Naruto Chapter 583 – Who is This? – Review / Thoughts

April 18, 2012

Let me start by saying that Naruto chapter 583 is a full chapter of flashbacks, though thankfully they all contain new material, that being more of Kabuto’s past / backstory.

I said last week that I wanted more action, and while that hasn’t changed, on this occasion I am not going to complain about not getting what I was hoping for. In fact, this is kind of what I was also hoping for, that being more info on Kabuto. I complained about the lack of info we got from last week’s chapter considering what should be a long and storied life for Kabuto, so this chapter definitely delivers more on that which is something I am grateful for.

As I said, the whole chapter is flashbacks to Kabuto’s backstory, so if you don’t like this type of chapter or if you don’t like Kabuto, then you are probably going to find this pretty boring admittedly. It was pretty interesting though I have to say, as we got to see both Orochimaru and Danzo in their younger days (and working together), plus we found out how Orochimaru first met Kabuto.

Danzo again showed in this chapter that he was willing to play dirty to get what he wants, with this time him threatening to stop all funding to the orphanage Kabuto was at unless Nonou (Kabuto’s “Mother”) agreed to take part in a very long and risky mission to gather intelligence in the hidden rock village. At first of course Nonou didn’t want to leave the orphanage, and hence why Danzo resorted to the threats. Even after she eventually agreed, Danzo told them that since one of the Root members of his team died in the last mission, he would be taking a child from the orphanage as a replacement. Of course there are objections to that too, but Kabuto is outside and overhears the whole thing, and with Orochimaru’s earlier words about how he would make a good shinobi still clearly resonating inside of him, Kabuto volunteers himself to go so that the orphanage won’t suffer.

It goes to show how much Kabuto valued his adopted family and home, as despite having no interest whatsoever in becoming a ninja, he still gave in and volunteered himself just so that the funding for the orphanage wouldn’t be stopped. Oh, also slightly going back a bit, when one of the other people in charge said that there was no way Danzo could stop their funding because they had an agreement with the Third Hokage himself, one of the hooded guys along with Orochimaru made a thinly veiled threat by saying that it would be very easy for a ninja to sneak in and rob the orphanage considering they couldn’t afford to hire a bodyguard / security. It shows just what Danzo and Root were capable of, and that’s why it’s no real surprise to me that Orochimaru once worked alongside Danzo.

What really stood out to me though was one panel in particular, where even after Kabuto put glasses on his mother (after she repeatedly asked Kabuto who he was years later when Kabuto was there healing her, but of course didn’t have her glasses on) she still didn’t recognise him. The panel was brilliant, because it genuinely showed the moment where it looked like Kabuto just broke inside. I mean, his whole life was a mystery to him apart from his time at the orphanage and the love and bonds he had developed with her, so when the person he cared about most didn’t even recognise his face anymore, it’s no wonder he apparently snapped / became broken like that. Shortly after that, when Kabuto was looking in to a small puddle of water wondering why his own “mother” didn’t even recognise him and what the point of his existance even was anymore, Orochimaru appeared and told him that he remembers who Kabuto is.

Of course I never covered every incident that happened in the chapter, but those were the main focal points in any case. It was really interesting actually having the chance to see Danzo and Orochimaru together like that, as we knew from Tobi’s comments during Sasuke’s fight with Danzo that they had some sort of previous affilliation / relationship. Danzo once again proved that he was willing to do absolutely anything for what he considered to be the greater good, and also how Orochimaru first met Kabuto back when he was a boy, and how years later they met again shortly after the whole incident with Kabuto’s mother.

Since it was clear from the start of the chapter that Orochimaru had a strong interest in Kabuto, some people are already speculating that Orochimaru could well have played a hand in the later events too, saying that he may well have put some kind of spell on Kabuto’s mother so she would forget who he was, or even setting up the events leading to her dying. Although nobody can say for sure, it would come as little surprise if it did turn out to be the case considering how little regard Orochimaru has for others, as well as his constant desire to recruit people he sees potential in.

But yes, although not a fantastic chapter, I still found it quite enjoyable just for getting to see how Orochimaru and Kabuto met, and also seeing Danzo and Orochimaru together. Next week looks like it could well be another flashback chapter too, and although seeing more of Kabuto’s past would by no means be a bad thing, it is getting a bit tiresome with every single chapter now being complete flashbacks. Decent chapter though overall, and hopefully soon we can move back to happenings and battles in the present.

Naruto Chapter 582 – Nothing – Review / Thoughts

April 11, 2012

I might as well get this out of the way now: For anyone who has been looking forward to this week to see Izanami, you will be disappointed, as it is nowhere to be seen here. Instead we are given a flashback to some of Kabuto’s childhood.

So yes, this was another flashback heavy chapter with little actual fighting happening. The past few weeks have been like this now, and to be honest it would be nice to see some proper action again soon. While in recent weeks it has been involving Itachi and Sasuke, this chapter is all about Kabuto.

As you can see from the picture above, he has grown extremely confident and arrogant of late, and he clearly considers himself to be a step above any other shinobi at present. Of course considering he created an army of Edo Tensei, powered up Zetsus and himself has a new form of Sage Mode, he has clearly accomplished a lot since his days as Orochimaru’s henchman, but it still doesn’t sit right for the readers who know that inevitably this is going to be the typical villain’s speech bragging how good they are, only for the next week or two coming and them getting their asses handed to them by whoever they are fighting.

Kabuto did at least damage Itachi in this chapter though. He used a jutsu that allowed him to control inanimate objects, and used the jutsu to make the stalagmites in the cave come down on top of Sasuke and Itachi. Sasuke was protected by Susanoo, but only because Itachi slowed himself down to do it to protect Sasuke, and thus ended up getting himself impaled by them. Of course, being an Edo Tensei means it didn’t really make any difference to Itachi. Perhaps the best moment of the chapter then followed with Kabuto charging towards Itachi, ready to rewrite the tag in him now that he was incapacitated, only for Sasuke to use Amaterasu to create a barrier of black flames around himself and Itachi so that Kabuto couldn’t get near them, something that even impressed Kabuto as it was using such a powerful destructive attack as a defensive tactic.

But aside from that, it was all pretty much Kabuto backstory. Now I am usually one of the first people to stand up for backstories and I do enjoy them an awful lot most of the time, but I don’t know, despite Kabuto being one of the main villains and having the possibility of a very interesting history considering he was an orphan and a spy, instead it just felt pretty flat. It was still good getting a glimpse of how he was found and what he was like as a child considering that he has been in Naruto for ages and this is the first real look we have had at him, but it just wasn’t that interesting.

The woman who took in Kabuto actually looked quite a lot like an older version of him, so maybe a bit later something will be revealed about that. But anyway, basically the whole flashback was Kabuto explaining how he has never known who he is, he was found with no name and no memories of even his own parents, so he has always been “nothing” and “nobody”. It almost echoes Tobi’s own comments of late, except for the fact Kabuto seems to have some idea of who he is now, and of course it’s clear he has no problems trying to make a name for himself and be a someone. Heck, it seems to me like that’s very much what he has really been wanting from the start, some form of true identity and recognition.

Overall it was a pretty meh chapter, nothing exciting happened and it was very flashback heavy as I said. It was very disappointing not seeing Izanami this week after the last chapter, but to be honest there just wasn’t anything that made this chapter stand out as anything great, but at the same time it wasn’t terrible either. This was basically just an extremely average chapter, and even if you’re a Kabuto fan I can’t see you enjoying this chapter especially. Hopefully next week shall be an improvement.

Naruto Chapter 579 – Brothers, Fight as One! Review / Thoughts

March 21, 2012

I honestly don’t even know how I am going to be able to review Naruto chapter 579, I was in such shock and awe the entire time I had a hard job of taking everything in. I wasn’t sure whether to call Kishimoto a troll or a genius, either way, this was one hell of an interesting and exciting chapter.

Kabuto impressed the hell out of me in this chapter, I admit that I thought he would get his ass kicked by Itachi and Sasuke, but he has done a good job of proving me wrong. His techniques were amazing, and showing off his knowledge of Sasuke’s former Taka teammates was incredible. I was pretty disappointed when Kabuto confirmed what some fans have been speculating for ages, that being Karin is an Uzumaki. It feels so unnecessary and tacked on, we already had the big reveal ages ago that Nagato was an Uzumaki which I didn’t have a problem with, but as I said, Karin being one serves no real purpose.

Anyway, back to the positives. Both Sasuke and Itachi used their Susanoo against Kabuto and his Snakes, and seeing the two Susanoo together was admittedly one of the things I was most looking forward to in regards to an Uchiha bros teamup. It goes to show the skill and talent Kabuto possesses since he has so far been able to dodge and keep up with two Uchiha clan members in Susanoo mode.

But that said, I want to quickly move on to the main thing here, that being Kabuto’s reveal at the end of the chapter. Kabuto gaining Sage Mode is something nobody probably ever expected, I know I certainly didn’t! Going back to my earlier point, his knowledge of the inner workings of Sasuke’s ex Taka comrades has served him brilliantly. By studying Suigetsu and his clan, Kabuto has been able to liquify his own body to move between places. He also revealed of course that Karin is an Uzumaki, and most importantly, he revealed the nature (pardon the phrase) of Jugo’s ability. I can’t remember exactly how that went because I was so excited throughout I was rushing through the pages, but it was through that Kabuto was able to aquire his Sage Mode.

Kabuto’s Sage Mode was incredibly unexpected, and the way he told Sasuke that he wasn’t a Snake anymore, but instead is a Dragon was such an epic moment. Seriously, Kabuto being a Dragon is a weird but incredible twist, and I honestly can’t wait to see the kind of amazing powers he is sure to have. What I will say is that Sasuke repeatedly being referred to as Dr Snakes was as hilarious as it was bad. I am glad his knowledge of snakes and what they can do was acknowledged, but that name was beyond ridiculous, I am almost hoping it was the translators trolling haha.

But yes, as you may well have gathered, I thought this was an absolutely incredible chapter and one you can’t afford to miss. The Uchiha bros vs Kabuto has taken a very interesting turn to say the least, and I can see myself reading this chapter more than a few times before the next one comes out next week and settles my desire for more Naruto!

Naruto Chapter 578 – A Weakness of Despair!!!! Review / Thoughts

March 14, 2012

I am incredibly pleased with the new chapter, the panel above made my day as an Uchiha bros fan. But yes, chapter 578 was pretty awesome yet again as Naruto is going through one of it’s best patches of form in Shippuden.

Last week set up brilliantly with Sasuke appearing behind Itachi right when he came across Kabuto, and this week we get to see what happens because of that. I was surprised Kabuto was so forthcoming with revealing to Sasuke about the bargain he had made with Tobi, even going as far as to comment on his delight that his prize would present itself to him of it’s own accord. Kabuto actually goes in to some detail apparently to explain things to Sasuke, but this is done off panel so that we get to see more of Madara vs the 5 Kage’s battle.

Speaking of which, last week we saw Madara being badass and him impaling Tsunade through the chest, and with the new chapter we find out she is still alive and has even been able to heal herself. I think it was pretty obvious this would be the case, it never really looked likely that Tsunade was going to go out like that, but it did at least get to show us her healing powers. Yet again I couldn’t help but like the way Madara was acting towards the Kage, at one point Onoki tries his jutsu again on Madara and says that one of his attacks was able to graze him once before, but Madara calls him senile and says that he let himself be hit on purpose just so that everyone could see Hashirama’s face embedded in him.

Basically long story short, the Kage so far still haven’t been able to do anything of real note to Madara, and Madara himself is still quick to mock them and is full of arrogance. Before I move on from that fight however, I do want to give a special mention to the scenes with the Kage telling Madara that the very fact they have to go 5 on 1 against him shows how much they respect his power, and that he shouldn’t think of them as cowards because of it. Then Madara pulls off the badass move of saying he doesn’t consider them cowards, while then performing a multiple Mokuton clone jutsu and telling the Kage basically what they had just said to him eg; it’s only because he respects their power so much that he is going 5 on 1  (having now made loads of clones to outnumber the Kage and fighting them individually with each set of clones). This I feel was typical Madara and was such a slap in the face to the Kage who were actually being sincere when they said it to him, I just can’t help but love the sheer cockiness and arrogance Madara displays.

We then get to move back on to Sasuke, Itachi and Kabuto. Kabuto has finished explaining things to Sasuke, and even tries to encourage Sasuke to work with him instead so that together they can both defeat Itachi. Kabuto says that they both had the same master and mentions how Itachi massacred the Uchiha clan, and basically just trying to convince Sasuke that working with him was the right way to go. Sasuke answers the question of who’s side he is on though when he throws some shuriken at Kabuto, although they are blocked. Sasuke asks Itachi why he stopped them, and Itachi tells him that they can’t kill Kabuto or else the Edo Tensei will never come to an end. Itachi reveals his plan to stop Edo Tensei, that being he would place Kabuto under Tsukuyomi and while he was under his control, he would force him to reveal the secrets of Edo Tensei and then stop the Jutsu.

Kabuto pretty much laughs it off and says about how it won’t necessarily be as easy for the plan to work as Itachi thinks, and claims that there is no kind of weakness or flaw to the jutsu. Itachi though says that there is a flaw to every jutsu, and then delivers a badass line by saying that the flaw to Kabuto’s Edo Tensei is Itachi himself. The expression on Itachi’s face in that panel was brilliant and the line was delivered perfectly, it stood out as one of the chapter’s highlights because of the sheer badass and awesomeness it projected. In the end, Itachi asks Sasuke to work together with him to defeat Kabuto without killing him, and promises him that if he will do that then he will talk to Sasuke about whatever he wants afterwards. Then came my favourite part of the chapter, with Sasuke agreeing to help but saying to Itachi that for all these years Itachi would never keep his promises, and said that for once please just keep your promise this time. Well the answer was good from Itachi too, but you can see his response in the panel at the top of this review.

That pretty much sums up the chapter, and I have to say I loved reading it. We will finally get to see Sasuke and Itachi work together as a team, something fans of the Uchiha bros have pretty much always wanted. I can’t even imagine how great it’s going to be seeing the two of them working together at last, and I honestly don’t have a clue how Kabuto is going to have any hopes of stopping them. My only guess is that maybe now the Kage are going to be busy dealing with the Mokuton Madara clones, Kabuto might summon the real Madara to his location so that he can help against Itachi and Sasuke. If Itachi and Sasuke do end up taking on Madara, it has the potential to be the most amazing fight ever seen in Naruto, so I am almost hoping that is what will happen. Even if it doesn’t though, the sheer fact Itachi and Sasuke are going to be teaming up means that the fight is going to be amazing and something special.

I also want to give a quick mention to the fact at first Sasuke was unsure if Kabuto was Orochimaru, as from a distance they obviously look rather similar. I thought that was a pretty nice touch and it goes to show just how far Kabuto has come and what lengths he has gone to so that he can achieve his goals. I was also surprised because it seemed to me like Sasuke was also genuinely a bit worried when he first thought it was Orochimaru, I know it was mostly shock, but I could definitely sense some worry too which was surprising considering how much stronger Sasuke himself has grown since the days he knew and worked with Orochimaru.

But overall this was yet another excellent chapter of Naruto, and once more I am left desperately wanting to read the next chapter to find out what happens next.

Naruto Chapter 573 – The Path Toward Radiance Review / Thoughts

February 8, 2012

As you can guess by this review being up already, Naruto chapter 573 had an early release today.  How was the quality of this week’s affair however?

Well truth be told it was pretty average throughout 99% of the chapter. While Tobi notices what initially appears to be sweat because of him worrying about facing Naruto, he soon realises that it is in fact rain instead, and reassures himself that Naruto poses no threat and that he would never be sweating over something so trivial. Tobi also claims that Naruto is nothing to him, and that the only purpose of him remaining alive is as a plaything for Sasuke. Elsewhere, Shikkaku tells the other members of his group to relay the message via telepathy to all the other Allied Forces members about Naruto, Killer Bee, Kakashi and Guy’s hard work against the might of the masked man claiming to be Madara.

I admit it’s pretty awesome how the news encourages everyone and they all begin to push forward to reach their goals. Hinata vows to stop trying to catch up with Naruto, and also the next time they are together she will be holding his hand and they will walk along together. Sai soon understands what it means to have friends at long last,  Kiba thinks to himself about how he had Naruto picked out as his rival ages ago, and Shikamaru wishes for Naruto to hold out a bit longer against Tobi to give him the chance to arrive and help.

That was pretty much the entirety of the chapter, however, one welcome moment came right at the end – Sasuke returning to the manga once again! Kishimoto has had a habit of making him appear for a few panels and then disappearing again, but by all accounts I think the time of Sasuke’s emergence and role in the war is just about to begin. Sasuke is seen walking in the rain towards where the battles are taking place, and I can see him truly getting involved within the next few chapters. Whether this will be in the battle between Naruto and Tobi, Madara vs the five Kage, or even perhaps Kabuto vs Itachi remains to be seen. It will most likely be Naruto vs Tobi, but whatever the outcome is I expect to see some fireworks go off when his time finally arrives.

Overall the chapter was ok, pretty average bar the appearance of Sasuke which made me like it a fair bit. If you’re not a Sasuke fan I can see a few people being disappointed as not an awful lot happened, but for anyone waiting to see him return then you will probably be fairly satisfied by the chapter for now, but also eagerly awaiting next week to see if he will finally enter a battle for real.

Naruto Chapter 572 – 9 Names Review / Thoughts

February 1, 2012

Naruto’s battle against Tobi and his tailed beast allies continues this week,  and we finally see a little more about the tailed beasts as well.  With that in mind, did the chapter itself turn out well or was it another disappointing week for Naruto?

Thankfully, to answer the above question, it’s the former. This chapter, although still slow paced, turned out to be quite enjoyable all the same.  After battling with the tailed beasts for the past few chapters, Naruto (with some help from Kurama and his power of course) was finally able to remove and destroy all the chakra recievers that gave Tobi the power to control them. After doing so, Naruto finds himself suddenly surrounded by the other 7 tailed beasts and their respective Jinchuriki in a different plane. Naruto is informed that Tobi cannot reach this place, so they will be safe to talk for a while. Naruto finds out that the reason he is being greeted in such a way is because of Son Goku (aka the Yonbi) informing the other tailed beasts of how Naruto had helped him and wanted to be friends.

Naruto is welcomed by the former Mizukage – Yagura, who (after trying to get Naruto to actually pay attention) explains what was going on. Afterwards, Son Goku asks the other tailed beasts if they remember what the last words of the Sage of Six Paths had been, and that was that someday someone would visit them in this realm trying to help, and that when the day arrives, they should help him. Before Goku can say anything else, it is sucked away by the power of Tobi’s Gedo Mazo on the outside. When he is pulled back in to the statue, the two tails calls Naruto over and tells him to stick his hand out so that he can keep the promise he made to Son Goku.

When Naruto does so, all of the tailed beasts and their respective Jinchuriki tell him their names. Kurama thinks back to when the Sage of Six Paths had last gathered them together. When he did so, all of the tailed beasts were much smaller (as you can see from the picture above) and were told that one day they would no longer be together and would be split up, and would also be renamed, but ultimately they would be able to go down the right path which they couldn’t when they were all sealed inside of himself.

The group of tailed beasts realise that the person the Sage had been speaking of so long ago was Naruto, before they all end up being pulled back in to the Gedo Mazo statue. With Naruto now returned to the real world, Tobi is surprised that Naruto was able to control the Kyuubi’s power like that, but claims it won’t make any difference, only for Naruto to say that something has changed – he just learned a bunch of difficult names.

That was the content of the chapter, and I rather enjoyed it. It was nice to see the Sage of Six Paths again, especially surrounded by younger versions of the tailed beasts. We also ended up finding out the individual names of the tailed beasts, while also having confirmation that the hero from the prophecy is in fact Naruto. While I have been one of the first people to criticise Naruto in the past, these last few chapters has seen my opinion of him changing to be a bit more positive much like back when he fought Pain (which now seems so long ago). He is still far from my favourite character, but as he becomes more and more like the hero of the prophecy (and in the process seems more mature than before) I feel myself beginning to like him more as a character too.

So anyway, moving on, the chapter was again slower paced than some may like, but now with the tailed beasts defeated it leaves the door open for an awesome battle between Tobi (and the Gedo Mazo Statue) versus Naruto, Bee, Kakashi and Guy next week. Who knows, we may even get to go back to the Kage vs Madara with any luck, so next week is definitely a chapter to look forward to regardless.

Naruto Chapter 567 – The Jinchuriki of Konoha Review / Thoughts

December 15, 2011

Last week we were given a brilliant end to the chapter that promised us an awful lot, and although not perfect (but then again when is anything perfect?) I feel the latest chapter did not disappoint.

As you can see from that lovely picture above, Sasuke was in this chapter, albeit only briefly. That said, I was just glad to see him again and also that he was what the chapter started with so recieved the colour page treatment.

Anyway, aside from Sasuke, we go back to Tobi and his Edo Jinchuriki vs Naruto, Bee, Kakashi and Guy. One of the things that disappointed me slightly with this chapter is that instead of facing Tobi, Guy and Kakashi instead only helped fight the Jinchuriki. While normally this wouldn’t be a bad thing, I can’t help but think it’s a waste of Tobi who for the most part stands still and doesn’t get involved. It was interesting to see one of the tailed beasts turn against Tobi, though he could easily stop it and not recieve any damage, with the Tailed Beasts apparently disliking the fact one of their own kind were suffering, at least that’s what the 8 tails claimed.

While it was nice enough seeing Bee, Naruto, Guy and Kakashi against the Jinchuriki, I was ideally hoping to see Tobi fight properly for the first time in his current form. However, with Sasuke’s appearance and Tobi’s lack of action, it does make me think that my earlier prediction in my last post about Sasuke soon facing Tobi will be correct, and that in itself will be fantastic. Don’t get me wrong though, while it’s true most of this post has been pointing out the negatives, there were also positives too and the Jinchuriki fights were good in their own right, I guess I was just expecting a different kind of chapter than what Kishi had in mind.

Overall it was a fine chapter packed with action, and the end was done nicely in that it hints we may see either the Kyuubi cooperating fully with Naruto at last, or else we will finally find out what “that” jutsu is referring to.