While the previous chapter had pretty much foreshadowed an encounter between Kabuto/Orochimaru and the Tsuchikage Oonoki, I wasn’t expecting things to cut to the chase so soon this week. Most of this chapter centered around Naruto and Bee’s idiocy, but did set the stage for the upcoming battle with a resurrected Deidara who’s going to be taking on his former village’s leader. Interestingly enough, the whole rogue ninja versus a village leader bit reminds me a lot of Sasori and Chiyo’s fight, so I’m sort of expecting a flashback to Deidara and Oonoki’s backstory at some point in the near future. It would make up for Deidara’s lack of one after going out with a bang against Sasuke, which will hopefully give some more depth to his character’s obsession with art (…even in death). Aside from Naruto and Bee checking out giant animals’ junk, the other big revelation is that Kabuto was able to recreate a copy of Manda after Sasuke sacrificed the giant snake to save his own skin against Deidara C0 suicidal attack.
As things stand now, I really can’t see Kabuto being taken out of the picture when he’s been alluded to as a villain above Madara, which suggests that if anyone’s going to die in the upcoming battle(s), it’s going to be the resurrected Deidara or Oonoki. The series hasn’t exactly been shy about killing off village leaders at the hands of Akatsuki, so I can definitely see the old man with the bad back pulling off some valiant deed to protect Naruto and Bee. Of course, I’d much rather see the bad guys’ plans successfully thwarted for a change, rather than things going exactly as Madara planned every step of the way. For once, it’d be nice to know that something our protagonists did actually set him back. Even when Akatsuki members are killed off, Madara tends to shrug their deaths off as within his expectations. I guess I’ll find out soon enough if this is going to be another case of that, though I’m not holding my breath after learning that this whole arc is intended to get a Zetsu clone in Kabuto’s hands to experiment with and change the tides of the upcoming war even more.
* If it wasn’t apparent already, the post title is in reference to Naruto.