Welcome all to another Naruto review. As an Itachi fan, I found this week’s chapter particularly enjoyable, but before we get to that, let’s go over the poll results from my last review. The previous chapters cliffhanger setup a confrontation between Naruto and the revived Nagato and Itachi. Yet, Naruto had just as much to gain from talking to and gaining intel from these potential allies as he did from simply defeating them. Further, Itachi has been helpful towards Naruto in the past and their goals happen to align. Since Itachi and Nagato seemed like they could just as easily function as allies to Naruto as they would enemies. It turns out that twice as many of you as not were correct in predicting that a throw-down would actually occur. Although, Naruto’s confrontation with the revived Akatsuki turns out to be more complicated than an ordinary fight.
Naruto and B vs Itachi and Nagato is a fight that’s been more than half a year and the making. It’s release happens to coincide with my 25th Naruto chapter review, so I was especially pleased that Naruto 549 was so good. Now for the chapter review...
Naruto 549: Itachi’s Question!
As always, images in this review are credited to mangastream/binktopia.
A Mountain Pass Clash Between High Caliber Shinobi!
Itachi’s Question! begins with Naruto catching up with Nagato and Itachi now that they are risen from the grave. Nagato notes that Naruto has changed since last they met. Besides mastering the Kyūbi inside him, Naruto has conquered his hatred. Naruto is no longer the boy searching for an answer to the question of how to bring about true peace. He is a young man ready to accept the burden of the world for the sake of the future and he acknowledges that he only made it this far with the help of his seniors: Kushina, Minato, Nagato, B, Kakashi, Hiruzen, Jiraiya, Iruka, and even Ebisu. After they finish greeting each other, Naruto and Itachi want to get down to business and discuss important matters, but alas, fate will not allow their encounter to pass so easily.
Welcome to Hell Mixtape (Side A)
With both jinchūriki within reach of (arguably) his two strongest pawns, Kabuto is ready to make his moves. Thus far, he’s been complicit in Madara’s war against humanity as an ally of Akatsuki. Kabuto’s played his cards close to the chest, playing a high risk game without revealing his intentions. He already possesses a jutsu that makes him confident he’s invincible and an Edo Tensei summon that has Madara scared. With Naruto and B also in his grasp, Madara would be forced to give in to Kabuto’s commands in order to complete the Moon’s Eye Plan.
Kabuto certainly has the ambition to become Naruto’s big bad, but are the combined powers of the Rinnegan and Sharingan enough to overcome two true jinchūriki. I can think of two downsides to Edo Tensei. Itachi Uchiha may be an unrivaled, genius of a shinobi, but if his will isn’t behind his body, his skills won’t be used to the best of their abilities. Likewise, Nagato was powerful enough to destroy a village, but he’s been revived as a husk of a man, unable to walk on his own. In addition, Nagato no longer has Six Paths that he can use for absolute vision of the battlefield, which would have been a decent counter to Naruto’s speed. On the other hand, this time he’ll be fighting with the full force of the Six Paths contained in only one body.
...Try Not to Die.
Kabuto launches Itachi at the two and he holds his own fighting Naruto and B simultaneously. While fighting, Itachi learns that his beloved brother joined Akatsuki and swore revenge on the Hidden Leaf. Had Madara not interfered, Sasuke would have returned home, ignorant, as the hero who avenged the Uchiha. Nevertheless, Sasuke learned of the Uchiha’s tragedy and so history is bound to repeat itself.
Itachi is a true shinobi. Even raised from the dead he takes note of important details so that he can make the best moves, whether it’s the fact that the Kyūbi has been controlled or that Samehada has a new master. As Naruto carelessly reveals information that Itachi died protecting, he tries to silence Naruto so that the Uchiha’s reputation remains untarnished except for Itachi and Sasuke. What really worries Itachi is that Madara saw through his deception. Itachi met Madara as Madara was planning to reignite the flames of war in Konoha and so recruited Madara as an ally in destroying the Uchiha. The higher ups who planned the massacre certainly didn’t mean for Madara to know the truth, but Itachi planned ahead for that eventuality. When Itachi died, Madara exploited that opportunity to sway Sasuke to his side. Nonetheless, Itachi’s resurrection gives him one last chance to play a trump card. Just as Madara knew Itachi’s secret, Itachi too knows that Madara was involved in the Kyūbi’s attack on Konoha during the Fourth Hokage’s reign.
An Uchiha Guide to Cooking with Octopus
As much as Itachi loves Sasuke, he remains loyal to the Hidden Leaf. Having to choose between brother and village once more, Itachi places his faith in Naruto to stop his brother at all costs if necessary, but hopefully sparing his life in the process. The former Akatsuki members split up as the fight begins in earnest. Kabuto sends Nagato after Naruto while Itachi is sent to face B. Itachi’s speed allows him to easily maneuver around B and he uses his skill with kunai and Fire Element jutsu to pin down the Eight-tails host. Killer B, though, is able to counter Itachi’s jutsu using his Seven Swords Dance and tries to turn the tables around using his tailed beast. Despite his efforts, Itachi remains ever elusive because he uses his expert genjutsu skills to lower his opponents guard.
The Violet-Eyed Dog Whisperer
Meanwhile, the lame Nagato first attempts to capture Naruto using Shinra Tensei, although Naruto is able to crush any oncoming obstacles with his Kyuubi Chakra Mode. Next, Nagato uses the Summoning Technique to navigate around his disability with a flying summon. To combat Naruto, he uses the same giant, multiplying hound he sent against Jiraiya. It’s a smart choice. Naruto, with his immense chakra supply, would have no trouble One-hit K.O.ing a normal summon, except for this specific summon which multiplies like heads of the Hydra when hit.
A Crow fit for a King
Nagato doesn’t get time to use any other techniques from his arsenal because Itachi speeds towards Naruto and, coming within eye contact, breaks out Tsukuyomi. The chapter ends with Naruto seemingly trapped in Itachi’s genjutsu vomiting up a crow. Whether this crow is simply part of Naruto’s illusion or actually the manifestation of the gift Itachi gave Naruto during their last encounter remains to be seen.
Naruto 549 impressed artistically with Kishimoto displaying his trademark sense of cinematic storytelling. Taking place directly after Naruto reveals what Madara knew, these panels illustrate how to build a character through action as well as words. In the first panel, Itachi evades a counterattack while being outnumbered, demonstrating that he is a high caliber shinobi. In the second, he takes time to analyze the information Naruto’s given him. In the third, he faces the truth of the situation, which is that his younger brother Sasuke is in the worst-case scenario he had imagined for him.
The main focus of the chapter was the fight between the revived Akatsuki and the jinchūriki. As such, there was a wealth of impressively drawn jutsu on display. One of my two favorite techniques on display was Itachi’s trademark crow genjutsu. Itachi’s genjutsu betrays a certain amount of arrogance. Crows are carrion birds often seen circling around copses, making the technique a taunt against those trapped within the illusion. My other favorite technique on display was Killer B’s Seven Swords Dance, a technique he hasn’t used since his introduction in the manga, back when he fought the younger Uchiha brother.
In addition, this week’s chapter also featured an abundance of expressive faces and particularly expressive eyes, featuring as it did a Sharingan and Rinnegan user. Kishimoto did deliver plenty of Itachi, but unfortunately Nagato, aside from a few early scenes, took a backseat to Itachi this chapter and remained mostly in the background.
Overall, Naruto 549 was another solid outing. There wasn’t much in terms of plot progression, but Kishimoto knocked out the requisite scene where Naruto and Itachi verify each other’s suspicions with surprisingly quickness. It was also a fair surprise to see Kabuto making his move so soon. There were also nice character moments sprinkled throughout, like Itachi constantly analyzing the world, Nagato’s new-found sense of humor, B’s pride as a sensei, or Naruto recognizing that he hasn’t come this far alone. The real delight of this chapter, though, was in how capably everyone fought.
Thus, I’m giving Naruto 549 Itachi’s Question! a...
5 out of 5.
My last week’s predictions were mostly correct. Kabuto is finally making his move and it looks like Itachi will test Naruto’s defenses against the Mangekyou Sharingan.
Next week, I predict that Kishimoto will reveal the gift Itachi gave Naruto during their last encounter. I believe that this gift will either be a defense against Tsukuyomi or a genjutsu meant to carry a message from Itachi to Sasuke.
My long term predictions for where Naruto is headed can be found in a previous review here.
As I mentioned earlier, this is my 25th review. It’s been fun to keep it up and I’ve learned a lot about Naruto through both writing these weekly reviews and interacting with you readers. Feel free to let me know what you think of my reviews in the comments, letting me know what feature you like best or what improvements you want to suggest.
That’s all for this week and thanks for sticking around. See you next week space cowboy...
- “It’s too bad he wears that damn mask all the time. I’d love to see the look on his face when he finds out.”
- “At least that way the Uchiha name’s reputation can be preserved.”
- “Since when do you crack jokes?”
- One Piece finally starts the main event in its arc this week. There are some iffy revelations and the pacing could use some work, but its good to see that story finally start to deliver. Speaking of stories that deliver, BLEACH continues Ichigo’s downward spiral against Tsukishima, his seemingly unbeatable foe. Last weeks cliffhanger results in a tense chapter where loyalties are tested and the line between friend and foe is ever blurred.
Last edited by blackjack612; August 02, 2011 at 09:15 AM. Reason: clarity and to fix broken links
Another awesome review, you do shame me each week you know that? but i like the compitition...
One thing though, i think you wrote this part a bit hastly, it seems unfinished.
Nagato doesn’t get time to use any other techniques from his arsenal because Itachi speeds towards Naruto and, coming within eye contact, breaks out Tsukuyomi. The chapter ends with Naruto seemingly trapped in Itachi’s genjutsu vomiting up a crow. Whether this crow is simply part of Naruto’s illusion or actually the "
Great review as usual
What are your views on the diference in the crows eye and itachi's mangekyo
Last edited by Knatz; August 02, 2011 at 09:30 AM.
Oh, and if you want to make polls, when you create a new thread, in the dialogue box at the bottom that asks if you want to include your signature and whatnot, there should be a checkbox for if you want to submit a poll and a box where you can enter the number of poll options you want. Then after you submit a thread, a page should come up asking you to submit a poll.
thank you for the review, this chapter was awesome,like the previous!
Awesome review! Thanks for reading. I do see that your reviews are getting better and better.