Gold Knight's Ten Comments (Chapter 344)

LadyHatake

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[lh]Okay, okay, I know, you're thinking "wtf, you're not GK!" Well, Phil's having some problems with the forums (He's having trouble posting, atm) so he asked me to post his comments for him. So, without further ado~! [/lh]




My name is Uchiha Sasuke. You tried to take my body. Prepare to die.

Yo again guys. Heh, we sure suffered a long wait this week for this chapter, huh? At least until resident heroine Kylara came to our rescue and scanned it for us on Friday. Many thanks, Kylara! <3

At the risk of being called a freak (and I don't mind if you call me that as long as you don't throw sticks and stones at me too! xD ), this was a chapter that I actually anticipated all week... even to the point that I dreamed about it for two straight nights! What???

I'm not too sure what's up with that - I mean, was I that excited about the upcoming Orochimaru-Sasuke fight? Not to mention that I wasn't *that* impressed by the initial spoiler image that appeared early on. But the chapter itself, when it finally came out, didn't let me down at all - in fact, despite a minor detail here and there, I thought it was damn good!! But hey, hey, I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I?...

Credits go to, of course, Kylara for the RAW, as well as Hisshouburaiken and Winterlion for coming out with the early translations, and CeZ and kokotas for the Edited Manga that I'll be using for this review, and Des for giving me a cool font to use for my header. I'd also like to thank all the script hunters and translators that help us out on a weekly basis in the Spoilers section, my fellow moderators for helping out with the wait for the RAWs, and all the members here for their great patience for the next chapter. It's all greatly appreciated!

Furthermore, Shannaro, the long-time Naruto HQ Edited Manga group, is looking for more cleaners to help them out, so if you're interested, be sure to contact either Terra, p1noypr1de, or RawS. I also have to give Japflap and Eagle serious props for being able to keep up with the series with their HQ scans on a weekly basis! Finally, Zarosaki just came out with an awesomely colored Chapter 287 by Moespinel. Believe me, you don't want to miss out on that one!

Hope you have fun reading my review and I look forward to reading your replies!

* * * Gold Knight's Ten Comments on Naruto Chapter 344: Snake...! * * *


You lack... Uchiha blood! Sorry!

1. Survival of the Fittest! Firstly, I just gotta say, SO much for my theory that Kishimoto would have had a line-up of covers ready for this arc. No cover this week. Kishimoto must be running out of cover design ideas! Anyway, right off the bat we get Sasuke trash-talking Orochimaru, saying that the reason he rebelled was because Orochimaru was now weaker than him. Due to that, in Sasuke's mind, there was no longer any need to sacrifice himself to the ol' snake anymore. After all, what good would it do to submit himself to somebody that he could take down?

But does that mean that Sasuke would have willingly given himself to Orochimaru if he did not feel as though he had gotten any stronger than him? Maybe he would have considered that as satisfactory penance if he did not succeed in getting any more powerful than Orochimaru, since that would mean he would have failed in getting any closer to surpassing Itachi?

Well, you can just imagine that Sasuke's had pretty darn good motivation for the last two years just to better himself, besides his elder brother! Compared to if Sasuke had decided to follow Naruto back to Konohagakure, where the comfortable surroundings and friends would probably have gradually wore down his burning desire for revenge... being with Orochimaru instead just fueled his desire to grow stronger if for no other reason than he was also literally fighting not just for his revenge, but also for his free will!

All things considered, seeing how Sasuke has Orochimaru so much on the ropes here, I can understand fully why he left his village.


Yo, my clan is teh ultimate, n00b!

2. Family Pride! Oh wow, humble Sasuke sure ain't. I was highly amused by Sasuke's words here to Orochimaru - reminded me a whole lot of some of his fans at NF who would always argue the "superiority of the Uchihas" against diehard fans of Uzumaki Naruto. ( Ah, the days of being a moderator there... >.> ) It was as though the extreme Sasutards started using their idol as their mouthpiece, heh.

However, while Sasuke's still fiercely independent after all, we all found out here that he isn't completely out of the woods as far as being "in the darkness." Not at all. What cost the devil his wings may also eventually happen to Sasuke as well - "Pride goeth before a fall," right? And while Sasuke's always been a bit smug in the past, I've never expected him to be so... well, blatantly arrogant here!

Orochimaru, even though he might be a vile conspirator, is still one of the highly respected Three Sannin, the "Legendary Three Ninja," and also somebody who was able to give Sasuke even more strength at one time. Most likely Orochimaru taught him how to be even more powerful over the timeskip, and yet the kid's talking to him like this! Granted, we find out exactly why Sasuke never had much respect for Orochimaru, which I'll get to in just a moment...

But before I do, there's one more thing that occured to me while I was reading. As similar as Itachi and Sasuke may be, I realized that there's a definite difference between the brothers right now, and I think we'll be seeing this contrast emphasized much more later in the story. What is it, you ask? Well, whereas Itachi had lost all respect for his own family to the point where he nearly destroyed the whole clan, Sasuke, on the other hand, certainly still has a HELLUVA lot of pride being an Uchiha!

Well, I suppose that's only natural, considering Sasuke is currently trying to avenge his whole family. If he had felt the same way as Itachi, he probably wouldn't have bothered, huh!


Oh crap, Sasuke-kun's comparing me to Itachi! Noes!

3. Familiarity Begets Contempt...! Okay, so we find out here exactly WHY Sasuke never had much respect for Orochimaru, which I did appreciate! In Sasuke's eyes, Orochimaru isn't that much different from his hated brother, Itachi, in that they will do anything to accomplish their objectives... even at the expense of other people's lives.

In Itachi's case, of course, he sacrificed his whole family. In Orochimaru's case... well, there's a pretty good reason he was banished from Konohagakure! Itachi may have destroyed one clan, but I'd be willing to bet that Orochimaru annihilated a good many families in his nefarious quest for immortality. Probably had a hand in killing Kimimaro's clan as well, just to get the kid to be his servant and eventual next body!

And there's absolutely no doubt that while Sasuke was spending the last two years and a half with Orochimaru and Kabuto, he came to discover a whole lot of things about the two that he definitely didn't like.

But though Sasuke may not have been good at hiding his distaste for them, he was at least able to convince them that he would stay with them... especially with his words to Naruto and Sakura a while ago. Maybe he also said them to demonstrate just how far he was willing to go to get his revenge. But I'm sure it still didn't sit too well with him that he had to spew such BS!

Not much else to say here really, just that I liked that we got an immediate answer to just exactly why Sasuke would rather go ahead and kill Orochimaru than just walk away from them without any kind of confrontation. Makes sense that if Sasuke would be relating the Sannin to his brother that he'd be seeing red!


Hey now Sasuke-kun! This isn't what I meant by doin' it rough!

4. Bedroom Hijinks! Oh, man. What do you know? After all these months of joking about the nature of Sasuke and Orochimaru's relationship, we finally get back to them in actuality, and guess what?

They're fighting in Orochimaru's bed.

Kishimoto has got to have a twisted sense of humor. I just know it. Anyway, I liked that Sasuke didn't waste much breath on talking Orochimaru to death and just got to business quickly. Ouch, but that's gotta hurt, having the "energy sword" - or whatever it is - continue to go through Oro's wrists, almost crucifixing him to the wall. Gives me the willies to think about the pain that must've caused him.


Well, what zoo let YOU out?

5. Waking the Beast...! And now we come to the subject of what has so often haunted my dreams this past week. Orochimaru's true form revealed --- as a... pissed-off, gigantic, serpent-laden, white snake!? Crikey! Too bad Steve Irwin isn't around anymore, he'd have enjoyed this challenge...! Well, maybe not.

Apparently, though, keep in mind Orochimaru wasn't always like that - he seemingly experimented on himself over and over, all for the sake of prolonging his existence. Turning himself into something like an Ouroboros... except he's not biting his own tail, yet, in order to achieve Plato's ideal of "a self-eating, circular being as an immortal [in the form of a] perfectly constructed animal." Crazy loon.

Well, now we know at any rate what was up with Orochimaru being able to literally "pull himself back together" after being sliced in half by Four-Tailed Kyuubified Naruto. And also that Orochimaru's apparent 'Sen'nei Ta-Jaishu' jutsu was in actuality just mere extensions of his true form. Now it all makes sense, eh? Heh, at that time it was becoming pretty obvious that Orochimaru was something more than just human - we just didn't realize that he had turned himself into such a monster!

And we also now know what exactly transpired between Orochimaru and Genryuusai as well. Obviously Orochimaru had indeed, literally, dived into his victim's body, and taken it over, leaving his previous body as just a hulkless corpse. And to think we had just thought it was just a spiritual take-over. Creepy.

As for the artistic design... I'm not too crazy about it. Suddenly I had a vision of the face of Kankurou's Karasu puppet on Orochimaru's head, on top of a similar huge tubular body made up of snakes. I think I would have preferred that Orochimaru's original head be left intact except perhaps a little more scaly-faced. Ah, well. It's Kishimoto's call, I suppose, and I guess he wanted to make Orochimaru look decidedly inhuman as an outward reflection of the beastly desires inside him. Hiss!


Say pretty please with sugar on top.

6. Let The Battle Begin...! Well, just commenting on here just how convenient that katana certainly turned out for Sasuke here against Orochimaru and all the little serpents leaping out of his body in order to attack him. Perhaps that's the reason he decided to pick up a Kusanagi sword all along! Also, I just wonder, if these snakes are venomous at all... probably likely, since he was once paired up with Sasori in the Akatsuki. They must have poisoned quite a lot of opponents in their days together! So, one bite might mean life or death for Sasuke here, as it might paralyze him and render his body useless... a situation to avoid at all costs!

Another noteworthy detail here was Orochimaru's composure here. Definitely as not calm and collected as he was with Kakashi, a couple of years ago, when he appeared at the Chuunin Exams. Back then, Kakashi was just a little mouse to Orochimaru. So was Sasuke, but now... Orochimaru, in attacking him here, almost seemed to act rashly and desperately, much like a cornered beast. "Giiiiiiiive me your body!" No taunting words, or anything like that. That tells me right there that Orochimaru's definitely afraid of Sasuke about right now.

Or was he just elated to have his prey appear in front of him? That the moment was before him to finally strike? Eh, probably not. He still probably would have been more playful, as he had once been with Anko in the Forest of Death.


Next he'll be reciting Shakespeare...!

7. The Snake's Curse...! Ever heard of the story of Adam and Eve? Heh, it's well-known literature and all, so I sure hope you have. But here's a little part that I bet not everybody remembers. According to that tale of woe, God subsequently cursed the crafty serpent for his part in deceiving Eve to sample the Forbidden Fruit.

As the animal directly responsible for the fall of men, it was then "doomed to crawl upon its belly in the dirt and be forever stepped upon."

Remind you of something? Yup, Sasuke's powerful words here, which seemed as though they were spoken by an ageless prophet. I don't know if Kishimoto was inspired by that Biblical scene or not, but these were some awfully powerful lines, dude! Some of the best in the series to date as Sasuke was quite clearly condemning Orochimaru even as he was preparing to defend himself against the snakes lunging hungrily at him.

Kishimoto must have had this poignant scene in mind all along when he decided to have Sasuke rebel against Orochimaru - it certainly was dramatic and memorable, and well, Sasuke was his favorite character design after all, I'm sure he wanted him to sound good, too. Spoken like a little genius and your usual run-of-the-mill intellectual, a definite contrast to what Sasuke's former blond teammate would have said (probably would've said something like "You suck, snake-man! Eat my shorts!")

But wait, Sasuke had more to say...


So, wanna fly?

8. Talons of the Hawk...! So Sasuke considers himself a hawk, eh? Heh. I never could quite figure if these things on his back when he's in CS2 form were wings or actually talons, but either way, the line was certainly appropriate.

This scene, however, disappointed many readers, including yours truly. Sasuke in his CS2 form did not change significantly in design from when we last saw him like that, so his overall look seemed almost downright bland here. I would have actually rather seen Sasuke fight Orochimaru the entire battle without having to resort to the powers of the curse seal Orochimaru himself bestowed on him. He was lookin' good already, and I'd think he would have had enough pride not to depend on such a gift from the same man he was currently trying to kill. Especially considering his speech about the Uchihas being the mightiest clan in the universe just a while ago.

Though I don't mind his look so much. I mean, I can see why Kishimoto chose to make CS2 Sasuke so grotesque-looking. Which is just to demonstrate how a hunger for revenge can transform somebody to be obviously less than their former self. If Sasuke was ever "cool" before, then he's not so "cool" now. If that's the case, I don't mind it, since it works just fine for story purposes.

What does bother me is that Orochimaru seemingly has no power over stopping him from using the curse seal. What's up with that?

Doesn't make a great deal of sense to me that Orochimaru would just willingly give power like the curse seals away like that without an ace up his sleeve (besides the hidden snakes), especially to somebody who he plans to dominate at some point. Remember what Sakon and Tayuya said about the seals usually turning its victims into Orochimaru's slaves? Even if Sasuke had escaped that somehow, I would still think Orochimaru would be able to deactivate the seal, or just plain taking it away, by sheer will, since it was, after all, his own power that he handed out. "He who giveth, taketh away," right?

But since we've gone this far and Orochimaru hasn't even taken any action towards stopping Sasuke by doing that, I sure hope he doesn't do it later. That would make the whole battle to this juncture seem ridiculously pointless, wouldn't it?


Aww lil Oro, touching his very first snakeskin.

9. When It All Began... Hey wow, what's this? A flashback to the days of Chibi Oro? Hell, I sure wasn't expecting that. And here we find out exactly where Oro's love of snakes came from. Figures that that old pervert Sandaime would be somehow involved... I bet he wished he could just go back to that day and just told Orochimaru to "throw that filthy snake away" and call it "an omen of misfortune" instead of what he actually said, heh. Maybe then Orochimaru would haven't turned out the way he did!

Ah well, such an impressionable kid...! Who would've thunk it?

I also found it kinda funny that Sandaime here looked more like his son, which was recently revealed to be the late Asuma, of course. Facial structure stronger, hair spikier, more of a robust persona, and that mischevious smile. Our mangaka's obviously trying to make their family bonds a little more obvious now, huh? Wonder if Kishimoto isn't paving the way for Konohamaru to grow up looking a bit more like both his predecessors.


Don't you just want to give him a hug?

10. Not Evil? So, looking like Oro's not one of these brats that's been evil since birth, after all. I like that. I've never believed that anyone has been corrupted right from the beginning. I think Kishimoto feels like that as well, in showing that even Orochimaru wasn't always bad, y'know?

And for the first time in the entire series, I actually felt for Oro here. Just good writing again - showing how the loss of Orochimaru's parents might have led him to having grand dreams of becoming an immortal.

Of course, this is where Orochimaru fans have reason to worry. Flashbacks - ever since little ol' Haku tearfully recounted how he was "saved" by Zabuza, to the time of Asuma's death - in the Naruto series have never been particularly good to their feature characters.

But in this case, I think Orochimaru will be safe. We're just learning a little bit more about him right now as we did with Tsunade back when she remembered her boyfriend and brother. And anyway, it's about time we learned more about a villain that's been with us since almost the beginning.

I think that's all. But I'm not guaranteeing anything, of course, heh.

RATING: 5 of 5 - Excellent drama. Good art, and very memorable dialogue. Kishimoto gave us another very nice chapter, with plenty of revelations, such as Orochimaru's true form and Sasuke's post-timeskip CS2 look, and some thrilling action, even though it was brief. A flashback that potentially will tell us more about Orochimaru in the coming chapters. All in all, despite my complaint about the usage of the curse seal without seemingly any conditions, I did enjoy this chapter enough to give it another 5 rating. Three weeks in a row, folks! That's pretty good news.

Predictions: Most likely an entire chapter dedicated to exploring how Orochimaru started out to where he was eventually banished from Konohagakure. We'll probably be getting a glimpse at Team Sandaime in action. That would be fun.

RATING ON SHIPPUDEN EPISODE 004: 4.5 of 5 - The battle between Deidara and Gaara didn't disappoint me. It was fun to watch them battle it out in the skies. I don't have any more complaints about how they decided to animate that fight at night. Animation, while not stellar like the typical animated movie, was just good enough that it satisfied me (especially compared to previous episodes I've seen in the series). Gaara and Deiara, I think, were both done very well. The ending to the second bell test was excellently done, too. So, I enjoyed it.

Another fun chapter! Let's hope it keeps going.


Comment, or I'll bite your head off! Hiss!
 

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