Gold Knight's Ten Comments (Naruto 317)

Gold Knight

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As Jabbament would say.... "Blaargh!"

One of the most exciting chapters of Naruto this summer comes out... and I end up being so busy with moving that I couldn't review it right away! XD And I was so jazzed, too! Still, at last, here it is. Hope you guys enjoy and as always, please comment if you have any additional insights!

Starting this week, I'll be keeping my latest Ten Comments threads in my section. Hope that doesn't confuse anybody.

And what's this? 20 pages! Well, let's get going, then!

* * * Gold Knight's Ten Comments on Naruto Chapter 317: The Beginning Of The Nightmare!! * * *​


Alright, let's go at it, bitch!

1. What a Way to Start the Volume...! Assuming this chapter is the beginning of Volume 36 (if the pattern of chapters in recent publications are still being followed, it is), Kishimoto really gave us an unexpected treat this week to start off the new one. It's been a while since he gave us not only a colored double-spread, but also an introductory color page, each with its own significant surprises and revelations! Nope, no movie advertisements here, no sirree! (Though it seems like we'll be getting one next week... but at least this time he satisfied us one week earlier.)

Anyway, holy cow, what a colored first page! The first thing we see is the ghastly appearance of the gigantic three-tailed sea beast, the Sanbi, or as it would be known more formally, the Isonade. What? Another bijuu so soon? Hell yea! And as if that wasn't enough, it was quickly followed by the realization that it was being confronted by none other but the fan-pleasing Akatsuki member Deidara, who's flying atop one of his familiar makeshift birds on the scene...! Yay for the return of the blonde bomber! Well, really, I'm cheering for his return not because I'm a fan of the character in particular, but because his re-appearance probably means that big things are about to happen. But wait, who's that with him? Is it Kisame? No! Can it be...?

Yep, he's partnered with Tobi! So much for my prediction that Tobi wouldn't be an Akatsuki! And I didn't think he would be partnered with Deidara either - seriously, they must've had to bribe Deidara to be on the same team as a guy he nearly suffocated with his legs! And whoa, his mask's orange? ( Hmm, looks like he's got more in common with Naruto than we realized. ) But anyway, yep, guys, sure looks like the plot's officially starting to get into high gear.

And hey, how about this. Looks like Kisame is still the meanest shark in the series, because the Sanbi in Kishimoto's mythology appears to be totally different from the "three-tailed shark" of old Japanese folklore. In case you never saw my Isonade drawing that I did at Naruto Forums last summer, here it is. Yep, looks almost totally different, huh - and I guess, also slightly less menancing than THAT monstrosity on this page! Some things remain the same, though - this Sanbi also has a horn on his forehead as well.

But instead of being a shark, the Sanbi appears more as a shellfish monster of some sort, or as Tobi commented himself, "a big turtle." Not that I mind at all, the Sanbi certainly looks like a formidable bijuu - a monster of legendary proportions, in the fashion of the Kyuubi and the Shukaku. I guess that's probably going to be true for the rest of the bijuus, as well. And there's just something about giant, butt-ugly monsters rising from the deep ocean that really sends chills up your spines. Anybody who played Final Fantasy VII and had to watch the Diamond WEAPON emerging from the ocean and threatening the city of Midgar will know what I mean. (Now would be a good time to summon the Knights of the Round, Tobi...!) It's also good to see a bijuu seemingly completely free of a human host at long last, because there doesn't seem to be a jinchuuriki involved at all here. And that's good, because it wouldn't make sense if ALL the bijuu, supposedly the most powerful monsters in the world, would be sealed into human beings. Too easy.

I have a feeling that Kishimoto likely didn't want to make the Sanbi a shark, simply because that would be too reminiscient of Kisame. Whatever the case may be, it also doesn't look like Kisame has ever been tapped to capture the Isonade, so that probably means the Akatsuki are just randomly assigned to each bijuu, instead of finding the bijuu most representative of themselves.

Now for the surprising double whammy of Tobi now being an Akatsuki and partnered with Deidara, neither of which I didn't think would happen...! Well, the reasons I didn't believe Kishimoto was going to make Tobi an Akatsuki, but rather always a "groupie," was because the Akatsuki already numbered eight future opponents for Naruto and friends even after Sasori's death, but now with the addition of Tobi, they're nine again. So they haven't lost any momentum at all. Just how long will this series be?

Unless... Tobi really is useless, but I don't believe that's the case, otherwise he wouldn't have been accepted, So this leads me to think that rather than the Akatsuki being defeated one after the other like bowling pins, they'll be confronted as a whole group sometimes down the line.

Looks like Naruto better not be the only one training these days!

EDIT: Daniee here says that Chapter 317 will actually be part as Volume 35, not the beginning of 36, due to previous chapters being two pages less. So, Volume 33 is 290-299, Volume 34 is 300-309, and Volume 35 is presumably 310-319. Makes sense. Apologies if I've misled anybody.

2. The Akatsuki... in Color!!! Well, usually I do my comments on the cover first, but this week obviously I'll make an exception, since the first page was also colored. Still, as the cover this week also broke new ground, it certainly merits plenty of comments too...! (Here's some supplementary images, and just for kicks, I'm adding Sasori too to the following collage...)




The Akatsuki about to embark on a weight-loss program.

So, here we are, around 80 chapters after our first tantalizing glimpse at all the Akatsuki together in the shadows, and now most of them are totally revealed in color! It's been a long wait... (and in the case of the last two unrevealed Akatsuki inconveniently looking away from us :darn , there's still a bit to go!) Still, fans are no doubt rejoicing right now.

At first glance, we see Deidara obviously at the forefront - Kishimoto's obviously acting on his strange appeal to the fans here (yes, I'm still shocked that he beat Naruto out for #3 in the last Character Popularity poll). Then there's Itachi and Kisame to the right, together as usual - and sitting not too far away is Hidan! Looks like all the fan artists who colored Hidan's hair white-gray were right, so give yourself a pat on your back, guys. Then in the background, of course, there's Zetsu, who strangely seems more out of place now... and Tobi, looking mightily satisfied in his new robes. And farther back there's Kakuzu, looking more distant, and it's revealed his shroud is actually grayish-white. Take note, colorists...!

And now, the real teasers. The two unrevealed Akatsuki! Even with their backs turned to the readers, some things are still revealed ahead of time. We now know that there's going to be a blue-haired member, who might indeed be a woman, as Kishimoto had implied in his interviews. And look... she's got a "rock" of some sort attached to her forehead. This also makes her (or him) the most likely to be the Akatsuki standing right alongside Kisame in the old spread from Chapter 238, so that's not Hidan after all.

Edit: Sao made a nice observation here, saying that the "rock" might actually be a flower as it looks like it has petals.

And towering higher than all of them is the Leader (haha, there's no mistaking it that he is supposed to be the ringmaster of the organization - he's placed here too purposefully as "high and mighty" above the others) who turns out to be obviously darker-haired (red-haired?) than Yondaime, so that would seem to finally deflate all the "Yondaime is the Leader" theories. But he's also too light-haired to be Shino's father, another crazy theory going on out there. Phew on both counts...! I still stick to my long-held assumption that he's a completely new character.

Now, the real puzzler: if you're going to compare the revealed Akatsuki to that old double spread from Chapter 238, Hidan doesn't fit in anywhere. And I'm going to take a wild guess here, and say that the Akatsuki that muttered, "Itachi... your brother..." is either dead, or left the organization. And Hidan is his replacement, just like Tobi is Sasori's replacement. Hey, it wouldn't be far-fetched at all... a lot can happen in two years and a half, and bijuu hunting no doubt should take its toll on any organization. And Hidan seems young enough that he may be a new member, so it would make sense. Though I would love it if this "missing" member might come out sometimes and be Naruto's biggest help to defeating this organization. Though there's always the possibility that he may still be a member, and Kishimoto is just trying to throw us off. Whenever they get Orochimaru's ring back, after all, they'll need a tenth member, and I don't think it'll be ol' Snaky-Tongue.

Overall, I have to say I was very pleased with Kishimoto's double spread here and his willingness to draw all the Akatsuki in color, saving us from having to wait about five months to find out what Hidan and Kakuzu looks like in color...! I'm sure this double spread will on be many people's desktop for a while. I know it'll be on mine, when it's out in high quality.


Uncle!!! Uncle, I say!!!

3. The Beginning of a Nightmare... Tobi's, that is! Such an appropriate title for the chapter, because that's exactly what it turned out to be for Tobi here! And whoa, look at the guy speeding all around the water's surface, screaming for Deidara to help him out. Tsk tsk.

( Say, that looks like superhuman speed... hmmm. Not that we've seen any shinobi who's exactly "slow" in the series, but Hidan did say that he was the "slowest" of the Akatsuki. Could it be perhaps that Tobi is the "fastest?" That would be interesting! )

Anyway, somehow I get the feeling that Tobi is the type of character to "play it safe" and "act like he's dumb," just so he can get others to do his work for him.


Art is such a lovely bang.

4. Armed and Dangerous! Speaking of who has to do the work, guess what? It's Deidara once again. And it's no surprise to anybody, but he's got at least one of his arms re-attached again. How? Last we saw him, he was missing both arms. Considering that he didn't feel any pain when Gaara took his arm off, I'm going to guess that his body is part machine, part clay, and part man, and he was able to re-attach his right arm via a clay-related jutsu somehow. I'll bet he's even triggered each of his fingers to detach from his hand and explode on their own, as well. But note that we never did see his left arm here... I'm also going to guess again and say that as he's lost that original arm forever, he had to make a cyborgic replacement for that one. Hence, ours not seeing it just quite yet...

Incidentally, when the chapter started, I was somewhat wondering why the Sanbi would bother to rise out of the depths just for an encounter with two humans, even if they are Akatsuki - they still probably seemed to the bijuu nothing more than "bugs" at the time. But I got my answer here when Deidara sent a makeshift "exploding fish" under the surface of the water after the Sanbi - that's exactly probably how he got the Sanbi's attention to start with! No doubt it had to suffer swimming through several of Deidara's mini-explosions, and it had had enough.

Back to Deidara... it's almost somewhat amusing, but it seems like Deidara and Hidan, for being two relatively psychotic and hyperactive characters, seem to be doing all the work for the Akatsuki these days. For all their coolness, Itachi, Kisame, Kakuzu, and Zetsu collectively haven't really shown us a whole lot yet. I guess Kishimoto is just saving all that for later.


ph3ar the totems!

5. Sooooo scary... Seriously. One look at these totems, I bet you the Akatsuki would flee into the forest crying for their very lives. ...ok, I'm joking.

All the same, these totems irrirated me. I know Naruto is a Shonen title, and meant for little kids for the most part, so Kishimoto probably thought about that while depicting the scene here, but these totems were a bit TOO kiddish-like. I liked the art from when Kakashi performed the seal on Sasuke's curse mark much better. Ah well, I guess Kishimoto couldn't keep on doing the same motifs over and over for every complicated technique, and this does serve as a more unique-seeming jutsu. Anyway, let's forget the art here for a second: it seems Yamato (or Tenzou, as it would appear, his real name...) is channeling his chakra through this elaborate ritual (note there's exactly nine totems for each of the tails) to suppress the Kyuubi's chakra from afar. This would definitely seem to indicate that Naruto's main weakness whenever using too much chakra would be to allow the Kyuubi more room to operate inside his body.

As for Yamato's real name being revealed, I can't help but feel somewhat half-hearted about finding it out. It's not a bad name at all, but I had gotten so used to calling him and thinking of him as Yamato. Now I'm going to have to decide between calling him by his "assigned" name or his real name, but in this case, I think I'm just going to do what he told Kakashi to do - keep on calling him Yamato. That's probably what Kishimoto wanted us to do as well.

Not surprised that Kakashi knew his real name, though, since they had worked together within the ANBU before. Calling Yamato by his real name was probably a tough habit for him to break. Either that, or he wanted a quick reaction out of his former comrade, which I think was more likely here. If Yamato's in a "trance," it's probably easier to snap him out of it by using his real name than otherwise...


Shut up, dumbass.

6. ME > THAT ME > THIS ME...! Gotta admit, I never get tired of the hilarious "clone banter" you see every now and then in the series, and I'd actually like to see more of that. We haven't gotten very much of it as comedy relief since that golden moment when Kakashi fooled Naruto into attacking one of his own duplicates, early on in the first bell test. The Kage Bunshin being Naruto's trademark move, I can imagine sooo many funny moments coming out of being an idiot who's got to deal with mirror images of himself...!


Lookin' kickass, even in Raw Quality!

7. Asuma, You Da Man! Finally! I'll admit it, before this storyarc started, I had been somewhat afraid that Kishimoto would just forget about the rest of the Konohagakure jounins as a potentially great supporting cast to Naruto. And lo and behold, we're actually seeing Naruto asking none other than Asuma for advice on wind-type chakra!

If for no other reason, I'm more glad than ever that the "five basic chakra types" were officially introduced, if only because they allow us to see Naruto get to know the other jounins in town. And maybe not just Naruto, either... could we possibly be seeing Sakura getting some tutoring for Kurenai in the ways of genjutsu in the near future? More, Kishimoto, more! :knk

Anyway, I'm loving Asuma more and more as I learn about him. There was some talk among fans here at MH about him being possibly an "evil" character and a "surprise traitor" the past week, and there's some evidence from previous chapters to support that theory, but after this chapter I just can't see him as anything less than a down-to-earth, honest, tough, good-hearted brusier who's got a knack for intimidation. If he's trying to fool us, he's doing a good job.

And is it just me, or does anybody think Asuma would have been an even better jounin instructor for Naruto than Kakashi? Putting aside that they're the same chakra type, they seemed to hit it off pretty well here. Of course, Asuma obviously didn't have much faith in him before witnessing him at the Chuunin Exams, so it's probably for the best that Kakashi DID tutor him early on.


Now that's what I call a blade.

8. Razor Sharp...! Funny how Asuma conned Naruto into having to pay barbeque for Team 10, including Chouji, with his wind instructions...! Now that wasn't something I was expecting to be the end result of Asuma's shogi game with Shikamaru, heh - heck, I didn't even think Kishimoto was going to return to it.

Anyway, we learned a bit more here about Asuma's chakra blades - turned out that it wasn't really so much a jutsu that he was using to extend the edges of his blades with his chakra, but that his knives reacted to his elemental type. So even Naruto could do it. Though unique metals that absorbs chakra and reacts with its nature are cool and all, you know what this means, don't you?

It means we haven't even really seen what Asuma can do, yet. Still a lot in store to come for him, if Kishimoto ever intends to show us. It also most probably means that Sasuke's Kusangi sword is the same type of metal. Another mystery solved.

Either way, I think these blades will foreshadow a bit of what Naruto may end up eventually adopting as his weapons - though not knuckle blades. But I'll be willing to bet that he also comes in possession of this metal at some point, as well, and uses it to be able to defend himself against Sasuke a little easier. After all Asuma said it himself, "When two weapons clash, the one with the sharper edge will always win," and right now, Sasuke's got the, uh, edge.

Though I wouldn't be surprised if Kishimoto throws us a curveball and has Naruto adopt a weapon that's not sharp at all, but just as destructive.


You gettin' all that, Naruto? Good boy.

9. Sharp as a Marble. Okay, so for wind manipulation, you split your chakra into two halves, flow them both back into each other (or probably to be more precise, against each other, and draw the chakra out into thin, sharp pieces via the pressure created by the friction, and make the resulting threads of chakra as thin and razor sharp as possible. Got it.

But I wonder if Naruto actually does...! I'm not at all too surprised that Asuma felt that the concept might be a little difficult for Naruto to grasp. But the other clones seemed to understand pretty well when his bunshin disappeared. Guess we'll see! One thing's for sure, though, Kakashi's right - either way, Naruto is beginning to take serious advantage of his Kage Bunshin. It would be hilarious to imagine Naruto using his bunshins to ask for advice from every wind-type instructor in the town while the rest continues training - but I guess Asuma was the only one.

Wonder how fire, electricity, water, and earth work as visualizations. I'm more curious than ever now...! I really liked how Kishimoto showed us how Naruto would have to visualize his chakra in order to make a wind type jutsu work. Makes it all feel more real, somehow.


Fit to be tied.

10. Time to Go to Work, Boys...! (Finally?) I hate to say it, but it almost seems like Tsunade's been sitting on her butt for the last 10 chapters mumbling things like "gotta stop foolin' around" and "yeah, we've gotta do something." And now we see her finally act, after receiving a message from Chiriku's fellow monk about what happened at the Temple of Fire. "SEND OUT THE BATTALIONS!" Oh well. Raises another question, though: what exactly are these 20 squadrons? ANBU? Or totally new teams? Would they happen to include any of Naruto's generation? Hmm.

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars. No surprise there. The first full chapter of Naruto we've had in a while, 20 pages, a colored front page and a colored double spread of the Akatsuki together, a new bijuu, the return of very interesting Akatsuki characters, more insights into the world of chakra, more interaction with Asuma, some comedy relief, and Yamato's real name. Whoa. Almost too much to absorb all at once. But it was a pleasure to read.

Predictions: Probably going to take us back to the Deidara and Tobi battle with the Sanbi. Since the preview seems to usually herald what will happen two chapters later rather than right away, I'm going to guess the training actually won't end next chapter like it seems to imply. I also think Naruto will finally realize after training for a while, that he doesn't need to compete with his clones as much as he needs to work with them, and when he absorbs them all - bam! Game over.

Credits: Thanks to Fnuckale's cleaned RAW, Reaver Reloaded's and Emery's Edited Mangas, and HisshouBuraiken and Yumi-chan's translations, all of which I used for the writing of this review.

Hope you enjoyed, and looking forward to seeing what you think!


This oddly feels comfortable...
 

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