"Honestly...going right for the head of the snake...so rudimentary..."
Last chapter, Madara mentioned that the Juubi had reached maturity, so I asked you guys whether or not this meant it was infinite genjutsu time. The majority of you said it wasn't and it turns out you guys are correct. And much as I'd like to get to that final plot point, I'm glad I was wrong, because what Kishimoto delivered was well worth the delay.
Naruto 613 Head
The images in this review are credited to Mangastream.
The chapter picks up from the last with Naruto and co. about to attack Madara and Obito while the Juubi has been temporarily taken out of play. Or at least that's what the allies thought they did. It turns out that the Juubi has finally reached maturity, revealing its true form as a towering, thin, many horned monstrosity with a bulb on it's back and ten wiggly arms for tails. Viewed from HQ, the beasts appears to have nigh as much chakra as the planet.
The casualties quickly mount, and its obvious to the higher ups that they won't be able to attack the masterminds while the Juubi runs rampant. The Allies need a new strategy and Shukaku seemingly puts one together while the Uchihas strengthen their hold over the hard to control beast.
Even more devastation awaits when the Juubi starts firing off super Tailed Beasts Bombs. The first one misses its target because the Allies mess with the Juubi's footing. But further blast proves that the creature can target and obliterate any town in a matter of moments. The initial attacks are meant to shake their resolve, but the final attack borrows a strategy that Madara dismissed as simple at the beginning of the chapter: strike directly at the head, which in this case is Shinobi HQ. Fully knowledgeable of their impending deaths, the HQ shinobi communicate Shukaku's plan to the army with their final moments. And then they die.
In the face of such overwhelming power, just how can the Allies hope to prevail? What did Shukaku plan?
So, how 'bout that Juubi, huh? I know a few of you weren't fans of his initial design, and I can see that. He was rather bland compared to some of the other-tailed beasts and lacking the WTF factor you'd expect a beast of such importance to the story to possess. Well, that's all fixed here. Personally, I thought his previous design was serviceable and didn't mind so much. But the new design truly succeeds in accentuating how foreign and not-human this thing is. Ten hands for tails. That gangly, distorted shape. The juubi looks like a proper movie monster, something that wouldn't be out of place in a Cloverfield-type movie.
Let's start straight up with the rating. I'm giving this chapter a 5, not because it was flawless or exceptional. I'm giving it such a high score because of the ending. I know that in comics and manga, death can be cheated unless a death is explicitly shown in panel. But I don't think that's the case here. I believe and hope the command structure was taken out and that Shukaku died coming up with a last great plan, because it continues to add the already absurd stakes in this arc.
Casualties are often a sore point in shonen where creator's are loath to kill off even secondary characters that the readership grows attached to. You're risking alienation, character related product revenue, or accusation of shock value rating over plot. In the course of this war, though, there haven't been any big character deaths. Kabuto remains comatose, the Kage are assumedly still alive, and the half the army that died somehow doesn't include any of the Konoha rookie eleven or any other named shinobi.
Shukaku represents a step in the right direction. His death makes sense from a plot perspective, he is the brains of the operation after all. But it's also significant in that we've gotten to know this character as well as any of the grown-up shinobi who advise the main characters.
And it's not just Shukaku. Ao is presumably dead. So too for Ino's dad (whose name escapes me at the moment). Does this event signal further curtain calls? There's a litany of characters left whose deaths would make a lot of sense. Guy could go anytime and I'd be fine with that because we'd likely see the Eighth Gate. Tsunade or Onoki dying has seemed a given for months now. Orochimaru could redeem himself with a death, as could Kabuto. It's all very exciting.
5 out of 5
Still no infinite genjutsu. It looks like Kishimoto's going to let this battle draw out a little longer. I will predict, though, that Shukaku's strategy involves the Ino-Shika-Cho, which is jutsu specifically geared towards restricting an opponent's movements. Perhaps Kamui can be used to get a party close to the Juubi, and a recharged Kurama can lend energy enough to maintain a Shadow Binding on it.
One Line Reviews
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Nice review as always. Just a few things - Shikamaru's dad is called Shikaku (Shukaku was the Ichibi). Ino's dad is called Inoichi.
I think Shikaku and the others should have died this chapter. Though I could imagine Kishi trolling all of us again - Madara said the tailed beast bomb took long to hit HQ. Which could either be due to distance it had to travel or it has been teleported just so it doesn't hit HQ. There was that girl that teleported A and Tsunade to the battlefield. And even though humans would die being teleported by her (A and Tsunade being the exception) this doesn't count for inanimate things. And we've seen a tailed beast bomb being warped away by Minato once.
Just a theory, I hope Kishi finally killed some major characters but chances are he didn't.
I loved this chapter. Personally I think this storyline has to go down the path of Naruto creating a power that can take on the Juubi. The only question here is what would that be? From my perspective it would be one of three scenarios:
1) Naruto completes 'that jutsu' which he couldn't complete until he unlocked the power of Kurama OR...
2) Naruto takes the combined chakra melds from the other tailed beasts to create his own Juubi level creature to take on the real Juubi OR...
3) Naruto becomes the jinchuuriki of the Juubi
Here's hoping its not #3. #1 or #2 I could live with. Of course we already know that the other Kages are going to make a return visit so this battle may draw out a bit more. But I'll take it cause this level action is long overdue.
As for #1, I thought "that" jutsu was simply going full 9-tailed kyuubi mode?
I wonder though, why isn't naruto summoning Bunta and the other two giant frogs? Surely their large size would be of some assistance and won't they be able to draw on natural energy and fight using the frog martial arts as well?
Shikaku is such a kick-ass character... I love how Kishimoto drew him in his last living appearance
Awesome review as always black. i liked the idea you put forward with guy using the eighth gate, using the eighth gate before dying would be a cool way to end him.
great review black! I'm glad to see you are still so optimistic . I liked the chapter too,although till the lsat page I was demising it. I think it's strange that kishi has just started killing characters,whereas he hasn't for nigh 10 volumes. it may just be a speculation,but I'm feeling as if kishi is going to bring back nagato's way to revive the dead,that is obito will resurrect all these characters...
Kishi hasn't killed off real named characters earlier in the war because it holds little impact on the later events. This is simple logic. If Neji had died randomly against a Zetsu when Naruto's clone was at his location, the feelings wouldn't be as strongly present in Naruto's mind at the moment. This is the climax, naturally it has to feel dramatic. Dying against Zetsus or revived dead guys is just pathetic and unrealistic to expect deaths from. Not to mention expecting many "big" names such as Neji dying would be really unrealistic in reality, even if it's realistic in terms of the story if we just take the story elements into consideration. Not to mention that even if authors don't write about a character for a long time, they normally have quite an attachment to them. Killing off for example Kakashi would be extremely tough for Kishi for personal reasons. It's like killing a part of yourself. On top of this killing off characters like Tenten is pointless and weak. If you're gonna kill named characters it should be for a reason. It's just no way Kishi was going to massacre popular characters like Neji, who are the only ones that make sense to kill off. If Tenten dies in a single panel next chapter no one would give a fuck (:< so much hate for poor Tenten)
The reason this arc has failed to live up to the way wars have been described in Naruto previously is because most of those descriptions have been done via short flashbacks or a small mini-arc (Kakashi Gaiden). Killing off characters there and making wars really dangerous and bloody is easy as Kishi has no attachment to said characters, neither do the readers. For example Obito "dying" was heartfelt, but since he was only present for 5 chapters it was acceptable. Another important factor is that previous wars were more like real ninja wars with nation vs nation. This is why the majority of readers were skeptic about a future war in Naruto as the good guys would need some significant bad guys for the war to do justice towards previous descriptions and messages about wars. Theories varied from 5 major countries vs small ones + Akatsuki + Bijuu, to a war breaking out between the five nations (mainly Rock and Mist going bad guys + potentially small countries, Akatsuki and so forth). No one expected it to be nameless fodder vs Alliance. As soon as this became a reality it was obvious that almost no named characters would die before the climax.
Last edited by Nuno; December 24, 2012 at 05:47 PM.
I agree about Oonoki, but he's about the only "big name" that could have died previous to the climax, and thus a lonely example. It would have been meaningful for Oonoki having lived in Madara's time and been victim to Madara's power before, to save the younger generation of Kage as a result of reverting back to his old personality and way of thinking. Mostly because him saving Gaara would be meaningful. The rest of the Kage are basically immune to death except Tsunade, whom wouldn't die before the end of the Madara fight at the earliest (still anxious for her condition. I have mixed feelings about her). About the only other big names besides Kage that we as readers would care enough about to define as impactful deaths, would be rookies and a handful of others. Dying to Madara is OK as he's a special case, but dying to e.g. Asuma og Zabuza is just unacceptable. Kishi took away a lot of anxiety in the war when he made the enemy 99,999999% consist of dead people and nameless clones.
sorry, but i do not agree with 5 on 5 rating. for me it was an average 3 chapter.