We almost got a fight, but there was realistically no way we’d have back to back clashes of this scale. They do have to milk this manga for all its worth after all. Be that as it may, there were a lot of small tidbits that made this chapter more worthwhile than it initially seemed. First off is Sakura realizing that the best thing she can do to help both Naruto and Sasuke is to not meddle in their affairs. i.e. GTFO. I’ve longed for the moment something sensible came out of that emotionally-blinded thick skull of hers, but it still took some hundred odd chapters too many for it to happen.
Next, we have Sasuke stating that he wants to renew his eyes by taking Itachi’s, which I figure Madara harvested from the corpse right after that fight ended. Doing so would of course make Sasuke’s Mangekyou Sharingan eternal, a process that apparently doesn’t just transplant Itachi’s eyes to replace his own, but fuses with them. To be quite honest, I remember Madara talking about taking his own brother’s eyes to make his eternal Mangekyou, but I don’t really recall specific mention about the eyes fusing together. In any case, Sasuke going for the infinitely spammable Amaterasu/Susanoo doesn’t too bold well for Naruto. Let’s hope Naruto can spam Rasen-Shurikens by the time they actually fight.
The third major revelation of course is the survival of Kisame. (Was there really ever any doubt?) However, I do find the whole explanation of him hiding in Samehada for infiltration purposes a bit preposterous, much like a lot of the explanations in this manga as of late. Also, we’re supposed to believe that Zetsu did a replacement swap with Kisame during the fight in the floating water prison. i.e. The short period between here and here. While I’ll give Kishimoto the benefit of the doubt for thinking that far ahead (~16 weeks), it still comes off as something he came up with after the fact. I’d say it’s comparable to Dragon Ball Z, when we found out Cell was still alive after Goku teleported him off to King Kai‘s planet to blow up. The whole explanation behind Cell’s survival was kind of random and out of the blue, with no real precedence for it leading up to that point.
Aside from the above, we have Karin seemingly switching sides like I was suspecting/hoping for a while now. She’s not a terribly useful character, but if I had to choose between seeing her midriff or Sai’s, the choice would be obvious. (To all you jokers out there, no it’s not Sai!) There’s also Orochi-Kabuto making an appearance already. I figured he would be a key character in the next arc, but it looks like he’s going to interfere with everyone before this Madara/10-tails one is over.