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Naruto 534 – A Little Too Confident »« Naruto 532 – Honorable Death

Naruto 533 – The Weakest Link

I can understand what the story was going for by having Chouji fumble around with the thought of fighting Asuma, but that doesn’t mean I particularly enjoyed this often used character development pattern. Naturally, the idea is to show that he’s a very emotional person who loves and respects those close to him — so much that it works against him as a ninja on the battlefield — before letting him redeem himself by pulling off a surprise turnaround that leaves everyone in awe (i.e. the cliffhanger of this chapter).

The problem I always have with it is how antagonizing it is to see someone drag their feet in a situation that puts their friends at risk, who are fighting off the same urge to just breakdown under the weight of the emotions. Yes, emotions can blind oneself to logic and reason, but it doesn’t change how irksome it is to see Chouji succumb to them time and time again. This is after he confirmed his resolve with Shikamaru and Ino too, which is why I have an even harder time being completely understanding of his situation. He’s too finicky.

I think just about everyone was expecting Asuma to pull out the “fat” trump card to spur on Chouji, so if there was a surprise turn of events, it would be how the latter managed to hold back even in spite of that taboo remark. I almost see it as an embarrassment that Chouza had to get involved to slap some sense into his son, whereas Ino had to put herself at risk to cover up for Chouji’s hesitation. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of the skyscraper arc in Kaiji, except it was even more annoying in that series because Kaiji was sympathetic towards the people who were going to get him killed, even after he swore to treat all the competition as enemies like he should have. (He clearly didn’t learn his lesson from the first arc.)

Chouji’s actions weren’t nearly as frustrating, but they did make me less receptive towards the emphasis on him inheriting the oath of the Akimichi family and passing it on to future generations. Then again, this has always been a part of Chouji’s character and why I haven’t been much of a fan of him. He’s the big guy with the big heart. Now let’s see what he can do with those butterfly wings.

March 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm
  • March 30, 2011 at 4:34 pmtruesolitude

    First time seeing butterfly wings from him did i miss it earlier in the series or something and wtf pills? i guess im lost because i picked naruto up at shippuden

    • March 30, 2011 at 6:04 pmanimeE

      before the time skip, during the “rescue sasuke” arc, he took a series of pills to increase his abilities. each pill had side effects and the final pill gave him wings but afterwards, he passed out and nearly died.

      • March 31, 2011 at 1:04 amdefunkt_bots

        yeah, that was one of the best bits of naruto – that and the chunin exam.

    • April 5, 2011 at 8:30 pmswag cattysdfa@jksadfk

      Bitch, you kiddin me? Part I is far superior to this trash that we’re currently enduring. I’m a faithful fan of Naruto because it was so riveting in the beginning but it really has lost its appeal with Part II/Shippuuden/Hirricane Chronicles, or whatever you wanna call it. Personally, I’m perplexed as to why one would start viewing a series midway through. It’s not like there are multiple timelines/universes like in other anime such as Gundam. A word of advise, read & watch Part I, u won’t regret it.

  • March 30, 2011 at 4:35 pmKarmafan

    I can agree with alot of what you said but I STILL enjoyed the episode. The cliffhanger at the end was pretty cool too in a HOLY SHIT WTF is that kind of way? Right now this series is just so much better then Bleach of the 3 big manga series. One Piece I could never get into.

    • March 31, 2011 at 7:07 amMercenaryX10A

      Really, Naruto is not a series going for something realistic afterall, so I think a little emotion suits naruto better than practical fighting and resolve, no one in it’s right mind would even have time to think about these things fighting an enemy more powerful than your entire team and stop at the very oportunity to end a threat to his own life…

  • March 30, 2011 at 4:46 pmanishuma

    The first sight of Skinny Chouji and his Butterfly wings was during the Sasuke Retrieval Arc right when Sasuke was escaping through the forest.He had to use ninja pills to activate that state.

    I’m glad Skinny Chouji and his Ageha wings are back ;p.And it’s activated without the pills now.Lol pillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllls HERE!

    Chouji finally stopped doing drugs, congrats.

  • March 30, 2011 at 4:54 pmLectro Volpi

    Remember “Saving Private Ryan?”

    “Chouji… we gave you the entire chapter, earn this. earn it!”

  • March 30, 2011 at 5:16 pmRasone0104

    Lol the Fat Ass method mentioned last week by someone did not work….

  • March 30, 2011 at 6:00 pmShadiic

    Did he look like he lost weight in the last panel and all the fat went into the wings?

    • March 30, 2011 at 6:08 pmJustinnnn

      Lol, I thought the same thing. I also though his face in the last panel looked slimmer too…Maybe cus he has to be cooler looking to be taken more seriously :o ?

    • March 30, 2011 at 6:09 pmB-Man

      You should have seen him after taking the pills in the retrieve Sasuke arc, he was as skinny as shikamaru!!

    • March 31, 2011 at 12:22 amkaz

      yep, he loses weight and becomes a bit muscular if he takes all of the pills/the final pill. (ref. “Rescue Sasuke” arc)

  • March 30, 2011 at 6:04 pmJustinnnn

    Ugh, I really did not like this chapter…It seemed to me Kishimoto was just trying to convey a message to all the low-confident kids and teenagers out there. He even brought up some topics that are waaaay too common in real life insecurities, like ‘Will I ever get married/find someone that loves me?’…To me, Kishimoto was basically saying to all those people to have faith in themselves blah bla blah, and how does he make readers take this seriously? By having Chouji manning up like he should with some fancy technique…

    ….But butterfly wings? Seriously? Even the butterfly feels like too cheesy, not to mention not-manly enough. People have seen countless times this move (not talking about Naruto, but any other movie/series that when person comes to some kind of sophrosyne they grow some butterflies…sometimes they even get in a cucoon before that). Just make him go giant ape-shit and stomp Asuma or something……but wings?

    On the up-side, Ino did something useful.


    • March 30, 2011 at 6:05 pmJustinnnn

      Oops, submitted accidentally.

      TrueSolitude: This is the first time Chouji does that.

    • March 30, 2011 at 6:15 pmyanipheonu

      Not for nothing but… this isn’t the first time Choji’s sprouted Butterfly Wings.

    • March 30, 2011 at 6:56 pmJustinnnn

      Wow, really?! You got me there man….When was it, in the retrieve Sasuke arc? For some reason I only remember him getting bigger :p …

  • March 30, 2011 at 6:07 pmanimeE

    kind of cheesy, but i’m not going to complain too much. i’m sure kishi has a lot on his mind right now. progress is progress. hey, where is sasuke! bout time for those bandages to come off

  • March 30, 2011 at 6:08 pmbanzmanga

    This is Chouji’s chance to appeal to girls since he is going to be skinny again for a short time.

  • March 30, 2011 at 8:12 pmNecromas

    Oh man, this brings back fond memories of the butterfly punch.

  • March 30, 2011 at 8:37 pmcode fanboy

    Well, looks like Chouji is going to have a huge chance to shine

  • March 30, 2011 at 9:05 pmEPIC GAME!

    Im surprised to see how many ppl has never seen the EPICNESS called butterfly Chouji until now. Come on ppl he’s done this before and only once. Thank god too because something this epic shouldn’t be ruined by the ninetails effect (Underused in regular series to complete Overused in Shippuden)

  • March 30, 2011 at 9:30 pmOtaku_Brawler

    Butterfly the DDR song popped in my head just now. lol

  • March 30, 2011 at 10:37 pmHalcyon_Scion

    I’m too surprised that a lot of people forgot/didn’t know about the butterfly wings (which leads me to suspect that a lot of readers came in after the time skip, hence the people who complains about why Naruto is so popular).

    Anyway, it’s nice to see badass, skinny Chouji again. The last time he used this was in one of the most intense arcs of the first season (where named characters were getting tossed left and right).

    • March 31, 2011 at 8:48 amAnon

      Unless you’re a die hard fan of naruto, not remembering the wings is not surprising. Chouji is only a side character after all, plus it’s been a long time since that arc.

    • March 31, 2011 at 3:12 pmJustinnnn

      Agree Mr. Anon, Agree <: )

  • March 31, 2011 at 1:53 amdarkloco

    welcome back skinny choji, but kishi sure did go on and on in this chapter about oaths and confidence. Too much for my liking.

  • March 31, 2011 at 2:02 amDarklord

    I can definitely agree with you about this character development pattern.

    It’s like the author is thinking – “Hey, let’s make this character behave like a complete idiot, so that when he regains his composure later and starts kicking ass, it will seem even more awesome”. Great idea, only problem is – it does not work…at least for me. No matter how awesome Chouji is next chapter, it still won’t erase my negative impression of him during this chapter. Yeah, I know fighting against your former teacher is hard and all, but his teammates don’t seem to have the same problem. It does make him seem like the weakest link in the team.

    I never cared that much about Chouji also, but this chapter reminded me of a really common plot device in manga and anime – making one character look weak and mess up at first so that he can redeem himself later. Well, most of the time whatever that character does, it does not redeem him in my eyes – he was still a loser back then. This is made even more irksome if there are characters in the respective series which never show such weakness in the first place – it’s like the “weak” character is there just to make them seem stronger.

    Anyway, I said too much, I’m just glad that you pointed that annoying pattern out. It’s something that’s been bothering me for a while.

    • March 31, 2011 at 3:35 ambanzmanga

      Well, Chouji was never a great character to begin with. Since the very beginning, he has been an under-confident guy and only brings himself to shine on critical moments like the first time to use the butterfly wings. Plus, he is not one of the main characters so it is fine the way he is.

  • March 31, 2011 at 2:32 amTenTen

    TenTen owning Kakuzu’s monsters with the Bashōsen was the highlight of this chapter for me
    I really hope she gets more screen time; she’s probably the most under-developed character of the bunch
    Plus, I always had a thing for girls with Chinese-style buns XD

  • March 31, 2011 at 3:41 amDude

    I’m reminded of this Disney movie…

    “Ooooh I am a beautiful butterfly now!”

  • March 31, 2011 at 6:50 amYanDaMan

    lol I totally called it on the fatass comment in the previous chapter’s comments. Too bad I was totally wrong about the part where Chouji would go nuts. He still didnt do anything after that, so dissapointing. No wonder Chouji will never be a popular character, ever. I hate those naive personalities the most.

  • March 31, 2011 at 7:14 amYevgeny Zamyatin

    Some of you fail to realize that this is a children’s story, and that you are way too old (and WAAAAY too goddamn cynical) for it.

    • April 2, 2011 at 6:18 amTOP2NE1

      And you’re under delusion that a story for children is synonymous with terrible writing. Also you can’t play the children’s story card when there’s killing left and right. At this demographic people can tell when things suck or don’t make sense.

  • March 31, 2011 at 8:59 amT.K.

    The character development is irk-some but expected. Chouji has been that kind of person since Naruto began. But I still enjoyed the process and I’ve longed for Chouji’s slim look ever since Shippuuden started, HELL YEAH!

    I’m assuming he can control his butterfly chakra now, because collapsing after use won’t be pretty in the middle of a warzone.

  • March 31, 2011 at 7:23 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    While I’m glad they’re ACTUALLY showing such a problem with at least ONE person, I’m really surprised that it’s not Ino going through the internal conflict.

    I mean, she was BAWLING HER EYES OUT at hearing the mere news that Sasuke, a past, one-sided, shallow crush was labeled a missing-nin to be killed by Danzo (which should’ve been done right from the beginning), yet when it came to fighting someone who actually had a huge impact on her both personally and professionally like Asuma (and who she saw die before too and not being able to do anything about it), she’s suddenly all serious and ready to do what is necessary? =\

    • April 1, 2011 at 12:29 amDarklord

      Asuma is already dead. Sasuke is still alive.
      Although…I do agree that she should have let go of that crush a long time ago, and I think she already has…

  • April 1, 2011 at 9:49 amSOSAnimeBoy

    I always thought Ino was a more likeable/useful character than Sakura, and her saving Chouji in this chapter just made me feel happier that Sakura hasn’t been shown in the manga recently. If only things would stay that way…

  • April 1, 2011 at 3:03 pmrummy

    Those aren’t butterfly wings. He just let out some visible gas.

  • April 1, 2011 at 9:13 pmKentaiyoshimi

    My biggest confusion thus far is how all the resurrected people can TALK perfectly fine, when they supposedly do NOT have any control over their body.
    Talking requires moving the muscles around your mouth…… I find this highly contradictory

    What’s with butterfly motif/theme fetish with manga these days? I immediately thought of Bleach..

    • April 5, 2011 at 2:38 amDivine

      Kabuto mentioned a while back that he purposely left their personalities intact for the psychological effect it has on their opponents. It’s easier fighting a mindless corpse that resembles your deceased comrade rather than one who has all the memories of them.