Alright first time commenting a chapter, so let's do things right by crediting those who made this possible :
- Kylara for the raw
- Hisshouburaiken and Winterlion for their translation,
- Des for his scanlation,
- Mangahelpers in general and its staff for all their work.
I tried to make something coherent of my thoughts about this chapter (and previous ones) and this is what I got : a 3 parts commentary about Sasuke's evolution and a fourth part for my prediction.
I was already wondering that last chapter but did Sasuke actually see trough the door ? I mean he managed to stab Oro's hands so well. I know sharingan is no byakugan so this was a long shot. Even if Oro is in bed when sick like that, he might have been lying or Sasuke could have simply missed. In any case, this shows something about Sasuke's determination and confidence because he was ready to deal with Orochimaru even if the situation din't turn up this much in his favor.
Those brats... no gratitude
Another proof of his confidence is the way he looks down upon Orochimaru. I tinks this is no ego trying to convince itself here. He truly believes what he is saying and judging by the rest of the chapter he might as well be true. After all, he has been able to develop his ability for shape manipulation without Orochimaru noticing.
Don't be so hasty Oro, I still have my clothes on
Now panel 4 and 5 shows us that Sasuke considers Orochimaru's goal to be as foolish and crazy as his brother's. This is probably why he is able to show him no mercy like he claims he would Itachi. By the way, I wonder if he would show Kabuto more mercy. After all, Kabuto choose to follow Orochimaru out of his own reasonning, so he can be said to be as crazy and as disgusting as Orochimaru. This point might prove important in upcoming chapters hence Kabuto's nearby presence and devotion.
Sasuke sheating his sword and not even trying to avoid the attack is of course another sign of his impressive confidence. He even has time to prevent any cloth damage. It would seem someone has learnt his lesson from part 1... (remember his cloth with 2 holes after fighting Naruto).
Orochimaru definitely looks weak and hepless here. So weak he can only try to tease Sasuke with pitiful words. Where are all these kukukus we've come to expect ? He's not so talkative anymore and in his case it is a sign of a lack of confidence. When he fought Naruto he was always teasing him and laughing about it. This time - while in human form at least - he shows no entertainment whatsoever.
About his snake form, now that explains a lot, like how Oro could reattach himself when cut in two by using snakes. It is my belief that there is a drawback to its transformation. I mean, how do you make seals for example ? It looks as if he couldn't do otherwise than go all out (literally) on Sasuke. By doing this he took a great risk. If he can't get Sasuke's body he might have to find another one quickly.
Sasuke waiting on a bed... this looks apetizing to Oro
I know we can't make much of Oro's expression when he is under his snake form but I have decided that this was a grin. And what an awful one with 3 rows of teeth !!!
Now this drop of sweat on Oro's forehead is the most expressive thing about him. Is he scared ? He certainly seems impatient and the way he screams in the next panel makes me think about how impatient he was that the third dies when he had pierced him with his sword of Kusanagi (sorry I don't have the picture here).
***The mirror stage***
I believe last chapter could be considered a mirror stage in Sasuke-Orochimaru relationship. While they were on the battlefield covered with defeated nins, Sasuke and Orochimaru seemed on equal ground :
- Everything that happened before this scene showed a stronger Orochimaru,
- Everything that will happen from this scene on will show a stronger Sasuke.
1. When fighting his former team he was about to use "that" jutsu which remained unknown to us because Orochimaru prevented him from doing so. In this chapter Orochimaru is not capable of preventing him from using another "that" jutsu ("that" because he has never seen it before).
2. Before Sasuke even joined Orochimaru, the use of his heaven seal was forbidden to him if he didn't want to depend on Orochimaru in the end. Now, he is able to use it to free himself from Oro's grasp.
3. When Sasuke fought Naruto at the end of part 1, he decided not to kill him in order not to become Itachi's puppet (again, sorry no picture). But then he decided to join Orochimaru, becoming his puppet in the process. Now he seems to be the one playing with Oro. Another hint in that direction would be Oro's hair cut which makes him look like Karasu Kankuro's early puppet (I caught a glimpse of GK's comments and it seems we agree on this one). Sasuke could have actually thought, while joining Oro that if he couldn't be strong enough to kill him at the end of the training he MIGHT as well leave his body to him so there would be a greater chance Itachi might one day be killed. However, he never had the intention of letting it happen just like that. This sheds some light on what he said to Naruto during their last encounter. He did say "IF".
4. The relation good guy/bad guy has changed also. Being the strongest (in this chapter at least), makes Sasuke look like the bad guy. I mean, look at the amount of talking he does while attacking Oro. It usually is a trait for a vilain. Vilains always have to talk about how strong they are so the good guy has a chance to defeat them. Weird to think of Oro as the nice guy here ? If it wasn't for Kishimito's brilliant use of the chapter end about Oro's chilhood, I would have said yes. Well let's be more precise, he's rather the victim than the good guy, still... By the way, did you notice here the three signs on chibi Oro's cloth look a lot like the sharingan to me. I know this is a bit far fetched, still Oro's fate seem to be linked to the one of the Uchiha. And so was the Third's fate to Oro's. Weird to think that, in his will to confort Oro he has planted the seeds of his own end. A little something for Oro to meditate. The moral would be : be careful what you tell kids OR never give a kid a curse seal.
***So what's next ?***
However impressive Sasuke has become and despite all I've just said, I don't think Oro is doomed. I believe Sasuke is being a little overconfident here. Let me show you why.
Right, enough talking
Did you notice the grip on Sasuke's sword. It changes between the first and last panel. Using the first grip he could have sliced Oro. Using the second one he definitely wants to stab him. In any case, he has left himself with an opening on his left side. If Oro had wanted to kick him with his right foot, he could have, had he not knocked his head on the bedstand (Sasuke and Oro are in a bed together, Sasuke has tied Oro's hand and Oro's head is hitting the bedstand... something's sick with this panel). But who am I to criticize a genius Uchiha (which according to Sasuke is a pleonasm).
Now would you look at that, isn't that Oro the weakling using the aforementionned opening to escape. In my opinion, Sasuke is being a little overconfident. My prediction for the upcoming chapters is that Sasuke will be sucessfull in escaping Oro but not killing him. That or he planned on this as well (I don't know say to force him out of the body, this is Shikamaru's level of anticipation we're talking here) and Oro is history.
Thanks for reading it up to the end and putting up with the bad joke about Oro and Sasuke. I just started commenting that's why I won't be issuing grades... so no rating here. However this chapter was one of the best lately, especially since Kishimoto sama literally jumped from the last arc deep into this one.
I figured :
A snake taking over a host...
"Yet all you do is make petty excuses for playing god with people's lives"
OMG Oro ! You're a Goaul'd.
Where's SG1 when you need them ?