“NO MATTER THE COST”
HOLY YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT’S HAPPENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The boss is in business!!!!!
I don’t think the inevitability of this power up was ever in question for Madara, but that doesn’t make it any less EPIC to finally behold!!
Keeping up the adrenaline and quick pacing that has catapulted the past five chapters into the realm of legend-waitforit-dary, the drama continues to play out in this week’s installment.
Kurama’s plan to save Naruto finally comes to light in this chapter as the beginning scene focuses in on Gaara and Sakura’s efforts to save our rapidly ailing hero. For those theory-hungry fans, the revelation that sealing Yin Kurama in Naruto will save the young Uzumaki comes with little surprise, as the fate of the Yin half of Kurama currently sealed in Minato has been a hot topic for debated.
And as expected this solution to save Naruto presents a twist to the rule the Zetsu were so kind to restate last chapter, that once a jinjuuriki looses his or her Bijuu, he or she dies. Now we know a work-around exists, which is to reseal a part of the Bijuu’s chakra back into the host. So I think we see how Naruto is getting out of this alive.
As for our other wayward jinjuuriki, though most of Gyuuki was sealed along with Yang Kurama into the Gedo Mazou, Killer Bee most likely managed to escape in the jettisoned tentacle we witnessed cut free during Madara’s assault. And if the rule now stands that as long as a little Bijuu chakra remains sealed with in a jinjuuriki, that person will live, then Killer Bee will most likely live to rap another day, for now.
Now that she understands no amount of medical ninjutsu will save Naruto, Sakura takes matters into her own hands, literally, to save her comrade. As all his vitals flat line, Naruto technically enters into a state of death - yes, Naruto technically dies in this chapter!! But at this most desperate of moments, Sakura steps up to the plate as her training kicks in a move that would make Kano or Mola Ram jealous she literally forces Naruto’s heart to beat.
Though the purpose of chest compressions in CPR is to keep a person’s heart beating, Sakura’s visceral approach is much more symbolic as she literally holds the hopes and dreams of her comrade in her hand, as well as the fate of the world. For Sakura’s character it is a great moment to shine. And I can only assume her remaining chakra is being used to keep her laceration to Naruto’s side from bleeding out.
We receive a brief update on Sasuke’s condition through Tobirama’s perspective, and it is not looking much better for our young Uchiha. Tobirama makes mention of using his ability to “move his soul” to save Sasuke, perhaps in the way Edo Tensei Dan saved Tsunade, and it leads us to suspect that Tobirama may have actually invented the Spirit Transformation Technique. Whatever the case may be, with the chakra rods still impaled within his body, Tobirama is rendered useless to Sasuke’s cause.
Team Taka has a moment to shine in this chapter as well, beginning with Karin who’s desperation to save her love, Sasuke, awakens a latent ability to wield chakra chains. Some fans considered this sudden power up for our young Uzumaki woman a bit of an ass-pull. However, I would argue that these instances of miraculous increases in power due to acute stress are a trademark in this series; it’s basically the formula for any Uchiha power up for example. And Karin gaining powers similar to her fellow clan member Kushina makes sense in this perspective. Frankly, it was refreshing to see her gain an impressive offensive technique and really speaks to her desperation to help Sasuke’s plight. It should also be noted that Orochimaru is not surprised by the manifestation of Karin’s new ability, and in fact suggests he has been waiting for it to develop.
After Karin finishes ripping apart the massive Senju Buddha Statue, the rest of Team Taka jumps into action in a combo attack that is refreshing to see. As Karin takes a hit from Swirly Zetsu, Suigetsu uses a water gun technique similar to the Second Mizukage that reveals someone IS inside Swirly Zetsu! And as Juugo carries Karin away to safety, Orochimaru poisons Swirly Zetsu with a curse mark that temporarily freezes his motion. Overall, it is a great demonstration of Team Taka’s ability to work together and with their obstacle removed and Karin healing herself, they rush forward to get to Sasuke.
What can I say about this moment, other than THANK YOU.
Madara’s assent to god-hood is exciting and keeps the level of intensity for our heroes and the story alive. I am sad to see Shirtless!Madara go, but in his place an amazing new character design emerges. Each incarnation of the Sage of Six Paths features a unique style while impressing the same elements of power. In Sage Madara case, he gains a head guard with horns reminiscent of the original Sage, and the tomoe that were featured on Juubio’s chest and Naruto’s appear on the front his energy-jacket, the quality of which reminds us of Naruto’s energy jackets when he is in Kurama Mode. We see the nine Black Energy spheres as well as the symbol of the Sage on his back. But aside from his wardrobe, Madara’s pimp-stick features the most unique element, as it is a half circle on top the likes of which we have not seen in a Sage stadd. Whether this is simply a unique design or if it perhaps states Madara’s incomplete state without his left eye, we still have yet to know.
But DAMN does Juudara know how to wear clothes. And the ease into which he accepts the Juubi’s power is impressive when we think back and compare it to Obito’s struggle, during which he came dangerously close to being mentally ripped apart. My only qualm with this new character design is that Madara’s hair is now white, and though this may symbolize the sacrifice and wisdom that comes with wielding great power, his dark hair is a trademark that we must apparent let go of.
As our updated master villain takes stock of his new power up, he states his intended next move, which is to reclaim his left eye. Being that it is still in Obito, we can assume a show down of sorts is going to occur in the coming chapters involving Obito, Kakashi and Minato. And with Sakura, Gaara and Dead!Naruto on the way to the same destination, things are abound to get even more interesting.
As Sakura performs mouth-to-mouth CPR on her technically dead teammate, the physical contact naturally requires their lips to touch. And this simple act has set off a firestorm in the hearts of NaruSaku fans across the world and spread to other rival pairings. Personally, I don’t think the action should be taken out of perspective. It is a personal act to save someone, and in this case, someone Sakura cares deeply about, but this doesn’t mean NaruSaku is canon. Calm your butts everyone.
This does not take away from the emotion of the scene however, as Sakura relieves flashbacks of Naruto’s will and dreams, as she has witnesses first hand as his teammate. Her thoughts and desperation serve to stir our own as we realize our hero is truly in dire straights. But the most important thing to take into consideration in this scene is Sakura’s statement that she will not allow Naruto to die, “no matter the cost.” As I mentioned before, the door is open for the possibility of Sakura pulling a Granny Chio and exchanging her life for Naruto’s. However, I’m not confident this will actually happen, thought the set up may occur. Team 7 standing tall at the end of this war is an important image Kishimoto is most likely planning to conjure, so Sakura’s death would be ill advised. But hey, it is Naruto, so we’ll see what Kishimoto decides to drive the drama.
The chapter closes with this provocative panel of a mysterious someone making his or her appearance near Sasuke, thus signaling that Sasuke’s recovery will be the main focus of next chapter. When we think of who is current barefoot in the series, we realize the list is quite small and only includes Juugo, Karin, Obito and Kabuto. And with two currently in route to Sasuke and the other dying and possessed by Black Zetsu, that leaves Kabuto as the most likely owner to the “mysterious foot.” And frankly, now is the perfect time for Kabuto to makes his appearance again in the war as a changed man, or so we expect from his experience under Itachi’s Izanami. The story is currently in its finale, as the sideways text on page one reminds us, so there is little opportunity later for Kabuto to reappear.
As for the mysterious man inside Swirly Zetsu, the best guess is still Yamato, for Yamato’s MAKUTON enhancement abilities continue to nicely explain how Swirly Zetsu is so much more powerful than his Zetsu brethren. Though whether or not Yamato is conscious, my suspicion is he either is not or has no control over Swirly Zetsu’s actions. I get the feeling we will have to wait a bit before Kishimoto decides to make the reveal (we know how he is about masks, HA).
Overall, this chapter is both an exciting transitional and set up chapter that manages to keep the thrilling tempo of the story on pace. Not only do we get a pulsing insight into Naruto’s condition as well as Sasuke’s and the desperate measures their allies are willing to take to save them, but we also get to see the next evolution in Madara’s power, which only speaks well to the future battles and excitement of the story.
Next chapter will most likely focus on Sasuke through the introduction and actions of his new visitor, along with Madara’s appearance before Kakashi and friends. Some folks are suggesting that Kakashi could entrap Madara in Kamui land, but now that our Uchiha boss is Juudara I am confident he would be able to wiggle out of the attempt somehow. I look forward to seeing Team Taka’s reactions to Kabuto and how Obito will try to resist Madara’s intent to retrieve his eye. And when Sakura and Gaara finally arrive to the “party,” things will get even more interesting!
Overall, I give this chapter a RATING of:
Many Tobi’s going towards Madara of course! Followed by Sakura’s decisive medical action and Karin’s new found ability to kick ass.
As always, let me know what you guys thought of this chapter!!
Kakashi is literally throwing a party with Minato because hey, it’s the end of the world so why not.
Madara beats Sakura and Gaara to Minato & Obito, and Obito will die in a manner that saves Kakashi from having to fend off Madara.
Swirly Zetsu is actually harboring Yamato in hopes that he can vicarious experience a bowl movement.
Till next time!!