"I can easily see through your swordsmanship."
This week's chapter doesn't have quite the depth as recent installments, but that's okay. What it lacks in subtext it makes up for with action on an epic scale. But before we get to that, in my previous poll, I asked you guys whether the Hokage would be allowed to join the war effort and the majority of you think they will.
Now for the chapter review...
Naruto 621 Hashirama and Madara
The images in this review are credited to Mangastream.
Oddly, the chapter begins at and refers to the famous Valley of the End bout as "The Battle Where It All Began" even though the series mythology pegs that as the endpoint to Madara and Hashirama's enmity. What follows is a lot of cleverness, fisticuffs, and large jutsu. On Madara's side, he covers Kuruma with his Susanoo, making the tailed beast more deadly (with those swords and arms) and well defended. Hashirama has himself an item pulled from mythology (or religious iconography): the shield of the thousand armed bodhisattva. Hashirama can't help but be impressed by his foe's ingenuity and Madara just really really wants to decimate Hashirama.
The back and forth continues with Hashirama grabbing hold of Kurama with his wood style jutsu before those hands are sliced off by Madara's blades. Hashirama retreats a bit. Madara fires off a modified Tailed Beast Blast, but Hashirama diverts it with a Quintuple Rashoman*. In the end, a whole lot of landscape is destroyed.
*Orochimaru checklist of stolen jutsu grows!
Hashirama makes a last appeal to Madara, citing the struggles and memories of comrades and the friendship between them, but Madara takes Hashirama's words as a threat and arrogantly proceeds. Activating his own sage mode, Hashirama goes head to head with Madara and they clash in a blinding explosion of light. The chapter concludes with a flashback within a flashback in which Hashirama first meets with Madara, giving him stone skipping advice as a child.
Everything was well illustrated this chapter. This fight has taken on a large place in both the fandom and series' mythology, so Kishimoto had to bring his A game and he delivered. The jutsu were epic even in comparison to normal. Seen three Rashoman before? Well how about five! Seen a tailed-beast rampage? Let's armor him up and give it's energy blast a little something extra! Sage mode? Let's summon a gigantic thousand-armed bodhisattva! Really, everything was large in scale, the landscapes were detailed and ever changing, and action was easy to follow and varied.
As amazingly action-packed as this chapter was, it is a bit disappointing coming after the previous ones which sped through plot points. However, the action was as great as it's ever been and the battle lived up to its reputation.
But the most intriguing thing here is how closely Madara and Hashirama's relationship mirrors Naruto and Sasuke. They both fought at that valley arguing over different ideas. Hashirama's concern was treated as arrogance by the actually arrogant Madara who refused to see an equal in another. And the two pulled out their most powerful jutsu meeting in an explosive middle. In Naruto and Sasuke's case, there was a moment of emotional reflection. So too for Hashirama and Madara though it looks like this reflection will be more flashback heavy.
Naruto has danced around the theme of repetition and cycles and it'll be interesting to see how Kishimoto handles newer cycles deviating from the past through knowledge of what's come before. I'm giving Hashirama and Madara a...
5 out of 5
No predictions this week. My previous ones were concerned with the present timeline, so I have no idea what the flashbacks hold in store. I do find it interesting that Hashirama started his tale here at the Valley of the End when that actually seems like the logical ending to a tale beginning with a world divided by war, facing Uchiha Madara multiple times, founding Konoha, and the eventual split. If this is indeed the beginning and we only get a brief glimpse of their childhood together, I think we'll see more of Hashirama trying to lead the village and the cause of his death. But really it could go anywhere. We could be shown Kurama being sealed within Mito, Kakuzu failing to assassinate Hashirama, the dividing of the Bijuu between nations, or his search for a successor.
One Line Reviews
- "Oi! You ain't gonna die on me are you? I'm begging you, don't die." Bleach 527 starts strong and emotional and ends unexpectedly. We've known for a while a part of his history needed to be explored, but just how he'll regain his abilities is a mystery.
- Tower of God S02 Ch52 starts a new arc, setting up the teams that will presumably face off in the Gongbang Tournament. There are seeds enough planted in this chapter to suggest that the oppressed protagonists could shake things up and break their shackles by the end of Part 2.
- Time does fly. I hadn't realized until today how close to the big 700 One Piece is getting, which might explain why One Piece 699 is so loaded with plot development and resolution. It’s both the setup for larger developments and a great chapter in its own right, so it’s my Pick of the Week.
Great review blackjack,, i think this two shinobies are above everyone else as madara fighting hashirama while controlling kurama and using susanoo and hashirama keeping up with all these attacks and not just that he stooped then and counterattack...
Very nice review and I agree with the score. For the first time in a long while I feel the weeks better chapter was Naruto and not bleach. While bleach was pretty empty in term of story advancement this one started to paint up a very interesting back story that will make reading Naruto in the future more pleasant. I hope kishi tales his time here, it is one of the most interesting topics. It would be sad if their just grown up next time around.