Posts tagged madara
Posts tagged madara
JUUBI’S FINAL FORM IS REVEALED…!! And it’s a TREE!! Flower… dick thing.
So this chapter opens with Juubi as it finishes burrowing itself into the ground, its body morphing and peeling away to reveal organic plant-like structures. As Obito observes the progress, he notes that taking down his barrier should pose little harm, and boy does he remove it just in time!!
The sudden explosion of writhing braches and roots tears through the landscape immediately seeking out the awestruck people below it like the reaching arms of an arboreal octopus, and it isn’t long before the dire consequences of coming into contact with these branches is revealed.
Come oooon, how could one not think of DBZ? xD
As the terrified members of the Shinobi Alliance flee before the chakra-absorbing branches, an obvious shift in odds against our good guys begins to settle in despite Naruto’s upgraded mass Kyuubi Cloak protection. As still and haggard bodies start to litter the ground, the scene shifts to Hashirama and Madara who still face each other while taking care to dodge the malicious branches. Prompted by Hashirama’s questioning, Madara explains that the Shinju, or God Tree, is simply collecting chakra the was originally its own, and as if to demonstrate, the Susanoo flames protecting him are hungrily sucked away by surrounding branches.
Madara takes this moment to fully reveal the history of the Shinju and its relationship to the shinobi world starting with the fact that all chakra originates from this godly tree.
Entering story mode, we see a series of pictographic images illustrating events beginning with the time before shinobi which was marred by war and strife. During this era the Shinju existed as a massive tree that was worshiped as a vessel for god and once every 1000 years it sprouted one massive fruit. This succulent of the God Tree was forbidden to man, though the origin of this ban is not known; however, a princess named Ootsutsuki Kaguya, who tired of seeing her fellow man die in battle, took it upon herself to eat the forbidden fruit and end all war. The fruit gave her a fraction of the immense chakra power of the Shinju and most importantly opened her understanding to controlling it, and in the wake of her insurmountable strength all battles ceased. Solidifying her position as the Mother of Shinobi, she later gave birth to a son named Bagoromo who inherited the Shinju’s strength and his mother’s ability to manipulate it. Sharing this knowledge with his fellow man he established the art of ninjustsu and brought about the Age of Shinobi, becoming its hero later by taming the Shinju who grew angry and sought the return of its chakra by taking the animal-noid form we know of as the Juubi. Of course, we know this man as the legendary Sage of Six Paths whose acts over time turned from history to legend to myth.
Concluding his lecture, Professor Madara states that this information is all recorded on the Uchiha Clan Tablet, and as the action returns to him and Hashirama playing dodge branch, he remarks that this history speaks to the fact that mankind’s violent nature never changes. Indeed, by introducing more powerful into the game Princess Kaguya only aggravated the situation.
Seeing chakra and the knowledge to wield it as a curse, Madara’s hollow expression communicates his despair for mankind’s fate of endless violence and confirms his character’s resolve for completing the Moon’s Eye Plan. It’s clear that even if chakra were not a factor, Madara believes man is doomed to kill his brethren, but by sedating the world perhaps the “true” dream of peace can be achieved. As Hashirama thinks back to the words Madara spoke before his departure from Konoha he realizes his former ally has been planning for this moment since that day so long ago.
As we observe this large stem and bloom which has emerged from the Shinju, Madara finally explains how the Infinite Tsukuyomi will be cast, for apparently concealed with in the bloom is an eye which will gaze upon the moon allowing a genjutsu to be reflected. In Shinto mythology, “Tsukuyomi” is the god of the moon, so there is a symbolic connection that this genjutsu’s ultimate form requires the moon to activate, but I can only assume the Shinju would choose to cast it because Obito will force it to (otherwise why would it care for such an idea). The panel of the stem and bloom is actually quite symbolic as well, for the goal of the Moon’s Eye Plan is to create a “new world,” and while the flower structure is blatantly phallic, the moon is generally considered to be a feminine form in many mythologies. By drawing these two forms touching visually, Kishimoto suggests the act of coupling to bring about creation. We knew you were a dirty old man Kishi!!
Finally returning to our hero, we see Naruto is in trouble as the deadly branches close in around him despite Tobirama and Minato’s efforts to help, but thankfully they aren’t the only Hokage around!
As Sandaime Hokage springs Naruto and himself towards his fellow undead colleagues, Tobirama quickly uses the Flying Thundergod jutsu to teleport them a save distance away from the Shinju near Sasuke. As Sasuke solemnly observes Naruto’s weakened condition, the latter grits his teeth with shock and anger at the fallen shinobi he worked so hard to protect. It’s like a slap in the face to Naruto’s optimism and speaks to how quickly the tide can turn on the battlefield.
As the chapter closes out the camera angle pans away for an all-encompassing view of the God Tree, its bloom thrusting into the sky, and from this we can truly appreciate the Shinji’s massive scale.
The fact that the Juubi’s final form is a tree doesn’t come as a major surprise as Kishi has hinted at it up to this point with the Juubi’s odd flowers that fire BIJUU BOMBS and growths from its body that resemble the roots of a carrot or daikon radish. In the context of the Japanese religion of Shintoism, in which trees are regarded as sources of power, a final form resembling a tree makes sense as well. Though how Madara knows a bloom can be coxed from the Shinji to cast a genjutsu that will be successful remains a mystery – was that written somewhere on the Uchiha tablet as well??
For folks who are familiar with Judeo-Christian beliefs, the story of the Shinju and Princess Kaguya probably remind you first of Eve and the Tree of Knowledge. Though there is no doubt that Kishimoto is drawing on this motif in his story, it should be noted that “forbidden fruit” are popular in mythology and folktales across the world; even the Monkey King, Son Goku, partook of some in Heaven, and by bringing this well established and loved idea into his manga, Kishimoto successfully strengthens the mythos of his own story.
As he enjoys doing, Kishimoto draws upon another popular story in this chapter with the introduction of Princess Kaguya, who is the starring character in one of the very oldest folktales of Japan. The original story casts her as a princess from the moon (Sailor Moon anyone?) sent to earth for her own protection (or banishment depending on the telling) who is later found in the stalk of a bamboo tree. It’s this princess-tree-moon parallel that Kishi is clearly interested in for his story, and like the numerous others present in NARUTO, those fans familiar with the tale will smile knowingly at the reference. And in case the moon connections were too subtle, Princess Kaguya’s sir name “OostuTSUKI” also references the moon (Tsuki, 月 = moon).
The parallels between the reasoning of NARUTO’s Princess Kaguya and Nagato Pain are worth pointing out for they shared the belief that an all-powerful weapon would scare the population into peace. Princess Kaguya proves that this idea indeed works as she took on the powers of a god and single handedly stopped all war, the fear of her preventing any further conflicts, but her story shows how this is only a temporary solution for peace and perhaps speaks for what would have been an ultimate failure for Nagato had he been successful for some reason.
It’s hard to miss the similarities between the Shinju’s branches and Hashirama’s powerful MOKUTON abilities, and perhaps speaks to why this chakra nature is considered among the most powerful in the Shinobi World. If the strongest thing on the earth was once a huge ass tree then it makes sense that a jutsu that creates them would be powerful in this world.
Overall, this chapter was mostly exposition provided by Professor Uchiha, but it was in no way uninteresting; Not only do we learn the origins of shinobi and the discovery of chakra, but the Sage of Six Path’s name is revealed and the story of his mother whose actions sealed the fate of the Shinobi World. The action we did get in this chapter had a dramatic impact as a majority of the Alliance was felled, and we also got to see Tobirama taking the offensive and Hiruzen finally, FINALLY showing up again. But most importantly, this chapter acts as a set up for 647, which based on its longer than usual page count suggests shit is really about to go down!!
I give this chapter a RATING of:
As always, let me know what you guys thought of this chapter! Do you like the story of Princess Kaguya and the forbidden fruit? Will the Moon’s Eye Plan actually go into effect?? Are you on the Alliance or Team Moon’s Eye side?
Till next time!!
The situation is dire, the end of the world is upon us – time for the Gokage Rangers to arrive finally!!
It’s been about 1000 years since Kaguya so time for the Shinju to sprout another Millennial Fruit!! Naruto figures out what’s actually supposed to do be done with it and saves the world!! The end.
Along with making her powerful, the Shinju’s fruit actually got Kaguya pregnant as well, so the Sage of Six Path’s father is the Juubi – that’s why they have similar eyes.
Awwwww can’t you just feel the father-son love fest kicking into high gear? My feels = OVER 9000!!!!
So this chapter opens up with our dynamic Kurama-jinjuuriki duo charging up each other by way of fist bumping. As it was explained last chapter, Naruto has a plan to save the Alliance trapped inside Juubito’s barrier, but to accomplish it he will need the complete Yin & Yang chakra of Kurama as well as his father’s expertise.
As their fist bump connects, we see how this physical contact between Naruto and Minato is acting as a chakra puzzle piece, unlocking the full power of Kurama sealed between them. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this interesting visual “puzzle piece” analogy used to represent the molding of chakra, as it originally served to explain Naruto’s ability to protect everyone in Kyuubi Chakra Cloaks. The important thing to remember is that manipulating chakra in this way is extremely difficult and speaks to both Naruto and Minato’s advanced abilities.
As Kurama’s chakra is united once more, the scene transitions to the two parts of Kurama who now have the ability to communicate, with Light-Yang Kurama noting with relief how much Dark-Yin Kurama’s presence saves their butts, to which the latter humbly replies he is merely a part of their greater whole. Looking down at the father and son duo below them, Dark-Yin Kurama can’t help draw a similar parallel between Minato and Naruto.
On the battlefield, Obito observes what is transpiring with a curious eye as the Dark Energy enveloping his body continues to enclose him in a protective sphere, while the four flowers of the Juubi Tree begin charging up four massive BIJUU BOMBS. The surviving members of the Shinobi Alliance can only analyze the situation somberly with Shikamaru quickly noting the similarities - and thus impenetrability - of the barrier they are trapped in to the impressive one the Hokage erected earlier.
The scene refocuses back on Minato and Naruto as Sasuke voices the question that is on all of our minds, namely, what exactly does Naruto have planned?? In response, Naruto’s brow furrows in concentration while Minato takes a moment to really look at his son, at how physically powerful and resourceful he has become. Thinking to some of his final memories of Kushina lying next to infant Naruto, Minato cannot help wondering if his wife was able to share in the bittersweet joy of seeing their son so mature. And with this thought follows feelings of guilt at not being present in Naruto’s life to help him through the hardships that gave birth to the hero Konoha has come to recognize.
Of course, being connected to his dad, Naruto is aware of the thoughts passing through Minato’s mind and before Minato can become too sentimental, Naruto focuses him back to the task at hand as suddenly Kyuubi Cloaks rage to life over the other members of the Alliance. As everyone marvels at how much more powerful these Cloaks appear to be, Sakura informs us that she sensed their presence as she healed people and confirms that they never truly deactivated making it easy for Naruto to reignite them.
With time to act drawing to a close, Jugo quickly approaches Sasuke to formulate a plan to escape, suggesting his leader employ a summoning jutsu.
But before Sasuke can move forward, Naruto tells his recovered friend to instead accept a Kyuubi Cloak as well, to which Sasuke’s reply is questioning, but with little time to spare he decides to put his faith in Naruto, an important moment to note as it reveals how much Sasuke recognizes Naruto as a capable shinobi and trustworthy leader.
As Hashirama takes in the Kyuubi Cloaks protecting the Alliance, he notes that Naruto’s ability to project this much chakra suggests the young Uzumaki’s power is comparable to his own legendary amount. Though after consideration, Hashi notes that Naruto is also making use of Kurama’s chakra, suggesting that Naruto isn’t quite at Hashirama’s level yet after all, but the fact that he is close is still impressive.
Obito decides to give whatever Naruto is planning little credit as he finishes curling up in his black blankie, which is symbolic of the darkness he chooses to loose himself in. As he bids the world “disappear” the four Juubi Flowers release their explosives.
The barrier expands and contracts dynamically to compensate the massive energy blasts, which are directed harmlessly into the sky, and as the smoke clears and Obito releases himself from his Dark Energy, it becomes apparent to his trap was ineffective. As the Alliance realizes and marvels at how they were quickly transported to safety outside of the barrier, it is clear that Minato accomplished this by used the Flying Thundergod Technique. Though Minato remains humble to the praise he receives from Tobirama and Gyuuki, Naruto’s expression makes it clear he is as proud of his old man as Minato is of him.
At this point, Jugo begins the questioning process that leads to the explanation of what exactly transpired to save the Alliance. Though Naruto himself is not very good at explaining the process as usual, with the help of his dad he gets across that it was through the combination of his, Minato’s and Kurama’s chakra. For a specific explanation, Tobirama steps in to clarify that by sharing his chakra with the Alliance, Naruto was in essence turning each member into a “clone,” thus linking them to him. And since Naruto was also connected to Minato, this linked the Alliance to his dad as well, thus allowing the Yellow Flash to transport them all to safety using the Flying Thundergod Technique. It is the exact combo that Minato used to rescue Naruto and Sasuke from Obito slamming their brains out only moments early, taken to the next level.
As Minato watches Tobirama and Naruto’s exchange with amusement, he thinks back to the moment only a short while ago of Naruto explaining his plan to save the Alliance, during which they have a touching exchange when Minato begins to lament about wanting more time to spend with Naruto to express his feelings. Naruto, however, is quick to reassure his old man that he already knows how much Minato loves him with only a glance, just as he knows how much Kushina loves him from his previous in depth conversation with her chakra. In this way, Naruto’s encounter with his parents mimics the moments before their death to which Minato thinks back to, as at that time Kushina conveyed all their wishes, while Minato spoke little but still express much, and as the chapter closes out we see Minato’s eyes begin to mist over with emotion at Naruto’s warm smile.
Overall, this chapter featured pretty straightforward action that built upon jutsu and cleverness we were shown earlier in the story, but though there were no real surprises, the wow factor of the BIJUU BOMBS and the tender moments between Naruto and Minato lent it substance and served to highlight Naruto’s maturity. The Hashirama-Naruto parallel have been pretty apparent already, but this chapter reminded us of them once more and lent us perspective on Naruto’s current power level. Though he may not be able to articulate how a jutsu works like Tobirama can, Naruto’s ability to let his instincts guide him has always been one of his charming traits and I can’t wait to see what his next power up will be!! Perhaps a new chakra jacket is in order…?
Now that the set up and the action for this scene has passed, in many ways we are left to think, what’s next?? I doubt Hashirama and Madara - our most awesome players on the field - have been erased permanently by the BIJUU BOMBS like Minato’s arm, so when they regenerate will Maddy continue to stall his rival? Or will he play his mysterious trump card?? There doesn’t appear to be any reason why Obito needs to kill off Naruto and friends to activate the Infinitue Tsukuyomi, unless perhaps it will take time to power up. Will he turn his focus to that or wait till midnight when it’s October 10th to makes things that much more symbolic for everyone? The door is open for anything to happen next!
I give this chapter a RATING of:
We got some nice fireworks and some great teamwork from Minato and Naruto that warmed our hearts, but there was nothing truly new or surprising about the action taking place. Tobirama injected some humor that was enjoyable but overall this chapter felt like a stepping stone for more dramatic things to come! Hello Kage???
Hiruzen is randomly missing because he’s old, got lost, and just decided to take a nap. You know, old people problems.
Juubito will begin preparations for the Infinite Tsukuyomi - but perhaps this will be the opportunity Madara’s been waiting for to make his next move.
Madara will finally get a goddamn flashback. Come on Kishi we’re waiting!!! T_T
Till next week!!
“THE CURRENT OBITO”
Poor Obito, that looks like it hurts!! >_O;
So this chapter, as anticipated, draws us back into the high-stakes fight between former friends and comrades Obito and Kakashi. As blood takes to the air from their simultaneous, chest piercing attacks that concluded last chapter, we see the weariness of the battle showing on Kakashi’s face, as well as his determination to end the skirmish quickly. Panning away from their locked stances, we learn that this display is actually an illusion, a genjutsu, which the real Kakashi, standing several paces away from Obito, declares he’s had enough of, thus proving my prediction from last week that Kishimoto, for better or worse, was pulling a Breaking Dawn Part 2. Oh Kishi…
Now that Kakashi is ready to dispense with genjutsu attacks and end the battle in earnest so that he can return to the main battlefield, he raises his hand and forms the shinobi seal signaling the intention to battle while stating all that awaits Obito is death. Obito, the embodiment of Uchiha stubbornness and arrogance, looks unperturbed as he too raises his hand and invites his former comrade to proceed.
Facing his former teammate instantly reminds Kakashi of the younger, gentler Obito whom he spared with constantly as a child under Minato-sensei’s watchful eye and Rin’s kind smile. He enters into a flashback of one such spar and Kishimoto uses it in tandem with the attack current Kakashi and Obito launch into to demonstrate how little Obito’s battle technique has changed over the years but how much his ability has increased as seen in his KATON fire jutsu.
As the battle plays out, Kakashi has a poignant internal monologue that reaffirms his commitment to serve as Naruto’s shield and to see the will of young Obito carried on in himself and in Naruto. And most significantly, he states his willingness to save the memory of the “old Obito” and all that the young Uchiha embodied, even if it means destroying the current Obito before him. But now that he can no longer use KAMUI, Obito is fighting Kakashi on equal ground as they once did in the past, and just like in the past, Kakashi comes out on top.
It’s ironic that being the cause for Obito’s presumed death has plagued Kakashi throughout his life, but now he confidently chooses to truly kill his former friend.
After falling back from one another, Obito hacks up an alarming amount of blood while Kakashi painfully pulls out the rod that Obito was able to skewer him with, the pain dropping him to his knees. This black rod is peculiar because it looks similarly to the chakra rods both Obito and Pain employed to control dead bodies, but Obito’s ability to create them from his own body is a unique technique we haven’t seen before and one that will play a crucial role as the chapter progresses.
Panting and gazing at the new hole he has formed in Obito’s chest, Kakashi declares that this is the end for his former comrade, but Obito only laugh and coughs up more blood in response. With a defiant look, he declares that Kakashi may have won this battle but that he will not allow him to win the war and manages to successfully KAMUI himself and return to the battlefield where he lands in a painful heap on top of the Juubi’s body.
The scene focuses on Madara who complains aloud that Hashirama’s clone is a joke since the real Hashirama is focusing most of his energy into maintaining the barrier surrounding the Juubi. But as he flicks away the clone from his SUSANOO’s sword like a scrap of old wood, it vaguely mentions that Madara, too, has “always had something,” but what this statement means is very unclear, either on purpose or because of the translations… Either way, as the clone crashes into the ground, Madara notices Obito falling from his KAMUI, noting his mortal wound and how he will no longer be able to use said Uchiha. It is here he decides that, even though he wanted to battle Hashirama for fun, he must set play aside and move the Moon’s Eye Plan forward once more. Forming the one handed seal, Madara immediately forces his influence on Obito’s body who’s Hashirama arm begins to sprout multiple black rods like the one he created to stab Kakashi. Whether these rods are transmitting Madara’s chakra is not clear but they are strikingly familiar to the rods that Old Man Madara created once from the Hashirama Flower back in chapter 606.
To visually emphasize that Madara’s will is now infecting Obito’s Senju cells, the limb and the scared side of his face immediately begin to turn black and resemble Black Zetsu down to the round eye, who is the result of Madara’s will once it has fully infiltrated Hashirama’s DNA. The look is greatly symbolic as well, as the scarred side of Obito’s face has always symbolized his darker goals while the normal side of his face represents his more innocent past self.
Focusing intently, Madara mentions to himself that it is about time for Obito to use the RINNE TENSEI to revive him to life so that he can become the Juubi’s jinjuuriki and Obito can do little to resist as he yells in pain but seems resigned to his fate. A placid image of Rin comes to his mind and we can feel his heart ache at the idea that he is about to sacrifice himself to return her to “life” once more but will not be around to see the result.
With the full moon shining behind Obito, Madara either forces him to form the hand seal to perform the RINNE TENSEI or Obito forms it himself while releasing a yelling that embodies all his pain, regret and perhaps determination to create a new world with Rin in it. This yell attracts the attention of all who are on the battlefield, including Minato and Naruto, and as the chapter closes out we see that the tides are indeed beginning to turn from the Alliance’s favor as Juubi fodder continues to close in on Team 7 and other Alliance shinobi while the Moon’s Eye Plan finally enters its next phase.
Even though Obito is one of my favorite characters, it is fitting that his seemingly impending death will be at the hands of Madara, who is the person who gave him a second chance at life. This brings up a topic that speaks to one of the many reason why I enjoy NARUTO so much, and that is the fact that villains in the series are morally gray. They perform what most would consider negative acts but committed in pursuit of a perceived greater good. In the case of Madara in this chapter, sacrificing Obito must feel within his rights because he believes Obito owes him for saving his life, which Madara has stated before back in Obito’s flashback. Even though saving someone’s life should not be held against them under normal moral circumstances, it makes sense logically why Madara chooses to see it this way and use it to his advantage.
Though, if we remember Pain’s death after using the RINNE TENSEI, we can expect it will not be an instantaneous thing. Obito will probably lie around as he slowly expires, which would give Kakashi time to make his way out of Obito’s dimension and possibly retrieve his fallen former comrade, or at least sit by him and share an emotional moment. It must be stated though that Obito could have the opportunity to perform the IZUNAGI in order to save his life at the expense of his Sharingan, if that is possible after just performing such a high level jutsu like the RINNE TENSEI. But I guess we’ll just have to see how Obito is feeling later, aside from the wind blowing through his chest.
Overall, this chapter really puts the story back into motion, as Madara finally gets the ball rolling again on the Moon’s Eye Plan. THANK YOU!! And actually it’s quite risky of him to be willing to turn back into flesh in blood because at the moment he is invincible as an Edo Tensei zombie. Hello, unlimited chakra and impossible to kill. I believe this goes to illustrate Madara’s dedication to his plan for world peace because he is willing to take this risk, to become living once more in the presence of many powerful, undead shinobi who could cause him problems if they eventually stopped standing around holding a barrier up. But perhaps if Madara is successful at becoming the Juubi’s jinjuuriki once it undergoes its final transformation he will not need to fret about his undead foes. Personally, I really hope Madara is successful at becoming the jinjuuriki, or if not him, Sasuke, because that would escalate the story in all the right ways! OH MAN, after a few weeks of slump I’m finally feeling really pumped to see the next chapters!!
I give this chapter a RATING of:
It was a very straightforward chapter but really served to set up some exciting things to come in regards to the Moon’s Eye Plan, which has sadly been on the back burning lately. Kakashi VS Obito was concluded in an effectively concise manner through an effective and less annoying use of flashback, which also stirred our feels for Team Minato, both past and present. I eagerly hope that Minato realizes sooner than later that the screaming man is his lost student Obito and also can’t wait for Minato’s reunion with Kakashi, so THANK YOU Madara for moving the plot forward once more!! Maybe you will even stand up soon.
As always, let me know what YOU guys thought of this chapter!! Do you think Madara will successfully become the Juubi’s jinjuuriki? Do you want him to?? Will Obito die for sure or use IZANAGI?
Obito will focus so hard on Rin that he accidentally RINNE TENSEI’s her back to life instead of Madara. OOPS.
The Juubi will FINALLY reach its ultimate form and break out of the barrier around it so the Hokage can stop standing around. You know the manga has been slow when the most powerful players have been standing still or sitting, yeesh.
Madara or perhaps Jinjuuriki!Madara will still work on getting Sasuke on his side if need be. Hello, Madara flashback??
Till next week!!
“FIGHTING, SIDE BY SIDE”
WOW!! SAKURA FINALLY BLOOMS INTO A BAD ASS!!!!
Or at least it’s a start, FINALLY.
So to celebrate the reunion of the Dream Team, this week’s chapter features a dramatic colored poster of Team 7 standing side by side once more!! And if you’re going to a con this year where VIZmanga will be or any of its internationally affiliates, then keep an eye out for this poster and snatch it up!
We enter the chapter with a page of dynamic close ups of Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke as they prepare to do battle together once again. But this moment isn’t only a reunion for Team 7 but also for the Rookie 11 of Konoha as each member gets a chance to express their thoughts about this sudden turn of events. That is, everyone except for Ten Ten and Rock Lee who are mysteriously unaccounted for and of course poor Neji. But we are reminded of this generation’s familiar range of personalities as Shikamaru comments on things being a drag, Kiba rambles loudly on about becoming Hokage, while Shino’s response to this is blunt and Hinata’s is kind and patient.
As Naruto rallies his generation, Jugo can’t help but wonder what is going through Sasuke’s mind and perhaps what the fate of Team Taka will be now that his group leader has renewed his allegiance to Konoha. But before Naruto and nakama can go into action Hashirama calls a halt as the Juubi begins to form another BIJUU DAMA and as the past Hokage brace themselves for impact the DAMA’s blast explodes within the red barrier. Despite the force of the explosion the Hokage are able to maintain the barrier which directs the DAMA’s energy harmlessly into the sky leaving the Alliance to wonder at the power of these reanimated heroes of Konoha.
To expand his direct leadership across the Alliance and lead a unified charge against the Juubi, Hashirama creates 5 MOKUTON clones, four of which quickly take their place in front of the troops. As Hashirama finally shouts the okay to charge, he summons another sealing gate which suspends the Juubi’s head, perhaps in order to prevent it from forming another BIJUU DAMA and as the Alliance begins to surge forward we see the fifth MOKUTON clone approach Madara.
To Hashirama’s clone’s surprise, Madara immediately rejects the notion of fighting with it in favor of waiting for the real Hashirama’s undivided attention. Taking a seat on the ground, Madara states that he will wait there until his rival is truly ready to battle him like the good ‘ol days, which tells us that Madara’s priorities have either completely switched from the Moon’s Eye Plan to his eternal rival or that he is just super confidant the Alliance can not do any lasting harm to the Juubi. I hope it’s the later!
As Hashirama and his clones lift the barrier and allow the Alliance to rush towards the Juubi, human sized creatures begin to form the Juubi’s body to meet the attack. As her teammates begin to take down the mini Juubi creatures, Sakura begins to enter a flashback and internal monologue about their time as a team in the beginning of the series, in particular she reflects on the fact that Naruto and Sasuke were always so far ahead of her in terms of power and so she relied on them heavily for protection. As she takes down a mini Juubi creature of her own, a flashback panel of Tusnade reminds us that Sakura IS the protégé of one of the legendary Sannin and on cue the power Sakura eluded to at the end of 631 reveals itself in the form of the triangular Hyakugou Seal on her forehead.
As she punches away a Juubi creature with impressive force, Sakura takes a great leap into the air and with a mighty roar of her trademark “SHANARO!” comes down on the creatures below her in an amazing force of power that shatters the ground in an explosive release of strength.
As the people around her observe the destruction, Naruto makes a hilariously frightened face while Sasuke looks genuinely impressed and, dare I say, turned on. Even Hashirama looks excited by the display, stating that Sakura’s raw power appears to eclipse his granddaughter’s who he charming refers to as “Tusna.” Shizune provides some quick backstory which explains that Sakura has been storing chakra aside for the past four years to form this unique seal, something even Shizuna admits to never being able to master, and as if to assert her elevated mastery of this seal Sakura states that she does not have to worry about losing her good looks like Tsunade does.
But while she looks over her shoulder to make this comment, a Juubi creature suddenly looms over her and apparently catches her off guard, but this serves as an opportunity for Naruto and Sasuke to perform their first combo move in over three years.
And despite their power ups, it’s like the past three years never happened!
As Sasuke and Naruto take up defensive positions beside their teammate, their old dynamics appear in place as Naruto complains about Sakura only recognizing Sasuke’s presence while Sakura makes a new suggestion that perhaps SHE will become Hokage instead. With her spirits high, the chapter closes out with Sakura mentally telling her master that she believes she’s finally caught up to her teammates.
It was actually quite refreshing to see Sakura finally get a chapter that is more or less dedicated to her because despite being a main character in this series she has always received little attention in comparison to her teammates Naruto and Sasuke. One could argue that this is because NARUTO is a shonen manga, but it is a more accurate reflection of Kishimoto’s weakness in developing female characters. And though it was nice to see Sakura begin to kick ass at the end of this chapter, the fact that she still had to be “saved” really took wind out from under the wings of her character. It’s a shame because Kishi was really creating some momentum with her but he just couldn’t resist reminding his audience that because Sakura is a girl she therefore must remain crutched to the idea that she needs rescuing. For Kishi, despite their power, most female characters usually have some form of weakness steaming from the fact they are a girl. For example, despite being Kage, Mei Terumi massively freaks out about marriage while Tsunade greatly fears becoming physically unattractive. When looking at all the female character in NARUTO, only Tenmari and Konan stand out as being truly exempt from the shackles of bad female writing, but all of this should not delude the fact that Sakura’s character takes a big step in the right direction in this chapter.
The fact that Madara is not concerned about the Juubi at all leads me believe that we should not be either. The display of power that the Hokage are beginning to show is impressive but the Juubi is the creator of the planet, and frankly it would be disappointing if it were defeated before reaching its final form which has been hyped up to this point. I can’t wait to see it truly start to cause trouble!
The little Juubi creatures were an unexpected introduction and demonstrate the growing awareness of Juubi to its surrounds, though the creatures seem like they mostly serve as an excuse to show off Team 7’s teamwork and to make the Alliance feel like they are accomplishing something. At first they reminded me of Zetsu so I wonder if they are also white?
Overall, this chapter was decent due to the Dream Team finally jumping into action and Sakura finally getting a quick moment to shine and come into her own, though it was somewhat hampered by her rescue. It was also nice to see Madara and Hashirama get a quick moment and for Teams Kurenai and Asuma to represent the Konoha Rookies’ reunion. Though where the hell is the rest of Team Guy??
I give this chapter a RATING of:
As always, let me know what YOU guys thought of this chapter!! Was it surprising to you that Sakura had the ability to release the Hyakugou Seal? Are you happy to see her finally get a power up?? What do you think Kakashi will think when/IF? he sees his team together again?
Orochimaru, Suigetsu and Karin will arrive fashionably late alongside the Kage when, once again, the Alliance’s situation becomes dire.
In the spirit of their rivalry Madara and Hashirama’s clone will begin having a blinking contest.
The Juubi will eventually reach its final form so the Hokage can stop standing around and start kicking ass!
Till next week!!
Team 7 ….. IS BACK AGAIN…?!?
And it only took 450 chapters!!! (No, really. Sasuke left Konoha in 181…)
Okay, okay! Let’s take this chapter - which ranks as one of the most momentous chapters in the series - from the beginning because it delivers a whole lot of fandom goodies.
So we rejoin Minato who has just saved the day by transporting the Juubi’s BIJUU DAMA away from the Shinobi Alliance and his arrival is literally announced with a bang as the DAMA's blast radius rocks the battlefield despite being teleported to the ocean some distance away, which goes to demonstrate just how powerful the Juubi is becoming with each transformation.
After a quick introduction to Sakura during which she notes Minato’s condition as an Edo Tensei zombie, Minato inquires if Sakura is Naruto’s girlfriend, seeing as she is caring for his son. The fatherly question quickly stirs annoyance in Sakura as Naruto answers that more-or-less he believes she is, which is the same response Jiraiya probably would have probably given in reference to Tsunade, reminding us of the repetition between these two generations. As Sakura head bashes Naruto they have a humorous exchange that reminds Minato of him a his wife Kushina, which effectively stirs the feels for anyone who is a NaruSaku fan (Naruto x Sakura). It’s strange we get this pairing hint after just coming off a touching Naruto and Hinata moment, so it feels as if Kishi is purposefully throwing a bone to fans of this paring as well just to keep stirring the fandom.
EPIC PANEL #1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s at this moment that FINALLYYYYY the previous three Hokage catch up to Minato who, as expected, arrived first because he is that much faster than his predecessors, so much so that even Tobirama the inventor of the Flying Thundergod Technique recognizes the superiority of Minato’s speed. No not that kind of speed.
As the Alliance recognizes the shinobi legends that have just arrived, it’s clear Madara has eyes for only one of them.
EPIC PANEL #2!!!
What’s NOT to love about this reunion between these two. xD Here we were expecting a serious encounter but Kishi leaves us laughing instead as he reminds us of these two when they were children. Only Hashirama can cause Madara to make such outrages faces!
As Hashirama announces that the Hokage’s immediate goal is to neutralize the Juubi, Madara humorously comments to himself how only Hashirama can get under his skill even after all these years and it appears he is willing to wait until Hashirama can give him his undivided attention. As the Juubi begins to morph into its final form from the head down, Minato gives Naruto a heads up that “his friend” will arrive soon and proceeds to enter KYUUBI CHAKRA MOOOOODE!!
EPIC PANEL #3!!!
Naturally, at first I thought this was Naruto because he has been the only character to use this technique up to this point, but Minato entering this unique mode serves to remind us that he has half of Kurama’s chakra sealed inside of him and it’s wise of him to use it on himself first to achieve the Hokage’s plan before passing it on to his son and Kurama for a power up.
Confirming that Minato has placed his special kunai around the Juubi, Hashirama gives the signal to begin and Minato instantly transports Tobirama, Hiruzen and himself into position at each kunai and together they erect a large, incredibly powerful red barrier that traps the Juubi. Just to be safe, Hashirama enters his epic MOKUTON Sage Mode and summons 10 sealing gates to suspend the movement of the Juubi’s ten tails, a technique we’ve actually seen Naruto use when he learned to control Kurama’s power, which reminded Kurama of the Sage of Six Paths. The use of these gates seems to suggest that the Hokage plan to seal the Juubi, but overal their exact intent is unclear.
EPIC PANEL #4!!!
Mr. SAUCE chooses this moment to make his arrival on the battlefield with Jugo at his side, which spurs mixed reactions of shock, disbelief and anger from both Sakura and the rest of the Konoha 11. It’s only Naruto who does not seem surprised at the sudden arrival of his wayward friend and his cool reaction belays just how mature Naruto has become as he has aged.
As Sakura confronts Sasuke about his suddenly appeared - because we must remember last time they encountered one another Sasuke attempted to kill Sakura - said Uchiha calmly states that he has decided to protect the village and essentially carry out the will of his brother, and further more he has added one more personal goal.
Even Akamaru can’t believe it!!
Of course, these comedic responses of shock are followed by outrage voiced by Kiba, Shikamaru and Shino, but despite their incredulous thoughts Naruto takes Sasuke and the sudden change of heart in his former comrade seriously, even as Sasuke states he does not care what his peers think of him. Sasuke clarifies his intentions in seeking this position of power in order to insure that the mistakes of the past Hokage are never repeated, that issues will not be left to fester that lead to such tragedies like the Uchiha Clan Massacre, the major source of pain in Sasuke’s life. Listening to this, Naruto has an important flashback to the wise words Edo Tensei Itachi shared with him about the nature of the title of Hokage, simply that a person does not become Hokage to be acknowledged, rather it is the person who is acknowledged who becomes Hokage.
Now healed, Naruto steps up beside his long absent friend and announces his intent to still become Hokage, and as we view these two shinobi standing together, Kishi presents us with their new rivalry, with each representing the different paths Itachi outlined.
What does the mean for the NARUTO vs SASUKE fight we have all been waiting for?? Will it be over the title of Hokage now? Over different visions of the future? Or will Sasuke possibly be swayed by Madara’s ideals? Sasuke has been an avenger so long over the course of this series it’s taking awhile to get used to his sudden changes in motivation. We will just have to see if Hashirama’s Talk no Jutsu will stick!
Now united in their shared dream of becoming Hokage and goal to protect the Alliance, Naruto informs Sakura that she can rest up while he and Sasuke move to the front lines, but in a welcome show of confidence Sakura declares she is not being left behind and asserts herself as a fellow disciple of the Sannin and in doing so suggests that she has a lot to offer to a battle once her chakra is fully recovered. This demonstration of female confidence is very refreshing in this battlefield full of OP men, and after this speech I am actually very pumped to see what Sakura will bring to the battle. It’s about time her character got a moment to shine.
EPIC PANEL #OH I FORGET
Overall, this chapter was chalk full of reunions that we the readers have been anxiously awaiting, yet instead of being serious affairs, Minato & Naruto, Hashirama & Madara, and Sasuke & the Konoha 11’s meet ups are quite humorous with outrages reactions. It is only Naruto’s reaction to Sasuke that remains cool and measured, which serves to emphasize how in control Naruto is of himself emotionally. The excitement of these reunions is balanced out by the immediate action the Hokage begin to take against the threat of the Juubi, but what their plan is exactly we will have to wait to learn, and hopefully it will be revealed in the next chapter. In all seriousness I don’t believe their actions will be fruitful in the end because from a storytelling perspective getting rid of the Juubi now, the entity that has been so hyped up to this point, would be extremely disappointing for fans especially it being so close to achieving its final form. If the Hokage do succeed in doing something to it, there is little doubt it will be a temporary fix.
Sasuke’s sudden declaration to become Hokage is the most WTF moment of this chapter, mainly because these sudden shifts in his character and goals are happening in such quick succession it’s leaving us feeling a little off balance. But Hokage!Sasuke has been a running theory for awhile now so kudos to those who believed in it because it is now officially canon! And as I mentioned, now that Sasuke has “seen the light,” will the title of Hokage be the foundation for Sasuke and Naruto’s foreshadowed epic battle??
It’s important to note though that Naruto is the only one who takes Sasuke’s new found dream to become Hokage seriously, despite the mocking and disbelief the Uchiha immediately received from him peers, and this makes since because those negative reactions are what Naruto has suffered his entire life. It speaks once again to his growing maturity and to the nobility of his character that he completely believes in Sasuke’s dream and stands up next to him in support.
It was also very nice to see Minato strut his stuff in this chapter through his quick actions to removed the BIJUU DAMA, set up his kunai around the Juubi and enter into Kyuubi Chakra Mode, after his humility earlier about not living up to the expectations of the title Hokage.
I give this chapter a RATING of:
Honestly, how could I NOT give 5 Tobi’s? TEAM SEVEN IS BACK BITCHES. Just for that epic moment, which has been years in the coming, this chapter warrants a high grade. But this chapter is also rich in reunions, comedy and decisive action, which resulted in more epic panels in one chapter than I have seen in a LONG TIME. Even the NaruSaku, SasuNaru, HashiMada & SasuHina OTP pairings got some material to swoon over. Overall, this chapter is a real treat.
Even if the Hokage succeed in doing something to the Juubi it will only be temporary.
Hashirama and crew ran into Tsunade and the fallen Kage, which would explain why Hashirama went from being excited to “see his buddy” to being angry and impatient with him. Madara didn’t even buy Tsunade a drink first!
Obito and Kakashi are currently trying to poke each other’s sharingan out, but being fans of the Three Stooges neither are getting very far.
As always, let me know what you guys thought of this chapter!! And thanks so much for the support!! :D
Till next week!!
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