With a ninja war imminent and all the major villages coming together under a common “shinobi” insignia, the way things played out in this latest chapter was like those movies where mankind bands together a common alien threat. Except here, we have an alliance of ninjas against a bunch of people who should be dead already and their army of creepy looking clones. Seeing as that description fits Madara and Orochimaru as well, this may as well be seen as a war against the undead ninja. From all the deceased Akatsuki members and Jinchuuriki to a handful of previous Kages, the twist was the bunch of nostalgic faces from Kabuto’s last batch of coffins. While I question what to make about the inclusion of Tsunade’s lover Dan, Zabuza, and Haku, it was pretty interesting to see them among the likes of Kimimaro, Chiyo, and Asuma. In Dan’s case, it’s simply because his abilities have never been revealed, whereas Zabuza and Haku are guys that Kakashi, Naruto, and co. defeated over three years ago. While the latter two will probably still overwhelm the vast majority of nameless “fodder” ninjas, I can’t imagine them being much of a match against any of our protagonists who have become much more powerful since then. For nostalgia sake, it’s cool seeing a lot of familiar faces though, which should make for some interesting reunions if Shikamaru ends up having to fight Asuma, and Gaara or Sakura against Chiyo. Story-wise, I’m admittedly not a big fan of how “Orochimaru” can revive just about anyone as he pleases, but I do like the prospect of seeing those potential match-ups as a result.
Other than the setup for the war that will probably be front and center for many chapters to come, the appearance of Sasuke after god knows how many chapters actually reminded me of what he’s been up to. It’s been a while since his long string of chapters, so I had completely forgotten that he agreed to have Itachi’s eyes transplanted into him. I gather that brief scene was intended to foreshadow how he’ll be joining the battle sometime later on, and in all likelihood wind up fighting Naruto with his Mangekyou upgrade. Mangekyou or not, I’d still like to believe that Naruto has the upper hand with the Kyuubi’s chakra under his control (somewhat), but I can just see Sasuke being complete “hax” with his new eyes. I haven’t ruled out the possibility that Madara may have given him Nagato’s other Rinnegan either, though I’m less inclined to believe that will happen since Sasuke fans probably won’t be happy about Kishimoto giving him mismatched eyes and becoming a power hungry freak like Madara. (Funny how that reasoning has nothing to do with plot, but I feel strongly about it.) I gather Sasuke still has a lot of pride as an Uchiha as well, and would probably rather inherit both of his brother’s eyes than take a Rinnegan for one of them. Anyway, fourth ninja war here we go. I’m looking to the leaders of each group to be the major players in the upcoming battles, which of course means that Gaara will be on the hot seat. It should be epic.