"We don't have time to be sentimental."
This week's Naruto chapter is 'Risk', and no, this isn't about the board game. It's about the more inherent risk in Edo Tensei, a jutsu that's been deemed nigh perfect by Kabuto. But before we get to that and the rest of this week's chapter, which wasn't lengthy but directly addressed two of my biggest concerns from last week, let's go over last week's poll results. Naruto 490 I Will Always Love You featured a flashback in which the Konoha elders debated whether to resolve the Uchiha coup with force or through dialogue. Unsurprisingly, Danzo and the other elders were all for swift and violent retribution while only Hiruzen held on to the notion that open dialogue could sway the Uchiha. In response, I asked you whether Hiruzen could have succeeded given the chance and time and the majority of you responded "Yes" or "Maybe" with the "Yes" votes just barely edging out first place.
Naruto 591 Risk
The images in this review are credited to Mangastream.
The chapter resumes immediately from the previous. Having said his goodbyes to his brother in the last, Itachi shares a tender moment with Sasuke then passes on. The body used to bind his soul drops to the ground lifeless. Sasuke is frozen in awe/grief/bewilderment. Kabuto is trapped in an illusion. The other summoned ninja are unsummoned. The Kage are relieved that some unknown hero has undone the evil jutsu and saved them from Madara's wrath. But all is not as it seems...
Elsewhere, Dan discovers he is once again in control of his body. Choza removes the barrier imprisoning him allowing Dan, who has a limited timeframe before his soul moves on, to (finally!) use his Spirit Transformation jutsu. Similar to the Yamanaka bloodline limit, only not restricted to needing a linear path to the target for possession, Dan used the jutsu to control and kill many shinobi in the past. Had he been able to use it against the Allied Shinobi Forces, it would have been very effective, especially since he wouldn't need to worry about returning to a mortal body. Now he uses it to transport his soul a great distance and reunite with Tsunade.
Meanwhile, the Kage face what they believe is a final assault from Madara before he's unsummoned. Madara nails Tsunade with a fire style jutsu that's too fast for Mei to counter, exhausting Tsunade's rejuvenation jutsu with the attack. Tsunade is out of chakra. Madara's soul begins to ascend. Then it returns to his body and he lunges at Tsunade with Susanoo, ready to impale her. Unable to move, this is surely the end of the Slug Princess...
...And yet she dodges that attack at the last minute. Dan reveals himself to Madara in an unspecified spiritual/mental realm. They share a sweet reunion. Tsunade gets a sense of closure for having made Dan's dreams come true and Dan thanks and then corrects her. He aspired to be Hokage, but she was his dream. He promises to wait for her on the other side, kisses her, and disappears.
Back in the real world, Tsunade has some chakra again as we see her forehead seal reform. Whether or not this is enough to reuse that rejuvenation jutsu is unknown. The Kage can't figure out why Madara's still there, but the answers rather simple. He knows the seals to Edo Tensei and so halted his own un-summoning. It's a hidden risk to the jutsu. Just as the technique means a summoned sensor ninja can trace the summoners chakra to its source, a summoned ninja who familiar with that technique can break the technique themselves. It is the worst outcome. An uncontrolled zombie ninja with limitless energy. Orochimaru was clever enough to erase the Tobirama's personality to prevent this earlier in the manga and Kabuto kept a tight enough leash on his pets to prevent certain actions.
But unbound to the casters will, Madara's freed himself and he is out for blood. The question is, will he get it out and how much.
This chapter was solid throughout. There wasn't much action but it was well illustrated. Yet the highlight artistically from Risk -- a and one that lingers longer than I expected given that the scene was mostly wordless -- is Itachi fading away in front of his brother. There's a heavenly quality to that scene as Itachi looks on serenely before moving on and Sasuke stands frozen in a place -- a strange mix of emotions flashing across his face. Dan and Tsunade share a similar moment bookending the chapter when he kisses her and proclaims that she, not the position of Hokage, was what he dreamed of.
Well, maybe Kishimoto reads these boards and took my suggestions to heart. Or maybe just wanted to shut up I and others who were complaining about the easy out to this situation. Or maybe he had it planned all along. All signs point to the latter given how frequently Kabuto mentioned that Edo Tensei had no weakness and how the risk is only a risk if a skilled user allows the summoned ninja enough leeway to exploit it. Orochimaru didn't with the Second and Kabuto was not mentally present when Madara broke free, so everything ties together neatly.
There wasn't much dialogue this chapter, so it felt slighter than usual, but the emotional beats were hit just as skillfully as they had been last chapter. Any problems I had recently with the series were handled and Kishimoto not so subtly sets up Sasuke's redemption by having the Kage explicitly state whoever stopped Kabuto is a hero.
And then there's the title or theme to the chapter which could be interpreted multiple ways:
- Taken literally, it could represent the risk associated with Edo Tensei.
- It could mean the risk battling Madara poses (see the above poll).
- It could be the risk of dreaming for something bigger. Of wanting to become Hokage or a Kage in general and painting a walking target on your head when you become the figurehead of a village. Seriously, it seems like no Kage have died of old age.
- Or it could point towards what Tsunade -- a shinobi infamous for her love of gambling -- is willing to risk for Konoha, the World, and the dreams she inherited from her brother, Dan, and Naruto.
Overall, this was a great chapter. On the basis of the course correction is provided, alone, I'm giving Naruto 491 Risk a
5 out of 5.
Well, after this chapter's big revelation, my predictions for who survives this battle grew far darker. Maybe some of you called it the predictions and discussions, but my hopes for Madara sticking around were mostly wishful thinking and wanting a fulfilling narrative conclusion. After all, Madara is one of the big 3 climatic battles. How fulfilling would it be for us to return to an interrupted fight only for him to be spirited away by a deus ex machina.
You can see my predictions for how this fight turns out by how I voted in the poll but to sum up:
- Madara is defeated. This is a shonen, so I'm under no illusions that the heroes will save the day and barring that, the villains will be defeated.
- Onoki bites the dust. He had his many big moments already, having fully served up his narrative potential. Perhaps he sacrifices himself before dying.
- Tsunade lives, despite all signs pointing away. Yes, her big rejuvenation technique is exhausted, but she has a renewed sense of purpose and we all know that renewed purpose and love = major ass kicking in shonen.
- Mei along with A will get some big moments because they both need them. Mei especially has been mis-served by the narrative, providing offensive support when needed, but not having a personal stake in the fight. Yagura flashback anyone?
- Gaara. Mostly safe because he's been killed off once already. And his skills are most necessary to defense.
See you all next week Allied shinobi...
One Line Reviews
- Yaaarggh, there be (mild) spoilers here! Enter at ye own peril!
- One Piece 672 was a bit too busy following all of our disparate groups and introducing a new character. Thankfully, one of the plot threads is finally brought to a conclusion and the samurai companion ends the chapter with a show-stopping move.
- Bleach 498 continues a great run and quickly wraps up the Hueco Mundo fight so that Kurosaki can get to Soul Society where he's needed most. Here's hoping this arc introduces complications and twists that keep this from becoming the years-long drawn out melee the Hueco Mundo arc became (enjoyable as it was).
- All of the above were enjoyable reads, but this week I'm giving Read of the Week to Naruto.
Last edited by blackjack612; June 29, 2012 at 12:41 AM.
Great great great. Thx Blackjack. Keep up the good work.
Onoki likely wouldn't be celebrating his next birthday.
great Black,and great chapter. you and I,we so wanted to witness dan's technique. and I think madara's jawdropper was great as well,notwithstanding I think his retreat was needed.