Talk about being full of hot air...!
Huzzah. Early Comments this week. RAW wasn't too bad for a change (Thanks Touch!) and CeZ and Kokotas did a fine speed scanlation with it using Pazuzu's translation, which I'm using today. Credits go to Fnuckale for cleaning the header as well as the doublespread for me. Thanks to all involved, as well as Hisshou, Winny, and Lee-nus for doing translations. You guys are all awesome.
Not much to say this time, so I'll just go ahead and start. Before I do, though, be sure to check out Robotic Red's Commentary, too! And I know Raine plans to do her Wrap-Up as well, and even bax may start a commentary too (he should, he always has a lot of insights!) It makes me happy to see so many of you guys want to get involved into in-depth discussions.
Also, give more love to Zarosaki! Go there and get to know these guys. They're pretty much some of the most awesome people you'll ever meet on the net, and they do amazing colorings of the Naruto chapters.
Hope you have fun reading and if you have anything to add, post away. For additional fun, scroll down fast and watch the images roll by! It'll feel like you're actually watching the entire battle in fast forward - I made sure to include every image that I particularly liked. Which is a lot
* * * Gold Knight's Ten Comments on Naruto Chapter 340: A Hazardous Bridge...!
* * *
You go that way, you go that way, I'll go that way!
1. Slow to React!? Now, okay, this is the main problem I had with this chapter (but the only one, happily). That is, I don't understand why Kakuzu wouldn't pay attention to the Naruto with the RasenShuriken regardless of the three bunshins charging at him. After all, that jutsu was particularly eye-catching, mostly likely very bright, and I'd think Kakuzu wouldn't be as worried about three bunshins with kunais (which likely wouldn't have even gotten that close to piercing each of his three hearts) and try to deal with the more immediate threat immediately - especially knowing now that Naruto was the Nine-Tailed Fox. And here, it was painfully obvious, I think, that Naruto intended for his three bunshins to be distractions to Kakuzu, because as the duplicates moved towards him, we could see that the Naruto in the back was starting to move around the area to try to find an opportunistic spot to attack.
Granted, I'll admit that Kakuzu had to deal with what was coming at him first and foremost, but at the same time he could have quickly moved to a more advantageous spot instead of just waiting for them all to come to him. He had to know that with four combatants coming at him from every side, one would catch him unaware eventually. What kind of Akatsuki is he? This is the same guy who was able to sidestep Shikamaru's creeping shadow at the outset of the battle, and then free himself from the Kagemane jutsu!
Guess Kakuzu was just over-confident this time. And slow. Perhaps he can't move as quickly when in that form...
And how about this part? Why would Naruto, knowing he was up against a very dangerous enemy, be so confident that the tactic would be successful, knowing that Kakuzu, in a heartbeat, was able to grab ahold of Kakashi, Ino, and Chouji with his black tendrils just a few chapters before, all at once. Instanteously. Why wouldn't he be able to do the same to three charging Naruto bunshins, and then be able to turn his fury on the suddenly vulnerable real Naruto?
But then again, Naruto was most likely just as guilty as Kakuzu of being absolutely sure of achieving victory. The overly certain assassin meets the overconfident kid. Guess something's gotta give.
Back Off, Useless!
2. No Helping! This time I'm glad that Kishimoto at least gave an excuse for why Yamato, Kakashi, Chouji, and Ino were all just staying back instead of assisting Naruto. (As one of my friends put it to me on messenger once, he thought that they were just going to sit back there and play a deck of cards while Naruto had to do all the work!)
That is, apparently, Naruto's new jutsu would have created a sort of unpredictable tempest - or perhaps an explosion (more likely, seeing the crater that Naruto once created while training with Yamato) - that might harm others close to Naruto at the time.
Well, at least Chouji did try to move to help out. Good for him. Maybe there's some hope for him after all. Ino, though...
3. Fast and Furious! All right, here's the thing. I absolutely loved the art in this chapter. By that, I mean that I was utterly, completely impressed. How come? Well, I think that Kishimoto did an absolutely great job at displaying the action in this chapter so that we were able to easily understood each move while at the same time being excited, fascinated and captivated by the intensity and dynamicism of the combat. And so darn well-drawn, too - although one of the Naruto bunshins' jumping style seemed almost too video game-like, heh. But anyway, I'll be dedicating this particular comment to showing how well Kishimoto drew the battle so that it'd be ridiculously easy for the animators to capture this battle on the TV screen! Just scroll through the images and you'll see what I mean.
In this panel, something did confuse me. Was Kakuzu only able to concentrate on one bunshin at a time with his black tendrils, in order to ward him off? Why not take care of them all at the same time? But then, maybe, it was that Kakuzu just knew that the masks on each of his shoulders would be able to take care of the other two, since he probably managed to glimpse that they were coming at him from both sides.
Gotcha, too, suckers!
Obviously, you do not want to be in front of these masks when they open fire, that's for sure. Talk about a couple of unfortunate bunshins! (I kind of wish we would have gotten to see what the "Earth" mask would be able to do before it was destroyed. Spit out rocks?)
And here we have Kakuzu being completely distracted and thus being unable to move around in time to be able to fend off the most dangerous enemy - the real Naruto himself, armed with what Kakuzu himself recognized as a "monstrous jutsu." This goes back to what I said in the first comment, where I really don't think that it should have been so easy for Naruto to catch Kakuzu off aware. But it happened, so...
OH NOOOOOES!!! BLARGH!!!
4. Behold!!! The Terrifying Force of... What? Heh, well, so Naruto didn't succeed after all. But gotta say, he certainly scared Kakuzu - note he closed one of his eyes, one of his hands span out wildly, unintentionally (I think) and out of pure fear, and he fell back almost cringingly! Just an awesome doublespread. (So awesome, that I asked Fnuckale to speed-clean it for me, which he obliged. Thanks, buddy! <3 ) Anyway, at least colorists should have something interesting to work with this upcoming week.
...you mean that was it?
Somewhat amusing too, that I think the RasenShuriken flickered out just as Naruto got to point blank territory. But I'll comment on why I found it rather inventive of Kishimoto to do such a scene in a few minutes.
Gotta save the booger-brain again!
5. Two Different Expectations. After Naruto's failure, I found the reactions of Kakashi and Yamato rather interesting to compare. Yamato, of course, was shown last chapter as being extremely faithful in Naruto's capability to be able to take down Kakuzu, whereas Kakashi was a bit unconvinced and dubious.
And well, here we see Yamato clearly both ash-faced and shocked, and Kakashi with an almost "I-told-you-so" look and rushing forward immediately to try to save his former student. Seemed like he completely expected Naruto all along to have run into a little setback.
Somewhat ironic that Kakashi had been the one to compliment Naruto on his ability to surpass Yondaime, and Yamato was the one to have been surprised by his former sempai's conviction. Here, they reversed roles, if only for a moment. Probably due to Kakashi's familiarity with Naruto being such a klutz, and Yamato's inexperience working with him, their natural reactions came out.
In a way, I'm glad this happened. Because we got to see...
Hai YAH! Karate CHOP!!!
6. The Ultimate Teamwork!? Kakashi and Yamato working together??? Sweet! Talk about eye candy. Two of my favorite characters in the series so far (yes, I was a big fan of Yamato since he first appeared, too) actually participating in an actual battle together.
Kakashi doing the "Raikiri chop" to sear apart the tendrils holding Naruto tight, something we haven't seen, was exciting to see. (Technically, though, it probably wasn't Raikiri - it's more likely just a result of Kakashi's ability to be able to manipulate electricity, which was enough to cut through the tendrils - but I'm calling it that anyway because it's fun, heh.) And of course, Kakuzu being caught almost off-guard by Yamato's stretching wooden "lance" wasn't able to prevent his prey from getting away from him.
Very cool that Kakashi had but to say something to Yamato, and he was already on it. They were both on Kakuzu so fast that it probably made his head spin a bit.
Now you just sit there and let the adults work.
Another thing I'm glad to see was that Kakashi redeemed himself a bit here. Remember that Kakashi wasn't able to avoid Kakuzu's coils, and so had to be subsequently saved by Naruto and Yamato? You should! It didn't happen too long ago, and it was the first time I had seen Kakashi in an awkward situation since he was trapped by Zabuza's water prison jutsu. That was quite a while ago.
Well, here, he returned the favor, to Naruto at least - and proved that he wasn't completely out of the fight yet.
So sorry, kid, but you can forget about that free ramen dinner - it's all even now!
C'mon here, you!
Something I really wanted to know here, when Yamato was trying to catch the Akatsuki flat-footed with his wooden spikes, was whether Kakuzu thought he was fighting Shodai all over again or not. I mean, of course, we all know that Yamato was a genetically engineered descendent of the First Hokage, thanks to that dastardly conspirator, Orochimaru. Well, it would have been fun to see Kakuzu at least mention or think something about Shodai here, giving us a little bit of insight into his previous battle with the founder of Konohagakure - but maybe that's still coming up.
I do have to admit that I'm pretty impressed that Kakuzu didn't just take off here. He had to know that he was up against some very formidable people now. Maybe he was still expecting Hidan to come to his aid at some point, though.
And what have you done lately, Ino...?
7. No Respect...! I found it extremely irksome that Ino went so far as say that Naruto was still the same Naruto, and didn't seem to show any proper respect to a comrade that at least tried to get something done, unlike her... in the entire battle! Naruto's done more than her to this point, and he just arrived!
I think Kishimoto intended for us to feel this way about Ino right now, but I'm becoming annoyed by her general inactivity in this battle. How did she become a Chuunin? Were everybody in that tournament where she got promoted to Chuunin five years younger than her and sucking lollipops? Sheesh.
No, I'm not really complaining as much as I am just saying my current thoughts on Ino. I don't think Ino was ever really meant to be liked as a supporting character right now - at least until Sakura and Ino settle their rivalry. And if that's so, fine by me. Works for the story. Not everybody can be amazingly likeable in real life, either, after all. I think that Kishimoto still plans for something else to occur between these two in a future storyarc, and I do believe he intends to develop Ino's character further. After all, you can't really understand Sakura completely until you know more about Ino as well. They both see themselves as being part of the same story, the same life, and challenged by the same goals. Right now, though, I think Sakura's got the edge on her as far as winning that personal duel between them. (Funny that it all started out as a romantic duel of sorts, though.)
I almost feel sorry for Kishimoto sometimes, actually. He likely won't be able to develop all his secondary characters as thoroughly as he'd like to before the end of the series. He almost made them too interesting.
But I do think Ino will be one of these ones to be expanded on - I just don't like her right now.
Typical Naruto logic.
8. So Much For Frisbee. I found it almost hilarious that Chouji voiced exactly what I think the majority of the readers here had hoped to have seen happen with the RasenShuriken. Okay, so it wasn't designed to be a long-range jutsu. How come? Let Yamato explain it for ya...
That's a very, very perturbed kid.
Okay, so let me guess now that we know it's supposed to be a short-range jutsu. The RasenShuriken was probably supposed to pick up Kakuzu up into the air and violently whirl him around and then, as a finishing touch, slam him down into the ground with such a huge impact that the earth blows up - hence the crater we saw before. We'll see if that's the case next chapter, methinks. (In a seinen manga, I would expect it to act as a sort of chainsaw - totally buzzsawing Kakuzu's body to pieces and sending body parts, not to mention blood, everywhere - fatality, anybody? - but this is a shonen, so we better move on, heh...)
And anybody who wanted a long-range jutsu, have no fear. That Kishimoto acknowledged here via Chouji that Naruto's RasenShuriken was probably going to be perceived initially as a long-range jutsu would seem to imply that such an attack isn't far off.
I do think that at some point Naruto will have an extremely powerful long-range Rasengan attack. But I suppose it's not time right now. Naruto's only 50% or less complete with his "ultimate jutsu," after all.
Stubborn as always!
9. Individual vs Teamwork? Naruto's determination to try again didn't surprise me here. That's just like him - if at first he doesn't succeed, he'll stay up days and nights doing the same thing until he finally does! Heh. So would it be any different against Kakuzu? Sure, he's more likely to get killed trying the same jutsu on an Akatsuki over and over than he would against an unmoving tree or a rushing waterfall, but I always thought that Naruto's ability to improvise on the spot was his strength. And that doesn't often come in play unless he's really threatened, and he always seemed to gain new skills as a result.
And look at that, by the way. Naruto's eyes haven't changed one bit the entire chapter - they're still Nine-Tails eyes! Yet he hasn't lost control at all of himself at all the whole time! Has this ever happened before where he isn't completely berserking at all during the entire battle? I can't remember it. Sure, he's probably not raging with furious emotion right now as he would be at the sight of a kukukuin' Orochimaru or a dead Gaara body, but still. Could he be finally getting more stronger mentally, keeping the Kyuubi down inside himself? You gotta hand it to Naruto either way, he's always had the Kyuubi to back him up before, and now he can't exactly rely on that 'get out of jail free' card to save his skin anymore. All he's got right now is himself, and he still has the guts to go against the Akatsuki without help.
Good ol' Kakashi, always interested in teamwork.
And now about teamwork. I'm extremely glad to see Kishimoto remember that Kakashi would naturally be interested in fighting together, especially against such a formidable opponent. Sure, Kakashi gave Naruto his chance to try to end it all right away, but at the time, he wasn't exactly in the best of shape anyway. Chouji and Ino had so far proved to be somewhat undependable in the battle. Sure, there's Yamato, and Kakashi and Yamato showed some definite powerful teamwork just a while ago, but Kakashi's chakra was probably about to run out. So I don't blame the silver-haired jounin for deciding to give Naruto his shot at first.
But after seeing Naruto fail at hitting Kakuzu with his jutsu, I was glad to see Kakashi suggest teamwork as an alternative. Would have been out of character otherwise for him not to even consider it what with there being five of the Konoha nins there against one single enemy. Especially an Akatsuki. Think of a knight going to face off against a gigantic, fire-breathing red dragon, while four wizards behind him - all good friends of his - don't do anything to help him out and don't even consider it. Would have been odd.
Not too modest, huh?
10. Crossing the Bridge. I don't blame Naruto, though, for preferring to try to take on the opponent by himself, this time. His first attempt was nearly a success. That he botched the job didn't mean that a second effort would be a waste of time. His instinct was probably telling him that he would be able to win this battle if he could figure out a way to get closer to Kakuzu. Although I have no idea what he has in mind at this time - I won't even try to speculate - I'm sure he'll come up with an entirely different method, since he's probably not stupid enough to try completely the same tactic again (though, this is Naruto we're talking about, so I shouldn't be so sure >.> )
Anyway, in order to surpass Sasuke, and to reach his dreams of being Hokage, Naruto does have to risk a little more than others, I think. I don't believe that he's ignoring the importance of teamwork here, he just wants a chance to test his RasenShuriken again against Kakuzu, because he knew that he still had a long way to go before he could catch Sasuke. And that a favorable result in this battle would probably make him more confident in being able to match up to him at a later point. Would make him feel like he's making progress.
I believe that Kishimoto intended for this chapter to remind us all that Naruto wasn't exactly the most talent-laden kid ever - that he isn't the same type of genius as Sasuke, who immediately can precisely perform his techniques almost flawlessly and with a higher percentage of success in a first try. Naruto, by comparison, had to be more of a hard worker - a stubborn kid that never knew when to stop - and somebody who has to take more time getting better. As Hinata once called him, Naruto is a "proud failure," who never gave up. And eventually he always wins in the end.
I've heard Naruto being called a "total loser" lately. This upsets me. I vehemently do not agree with that line of thought. In my opinion, a "total loser" is somebody who never tries to get off his butt to do anything worthwhile in life. Naruto obviously is not like that.
Oh well, can't talk him out of it...
Incidentally, the last exchange between Kakashi and Yamato at the end of the chapter happened to remind me of when Kakashi scolded Gai for daring to try to teach Rock Lee such a risky technique as opening the gates, during the Chuunin Exams. Remember? And then afterwards, after Rock Lee had been defeated by Gaara, Kakashi apologized to Gai, saying that he probably wouldn't have been able to stop his student, either. Heh.
Well, guess what. It's happening.
So what's going to happen now? Tune in next week and find out...!
RATING: 5 of 5 - Whenever there is an abundance of the images in a Comments I wrote, it's a good bet that I thoroughly enjoyed the art. In fact, I would probably have rated the chapter a 5 because of the art alone! But more than that, the chapter felt like a full one. It offered a whole lot of good old-fashioned shonen drama. Even though Naruto didn't succeed with his jutsu - and maybe that was exactly why, actually - this chapter felt so much like some of the old Part 1 chapters that used to thrill me so much. Maybe Kishimoto's finally getting his storytelling magic back. We'll have to wait and see if it continues to be the case. Hopefully so!
Predictions: I'm pretty clueless I have to admit. So I won't bother this week, heh. Feel free to tell me if you have any good ideas.
You got me there, Porcupine Boy!