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Welcome all to my landmark 20th Naruto review. I’ve got to say that when I started, I was really worried that I wouldn’t make it this far. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enthusiastic about the material and probably spend more time thinking about [I]Naruto[/i} than is probably healthy. Yet I learned after those first couple of reviews just how much of a commitment reviewing on a regular basis is, and to top it off, my writing has never come out as naturally as other reviewers like The Underscore. Still, I do think I’m getting better at these and it’s been a blast writing these up. But most importantly, I hope you guys are enjoying these reviews.
Last review, I asked where you thought Naruto was headed next, and with a slight lead, the winning option was towards the gathered Allied Shinobi Forces. You guys must be some kind of clairvoyant because that seems to be exactly where he’s headed next if Shikaku gets in contact with him. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Now for the chapter review ...
Naruto 544: Two Suns
Images in this review credited to mangastream/binktopia
Brothers of the Cloud
Two Suns begins at the Allied Shinobi Forces headquarters as Shikaku is trying to sort out the Zetsu infiltration problem. It’s not going well and he decides it needs his full attention to the point of declining updates about the Kages, B, and Naruto. Shikaku also decides (maybe partially out of pride) that the Hokage and Raikage have their hands full, so he doesn’t update them on the current infiltration problem.
Meanwhile, Tsunade continues to bar the path between the Raikage and Naruto having determined to hedge her bet for the future on Naruto’s ability. At the same time, B helps the Raikage realize that the life of a jinchuriki is harsh. A jinchuriki’s heart becomes hollow and they truly are nothing but weapons, unless they have something to give them the inner strength necessary to remain human. The Raikage realizes that his words, his bond with B as brothers, have become a sun lighting B’s heart. Just as the Raikage is overprotective of his brother, B would similarly go to any lengths to protect A. Then B makes a shocking declaration. He states that just as he has the Raikage as his inner sun, Naruto has two suns to give him strength.
Ghosts of the Leaf … I’m starting to think there may be something to this ‘Will of Fire’ thing after all.
Something curious happens at this point. The previously raging Raikage shows genuine interest/curiosity in what makes for a strong jinchuriki. When he asks Naruto who his two suns are, Naruto answers with his parents, Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzamaki. Personally, I’m surprised that Iruka wasn’t listed, because Iruka’s words have gone a long way towards making Naruto the man he is today. But together they have a complicated history, whereas Minato and Kushina have shown him unconditional love, similar to A’s affection for his brother.
The Raikage is understandably confused by this revelation, because Naruto lost his parents shortly after his birth. Naruto finally explains to both Tsuande and the Raikage that Minato sealed his own chakra as well as his wife’s chakra within Naruto should the day come when Naruto needed to master the Kyuubi. Tsunade isn’t surprised by the news, given that she had guessed at the possibility, and is simply glad her intuition was right. On the other hand, the Raikage considers the mechanics of how that situation would occur and concludes that Minato’s mastery of sealing jutsu would make what Naruto claims possible.
Naruto isn’t done dispensing with information yet, though. He confirms that Madara was indeed the cause of the Kyuubi’s attack on Konoha and the Fourth was the one who fought and stopped Madara. Moreover, his parents Madara such a threat that the Kyuubi would be needed to defeat him. When this information settles in, the events of the past couple of decades begin to make sense to both Tsunade and the Raikage. They all realize that whatever it is that Madara has planned, he’s been cooking it up for a while and playing his hand cautiously until just recently.
The Raikage then asks an interesting question. How can Minato be the savior of the ninja world if he passed his incomplete task on to his son. Naruto, however, believes in Jiraiya’s prediction that Minato was indeed ‘the destined child’.
Well … that’s a complicated answer...
That explanation doesn’t satisfy the Raikage. He argues that If Minato was indeed ‘the destined child’ and is now dead, then Minato failed in his mission. How can Naruto rectify that contradiction?
Naruto counters that its’ true his parents died, but their efforts saved the Hidden Leaf and they prepared for the future by giving their son the tools necessary for victory and the faith necessary to build Naruto’s determination. Tsunade also weighs in on the discussion. She points out that Naruto has mastered the Kyuubi to an astonishing extent all due to his parents faith. If he were killed, the next Kyuubi jinchuriki would certainly lack Naruto’s control and he/she would be easy pickings for Akatsuki. Then, almost certainly, that would be the end of the world. Bee, Tsunade, and Naruto have hedged their bets on Naruto’s ability and only the Raikage stands in the way. His decision determines whether Naruto can focus squarely on his mission without worrying about interference.
The Second Coming of the Leaf’s Yellow Flash
The Raikage answers by knocking his brother away and extending his lighting style armor to maximum power with a palpable killing intent. Bee obviously can’t save Naruto and time, and despite Tsunade’s insistence to get involved, Naruto understands that she shouldn’t get involved in their fight. Surprisingly, the Raikage gives Naruto a warning before he lunges at him. This time, though, Naruto doesn’t need it. In a move reminiscent of his father, he keenly watches the Raikage’s line of attack and speeds past the Raikage at the last moment in a yellow flash. Tsunade and Bee can only look on in awe as Naruto makes ninja history, becoming (arguably) the fastest shinobi alive.
Before he leaves, Naruto tells the Raikage that he understands his burden. Naruto has inherited his father’s will of fire and he has determined to take up the mantel his mantel as savior of the world. The Raikage responds by telling Naruto that he was testing Naruto in his own way. He can finally place his faith in Naruto because Naruto is only the second person to have dodged the Raikage’s attack. The first was the Fourth Hokage and we already know how much respect the Raikage had for that man. Confident in Naruto’s ability, the Raikage gives him permission to go and Naruto jets off into the night.
It would appear that Naruto is literally the savior of the ninja world … if he can make it in time.
Back at Shinobi HQ, Shikaku has come up with a solid plan to counter the Zetsu infiltration. His strategy mirrors what other readers and I have predicted in that he plans to use Naruto’s sensing ability to pick out the infiltrators by their murderous intent. In addition, he plans on using Naruto’s Shadow Clone technique to place him all over the battlefield. Shikaku worries that the plan won’t be implemented in time to matter because he doubts the Raikage would allow Naruto to enter the battlefield. Of course, that’s not the case as Tsuande’s slug summon informs him.
These eyes of mine see the future … and your future is death.
However, they’ve got bigger problems looming on the horizon. Madara has been hard at work and he’s ready to show off the fruits of his labor: the resurrected jinchuriki transplanted with a Sharingan in their right eyes and a Rinnegan in their left eyes. These resurrected jinchuriki compose Madara’s new Six Paths of Pain, and as the sun rises, the new day promises only more hardship for the Allied forces.
The art this chapter delivered on most fronts. The action was generally well illustrated, as seen above.
Although, it should be noted that the action wasn’t always smooth. In the above shot, the composition and angles are right, but something about the line-work seems wrong. It wasn’t a chapter without flaws, but the flaws were few and far between.
The Allied Forces Shinobi headquarters was painstakingly detailed, evidenced by the level of detail given to the scrolls scattered across Shikaku’s desk.
Kishimoto displayed his trademark since of visual style in his panel angles. The above two are some of the best from the chapter.
But the most welcome artistic flourish were the above two unusual panels that break from the usual panel pattern in favor of style. The leftmost panel goes for the obvious giving Naruto a halo to match his status as a savior. The rightmost panel is more interesting in that it visually signals that Minato and Kushina are Naruto’s suns.
The best panels from the chapter are from the two-page spread cliffhanger. Between the unique character designs, zombie poses, hard shadows from harsh light, crumbling skin, and mismatched eyes, Kishimoto went for maximum creepiness and succeeded. It’s a spread that’s just dripping with ominous portent. Really, this spread is just begging to be colored.
Overall, I think it was an excellent chapter. I wasn’t terribly impressed during my first read through, but the resolution of the Naruto vs Raikage conflict and the intriguing cliffhanger elevated my opinion of the chapter. Kishimoto works best when he writes in broad strokes, going for epic scale. Here, he expertly wove mythology and some light philosophical musing into a chapter that continued the previous one’s thematic development, resolved a major conflict, and moved the plot forward in a major way. The art was gorgeous and the dialogue was well executed.
I appreciated the Raikage’s general conversion from skeptic into a believer. He once told Naruto that ninjas respect actions and strength, and by repeating a feat only accomplished by the Fourth Hokage, Naruto has proved in the Raikage’s eyes that he might be capable of stopping the war. I also liked that Tsunade was ready to fight to protect Naruto and that last look she gave him as he ran off summed up her faith in his ability. Naruto’s greatest strength has always been his ability to win over new comrades, even those who initially hold an extremely low opinion of him.
However, the highlight of this chapter remains the stellar cliffhanger which opens up so many questions.
- Who has ultimate control of these Edo Tensei resurrected jinchuriki? Kabuto as the caster of the technique, or madara as the controller of the Six Paths?
- Will the Six Paths retain their jinchuriki abilities?
- Do the Six Paths not require chakra receivers because they are Edo Tensei summons?
- When the Six Paths regenerate, will their new eyes also regenerate?
- Does Yagura still retain his ability to perfectly control a tailed beast?
- How many of the Rinnnegan’s techniques can Madara use with one eye?
- What abilities will the Sharingan grant the Six Paths? Chakra detection? Keen perception? Hypnotic suggestion or other genjutsus?
But what really makes it great, is that it flows organically from what’s come before in the manga. We’ve seen Madara hoarding talented eyes on multiple occasions, although before we didn’t know what for. We were also shown the full extent of what the Rinnegan alone was capable of with Nagato. Now Madara has both, and he has an improved version of the Six Paths of Pain. If Nagato’s Six Paths were capable of demolishing an entire village, what can this new Six Paths do.
As I said earlier, I was originally inclined to give this chapter a 4, but I’m bumping the grade up for the ingenuity of the cliffhanger and the high quality of art, giving Naruto 544 a ...
5 out of 5.
Last week predictions were partially right. As expected, B was able to persuade the Raikage that Naruto and he were capable jinchuriki’s. Also, Shikaku was able to figure out how to effectively use Naruto, so it seems likely he’ll be headed to the shinobi camps to weed out infiltrators. Still, I would like to have known what Tsunade, A, and B would be doing now that Naruto’s been left to his own devices. My other predictions about Kabuto planning his coup against Madara are still in play though, especially since Madara now has his own army of Sharingan and Rinnegan wielders on the move.
Next week, I expect that Naruto will begin weeding out infiltrators in the shinobi camp, but I’m not sold on him being able to hold Kyuubi-chakra mode while also creating shadow clones. Perhaps he can split into clones before hand and use Tsuande’s slug summon to coordinate when his clones should enter or exit Kyuubi-chakra mode. As for Madara, I’m not sure what he’s planning. Each jinchuriki alone would prove a powerful weapon to hurl at the enemy, so it’d make sense if he split his forces so that a jinchuriki was sent to every Allied division. With five divisions, that would leave one jinchuriki free. Then Madara could also send Yagura to capture Bee, leaving Madara free to capture Naruto himself. It’s a sensible plan, but I hope that Madara does something far more unpredictable and outstanding.
- “No, they left me in charge, I’ll take care of it myself.”
- “Uzamaki Naruto … what are your two suns?”
- “It’s certainly plausible.” If you say so Raikage, that’s good enough for me.
- “It may have only been for a second, but in that second, they gave me so much … their faith!”
- “I’m betting on Naruto.”
- “You’ll have to face me, this time, too!!” Tsunade is on a roll this chapter.
- “Get going!” “Yes, sir!”
- “The long night is ending … and this group is about used to their new eyes.”
- This is usually the place where I mention that One Piece and Bleach were also good this week, but this weeks’ One Piece felt like a bunch of wheel spinning and I’m reserving judgement on the current Bleach arc until it becomes clear just what the stakes are.
- And as always, if your're answer to the poll question isn't listed, let me know in the comments.
A big thank you for sticking around with me these past twenty reviews. See you next week space cowboy...
Nice review as usual . Something tells me the new six path arent ETs , but dead old jincurki . Nagato with all his power couldn't control gedo mezo GM all he could do was link with it which gave him the possiblity to control his six path , but in the case of madara , he could summon and unsummon the GM at free will , which might make it possible for him to control them . But we will see once Kishi confirms it . Cuz i doubt Madara would just implant the eyes into the ETs since kabuto's Real goal is the eyes .
Last edited by narutoaged; June 24, 2011 at 02:20 AM.
great review,always better! it was perfect but I would add that this chapter is the last of volume 57. this is why kishimoto has drown so greatful end. it was kishi's plan to make A know tobi was the mastermind almost 17 years ago, and to make tsunade know what has happened during naruto's training.
I enjoyed reading this. I particularly like the discussion of artwork that you do.
good review as always. and to your question i am impressed with madaras plan a year ago everyone was saying how him and zetsu would fight the war alone against 5 nation and he had a good plan. first with his creation of the zetsus, then having them infiltrate the alliance.a nd now the paths. i think even if kabuto had n ot joined him he would have created the paths again. it may not have been the jins but he would have used other bodies.
You also raise a good point about this chapter being a solid (potential) closing for Volume 57 of the manga. If the volume closed on this chapter, then it would be a Naruto-centric tankoban, because it begins with Naruto 535: Iruka's Persuasion, covering Naruto coming to terms with the Kyuubi and his own motivations, as well as having Naruto persuade the shinobi leadership he is capable of fighting in the war and gain a reputation as the second coming of the Yellow Flash.
Last edited by blackjack612; June 25, 2011 at 02:41 PM.
great review bj! Also, any idea why is Gedou Mazou behind the Jinchuuriki in the last page?
I think it's likely GM is there just to seal the Kyuubi chakra from Kinkaku and Ginkaku.