"You once told me that crushing Konoha was something you decided to do on a whim. Now I know that to be a lie..."
"Uchiha Madara has been resurrected and begun his genocide of all shinobi."
Well this was something wasn't it. It seems that in the post Obito reveal and flashback, Kishimoto has picked up some of the steam that he seemed in danger of losing. But before we get to the chapter, let's go over last week's poll results which are relevant to the content therein. I asked what Sasuke will decide (still up in the air for now) and just barely taking first place, you guys believe he'll be conflicted about destroying Konoha when all is said and done. However, a healthy number of you believe he will still be set on revenge.
Naruto 620 Hashirama Senju
The images in this review are credited to Mangastream.
Sasuke expands upon his question at the beginning of this chapter. He wants to hear in their own words what the forefathers intended the village and shinobi system to become before deciding on whether or not the Uchiha deserve retribution. A few things happen here. First, we're shown a partial flashback where Sasuke intuits that Orochimaru didn't decide to crush Konoha on a whim. But we cut back before he gives his answer. It's interrupted by Tobirama who doesn't take kindly to the threat on his village. He tenses up* putting everyone on edge save for Orochimaru and his own brother, Hashirama, who manages to talk him down.
However, Orochimaru puts everyone back on edge when he hastens Hashirama to say his bit since public enemy numero uno is back from the dead to murder everyone. The former Kage confirm the existence of both Madara's evil chakra and Naruto's Kyuubi-mastered chakra. Naturally, Hiruzen wants to lend his assistance, but Orochimaru lays down the law. Answers now. Fighting later, unless Sasuke decides to crush the leaf with it's most venerated heroes.
*the brothers Senju spike the chakra to levels that crack the surrounding walls
Tobirama doesn't like this one bit. He's ready to walk out, pointing out to Orochimaru that reviving the originator of Edo Tensei at full strength was a mistake. Or so he thinks. But Orochimaru's techniques have been strengthened now that he's acquired Hashirama's cells.
Hashirama himself, though, is under no such restriction. He's free to move, but assures Orochimaru he won't until he's tried his best to save Sasuke. It's an attempt to prevent a second Madara rising up once the original has been dealt with. He begins his tale with the Uchiha and Senju while we are privy to scenes from that climatic battle at the Valley of the End, one on a monstrous scale.
Wow o wow. What a chapter. Kishimoto continues to wring the maximum amount of personality and emotions from his characters, whether it's a surprised Third and Fourth, an angry Second, or an alternately serene and reprimanding First. The side characters all get a moment or two to shine: Suigetsu's melting body—a funny bit of physical comedy—being the highlight. Orochimaru too stood out for his facade of confidence that wavers only when considering what to do with Hashirama Senju.
There were plenty of well illustrated moments: Tobirama's "don't f*** with me" face, Hashirama's disapproving glare, Tobirama's attempted walkout, the reaction to "we're at war with Madara". But the most impressive by far is that fluid, dynamic, well detailed chapter closing battle at the Valley of the End.
Kishimoto is on a roll. As far as I'm concerned, from a character perspective, he's rung the utmost out of Tobirama who's been the most outspoken of the four. Hashirama's really had a chance to shine too and I expect once he finishes his story, that character loop will be closed. The odd ducks out are Hiruzen (who did get a chance to show regret for Uchiha massacre) and Minato, but there are pointers to how those character arcs will wrap up.
In particular, the notion student teacher relations and passing down one's will or the chance for a better future has been one of the foremost themes of Naruto. I think by alluding to the Hokages joining the war and showing us that incomplete flashback of Sasuke opening up to Orochimaru, Kishimoto's setting up two things:
- Orochimaru's casualness. He's a guy with near limitless ambition, but he's no longer interested in destroying the leaf, accidently revealed himself to have been conflicted about destroying it to Suigetsu, and seemingly found out by Sasuke. Now, he states he's allied with Sasuke rather than brain zapping the Hokage as soon as they're revived like he did last time. I think he's just as interested as Sasuke in hearing what Hashirama has to say and might be humbled by his previous run-ins with Hiruzen and Itachi. Through Edo Tensei and with Hiruzen by his side, I think Kishimoto is setting him up for redemption and possibly entrusting his will to Sasuke having finally found a pupil he considers worthy. Let's not forget the guy's very vain and who would he respect more than the one person who came closest to killing him.
- Minato's been revived but hasn't contributed much yet. And his former pupils Kakashi and Naruto are on the battlefield facing another of his former pupils Obito. This could be the big one. Minato's presence could be what pushes Obito either over the edge or towards redemption. My money's on the former though. And as Rin's teacher, he might know why she was taken by the Hidden Mist.
All in all, this chapter was aces. It was one of the rare examples where the dialogue, art, emotion, characters, themes, plot, and promise all aligned just right. The only reason this chapter isn't getting a 6 is because I try to limit how many of those I throw out and I expected Kishimoto to stick the landing as he's done because Konoha's mythology has always been one of the series stronger aspects. Thus, I'm giving Naruto 620 a...
5 out of 5
Well it almost seems inevitable now that it's been mentioned that the Hokage will join the war effort. I'm still not so sure Sasuke will reach a decision beforehand though. I think he may choose to postpone his revenge until afterwards, deciding to deal with Madara and Obito first since they were the cause of much of the Uchiha's suffering. But will we get that last Sasuke vs Naruto fight after Hashirama has his say?
One Line Reviews
- Having been challenged, Kurono has a choice to make in Gantz 377. Will he run away and enjoy the life he fought so valiantly for? Or will he say goodbye to his rescued love and give in to the masses who want him to fight his alien challenger?
- The Devil of the Right Arm arc concludes in Tower of God S02 Ch51. There are reveals, treachery, an unexpected badass moment from Dan, all capped by a heartbreaking conclusion. Where the series heads now gonig into the Gongbang Tournament arc, I don't know. But I'm eager to find out.
- Bleach 526 is one beautiful bloody chapter. Literally. There's tons of the stuff. Unohana reveals the true purpose of her bankai and the fight between Kenpachis comes to an end. A kenpachi who sees in another a peer is not worthy of being called the strongest, and so only the victor will walk away from this battle alive.
- If last weeks reads were about going big and huge reveals, this week seems mostly to be about the feels. Whether its the sereneness that battle (Bleach) or coming battle (Gantz) grants, the heartbreak of loss (Tower of God), or unwavering peacefulness in the face of tension and strong personalities (Naruto). This was another great week of releases, but I'm tempted to give the edge to Naruto, my Pick of the Week, if only for how strongly Kishimoto is continuing this storyline.
Has anyone else noticed how much Hashirama behaves like Goku? I mean they're both ridiculously laid back, friendly and still manage to be top dogs in their respective universes. Even his interactions with Tobirama remind me of how Goku would interact with Vegeta towards the end of the Buu saga.
Great review and I can't wait for the next chapter (review)!
Last edited by Expletivebmp; February 19, 2013 at 01:52 PM.
Yes, I remember. I guess that's why the similarities jumped out to me. In a way though, this kind of makes it feel like if DBZ and Naruto were set in the same universe, the entire Naruto story would take place decades after DBZ ended, as if Hashirama's generation are the original main characters. It's difficult to explain I guess, because it's not even making much sense to me.
EDIT: I think I can explain it more clearly now: Hashirama seems to have the same kind of main character traits as Goku, so in a way it seems like Hashirama's life is the real main story and Naruto's is a sequel with throwbacks to the original.
Last edited by Cyven; February 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM.
I actually think Hashirama will be like an adult Naruto, they have the same expressions and very similar behaviour.
Look at the glare that Naruto sent Kyuubi and the one Hashirama sent Tobirama for example
If naruto become as hashirama, he might got a shot at it, naruto believe that hokage is the title of the strongest shinobi in the village and that can be true but it's more than that it is protecting and taking the best decision for your people while creating a liveable and peace place with your citizens and keeping friendly relationship with other countries in this case after this war everyone will respect and be thankful to naruto and it will make keep a friendly relationship with other village but naruto doesn't think about when he become hokage, he won't be able to run around or going to mission and all that, he will be busy with paperwork and every single thing that happen in konoha..
If naruto become like hashirama/minato, he wil be a great hokage and having someone as shikamaru at his side..
Amazing review,man! The analysis is far better than the previous,which were already at an high level. What's out of place here is likely the poll : it'd be a shame if the hokage won't be allowed to fight!
Great breakdown Black. I think only Hashirama will be able to join the fight. My only basis is that Kishi tends to be very straightforward when it comes to his foreshadowing. He doesn't waste panels or dialog to try and send you on a wild goose chase but lets you deceive yourself if you choose to. In this chapter Kishi already makes it known that Hashirama can break the edo tensi while the others can't which would seems to suggest either:
1) Sasuke decides to stay on the path to revenge and uses the hokage for his purposes ...OR
2) Sasuke decides to stay on the path to revenge and doesn't use the hokage
Either way, I think Hashirama will break away and join this fight as he is the only one capable of defeating this supercharged version of Madara. I think that epic fight is inevitable. I think its also inevitable that Hashirama will fight with Tsunade at some point. Kishi has been putting Naruto and Sasuke on a collision course since the beginning of the manga so I don't see him breaking from that course now. I do find it interesting that Sasuke is having the same discussion with the Hokage that Naruto had with Nagato. It even involves the same theme of 'I don't know if I will destroy you but I will listen to your story first then decide'. Considering Sasuke has been the opposite of Naruto up to this point, can there be any doubt what decision he will arrive at by the end of this discussion?
Of course I could be the one deluding myself and Kishi will go in the other direction...but I doubt it.