"Kushina, Minato...be proud...because that raw fruit you bore has finally ripened!!!"
Before we get to this week's continuation of the "Dance of the Ninjas", let's go over last review's poll. I asked how likely it was that Sasuke and Naruto would reunite before both Obito and Tobi were taken down and the majority of you don't think it's likely at all. Personally, I think it's hard to say. The Allied Shinobi Force is looking good at the moment, but Kishimoto's already hinted that there's yet another level of control that can be had with the Juubi.
Now for the chapter review...
Naruto 617 Dance of the Ninjas 2
The images in this review are credited to Mangastream
It's Lee's turn to grieve this chapter, as he reflects on Naruto's words and remembers how Neji changed from an arrogant prick to a caring ally and rival. Lee, pissed off and powered up by Kurama's chakra, closes his friends eyes and is clearly ready for some righteous revenge. Simultaneously, Kakashi reflects on an earlier conversation he had with Shikaku about Naruto's chakra sharing ability and Kurama reflects on Naruto's progress, illustrating just how much Naruto's grown and surpassed Minato's expectations.
For his part, Madara's ready to play that game, boosting the Juubi's chakra and bringing the Nara clan's binding jutsu to its limit.
All for nought. The villains' first volley is foiled by a well-coordinated counter, and the second-a cage like jutsu that Obito uses to mock the "abomination" the Hyuga places on its branch family members-also fails. In fact, Obito only succeeds in further rallying the Allied forces. Hinata heals Naruto's shoulder and Naruto and Lee lead a direct assault that pushes the Uchiha off their comfortable resting spot atop the Juubi.
As the chapter ends, Naruto reaffirms the value of his bonds and his hope that these feelings are reciprocated by those he's bonded with, shortly before the chapter cuts to Sasuke's posse who have arrived at their destination...
This was a very well drawn chapter. I don't have any faults or glaring inconsistencies to nitpick. Well, Orochimaru seems oddly large in that last panel when he never seemed like that large of a guy, but otherwise it was a well illustrated chapter with clearly delineated action, sweeping angles, detailed landscapes, and great character designs. My favorite images are a toss-up between a powered up Lee and that cage attack Obito attempted to use.
Well, that was something. I was not expecting the Allies to so easily wipe the floor with Madara and Obito, but I'm not really complaining. It's good to see them finally gain an advantage after being subjected to brutal attack after brutal attack and for that advantage to exploit the inherent character flaws each of the Uchiha men have. Madara's still overconfident in his abilities and Obito's failure to empathize with others leads him to further strengthen his enemy's resolve. And aside from the action, Kurama really nails how far Naruto's come on this journey. One that feels pretty much complete at this point with Sasuke remaining as the only loose end that needs tying up.
Overall, this was a nigh perfect chapter, so Naruto 617 gets a ...
5 out of 5
Naruto 2012 in Year
Just seeing how much has changed and not since a year ago is strange. At about this time, Naruto was just learning the Bijuu's names and mastering his Kyuubi-chakra jutsu. And Obito's climactic fight was just beginning. Before Orochimaru had been revived, he was tying in review poll's with Sasuke as 2nd most likely to be the final villain, with Tobi coming in 1st and Madara in 3rd. With Kabuto out of the running, and Madara and Obito making a last stand, it looks like the forward thinking voters who voted for the snake master and pupil will probably be right.
But looking back also reveals how long this fight has been going on. At a year plus, this climax has become a little wearying. The Allies are down, up, down, and up all over again. Seriously. First the Kage's are like, "Madara, you cannot pass"? Then Madara cleans the floor with them by revealing his true power. Then Itachi and Sasuke team up, only to be outmatched by Kabuto's surprise senjutsu. Until Kabuto's tragic backstory is revealed, never a good sign for a villain in this series, and Itachi ends his ambitions in an almost compassionate way. Then Itachi's tragic backstory is revealed and he ends Edo Tensei and himself. Down, up, down, up, and so on.
Orochimaru makes a shocking return! But we don't know if he's fully bad or whatnot because he's uninterested in this war. So comparatively, he's better than Madara and Tobi. And of course, Team Kakashi gains the upper hand against Tobi until he's revealed to be Obito, complete with tragic backstory that somehow does not cause precede him being instantly KOed. Mostly because Madara shows up to aid him. They're beaten back. The Juubi's revived. The Allies show up. They're beaten back again. And they will inevitably power up once more for a final push, possibly as jinchuriki of the Juubi.
It's been exciting at times, but it's exhausting, and I can't help but want some closure here.
Theory time. Where have Orochimaru and Sasuke arrived that would be so important? That their arrival followed directly after Naruto's speech, I'm tempted to think it's related to the Senju or Uzumaki clans. Or maybe Konoha itself. Is he uncovering the reason behind Rin's death that is the lynchpin of this chain of tragedies? Has he uncovered some Senju secret that relates to Nagato receiving his eyes from Madara? Has he found the grave of the Sage of the Six Paths? I actually like that last option, because it's something that would definitely be worthy of swaying the tide of the war as Suigetsu said. Or perhaps he's found proof of Obito's connection to the Kyuubi attack on Konoha or Madara's secret underground hideout, either of which could spell trouble for those villains. What are you guys hoping they discover?
One Line Reviews
- The Devil of the Right Arm arc kicks into full gear in Tower of God S02 Ch48 as a crazy cliffhanger calls into question just who's pulling the strings behind the curtain.
- Bleach 524 engenders more sympathy than deserved for two of the most unrepentantly violent characters in the series and raises even more questions about the relationship between the two Kenpachis.
- It's been awhile since I've checked in, but Gantz 375-376 has grabbed my interest again by shifting the stories from large-scale devastation and epic invasions to small-scale cruelties and personal themes like honor and pride.
- My Pick of the Week is One Piece 696 which serves as a warm, funny capper to the Punk Hazard arc (assuming nothing else goes wrong). The chapter ends an arc that was certainly better than the last by having Luffy reveal his ambitions.