.