Robotic Red's Commentary (Naruto 342)

Robotic Red

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BLARGH! (stabs college)

Anyhow, today is a moment of great importance. Naruto Shippuden has finally been released! I've watched it; it is most excellent. Nice animation, good music. Now I just need to wait for subtitles. ^^;

Anyhow, off we go!

Naruto 342: "King"

Cover

Hmm. That's a lot of toads.

Kind of underwhelming after last week's sensational cover, and I was honestly expecting something related to Shippuden. Oh well. Nice color, and it makes me think that there might be more toads in Naruto's future. :P

Page 1

Sakura: OMGWTFyoukilledAkatsukiguy?!?!
Sai: d00d u r strong

Well, that's just the impression I got. Like the touch with the deer walking by Shikamaru's side. And Sakura and Sai just now got to Shikamaru? How far away did Shikamaru take Hidan from Kakuzu and the others? And how big is that forest of the Naras?

Page 2

This was just a page to reinforce Shikamaru's reason to fight Hidan on his own. Nothing altogether special about it; I like how rugged Shikamaru is looking though. Is he transforming into a man's man...?

Page 3

We see Ino using some medical ninjutsu (hey, she's doing something!), and compliments on Naruto's strategy. Which, if you think about it, is a pretty good one for Naruto; no matter which one Kakuzu went for first, Naruto would have him pinned down. And it seems Naruto's broken his limit already! From two to three!

Page 4

Now THIS is a pretty surprising thought. Naruto's surpassed Kakashi? Does he mean in potential? Because in experience, it's not likely, and I'm pretty certain that, in a one on one fight, Kakashi would still win. Maybe. I don't know, Naruto just doesn't strike me as quite THERE yet. But we'll eventually get there, I guess. I'd wager Kakashi referencing something else outside of sheer combat experience.

I like Kakashi's thoughts on how it's time for the younger generation to begin taking charge of the world. It's almost in direct contrast to Orochimaru's viewpoint: he desires immortality to continue his quest to learn all jutsu. In a way, he refuses to let the newer generations become greater than he, even though it's an inevitable part of life.

Heh. Orochimaru's afraid of death. PANSY!

Page 5

Naruto's eyes are un-Kyuubified now!

Kakashi can see how Sasuke is still the one thing that makes Naruto strive to become stronger. He is the one major obstacle (well, one OF) in Naruto's path to Hokage. Just like Itachi is what strove Sasuke to become stronger, Sasuke is what makes Naruto strive. Though I wonder how the difference between how they value their bonds will affect their increase in power...

Page 6

And what does Kakashi see? KAKUZU!

He's still alive. o.o

Weren't all of his hearts pureed and sliced and diced by the Futon; Rasengan? Did he hide one underground? Was one missed?

Either way, Kakuzu's expressing disbelief. He seemed like a calm and composed guy compared to Hidan, but I guess he got his rage get the better of him with Naruto. Remember, he said he had a pretty bad temper.

Page 7

I think some people's "Bad Ass" meters went to 11 with this scene. Although I initially wondered why Kakashi didn't take Kakuzu in for questioning, it's understandable considering Kakuzu's ability. He just has to get close to someone, and his tendrils will pluck a heart out. Then he's back in action!

With that said, I can understand why Kakashi killed him.

Page 8

Back in Konoha, and they all have off-time. You guys deserve it!

Page 9

And once again, we see Kurenai at the gravestone of Asuma. Commence remembrance (and crying, if you wish) of Asuma's death.

And Shikamaru appears...

Page 10

The character development of Shikamaru never ceases to amaze me. If only we had that level of development with the other side characters outside of Team 7; heck, sometimes I think Shikamaru's been developed better than Gaara or Sakura.

Shikamaru comments on what Asuma was to him. Puts some significance to how much this battle meant to him, and what it represented...as we can see by him putting the cigarettes on the grave. Fare thee well, Smoker Shikamaru.

Page 11

Shikamaru's brushing off his old habits! Will he be more take-charge than before? I don't know, but I know that we won't see a repeat of situations like when (during the invasion by Oto and Suna) he had to be persuaded to go pursue Sasuke.

And we see Kurenai drifting a hand down! Could it be...?

Page 12

Official confirmation! Kurenai is pregnant!

It explains why we haven't seen her in uniform in Part II. She's probably on official leave while she's pregnant. This might also explain why we haven't seen much of Team 8; they don't have their sensei! Perhaps Kishimoto is just wondering who the replacement would be...? What's Team 8's role now that Kurenai is out of commission for the moment?

And I don't know why, but that cheesy grin combined Shikamaru saying that he needs to grow up into a "cool adult" made me laugh. XD

Page 13

More Shogi!

Ooh, Shikaku's beating Shikamaru. Guess the Naras are just natural at playing games. Maybe it's just their disposition; calm, slow to anger, always thinking tactically and logically...makes me wonder what would happen if a tactical Nara married an analyticial Aburame (and no, I 'm not referring to a ShinoShika pairing. Freaks!). Think of the babies: they'd be like, super-geniuses or something.

Page 14

More correlation between characters and pieces. So Shikamaru is the Knight...so who's the King?

It is...!

Page 15

...huh. Well that was anticlimactic.

Though, considering Kishimoto, it's kind of understandable, given the themes of NARUTO the manga.

So the unborn children - the next generation - is the king...and it must be protected by the current generation - the other pieces of the board - at all costs. That I agree with.

However, for some reason, this makes me think that whatever Asuma (when he was on his deathbed) told Shikamaru wasn't about the identity of the King. Maybe it's that Kurenai was pregnant? It explains Shikamaru's shock more than the identity of the King.

And Shikamaru swore a rather nasty one.

Hmm. More development than we thought!

Page 16

Ooh! Sasuke and Orochimaru! Sasuke's in the midst of a battlefield, having felled lots of Sound ninja. I don't see a headband, but their attire otherwise indicates their status as Oto-nin. And look at that huge guy Sasuke's sitting on!

Look at Snake Boy smile. He's concerned that Sasuke didn't kill any of them. Jerk. He's almost a perfect opposite to the idea Kakashi espoused; Orochimaru views himself as King, and he thinks nothing of sacrficing any pieces he deems disposable.

Sasuke may be soft...but perhaps it's as simple as he wanted it to be. He doesn't want to kill them, because he has no desire to.

Interesting. Perhaps next chapter focuses more on Akatsuki or Orochimaru/Sasuke? I hope so!

Rating: 4/5

Well, I liked this chapter. It felt 'complete'. A lot happened, but we managed to contain it. Can't wait for a higher-quality scan.

On a side note...

Naruto Shippuden gets a 5/5 from me! :D
 

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