…where everyone planned a good five or six steps ahead, only to find out that their opponent had done the same. Gone are the days where a consecutive chain of cliffhangers due to the learning process in fights, as everyone is much smarter now and get straight to the point. From a high-level ninja perspective, it makes a lot of sense that Konan is aware of Madara’s space-time abilities and only attacked him in a way that took that into account. However, the inclusion of her flashback with Yahiko and Nagato after Madara claimed he’s the one that got the former to create Akatsuki and gave the latter his Rinnegan came off as a death flag to me. Furthermore, the mangled state that she and Madara are in as a result of her suicidal attack, plus the parting of the paper ocean at the very end made it seem like this fight will conclude one way or another very soon. So in the span of a mere chapter, the big fight between Konan and Madara began, waved the flashback death flag, and reached its climax.
Normally, I’d still expect the fight to wage on even in light of these rapid developments, but after Kisame’s one followed a similar pattern and ended with Guy’s one-shot wonder Hirutora technique, I really don’t know anymore. Perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised next chapter with Konan not getting written off just as quickly as she was reintroduced. I’m not holding onto any hope that it will happen given how the story seems to be tying up all the loose ends character-wise, but I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to seeing things turn out that way. From an anime standpoint, I can’t imagine these relatively quick fights being a good thing though. When action scenes are involved, chapters can fly by in a matter of minutes, which may explain why Shippuuden has just started another filler arc following the completion of the Pain one. This time, it’s actually a flashback one that goes back to Naruto’s younger years under Iruka’s guidance, which is notable since the Third Hokage is still alive then. (Note: I’m not actively following the anime anymore and simply checked to see where it’s at.)
Anyway, there was some discussion about exactly what Orochimaru’s forbidden Edo Tensei technique is capable last time. As some people pointed out, the actual body of the deceased person that’s summoned isn’t necessary as their souls and abilities are placed in a sacrificial vessel; however, I’m beginning to suspect that condition of their corpse has some effect on the state they get summoned in. Most notably, the resurrected Itachi and Nagato didn’t look like they had their Sharingan and Rinnegan when Kabuto/Orochimaru showed Madara who he had at his disposal. This doesn’t change the fact that Madara wants Nagato’s eyes for himself, but does lead to some interesting questions about exactly what the limitations of Edo Tensei are, if any. For now, the whole Rinnegan angle looks like it’s going to be a key aspect of the overall story, which leaves me wondering if Madara simply wants to transplant it into himself or use it for some other yet to be revealed purpose.