"It's too late to regret. Reality is just cruelly moving forward."
For the length of this review, we're going to ignore Kakashi-sensei's sage advice and overthink things a bit. But first, let's go over last week's poll. I asked which ninja, Kakashi or Tobi, would be unmasked first, and you resolutely voted that Tobi would. After the current chapter, things are certainly looking that way. Seriously Kishi, are we ever going to see Kakashi's face? Oh well, I guess I should be grateful we're getting so close to at least one unmasking.
Now for the chapter review...
Naruto 597 Secret of the Spacetime Ninjutsu
The images in this review are credited to Mangastream
Kakashi explains his theory about Tobi's jutsu to Naruto, Killer B, and Guy at the beginning of this week's chapter. Apparently, the jutsu Tobi uses to warp objects is the same one he uses to evade attack, and rather than becoming intangible or wholly untouchable, he selectively and quite precisely warps the parts of his body that would take damage away to another dimension. Kakashi was able to injure Tobi in the last two chapters by sending his Raikiri-ed kunai and Naruto's Rasengan to Tobi's pocket dimension. Thus, the areas of Tobi that were injured were the areas he made intangible to attack.
Kakashi's analysis also confirms that his Kamui and Tobi's jutsu are connected to one another. Guy seems like he's about to ask Kakashi a question that's been coming up a lot lately: Is Tobi Obito? But Kakashi cuts him off to ask Tobi himself where he got that eye.
Tobi answers casually. He picked it up during the last great war after the battle on Kanabi bridge where Kakashi became the Sharingan Hero.
What happens next is rather hard to explain, having read multiple translations of the chapter. Tobi chides Kakashi again for opening his mouth so easily, insults him as a man who's all talk, and warns him that it's too late for regrets. The motive for all this is a bit muddled, even if he was Obito himself.
Tobi again argues for his point of view, this time pointing out that in his new world 'heroes' won't have to make promises on the graves of their dead friends and fallen comrades to atone for their past failings. Obviously a dig at Kakashi. Nor do they have to live with the regret of abandoning or failing to complete the wishes entrusted them by their predecessors. This time it's a dig at Naruto undertaking a solution for peace.
Kurama steps into the debate briefly, though, to refute Tobi's claims. That Naruto was even able to befriend Kurama means he's come further than most on his quest. Moreover, Kurama was left to Naruto by the Fourth for the express purpose of defeating Tobi. He would only fail his mission if he gave in now to anything Tobi says. The chapter ends with Naruto's resolve reaffirmed by his unlikely ally's support as he launches into another attack.
The art this chapter was fairly good with the standout being the colored double-page spread that opened it. Just as Naruto's grown throughout the series, Kishimoto's style has changed and grown with him. Kakashi's illustration of Tobi's skirmish across dimensions is also pretty impressive and unexpectedly eerie with the floating, partially-there body parts.
Well I feel very conflicted about rating this chapter, so I guess I'll start with what I liked. To begin with, the art, dialogue, and plotting was as masterful as always. In particular, I think Kishimoto conveyed the tension between Kakashi and Tobi very well. Even Guy, who's not always the brightest bulb on the tree, understood the implications of Kakashi's theory and was worried about his comrade.
Then there's the theory itself which I am for the most part satisfied with. The mechanics of Tobi's jutsu seems legit enough, although I have to wonder about how his body connects to itself between realms. Do his blood vessels and flesh feed into some sort of portal at the boundaries between realms? And as for the eyes themselves, how would Tobi possibly know Obito's eyes carried such potential? I have two theories about the latter. Either Obito is from a specific lineage within the Uchiha who have specialized gifts (similar to Shisui's specialized genjutsu) or Tobi just collected every Sharingan he could and decided to use the one with the best abilities.
I also liked the smaller character bits with Naruto and Kurama. Naruto's grown so much over the series (evidenced by the colored double-page spread) and Kurama got to display a little independence before the faux-Madara that the real Madara denied he had.
That said, I was very disappointed by the lack of action and by the amount of space given over to the jutsu's explanations. Given all that happened less chapter, a more concise telling would still have been easy to follow. But I'm most dissatisfied by the repetition of Tobi's arguments. He doesn't say anything in support of his Moon's Eye plan that we haven't heard before. He throws in more specific references to the character's dreams, but we've already seen them reject Tobi's reality. And Tobi's views themselves come-off as cartoonish Bond mastermind: empty foretellings of doom without much substance to back it up. Until we understand who Tobi is and his motivations, it'll be hard to become invested in his plot as a real threat with motive behind it.
So I'm giving Naruto 597 a...
4 out of 5.
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