I don’t know where Kakashi comes with these elaborate strategies on-the-fly, but I do love the little super-deformed drawings outlining his game plan. Seeing as it involved only a select group of ninjas and him as the primary source of offense, I was left wondering if everyone else’s orders were simply, “Try not to die.” Against the Seven Swordsmen of the Hidden Mist with Suigetsu giving us the lowdown on each of their swords, all these nameless ninja are nothing but fodder for them to showcase how powerful they are. As such, the sensible side of me thinks they should have all been ordered to retreat in an attempt to minimize casualties, whereas the analytic side of me realizes they served their purpose in the story by dying on the battlefield. That is, assuming their purpose was to spread fear and panic, and to firmly cement the fact that numbers mean absolutely nothing in this war. Instead, name and status are everything when it comes to judging which side has the upper hand, so the scales are tipped heavily in favor of Zabuzu and Suigetsu’s older brother Mangetsu’s side as far as I’m concerned.
At the moment, it seems Guy has been rendered fairly useless in the face of their “Silent Killing” technique, which is a bit disappointing, since I already pictured him closing his eyes and beating everyone down with sound alone like in those old Chinese kung fu movies. With him effectively out of the picture, it looks like the focus has shifted to the battle within the battle, namely Kakashi’s attempt to take out Zabuza and disperse his Hidden Mist technique so that they can actually fight back. While I get the feeling that Zabuza’s not the only Swordsman capable of using the “Kirigakure no Jutsu”, that’s the direction things appear to be headed. However, as if to belittle the plan that was so nicely laid out, the cliffhanger they left on quickly threw a wrench into it, thanks to Kabuto taking us on a trip down memory lane by having Haku sacrifice himself to protect Zabuza again. The déjà vu-type shock from it subsided fairly quickly for me, because I figure it wouldn’t have mattered if his Raikiri landed or not when they’re both immortal, so most of the cliffhanger came from Haku holding onto Kakashi’s arm so that Zabuza could finish him off.
Quite honestly, I’m at a bit of a loss on possible ways he’s going to get out of that, short of the one that involves someone jumping in to save him. Compared to the earlier battle against Deidara and Sasori, Kakashi’s division looks like they’re going to need some help against this many high-profile ninjas. Mifune’s group should be the closest with Gaara’s not too far behind, so it’ll be interesting to see if any new faces join the fray to level the playing field.