Gold Knight's Ten Comments (Naruto 323)

Gold Knight

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Anybody up for a good, bloody geometry class with Hidan-sensei...?

Well, sorry that it took so long for me to post my Comments this time around - especially since it was such a terrific chapter! One of the reasons I waited so long was because I wanted to have nice, clean images to work with too - but we were unsuccessful in obtaining the HQ Raw, unfortunately, so I had to make do with what we've got so far.

That being said, I'd like to thank Yume and Darion for their MQ Edited Mangas - I used both for this edition of my Comments. I still felt like I had to do some cleaning of my own, though, especially where the blacks were concerned. Took me some time, because I wanted my review to look a little professional. But yeah, I'm a novice cleaner, but hey, I tried. ^^ The RAW was pretty terrible this week, huh.

In the meanwhile, we have a pretty cool chapter of Naruto to talk about! Lots of action this week, for a change. Please enjoy and comment away when you have time. :)

Disclaimer: I have to admit I was *very* sleepy and tired while writing this review. Please don't hold it against me if I'm a little too confusing in some parts. ;)

* * * Gold Knight's Ten Comments on Naruto Chapter 323: Divine Judgement...! * * *​


Well, that was the idea...!

1. There Can Be Only One...! Suppose I can't really blame Asuma for not taking the incentive to behead Hidan right off, considering there's probably not that many "immortals" walking around. ...or is there? Judging by the shocked expressions on Izumo, Kotetsu, Shikamaru, and Asuma's faces on the first page, though, I'd say nope, Naruto isn't like Highlander the movie, heh. Additionally, Asuma may have felt like he would be able to get some more information out of him despite his "critical wounds," so didn't go for a more instantly fatal move. Hindsight and all that...

I'm still somewhat surprised that Asuma and his team attacked as quickly as they did without analyzing the abilities of their enemies, though. But I can understand the strategy of trying to take one down quickly while he's still separated from his partner, I guess.

Watching Hidan flinch with Izumo and Kotetsu's weapons inside his body made me wonder just how much pain he could endure, though... even if he apparently can't die. He seemed to be suffering some pain at first, but still acts like it's just a minor annoyance. Reminds me a bit of one of his comrades, Deidara, although he didn't even express any pain when his own arms were taken off. Then there was Sasori, who was probably in tremendous pain when his "heart" was stabbed and bleeding, but he didn't seem to outwardly show it (and despite being a "puppet," he did seem to show emotion on his face at times, mind ya). Either these people have been trained to withstand incredible pain, much like real-life special forces agents, or they're just plain nuts...!

Could Hidan have something inside him that could be constantly healing him, similar to the Kyuubi for Naruto, or even Blade of the Immortal's Manji's bloodworms? If you haven't read that manga yet, Manji, the protagonist, has worms residing inside his body which pretty much makes him immortal, no matter how much he's hacked up. Well, Hidan's worship of a "god of slaughter" would still seem indicate that as being a possibility - though it may not be such a symbiotic relationship...?


Well looky what we have here...!

2. Winning the Lottery...! You know, I really wonder if Asuma is gonna die now - because if he does, he'd actually be helping Kakuzu and Hidan. Asuma's own value, after all, as he said himself a few chapters ago, is 5 more million ryō more than his friend Chiriku's. Wouldn't that be even more of a threat to Konohagakure if Asuma's corpse were to fill out the Akatsuki's wallets?

Asuma should definitely keep that in mind as he fights these Akatsuki guys, because if they're unable to win, it would be far better for the safety of Konohagakure that they all escape, as Izumo suggested later on.

And yup, I did find Hidan's reaction funny here. "Oh nooooooooo, you freakin' mean we have to go back down to meet that creepy guy in the bathroom that's really a morgue again? Crap...!"

Of course, he still wasn't just going to take being stabbed lightly.


Knock Knock! Wait, let me knock your head in first!

3. Sneaky Methods...! Such is the way of the ninja - jump on any opportunity you can get to deliver a knockout punch from behind! Hey, dirty tactics they may be, but they work. Occasionally.

Asuma's team were true ninjas against Hidan last chapter, and they had mixed success. Now we see Kakuzu trying to blast Shikamaru into the afterlife before he even knows what hit him. Hey, maybe it's all karma - could it be that the ninja gods want 'em all to fight face to face in the end, after all? Well, guess this IS a shonen series - heh.

In any case, Hidan wasn't kidding when he said that Asuma's team goofed up by starting with the wrong opponent. At least Kakuzu probably would have complied and died.

Just an observation here on Kakuzu, but it almost seems like he IS turning out to be a male Tsunade in how he seems to rely on high-impact punches as well. Just look at that rooftop after he had landed his blow! His speed also doesn't really seem up to par either with quick combatants like Sasuke and Rock Lee, because in this case Shikamaru did easily get away, even if just in the nick of time. Lucky.


Hidan, you said the magic words!

4. Hoggin' All the Action. When you think about it, I don't blame Kakuzu so much anymore for tolerating Hidan as much as he has (even though he can't kill him anyway).

Hidan's been pretty much doing the lion's worth of work lately! Wasn't too long ago he used his jutsu in order to take down Yugito and Chiriku, both pretty formidable opponents. And even now after all that, he still insists that he take on Asuma's team all by his little self... again! Yes, and despite being impaled by two pretty wicked-looking blades, too! This guy must have as much stamina as Naruto does.

Hey, if Hidan wants to fight them himself, as long as Kakuzu gets the money, all's well in the end, right? Definitely was music to Kakuzu's ears when Hidan said that last bit about the money being his.

Actually, I have to wonder if Kakuzu often still butts into Hidan's fight, and Hidan was just making sure that he wouldn't this time. Kakuzu did indicate last chapter that he could act rashly sometimes...

Also, I wonder if part of the reason that Hidan wanted to fight is because he recognized Asuma and his group as formidable foes, and moreover, his religion wouldn't allow him to get out of such a challenge. If Hidan's "god" is like any crazy, bloodthristy evil deity in most fiction, then such a great sacrifice like a great warrior would probably be much appreciated.

Incidentally, that was bad-ass to see Hidan moving around even with two swords stuck through his guts. That's pretty impressive. And creepy.


Welcome to 'How to Deal with Immortal Bastards 101' with Asuma-sensei.

5. Asuma's Risky Gamble...! Hm, looks like Asuma converted to being more of a risk-taker just in time for this fight, eh? How's that for a coincedence...! Heh. Don't you just love plot no jutsu? Hopefully it still won't mean his death, though...

Well, at least he recognized that the best way to handle Hidan was probably to take his head off, which I'm happy about. I would have hated it if Asuma's team had just fought on without that plan in mind. It's the best way to take care of an immortal that there is...!

Though I actually think Izumo had the right idea here, that they should have done a tactical retreat instead. Because here they are, facing off against likely a S-ranked criminal, with no guarantee that Kakuzu won't also step in at some point. Not to mention Asuma is somebody they obviously want right now. But I suppose they may never get this opportunity again in order to take them out, if they were to retreat. So, Asuma is right in one sense - if they're able to take down even one of them here, then that would definitely help their village out against the Akatsuki menace. But that's only assuming they're able to do that... guess Asuma must be feeling confident, then, hopefully.

Somehow, I still can't help but feel that Asuma is just looking to avenge Chiriku here, as well. If they've been good pals like Shikamaru and Chouji, there's probably a big part of him that really wants to do that.


So don't gaze off at the clouds right now, ok, kid...?

6. A Sensei's Pride? When Asuma put all his faith in Shikamaru here in order to protect him from becoming a "sacrifical piece," I immediately thought back to when Kakashi put his own confidence in Naruto a while ago when fighting against Itachi. That worked out pretty well, didn't it.

Well, we already know why Kakashi was so serious about teamwork being essential - he knew that he'd be staking his own life at some point with his students being the only people backing him up. Same thing for Asuma here, now!

I don't blame Asuma at all for trusting Shikamaru. He's probably never worked with anybody else who can figure out a quicker way to get out of a situation than Shikamaru. And like I predicted a few weeks ago, Shikamaru IS the best hope that Asuma probably has for surviving this entire storyarc...!

Funny, though, how Kishimoto almost seems to be projecting into Shikamaru's face the anxiety of all of Asuma's fans right now. I think Kishimoto knows that with all the foreshadowing he's done so far that a lot of readers are definitely worried about Asuma's fate. So he's having the fans being able to relate to Shikamaru's feeling of misgivings here - nice writing, there.

One final sidenote - remember, Hidan's name is taken from the Japanese word for "rook" and Kakuzu's means "bishop." Something tells me we're meant for a grand shogi battle of sorts in life where Shikamaru will definitely have to fight them both at some point.


Grand Opening: Charging Asuma, Flying Hidan! Anybody want tickets?

7. Drawing First Blood...! Ha, when I saw Hidan leap into the air and throw a hidden blade at a quickly approaching Asuma while avoiding Shikamaru's kagenagi tendrils, I couldn't help but wonder if Kishimoto had been watching any John Woo flicks lately!

Definitely an action scene worthy of being in a series supposed to be about, well, ninjas! I'm very glad that Kishimoto drew this display of martial arts. If you think about it, we actually haven't had very many battles typical of shinobi lately. Well, we've had puppeteer wars, a match of superpowered attacks, a clash between monsters, a crazed bomber, and a guy trying to mind-rape everybody else with his eyes. So, this battle was very refreshing and exciting. Let's see more of this stuff!


O.K., let's have your blood with some fava beans and a nice chianti...!

So okay, let's recap the beginning of the battle. First off, Asuma charged headfirst into the fray and Shikamaru's trying to either capture or spike Hidan with his Kagenui.

And just how does Hidan respond? By cartwheeling backwards into the air and throwing a hidden small weapon at Asuma's face, which he promptly deflected. But in doing so, he can't avoid being hit by Hidan's three-bladed scythe - an attack that probably would have killed him outright if not for Shikamaru's quick thinking and Kagenui. In avoiding being hit himself by one of his shadow needles, Hidan had to pull the scythe away from Asuma while he hopped off the ground.

However, in drawing first blood, Hidan may be drawing a hell of a lot more as a result. (Dum dum dum!)

The action sequences here were definitely fun. No dialogue necessary. Everything was moving too fast for anybody to think. Very realistic and I liked that.


So that's where all the ash went...!

8. Ashes to Ashes! Finally! Asuma shows us something else other than his trench blades. 'Katon Haisekishō,' huh? I think I kinda like 'Searing Ash Cloud' as the best translation for that attack. Makes sense and it's perfect for Asuma's character, too, as he's a heavy smoker.

Doubtful that's all we're seeing from Asuma, though. His 'Searing Ash Cloud' isn't going to defeat anybody, like Gai's Morning Peacock, except maybe Konohamaru... heh! In any case, I'm sure we'll be getting more eventually.


What comes around goes around, huh?

9. That's Some Bad Mojo...! Well, we learned something about Hidan's "mysterious" technique after long last. Apparently, whenever he steps into the pentagram that he drew on the ground after having just tasted somebody's blood (or I assume, anything relating to their body), well, he essentially turns himself into a voodoo doll.

That is, any damage done to him will also damage the victim as well. Ouch! Quite the pickle Asuma's found himself in right now...

So how to get around this problematic situation? I'm guessing there's got to be a limit to Hidan's technique. The ritual seems very important to him, so I'm assuming if he doesn't get around to it before long, the jutsu will dissolve and he'll be rendered back to his normal human self (or at least as normal as he'll ever get?)

In the meanwhile, they've got to keep him busy and figure out a way to somehow put him out of action (perhaps using Shikamaru's Kagemane). At which point Kakuzu will probably step in, after all, when he realizes Hidan might not be able to win this battle.


Hidan is a masochist alright...!

10. Reapin' What You Sow...! Heh, at first glance I did think of Hidan as a voodoo doctor (probably because of the ability he demonstrated just now), but he does look a lot like a grim reaper, too, doesn't he?

I do think this is a brilliant move on Kishimoto's part. Grim reapers still don't really appear all that often in manga or comics, so they can't be said to be too cliché at all. And I would've never expected it from Hidan, who I saw more as a priest (albeit a crazy one) than a deathbringer. Though it does makes sense as far as his evil religion is concerned. And then to make him look a bit like a voodoo doctor too... very cool.

Overall, his design here is a pretty creative take on the classic skeleton costume kids wear every Halloween, but less ridiculous-looking. Probably because he's still wearing his Akatsuki robe. Still definitely one of the cooler "skeleton" designs I've seen in comics...!


Is this guy a guy, or a gal? Or... neither?

My Crackhead Theory: Oh yeah, still got this to do. Well, we know now that the Akatsuki has a skeleton man, a plant man, a mad bomber, and they used to have a puppet man. Katy and I had a talk about what the last unrevealed Akatsuki member might be like. I think that it'll be a female, AND that she may have some kind of healing power. The Akatsuki's like everybody else after all (despite their high tolerance for pain) - they need healing every now and then. I'm sure there'll be some kind of twist to it though - perhaps she usually asks for something in exchange for her healing...? "Hey fella, I've healed you, now you give me your fingerbone as payment. Yummy...!" Of course, that'd be kinda TOO much like Zetsu...

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars. After a number of low-key chapters, I was expecting this one to raise the excitement and it didn't disappoint. We got our first real action in a while, and to see Asuma and Hidan in the thick of it definitely had me cheering. I know I wasn't the only one. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Predictions: The next chapter will probably have Hidan in the progress of apparently "pwning" Asuma and putting his eerie power on display. Kakuzu will probably be commenting every now and then on how doomed they all are. Asuma and Shikamaru will be trying to figure out what the heck to do. We might get a little glimpse at Naruto at the end.

Credits: First and foremost, thanks to all the translators here for submitting their stuff! It really helped to clarify a lot of the dialogue in this one. Not often we see so much text in an action-packed chapter of Naruto, too! Thanks also to the MQ Edited Mangas we got from Yume and Darion here. They helped in giving me some images that I could quickly clean myself, too. And finally, thanks to ALL OF YOU for being patient for this week's Comments!

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


My sentiments exactly!! Comment please! <3
 

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