Gold Knight's Ten Comments (Naruto 333)

Gold Knight

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Can't we all just get along?

First off, sorry about taking a while to post my 333 Comments; I blame it on being nowhere near the PC for the most part over the weekend. Hopefully that won't happen too often... >.>

However, I'm actually taking a "holiday break" from MH right now. But that shouldn't stop me from posting a review a little quicker the next time a chapter comes out - barring any real-life setbacks. If you're a TRC fan, though, hopefully you've seen and enjoyed the special volume review I did last week. I'll be doing similar volume reviews for miscellaneous manga whenever I can. ^^

One more thing before we move on to the credits. I just happened to get my copy of American Shonen Jump for January '07 today, which marked the fourth anniversary of that magazine's publication here. For me, though, it means that I've now been reading Naruto for four years! Boy, it's been a while. And recently, too, while still not exactly a household name yet, Naruto's now quickly becoming a phenomenon here in America - and it's rather interesting to say that I was a fan even before it caught on here in the States!

Credits time. Once again, gotta appreciate the Touch for all his RAW-hunting efforts, Hisshou, Bruce, Pinoy, and Winny for their terrific translations, and Yume for her quick scan, which I'll be using for the initial edition of this week's Comments. Also, many thanks to Twoshirou for cleaning my header. ^^

I'd also like to take the opportunity to offer my eternal gratitude to Eagle and his great French Edited Manga group, Japflap, for their outstanding HQ versions of the chapters. They've been delivering very nice work at a very quick pace since Chapter 281, which if you haven't been keeping count, is quite a while ago! You gotta hand it to them for (to paraphrase Montblanc from the superb FF XII game) burning the midnight oil so much! ^^

Hope you have fun with reading this week's Naruto Comments and as always, don't hesistate to post if you have any thoughts to add. ;)

* * * Gold Knight's Ten Comments on Naruto Chapter 333: Affinity...!! * * *


Doesn't have much pride, does he?

1. Wetting His Pants...!? Evidently, Hidan looked really, really deep into Shikamaru's black eyes at the end of the last chapter and didn't like what all he saw there, because he was shaken and whimpering with the best of 'em here!

Just goes to show you that first appearances can sometimes be deceiving. When Hidan first appeared - wielding his huge scythe with a smug face in the sewers of a Kaminari no Kuni village - he looked fearless and completely confident. Remember when we first saw him and Kakuzu chasing down poor Yugito, and Hidan saying, "I want her to kill me, just to get it over with, seriously?" Bold words, or at least they seemed at the time.

Of course, we now know the truth.

Now that we know about his incredibly cheap technique, we know that Hidan meant that if Yugito was to deal a fatal strike to him when he was in "voodoo" mode, that'd be the end of the battle - for her, and not for him. His death meant her own. Therefore, death meant nothing to him except as a means to victory.

Hidan's over-confidence brimmed from the fact that he had a trump card that didn't give most of his enemies even a fighting chance. In short, he's actually a coward who prefers to just shoot somebody with a machine gun from afar rather to engage in fair hand-to-hand combat.

Now that Hidan's immobilized by an opponent who knows exactly how to defeat him, though, he's not so sure of himself anymore, is he. He might be "immortal," but he probably has no desire to live the rest of his life as a decapitated head lying face down in the dirt!


Now toss a soap into his mouth, he needs it...!

2. Let's Play 'Shika Says'...! Well, we didn't find out how long the time limit would have been on the 'chakra blades' holding Kakuzu and Hidan in place, because Shikamaru didn't take long to assert control of Hidan's body himself!

So we find out that the blades, while they effectively freeze the opponents, they're obviously no good for anything else until Shikamaru extends his own shadow in order to use one of the enemies as a "puppet" himself. Note that he still has to pull the blades out in order for his shadow to become dominant.

Still, not bad for when Shikamaru's obviously outnumbered and doesn't have the time to time his Kagemane fast enough to grab ahold of all of them. At least he can use these blades to even the odds a bit at times.

And most often than not - Shikamaru probably could just have thrown a kunai at the frozen opponent and that would be that. But in this case, I suppose it was just best to use Hidan's immortality to their advantage to try to take Kakuzu out.


Me duck? YOU stop swinging! Sheesh!

At this point, though, I still wasn't sure why Shikamaru even bothered taking control of Hidan. I mean, Hidan's scythe probably wouldn't have been able to hurt Kakuzu at all, considering the dude's ability to harden his skin to steel, right?

(Though it was admittedly cool to see an Akatsuki "turn on" a partner and see them in an actual fight, if even for a moment. It does help fire up the imagination for all the conflicts they must have had with each other in the past...!)

Anyway, we did find out much later on in the chapter, though, why Kakuzu was sweating so much. Read on, true believers..!!


Looks like he didn't need a hand after all...


What do they drink down there in Takigakure, anyway..!?

3. Narrow Escape! As if Kakuzu's unusual ability to fire his arms like projectiles weren't convenient enough, he can even sever the threads attaching the limbs to his body without losing control of them. Imagine Kankurou being able to manipulate the movements of his dolls without having to use his chakra threads!

Also, Kakuzu proved himself to be pretty quick to act, too - by having his hand burrow into the ground the instant before he was frozen, and using it to grab ahold of Shikamaru's blade and throw it away from his shadow, he was able to free himself just in time to avoid Hidan's scythe.

The only thing I'm left wondering is what exactly is the story behind this ability of Kakuzu's now? Or is it even the same ability as before that he was using?

Looks as though he was controlling the blood inside his hand to drive it forward and also, back to him. That might be more chakra-consuming than the threads that had seemed to do the job before, which could be why he doesn't do it more often...?


Hidan and Naruto, separated at birth...?

4. A Darker Naruto. Last week, I compared Hidan and Kakuzu to Naruto and Sasuke, you'll remember. Well, after seeing Kishimoto draw Hidan's face here, I'm convinced.

Kishimoto meant for Hidan to be the "Naruto" of the Akatsuki group.

Moronic, no manners, and extreme sensitivity to being name-called. Put the two in the same family and you'd never know they weren't related!

The only difference, though, is Naruto obviously doesn't get off on other people's pain...


Round and round we go...!

5. Gangway...! Man, how long has it been since we last saw Chouji do this?

Except Chouji didn't even need to wrap a series of kunais around his body this time... all he needed was his hair! Wonder if Jiraiya gave him a few lessons...!

Diehard Naruto fans will remember that against Orochimaru, Jiraiya hardened his spiky mane in order to stave off Oro's kicks (although it didn't work to keep him from being bitten.)

Well, now Chouji's used the same trick in conjunction with his rolling attack. Heh. (I would too, though, if given the alternative of wrapping my body with sharp objects. Ouch. I wasn't exactly sure how 12-year-old Chouji had been able to arrange them on the ropes so that they didn't actually cut him, too, much less be able to move around easily!)

You know, before this chapter, I didn't believe that Chouji in Part 2 would still even use his body in that manner anymore. But I guess if it works, might as well stick to it!


Kakuzu... you've just been Sharingan'ed!

6. A Watchful Eye...! This scene right here told me that the Kakashi travelling with Shikamaru was the genuine article after all. Surprise! It wasn't a henged Naruto after all, or even Kurenai.

Who else would be using the Sharingan to study the enemy's attacks?

Of course, later on we'd get even more confirmation that it's the real Kakashi, but thought I'd also take the opportunity to use Kakashi's patience here in order to show where exactly Asuma went wrong in the first battle with Hidan. Kakashi's obviously no stranger to the creed, "Know Thy Enemy." That's the key to victory - knowing what your opponent can do and figuring out a way to counter it.

And yup, for Kakuzu to HAVE to depend on making seals in order to activate his "hardiness," was the reason he was sweating so much earlier against Hidan's attack. I had thought that it was an automatic ability. Evidently not.

In that sense, Shikamaru's plan worked perfectly. In using Hidan to reveal Kakuzu's jutsus to Kakashi's keen eye, they were able to find a counter to it as we'd find out later on. Patience pays off in spades, again...!

Of course, to be fair, Asuma didn't have Kakashi with him the first time, but he did have Shikamaru. Asuma's team still moved on the offensive too fast, in my opinion. But I suppose it'd be hard to keep these two unaware of your presence for too long while you're spying on them, considering Kakuzu was almost immediately aware of Shikamaru's shadows last chapter. Ah, well...!


Aw man! Don't tell me my kids will be radioactive!?

7. Packing a Punch Now...! Don't know about you, but looks to me as though Naruto would do just OK now even if his jutsu is still incomplete! Lookat that huge crater!

Yamato must be thinking about right now, "My god, Naruto was already a monster, we've just made him an even bigger one!" :XD

So, it's pretty evident that whatever Naruto's new wind-rasengan combo jutsu will look like, it's certain to cause a greater extent of damage. That's still all we pretty much know at this point - but could we still be seeing the after-results of an unconcentrated blast? Remember, it took a while before Naruto learned how to focus the Rasengan enough to compress the force correctly, might he still be having the same troubles here?

Either way, if his new jutsu is going to be that violent, he'd better be darn well careful about who he hits with it. Looks like he still may not be able to control the range and accuracy just yet, and I don't think he's going to want to "nuclear bomb" Sakura by accident!


You mean all it takes is a fan to beat Kakashi!?

8. Lesson Time...! You know, I'm really surprised that Kishimoto doesn't take advantage of all these scenes where Naruto has to learn something to have a smiling Iruka come out of the bushes and do a little teaching. Not that I'm complaining. Yamato does make a fine sensei as any.

So we learn here that elemental manipulation isn't all it's cracked up to be. Much like a game of Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh, pulling out the wrong element can lead to disasterous results. Just imagine if Naruto does his 'ultimate jutsu' and Sasuke just happens to choose that same moment to belch out a fireball... charbroiled ninja, anybody?

Somewhat unnerving to know that even though you can master an element all you want (ie. Kakashi's Raikiri), there might always be somebody with the perfect counter to it out there. Guess Baku might actually stand a chance against Kakashi in combat with that "sword of wind" of his, though I doubt we'll ever see it happen now.

Anyway, to sum up: Wind > Lightning > Earth > Water > Fire > Wind. Got it? Okay. Lesson over, have a lollipop and let's move on. ;)


Waitaminute, doesn't candles go out with a strong wind... >.>;

9. A Deep Affinity...! Heh, sometimes I feel like Sasuke doesn't deserve a friend like Naruto. Even when contemplating a way to defeat him with his new jutsu, Naruto's still not forgetting the fact that he's actually trying to bring Sasuke back, not fight him to the death. And to boot, he's also happy that he can be even more useful to Sasuke as a partner with his newfound affinity for wind!

That's Naruto for ya - he's still thinking of Sasuke as a friend and teammate even after all this time and the shocking betrayal.

Gotta admit, though, Sasuke might be better convinced to come back if he ever realizes that Konohagakure isn't made up of wimps like he believes it to be, and Naruto's still the best hope for snapping Sasuke out of his misery and isolation.

I also like that even though Naruto and Sasuke are becoming even more powerful by the day on their own, Kishimoto still remembers the importance of teamwork by having them begin to complement each other's abilities extremely well.


Shocking, isn't it?

10. Kakuzu's Electrifying End...!? You just knew Kakashi would have a cool moment somewhere, and we get it right off the bat as he gets the drop on Kakuzu with a well-timed Raikiri right through the chest!

But no, I don't think this is the end of Kakuzu just yet. Although I don't think he anticipated that move at all, for an Akatsuki to go down to a thing like elemental vulnerability would just seem extremely anticlimatic. Not to mention Kakuzu does have an ability to control his body parts, and I wouldn't put it past him to be able to sew himself back up just as good.

One thing's for sure though - Kakuzu is on the ropes right now, and he's going to have a tough time recovering from this attack! All the while, they've still got to take care of Hidan. Be fun to see what happens next!

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars. Good action, but a bit too fast of a read. We got a little sidestory with the elemental vulnerabilities but there wasn't enough to really chew on, all things considered. So this chapter falls just barely short of a perfect rating.

Predictions: Kakuzu will somehow free himself from Kakashi's Raikiri and launch your classic "it's not over 'til the fat lady sings" counterattack. Hopefully we'll get to see Naruto's ultimate jutsu, and some signs of a backup team trying to catch up to Shikamaru's team.

Credits: Thanks to Yume for the HQ scan, Touch for the RAW, Twoshirou for the header and our translators here again. And thanks for your patience on waiting for this review!


*Snif snif* What's burning...?
Noes, it's me!!! Comment! :D
 

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