It’s not every day that all the things that caught my attention in a previous chapter become the focus of the very next one, but it looks like that happened this very week. I was sort of expecting Sai to be pretty emotional after spending so much time around Naruto, and he took it to extremes when Deidara didn’t hesitate to use Shin as a bomb. Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting him to be as pissed off as he was, but boy did it have a lot of impact to see that much emotion coming from Sai. That was nicely followed up by a successful surprise attack on both Deidara and Sasori too. What I really liked about this chapter was extra bit of story surrounding Sai’s drawing of him and Shin though. It was fairly brief yet surprisingly effective in invoking some sort of emotional response in readers (at least for me anyway). For something that was quickly brought up and concluded in the span of a chapter, I really wasn’t expecting to be feel as sympathetic as I did towards Shin’s last words to Sai. That type of response is likely attributed to mention of Sai’s drawings in previous chapters; however, I still have to give most of the credit to the how things played out in this one because I had almost completely forgotten about them after all this time.
Other than that, Kankurou squared off against Sasori for the most part as expected, while Omoi kept Deidara preoccupied for a bit like I was anticipating as well. What I didn’t foresee though was the fight remaining a group effort for the entire duration, with Kankurou leading the way in terms of both offense and defense. Incidentally, I really like the prospect that a lot of the upcoming fights might be similar, as it not only keeps the fights relatively brief without feeling unsubstantial, but also emphasizes the teamwork of ninjas from various different villages. The strategy and surprises are present as usual, except they forgo the lengthy explanations that we can probably do without at this point. There are going to be a lot more encounters to come after all, and this first one managed to provide both entertaining action and a sentimental match-up in only two chapters because of that. I’m not the least bit opposed to the idea that some fights will drag out for longer and having more exposition, but I like the idea of this type of pacing carrying over to most encounters and maintaining the frantic feeling of war. With this one over, I’m already looking forward to seeing what group will clash with the enemy next and what sort of team effort they’ll be able to pull off.