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Translations: Gintama 515 (2)
First Hokage Hashirama Senju
Second Hokage Tobirama Senju
Third Hokage Hiruzen Sarutobi
Fourth Hokage Minato Namikaze
"Indeed. It's time to move on to the place where all the secrets slumber."
I'm very excited about this chapter, which happens to feature no Naruto at all. But before we get to it, which we will do shortly, let's go over last review's still ongoing poll. I asked which of the story arcs or plot developments have been your favorite from the past year and unequivocally, your least favorite was Obito's backstory which received no votes. The three developments you liked best were: the Uchiha brothers vs Kabuto tied with the unmasking of Tobi (3rd), the Kage vs Madara (2nd), and Naruto vs the Jinchuriki (1st). You know, it seems like any storyline that prominently features the Kage seems to score well with the readers, whether it's the current five kage or the revived kage of old. So I predict a lot of you will like where the story is heading after this chapter...
Naruto 618 The One Who Knows Everything
The images in this review are credited to Mangastream.
Sasuke and company have finally arrived at their destination. Or at least the first stop along the way: a very rundown looking building adorned with the Uzumaki crest. Here, Orochimaru chooses from among a wall of demon masks, picking one in particular. The group moves on. It becomes apparent soon that they're in an abandoned Konoha. Sasuke takes a moment to soak in the sight of his hometown and an unusually astute Suigetsu draws the connection between the snake in the hawk, commenting that Orochimaru must understand what it's like being conflicted about destroying a hometown that holds some sentimental value.
Suigetsu also points out that with all the big players at war and Orochimaru's own trusted players assembled, now would be the prime time to destroy the leaf. But Orochimaru points out that his top people are now Sasuke's top people and that Sasuke's still searching for an answer.
Sasuke opens the chamber beneath the destroyed Nakano Shrine using an Uchiha jutsu and the group journeys beneath in search of their answers.
Orochimaru begins by placing the mask on and allowing the reaper from the shikifujin jutsu that stole his arms to possess his body. By becoming a sacrifice, Orochimaru frees the souls of the four former Hokage from the Death God's stomach which causes his own belly to be slashed as well. He then summons them back with Edo Tensei by germinating (through Juugo's power) the six Zetsu spores hidden on Sasuke and sacrificing four of those.
Orochimaru mentions that he knew about Zetsu's spies because of Kabuto and that he was already well aware of what Hashirama's cells could do, then he finishes his preparations and lets his former subordinates slay the remaining two Zetsu. Then Orochimaru exits his sacrificed body* and the Hokage are returned to glory. How does he summon them? Orochimaru already had their DNA being quite the collector. But why summon them under Nakano Shrine? I assume we'll learn that next and that it revolves around that infamous tablet of history Obito's mentioned a few times.
*It makes me nervous that Suigetsu's hands are right around Orochimaru's neck as though he's going in for the kill.
This chapter was full of wonderful atmosphere. Just when I thought nothing could make Orochimaru creepier, we get him set before phantom flames, standing above an occult-looking setup, and wearing that disturbing death god mask. The rain, the abandoned village, the rundown buildings, and the sweeping shots of landscape set the mood perfectly, indicating that we were about to journey into the strange and unknown. My only quibble is that we had to leave behind that great wall of masks so quickly.
This chapter raises the question of how much of this scenario Kishimoto had planned out from the beginning. The way the Hokage have been woven through the series mythology. Their appearance as the first Edo Tensei summons shown and their later distinction of being the only ones sealed by that death god jutsu. That this technique was also used against Orochimaru but not fatally so he would be able to and have incentive to undo its effects. Mentioning that Minato leanred his sealing techniques by studying Uzumaki jutsu which sets up the reveal that of course he would have created that death god seal not from scratch, but through research and refinement of existing ideas. The commented upon absence and unavailability of the previous Hokage for this war. He might fail occasionally as an author when it comes to small details or reading audience expectation, but there's no denying that Kishimoto can play the long game well when he wants to.
The repeated motifs of students repeating their predecessors comes back into play with Sasuke and Orochimaru. As does the central importance of the Hokage as peacekeepers and Orochimaru as the original big villain in the series. I foresaw many scenarios when Orochimaru came back and Suigetsu first found that scroll, but I think this surpasses all of them, cool as it might have been to see the Sage of the Six Paths revived. You have histories heroes assembled here for the express purpose of answering questions. Imagine all that could be revealed and the potential this meeting has in redeeming Orochimaru (who's showing signs of being redeemable if that smile at the beginning of the chapter's any indication) and Sasuke.
In fact, this is a prime oppurtunity to continue the theme of Naruto and Sasuke's development mirroring each other. If Itachi could put Naruto onto a better path, perhaps it's one of his relatives...Minato...who can do the same for Sasuke. So for surprising me so well, I'm giving Naruto 618 a ...
6 out of 5
Now let's just see how well Kishimoto uses this setup. My predictions last review were spot on. There's Senju blood aplenty representing and they're smack dab in the middle of Konoha.
And with four Kage, all the questions I raised could be answered. Hashirama can answer much about Madara and the Sage. Tobirama was a water style user and could potentially be related to that business with the Hidden Mist since they're a water style based village. Hashirama can provide direct evidence of how the Uchiha's fate was avoidable and how others like him worked to prevent it. And Minato can directly implicate Obito's involvement in the powder-keg that set the whole thing off.
What do you guys think will be revealed? And what do you most want to know?
And my last prediction, the last page of this chapter will lead to many new sig pics and profile pics.
One Line Reviews
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- I've been saying for awhile that I want more from Law and his motivations and One Piece 697 delivers in a chapter that promises to shake things up big time. Law and Joker's power play comes to a head in a climax that I hope is leading us where I think it will...
- Bleach 525 continues the surprisingly emotional story of two killers who were only ever to find satisfaction once between themselves, struggling to relive that sensation. It's standard territory for Zaraki, but I wish we'd gotten to see more of this side of Unohana beforehand.
- My Pick of the Week goes to Naruto this week in one that's been filled with great releases. All the series I mainly follow had huge reveals but none have me anticipating the future more than this one.
Awesome review as always jack double thumbs up. My only hope for next chapter is that we (hopefully) get to see the battle with hashirama and madara in some details during their conversation (but that's just me being ambitious). As you said alot of questions can be on the table at this point, as for orochimaru's redemption...err...i'm not so certain orochimaru can change for the better but i've been wrong before.
Speaking of orochimaru, heres another scenario to consider (just expressing my thoughts, all are free to critique as they see fit), what if orochimaru turns the kage against sasuke? Should make for an interesting but pointless fight cause if you look at it from a practical sense sasuke doesn't stand a chance against those guys (ESPECIALLY THE FIRST O_O). Anyways just my two cents.
Perhaps this is the long-game battle of Hashirama and Madara...Madara planned to come back, and Hashirama had the foresight to plan to stop him. Perhaps this has always been the reason for destroying the Uchiha clan, the plot was revealed, but the culprits were unknown.
One of the things I think might be addressed is how and why Tobirama set up the konoha police force which was a ruse to monitor the Uchiha. And I think it may have something to do with Hashirama's death maybe.
Great review Black! Is it just me or has anyone mentioned...If the death god released Orochimaru's arms and the four Hokages, then what happened to the other half of Kurama that was sealed as well? My thoughts...
1) It goes back to Kurama where he becomes one supercharged tailed beast OR
2) Sasuke becomes its Jinchuuriki setting up an epic 'Good vs. Evil' battle between him and Naruto
great review black,the first part is perfect! but you overlooked a few things in the last part: the 2 remaining zetsu were: one absorbed by jugo (who gained hashirama's cells in this way,imo),and the other one became orochimaru's new vessel (likely allowing him to obtain hashirama's cells too). about your question concerning the whereabouts, I'd say orochimaru already explained the reasons: he had to do so while wearing the shinigami's mask, and he would have been possessed only in the uchihas' secret room.
great review blackjack, and this chapter deserved a high score, you don't see the hokages together and especial talking about the history of konoha(senju/uchihas).