Naruto 551: Stop Nagato!
A Joint Review by Padfoot, Tuxedo Mask, God of Shinobi and Chicken Legs
One, Two, One, Two, Test, Test, is this mic working? Yeah? Can you hear me? Yeah, yeah, O.K. Yeah, I’m fine. Let’s start.
Ladies and Gentlemen. We are about to announce something, that has never ever happened before. In a few minutes you will read the 1st Joint Review in the whole history of MH.
Your reaction --------> “GYAAAAAAH” and “ZOMG, IS THIS FOR REAL?”
Now, now, then, let’s cool down. I can understand what you feel, but before we go over to the actual thing, I still have some words left for you. First of all. As you have already noticed there are 4 people mentioned in the credits for this review, and it is pretty obvious that those aren’t our real usernames. We decided to play a little game with you, our precious readers, and every one of us, choose another “nickname”. We decided beforehand, who will write what section, so it will be your task to not only find out what reviewer wrote what section, but also to guess whose nickname is “Padfoot”, “Tuxedo Mask”, ”God of Shinobi” and “Chicken Legs” respectively.
Well, that’s pretty much all for now. I’ll say the rest of my speech at the end in the P.S. section, so look forward to that one as well. O.K. Shall we start the countdown then?
Three… Two… One… GO!!!
Last chapter, Itachi proved just what it means to be a genius among Uchiha. He was able to escape Kabuto's control through careful planning and with a genjutsu bequeathed to him by Shisui of the Body Flicker. However, Itachi used up his trump card for Sasuke when he freed himself and Kabuto still has Nagato firmly under his control. Naruto may have been able to defeat the Sage when he had Six Paths, but now that all of those Paths are collected in one body, Nagato is nigh untouchable. Can our erstwhile heroes survive Nagato/Kabuto's fury? Find out in our review of Naruto 551: Stop Nagato!...
Welcome everyone, it’s been 2 weeks since the last chapter of Naruto was released, but Kishi definitely used his time well by providing one of the most explosive and beautiful chapters ever, so lets start our review
Our chapter starts off same way as the last one finished with Nagato grabbing Naruto and using his old Preta path ability to absorb ninjutsu, Naruto tries to remember all the techniques Nagato used in their fight so far and decides to go with a rasengan ten seconds after he concludes that it will be useless, Naruto still has ways to go in the intelligence department :/
After realizing that normal techniques won’t work, Naruto resorts to talk-no-jutsu to try to get Nagato to snap our of it, but its pretty futile by now, while some people thought that Nagato absorbing Bee's chakra might help him break free from Kabuto, it plainly isnt going that way here.
Nagato summons the Naraka path, apparently Kabuto can use Human path to remove souls and revive them later, Kabuto clearly is no ally of Madara but he states here that he will "Revive" Naruto and Bee later, does he mean revive them as edo tensei or as normal humans?
Speaking of Bee...
Is the top panel epic or is the top panel super epic? Bee makes one pretty cool heroic entry, but Why he doesnt use Samahada is a bit strange, I would think that if they sucked enough of Nagato's chakra back he would revert to his weaker crippled form...
Bee is spotted by the salamander thing and while it was never stated so far, I think is safe to say now that Pein's summons also share vision with him, that means pein can almost always have full vision if he wants by summoning whichever summon he needs to be his eyes.
Who said two jinchuuriki are better then one?
Say what you want about Pein, but he proves himself in this panel, can anyone else play with Naruto and Bee the way he does? Though I suppose being dead means usual precautions are not needed, but with his perfect use of the six paths Pein dominates this fight.
Bee has an interesting idea for Naruto, while Pein is pulling his soul Bee mentions about the way the Kyuubi does something similar, but before we hear the full plan guess whose back from the.....death?
You wanted Itachi fan service? You shall get it
Okay so Bee's entry of falling from the sky was pretty cool, but Itachi takes the cake as the coolest savior in Naruto, even Kakashi cant beat him in that, Itachi manages to free Naruto and Bee and protect them from Nagato in one swift move, he even manages to use his famous shuriken techniques to blind all of Nagato's summons, I suppose Itachi's true power comes from protecting others.
The next page starts with a close-up of the Naraka Path’s eyes being struck down with Itachi’s shurikens... seems rather creepy if you ask me. Then again, we see Kabuto, who suddenly appears more and more often in the latest chapters, which makes up for the creepines of the previous panel.
Naruto thanks Itachi for saving his a**, however Nagato doesn’t gives him any time to continue his explanation of Kishi’s hype-up-no-jutsu, and Nagato prepares to fire something big... literally. The last time we saw a Chibura Tensei (Chibura Tensei > Celestial Terra Blast) was back when Naruto could use only Sage mode, and, well, you all remember what I’m talking about.
Nagato sends out a homemade mini black hole, and we can see the results imidatelly. Naruto and co. are being sucked into it. Thank god, now we know at least, what would happen if the CERN project would cause something like in Real Life and how to fight it as well (coming up in the next few paragraphs.)
Page 12. The “Joke Page”. Something worth pointing out is, that Nagato’s joke back from 549 happened on page 12 as well. No joke... no, I mean that Nagato joked, but I don’t... arrgh, get over it, just check it out. On a sidenote, I kinda missed the humor in the series. It brings back this “shounen feeling”. However, Kishi also manages to combine the joke with some serious stuff as well. Namely, how the hell, do our main character plan on escaping a black hole, that can suck in anyone and anything?
And like we know, where there are questions there is an Itachi to answer them. The pull is too strong? Calm down and notice how the black orb is blah, blah, blah. How are we supposed to hit it with all this crap flying around? You don’t have to aim and every technique has a weakness... wait, did I miss something?
The epiceness of this doublespread is over 9000
Without doubt, this doublespread is the best part of this chapter. Art-wise it is just great. Kishi used his all-time favourite technique of using three big panels, however instead of using the same scene only from different POV’s, he gave every attack a whole panel. Story-wise, Itachi’s “Yasaka’s Magatama” (what a pain to type) is obviously the creme de la creme out of those three. Even though it has been only 6 chapters since the last time we saw 4 new attacks, this one leaves those one’s in the shadow. I mean, there’s no need to even comment. Just re-read the chapter and enjoy the beauty of this attack and doublespread.
It was clear from the beginning that Naruto and co. would beat Nagato (he’s the MC, remember?). The only question was how? And the way Kishi made it, is definelty a “approved-by-padfoot” one. The concept of three people combining they’re attacks and defeating the protagonist is definetly not new in the manga industry, but to make up for the originilaty of the concept Kishi created a new awesome attack, and polished that up with his art, so in the end we had quite a good end to this fight. All in all I enjoyed it.
The chapter ends with Naruto making a photoshoot for his future Hokage Election Programm. Just look at this panel. It can be used for everything. All that you have to do is writing different slogans and there you go. “Naruto Uzumaki - Always open to accept once-in-a-lifetime-requests” or “If I become the Hokage, I will make all kunoichi’s wear mini-skirts” (Kishi, please make it happen )
This wraps up my part of the Long Summary. You still have the power left to read any further? Then please go ahead, and enjoy our next section named “Overview”.
Please gather around the fire and let’s immerse ourselves in the wonderful world of character development(which was almost none), story telling(I’ll get to that later) and all that good jazz.
Not much can be said about the chapter from plot or character development point of view. And the reason for that is the fact, that this chapter incorporated two elements that kind of push aside the other two. And these two elements are: fighting and wrapping up/conclusion.
However although plot development is as existent as division by 0, there’s some interesting characterization going on. Now this is not valid just for this chapter, but more like for this entire mini-arc. And the main technique used by Kishimoto is humor. Even though they are fighting a dangerous battle, Itachi is the one to attempt a joke. Last time it was Nagato. I can’t really decide if this humor attempt is lack of imagination, or just something done on purpose to brush of the last hints that Itachi and Nagato were villains at some point.
Why do I say lack of imagination? Because it seems to me that Kishimoto’s real-time character development is getting somewhat sloppy. Naruto’s idiocy is a bit exaggerated, the joke attempts are pretty good, and Bee is just annoying and his appearances are pretty random. And this coupled with the ever increasing flashbacks...sigh...well the only thing I can say is that there are moments when the character development is good, but there’s no consistency with it.
But as I said, the core idea behind this chapter was wrapping up a pretty good mini-arc and showing off Nagato’s crazy powers. So the room for character development was pretty tiny from the beginning, but it wasn’t fully exploited IMO. However the ending was good, Nagato’s analogy was great and it paid a little tribute to Jiraiya’s writing. Now of course Nagato wouldn’t know, but we readers do, which is the fact that trilogy is not the best analogy considering that a certain 4th part also had some influence......pun intended of course, but I think he should remain unnamed, because as we’ve been told several times. The true heroes and true shinobi are the nameless ones, whose death goes unnoticed, but not their influence
The structure of the chapter was nothing special, but there is nothing wrong with that. It’s a bit different from the usual chapters when the peak of the chapter is the cliffhanger, but we know that usually chapters are not wrap-up ones. But this one was the conclusion of the second part of the trilogy, so the climax of the chapter was a bit before the end.
The pace was great, and the buildup towards the climax was steady and well executed. The timing of the climax with the peak of each shinobi’s power was a great thing to see, I mean it’s a pretty rare occasion to see Susano’o, Bijuudama, FRS and Chibaku Tensei in one place. The addition of Itachi’s new technique also served well for the purpose of making that climax spectacular.
The story didn’t develop much, and I don’t think it shows much promise either. I mean we know what happened when Naruto used the “nice-guy” pose last time, don’t we?
But seriously, this chapter didn’t allow much space for pressing on with the story, so there’s not much to say here, however the idea that Itachi joined the fray on Naruto’s side is an encouraging thought.
The action was spectacular, the most interesting things that we got to see were of course Nagato’s usage of the six different paths. Especially Robot Pain. Now somebody told me that using the mechanical abilities of Robot Pain could be a result of the creation techniques a Rinnegan wielder can use. That is a great idea, though I’m leaning more towards summoning in this case.
The art was spectacular as well, of course this is one of Kishimoto’s strenghts, especially when there’s fighting. Too bad there wasn’t water nearby to make it more spectacular, but I guess flying debris can make up for that.
But I will leave the art commentary to someone who knows this world better than I do, but not before marking the chapter with a 7.5/10.
Art is a … you know the rest.
I think Deidara was on to something when he famously (and repeatedly) stated "Art is a blast." Art can be a spectacle, shocking, awe-inspiring, ephemeral, and sometimes a little messy. Things tend to get lost or destroyed on the outer fringes of an explosion, and such can be the case for really ambitious art. The weakest aspect of the art this week were Naruto's recollections of Nagato's abilities. The recollections were panels from previous chapters that were squeezed into panels from this chapter far too narrow to serve the originals justice and set against a black background. For a chapter that as busy with action and details as this one was, those flashbacks felt crammed in to the chapter and led to the first part of the chapter looking a little cluttered. It's not like the chapter was particularly long anyway, coming in at fifteen pages of pure manga. It would have been worth it to add a page and give those flashbacks larger panels and more room to breathe. Another issue I had with the art were numerous panels where the definitions characters, and particularly their faces, were either out of focus or not as crisp as they could be. Yet that's to be expected given the oft massive scale of the fights this chapter. To achieve a wide enough angle to fit two or three characters in a single panel (or even just Susanoo) requires sacrificing a certain amount of detail. But that's enough about what I didn't like about this chapter, because while there were certainly areas in the chapter that needed polishing art-wise, I would give the overall quality of the art a 4 out of 5. So let's talk about what worked.
For starters, we got a beautiful (pseudo) double-page spread this chapter of our big hitters using their biggest moves. In fact, that's true of everyone this chapter. From an eagle eye viewpoint, Naruto uses his Rasen-Shuriken while in Kyūbi-chakra mode, Killer B uses his Tailed-Beast Bomb while in full Eight-Tails form, and Itachi uses his Yasaka's Magatama while armored with Susanoo. And Nagato doesn't name his attack this panel, but the result of his Chibaku Tensei hovers ominously in the sky, a mass of imploding rock and stone pulling our protagonists' attacks inward. The only problem I had with this double-page was that Itachi and Naruto's throwing arms seemed excessively blurred from tossing their attacks.
As the chapter title's namesake, Nagato displayed some of his best moves this chapter, leading to a lot of dynamic artwork. Nagato's Naraka and Asura paths allowed for close-up low and high angles as he strangled opponents. Asura path in particular was impressive in it's detailed, mechanical design and how it integrated into Nagato's body. In addition, his summons and Yama (or whatever it is that Naraka Path summons) loomed menacingly in the background, adding to the atmosphere of the chapter. Chibaku Tensei was a set-piece in and of itself and utilized speedlines well to indicate the pull of gravity. Not to mention, painstaking detail went into illustrating the landscape being torn asunder. Nagato also had ample opportunity to do some iconic posing, i.e. forming the seals for Chibaku Tensei while one of the arm Susanoo shattered repairs itself through Edo Tensei.
The action this chapter was well executed. The brunt of it belonged to Nagato and the double-page spread, but there were a couple of dynamic entries from Itachi and Killer B. Killer B's aerial assault (above) was my favorite image of the chapter. I love how that show lays out the geography of the fight, with Nagato's summons shown to scale against Naruto and Nagato. Itachi's entry (included further above in the chapter summary) was a close second. His entry is notable in that he's able to maneuver and put distance between himself and Nagato while forming forming Susanoo and pulling Naruto and B to safety. Itachi's dynamic maneuvering in that image reinforces his reputation as a ninja to be feared. In fact, I'm surprised that Konoha's Azure Beast, Might Guy, didn't pop up this chapter because of all the dynamic entries that took place.
Kishimoto's cinematic pacing was also in fine form this chapter, which is part of why I can't fault the art for its weaknesses. For example, consider the above sequence. Kishimoto could have explicitly shown Itachi stabbing Nagato with the Sword of Totsuka in the fallout of Chibaku Tensei. Instead, we see Nagato/Kabuto trying to look through the fallen debris of Chibaku Tensei, followed by a look of shock on Nagato's face and then the fading of Edo Tensei's hold on him. In the next panel, the dust is already beginning to clear and the sword is through Nagato. By placing priority on Nagato's surprise over the attack itself, Kishimoto emphasizes how lightening fast Itachi's attack was. Even Naruto's flashbacks, which I felt were oddly rendered, will play better animated when the constraints of space are less important. It's not the content of those flashbacks that doesn't work, just the way that content is placed in manga form.
After recent developments, Itachi remains in play for the good guys while Nagato's been removed from play completely. Yet there are other players on the field. Madara and his jinchūriki are (presumably) marching towards Naruto and Killer B. I think that's the next major battle we'll see Naruto involved in. Itachi's Mangekyo Sharingan should go a long way to balancing Madara's own abilities, but in the end, I don't think it's going to be enough. We've seen how one person with Sage of the Six Path powers had these three running, but Madara will have all those abilities, perfect field of vision, his own Sharingan, and all of the jinchūriki's respective powers. Before we get to that fight, though, I think Kishimoto will switch back to the fight against the revived Kage, perhaps sending Killer B to face his father.
One failproof way to make up a prediction is to look at the cliffhanger. So, children, did you all, take another look at it? Yes, you did? Fine, fine. What do we see? Nothing. That’s right. Compared to the previous two cliffhangers this one is probably as bad as you only could’ve imagined. I mean, hey, Naruto standing in a Mr. Nice Guy pose, with the crow flying behind his back. How is any of that supposed to tell us what will happen next?
Anyway, I do not think we’ll see Naruto vs Madara happening anytime soon. We can savely assume that it will take at least another 10, if not 20 chapters before we hear of Madara moving. We know from Naruto’s previous arc’s that Naruto never fights 2 battles in a row (Chuunin-exams don’t count). There’s just still to much room for the other Edo-tensei’s to use. Everyone, starting from the forgotten Kage’s vs their kids, over to the even more forgotten Kakashi vs 7 knife-and-fork users (assuming that battle is still ongoing), and ending with Konoha’s rookie 9 have a chance of appearing in the next chapter. The chances of guessing the right person at this point, are smaller then winning the lottery. Like stated above, the most probable variant is the one with the Kage’s, but secretly I, myself, am rooting for a Sasuke vs Itachi 2.0
A and B are sitting on a tree
B and O decide to join the show
What they’re doing, no one knows, not even a clue
And to top that, there’s as well, a game of “who is who”
Fear my poetic skills
First the chapter guys. For the Raw you should thank Friedrich; the responsible for the translation is hisshouburaiken; prostyle, sif, morgan and kravmaga had they’re hands full with cleaning the chapter and tsubaki, kara and zidane typesetted the chapter (don’t blame me if scanlators would’ve used another word instead of “typesetted”).
Reviewer Team. The awesome banner was obviously made by MH’s super-mega Artist – Coffee. And last, but not least, the 4 actual Reviewers who took part in this project.
Spoiler: Read only after you've done your list of "who is who" show