Gold Knight's Ten Comments (Naruto 324)

Gold Knight

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NO!!! DON'T KILL YOURSELF! I won't be late again! I think... >.>

Okay, I'll admit having considered doing my Comments this week without images. Heck, I came close to not doing Comments for Naruto at all. But then Twoshirou came to the rescue and cleaned some pages for me. He even typeset all the panels. So, a big thanks to Two this week!

Sorry for taking a while again before releasing my review, though. Well, at least I got it out one day before RAW Day! I guess that should help some impatient people wait for the next chapter tonight/today, hopefully. ;)

All the same, I've gotta say this. Even if the RAW may have been uber-LQ, we still used to have so many Manga Editors here doing some terrific work regardless with their cleans. Nowadays we only get one or two per week. I'm not sure what's up with that - maybe just that people are frustrated that the HQ Raw came out just as they finished their cleans - or maybe they're just busy with other projects now. But lately it's been taking forever for a decent Edited Manga to come out! For that, I'm really surprised.

I could certainly use some more MQ Edited Mangas for my Comments (they don't necessarily ALWAYS have to be HQ caliber, this is just a review, after all) and I'll be sure to give credit where it's due. Just so everybody knows. Thanks. ;)

Please enjoy and comment away when you have time. :)

* * * Gold Knight's Ten Comments on Naruto Chapter 324: Shikamaru's Analysis! * * *​


Yep. Crazy as a loon.

1. Raving Stark Mad...! We didn't get a cover this chapter, but this was possibly even better! A full-piece shot of Hidan in his horrifying "grim reaper" mode, as he pulls out a long stake out of his robes and fully prepares to unmercifully maim somebody to pieces. A cover within the story gives us one extra page, after all. ;)

(Why did he not just use his three-bladed scythe? I'll get to that later on.)

I have to say, I enjoyed Hidan's evil laughter of insanity here. I think it's one of the things about him that appeals to me so much. Itachi, Kisame, Sasori - none of them ever laughed so gleefully like that. Orochimaru and Kabuto didn't either. Hidan would qualify as the most emotional villain in the whole series to date, and he comes off as more of a psycopathic killer than a ninja, really. Now, what makes him tick, exactly? And is he really a great villain?

First consider this question: what makes a good villain? Hidan can't just be insane, because a writer will use that as a shorthand way of saying he doesn't know what makes the villain tick. That's no good. First, villains believe themselves to be heroes, and have to have believable motives. Hidan obviously feels that he's out to correct some sort of attitude about causing pain, though ironically he's inflicting some himself in the process. He may be driven or forced to it by his religion, however. Next, attitudes to killing are cultural. I have a feeling Hidan has no qualms about killing whatsoever due to the practices of whatever village he came from, hence the talk about "divine judgment." Finally, A good villain is a smart villain and must act plausibly. Not sure Hidan qualifies here, but we'll see.


No more nice guy.

2. Asuma Means Business...! Heh, I don't blame Asuma for getting even more serious here, after being surprised by getting burnt in the last chapter. I had predicted a while ago (although not in one of my Comments) that Asuma would have by now learned how to extend the blades of his brass knuckles even further than when he fought Itachi and Kisame. Although I had initially thought that the edges would also be along Asuma's forearms and he would be a bit more Wolverine-like, but it didn't turn out that way.

All the same, imagine if the blade had been as long as a sabre when Asuma sliced Kisame's face, and I'm not so sure that Kisame wouldn't have been fishfood at that point!


That's gotta hurt.

3. A True Mascohist...! And here we come back to exactly why Hidan took out that stake. Why did he use that weapon on himself instead of his three-bladed scythe in order to halt Asuma's charge and cripple him? Something tells me that if Hidan had used the scythe, he would have cancelled his own jutsu.

Another question that popped up here. Exactly why was Hidan so quick to stop Asuma, when he saw him coming at him? Wouldn't it just have been better to kill two birds with one stone, and let Asuma kill himself by doing whatever he wanted to do to Hidan?

Might be that the pentagram that Hidan drew on the ground may be important to his "divine judgment" - namely, being able to transfer the pain to Asuma and in exchange, get pleasure - and he didn't want to be shoved off it. If Asuma had succeeded in doing that, Hidan may have been more vulnerable to being wounded (say, getting a leg chopped off, etc). Although he still probably wouldn't be at risk of being killed.

If so, this is going to somewhat limit Hidan's versatility. If he can't move out of that space, he's not going to have very many options. There's probably something more to it.


IT'S BETTER THAN SEX!!!

4. Death Becomes Him? Well, if Hidan gets revitalized by the deaths of his enemies, no wonder he's been so ectastic about doing all the dirty work. Not to mention that also explains perfectly why Hidan would follow a religion of carnage if it in turn promised to satiate his hunger for some sort of drug-like stimulant!

It also fits with Hidan is depicted as a personification of Death. Why does the grim reaper collect souls? In some religions it may be merely a servant, forced to carry out a tedious task.

For Hidan it's obviously a fun job.


We already know, Izumo.

5. Slow on the Uptake. Nothing against Izumo here, but I don't think it should have taken that many flashbacks and that much thinking in order to figure out what's going on here between Hidan and Asuma.

After the burn, and then seeing Asuma being crippled, I think I would have instantly figured it out. But I guess Konohagakure probably hasn't had that much experience with voodoo. It's a different world, after all...!

Unfortunately, that brings us to another issue. I do think Kishimoto is guilty sometimes of an overdependence on flashbacks in order to stall a continution of the story or a battle, and he did it here again. That way he only has to worry about drawing original scenes for around 13-14 out of 16-17 pages. That's definitely one of his biggest drawbacks right now as a mangaka, and a habit he hasn't broken since almost the beginning of the series.


Just stay right there...!

6. Shadow Tag...! Well, good thing Hidan couldn't move from his spot. That gave Shikamaru a fair chance to catch him with his Kagemane. It's almost too convenient in fact, but I suppose Shikamaru, besides the other members of his Naga clan, was the only one who could have taken advatange of Hidan's situation like that.


Oh, the drama!

Although, we have to give Shikamaru some props for being able to quickly switch from Kagenui to Kagemane and then being able to stretch it out to Hidan fast enough to stop him from piercing his chest. That would have been the end of Asuma otherwise. Also, Kishimoto was clever enough to have Hidan already say several chapters ago that he was the slowest Akatsuki of all physically, otherwise it would have been hard to believe that he would have been so delayed in his "suicide attempt."

Guess I was right in my prediction several weeks ago (before they even set off on the mission) that Shikamaru would save Asuma's hide at some point. But it's not the end of the game by far...!

Sidenote: I wonder if Kishimoto took a page out of Oda's sketchbook here. Hidan's mouth seemed pretty large here for Kishimoto's drawing style, but that would've been typical of an One Piece character. Heh.


Ooo, nervous, eh?

7. Good call...! Sending for reinforcements right before they confronted Hidan and Kakuzu redeemed Asuma's team in my eyes, even though it'll take thirty more minutes for them to arrive. Must've sent some more birds to contact one of the other searching teams in the area so that they could at least tail down the Akatsuki if they managed to escape.

This means, though, that I don't think even if that happens, anybody will die now. Unless, of course, Hidan manages to destroy everybody's vital organs...!

I'm actually quite curious to find out what the team will be that arrives at the scene. Some believe that it'll be Kurenai's team, but I tend to think that won't be the case, because they weren't part of the squads that Tsunade sent out on the mission. Unless, of course, they decided to follow Asuma's team just in case, and just happened to intercept Izumo and Kotetsu's bird so that they would know where to go.

But I think it'll be one of the other squads, and I personally hope that it will involve some other jounins that we've seen in the past but never had much of a spotlight. Such as Ibiki's "Examiners." That'd be cool.


Dammit, stop feelin' me up, kid!

8. Stubborn to the End...? This scene had the same feeling of how Shikamaru struggled with Tayuya way back at the end of Part One. I actually wonder whether he had improved on the strength of his Kagemane or not since then, but I would wager that Hidan would probably have been at an even higher level of willpower than Tayuya had been. So maybe at first glance it would seem as though Shikamaru hadn't improved at all (besides the Kagenui, of course), but actually he may have. And that all may have been necessary for him to even hold Hidan in place here.

I'm somewhat surprised, though. Seems as though Hidan's willpower or strength didn't improve too much even after he had become the "grim reaper." Guess all that jutsu did was turn him in a voodoo doll, under the condition that he had tasted somebody's blood. I wonder if it was really just Asuma that Hidan can hurt, or that it was just a "blood sacrifice" required for him to be able to transfer his pain to anybody around him?


Who's the greedy bastard here?

Well, you be the judge. Is Hidan a smart villain or not...? Probably not. Yes, maybe Kakuzu's interference might have somehow interrupted his ritual, but at the same time the Akatsuki would probably have wiped the floor with Asuma's team already if Hidan had at the very least allowed Kakuzu to take care of the other three. Without Shikamaru's Kagemane, there's no way Asuma would have survived this one.

But by the same token, Asuma may have made the same gaffe. With Izumo and Kotetsu joining in Asuma on his inital attack of Hidan's, there's a possibility Hidan may have been distracted enough not to have been able to sample Asuma's blood. But in Asuma's case, there's no way he could have known about that jutsu beforehand, I suppose. Hidan had already been affected by Shikamaru's Kagemane even before Kakuzu arrived, so he should have at the very least known that he needed help here.


A tribute to a crazy mofo...!

9. Hidan Galore...! Despite what I said back there about flashbacks being a little too excessive in Kishimoto's manga, he surprised me here with a very nice montage of Hidan here. I didn't mind that at all. Especially since Hidan's been such a cool character so far...! Love all his varying expressions here. Really dramatic.

And of course it made sense that Shikamaru would be in his mind going through everything that he had witnessed Hidan do in order to formulate a strategy against him. For a while, we were actually in his mind. Wonder if he has a photographic memory - seems like it here!

Sidenote: Fnuck helped me with the greys for this image, so thanks, man. As for my own cleaning, I wasn't perfect but hey I tried. XD


A genius at work...!

10. What's the Strategy...!? Guess we'll find out tomorrow, won't we?

But just in case, let me make a quick prediction here. I think Shikamaru is going to attempt to force Hidan out of the pentagram, first of all, and then have Izumo and Kotetsu participate by disarming him. That would keep him from doing Asuma any pain, at least. Sounds simple...? Maybe so, so I might be completely wrong. Shikamaru's strategy may even go as far to include a plan to take Kakuzu out, simulateously.

Because if they do capture Hidan, I can totally see Kakuzu yell, "YOU ALL DIE NOW!" and bash everybody's head in with his moneybag. >.>

I also think that the theory of having Hidan taste his own blood may in fact cancel the jutsu as well, too. Not sure, though...

My Crackhead Theory: I still do think Asuma has another trick in store and I believe that it may include a summon. In which case, I could see Asuma calling forth a lion. That's right, a lion. Hey, we'll see. ;) Just another one of my crackhead theories.

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars. As you can see by all the images I chose to post here, this was a very action-packed chapter. However, the flashbacks hurt the flow of the excitement and takes away from it a little bit for me. It's too bad that Kishimoto feels as though he needs to take us through the unfolding drama of Shikamaru's mind at work, because it would have just been as good if he had immediately acted on some strategy he had just come up with.

Predictions: Already said so in Comment 10. I'm almost certain that this will be Shikamaru's first chance to shine in Part II next time.

Credits: Like I said, a great thank-you to Twoshirou for his good work on the images. He worked with a crappy RAW, so the results were very impressive. Fnuck also helped me as well. Thanks to all our translators here at MH again for submitting their translations, too.

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

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