This is without a doubt the best chapter of Naruto I have read in a long time. Not only did it blow my mind that Naruto could actually be a long story that basically deals with and eventually beats the very existence of “hate,” it even brought back memories of when Naruto first started, when I was still a fan of the “super cool” ninja world and its badass realistic shockingly hardcore bloody battles. Hell, it even explained the most commonly appearing ninjutsu hand formation, stuff kids used to imitate all the time, but now we know what it means. Is it a little too late? But then I think, is it a little too late for us?

How many of us were fans of Naruto when we were only in middle school? And how many of those people are the exact ones lamenting the downfall of the manga, how it was once incredible, and unraveled our love for the series as the years went on? How many of us wish that was actually true, because then it would mean Naruto is still the badass strategic bloody ninja epic it once was? As much as I want to state my opinion as fact, there are obviously people who love Naruto to the point of embarassment (like with all mainstream series). But I’ve spent time rereading the first series, going through the bittersweet Zabuza arc, into the dark Chuunin exams, saw Naruto’s genius as a character fighting Gaara, and shed mantears at Naruto’s struggle against Sasuke. I still come to the conclusion that pre-timeskip Naruto is absolutely incredible, if not just because the battles still seemed rooted within realism, but that maybe it was the strategic thought put into them, or that the ninja lore was still fresh, that we were actually batshit scared of things like the Chuunin exam, and that the series still actually knew how to show some heart in its storytelling.

I’ve certainly glazed over the second half of Naruto when attempting to catch up in previous years, but the general feeling I got was that it’s simply not as good. So when I read this chapter, I couldn’t help but get a little sentimental, despite the fact that Naruto is still the same old fool with shoddy reasoning. If anything, his development over the years has only made him cockier, and when in shounen, that can only mean, “he got hax now too.” So really, it’s good news. Throw away your logic and kick reason to the curb, stop dwelling on past failures, and go beyond the impossible. If that’s the way they want to do it, then there’s three ways this is going to end.

  • One, Naruto does what he says he will, and depending if Kishimoto’s still knows why pre-timeskip was so amazing, the series will end true to the genre, if a little shallow.
  • Or, Naruto fails to do what he says he will, and will either redeem himself again, or end in a suicide attack killing both himself and Sasuke, bringing an era of peace. Both ways can significantly increase the value of the series as a whole, if Kishimoto still knows why pre-timeskip was so amazing.
  • Or it won’t matter if Naruto succeeds or fails, as the series will end on an abysmal note because Kishimoto forgot why pre-timeskip was so amazing.
  • 59 Comments

    1. Wow, this post sure brought back some memories. You know what, you’re right! Pre-timeskip was awesome. Now it’s just… good, but not like what it used to be.

      Puffy
    2. This chapter reminded me of everything I used to love about Naruto. It’s still okay, but it’s was never quite the same… until now. Come on Kishimoto, don’t fail us now ;_;

      Vii
      1. I thought it was a boring chapter too
        And yes, it seems like Naruto has gotten even cockier than before
        My problem with this series lies with the fact that I just can’t root for Naruto or Sasuke. I enjoy the arc so much more when none of them are featured, ironically

        Oracle
    3. It’s sad to say that Naruto will never be quite the same again after the timeskip. In some senses it was a good idea, and in others it was a lame deus ex machina, in a way. I would have loved to see the characters develop organically but instead of that Kishimoto kind of throws all these new powers at us without warning. They’re cool, but it seems pointless if he doesn’t tell a good tale through all of that.

      Oh, and if you like this post I think that my blog will be an interesting read.
      I cover anime and manga episodes/chapter reviews and I’d appreciate it if any of you anime lovers out there could drop by and leave a comment or two. Thank you!
      Aniphiles Blog

    4. wow ithis scene is really nostalgic
      if i remember correctly all of us addicted to Naruto because we want see people admit Naruto true strenght
      honestly Kishi quite not crafty to make people admit Naruto with more dramatic in the part 2

      Gradna
    5. This chapter was awesome with the nostalgia flashback thrown in. Pre-timeskip was nice but kids grow up so you have to move on! Obviously you have been blindly reading Naruto if you say the battles haven’t been dramactic or strategic. With all the powers Naruto has gained, he hasn’t lost his childish reasoning.There’s some nostalgia for you! Just because Shippudden hasn’t shown your favorite character or given them the justice you think they deserve, doesn’t make it a failure. Honestly this is the best manga/anime out and its been the best for a very long time. Just enjoy it!!

      1. ^This

        Shippuden has been very good in my opinion. It was inevitable that Naruto would become incredibly strong by the end (though I am not sure this is the “end” yet).

        I like pre-time skip as much as anyone, but Naruto was always weak and stupid. Some of his stupidity remains in Shippuden, but he is far from weak anymore.

        With Orochimaru gone, I found it difficult to determine who was the “main” badguy. Madara? He has a only been around since Shippuden. Feels like he is more of a long arc protagonist. Kabuto? He was a sidekick, but now has Orochimaru’s power himself. Kyuubi? He is still kind of a villain, but at the same time he has also saved Naruto on numerous occasions. Sasuke? I would guess this is the best choice. Unless at the end Sasuke does a double take and realizes he has been wrong, the series will probably end with his demise as the final boss.

        This is my biggest gripe… other than that I think Shippuden is awesome.

        Ricalloo
        1. Glad to see I’m not the only one. I’m surprised how many people hate shippuuden for not being like the pre-timeskip. For me Naruto has always been good, but as Kishimoto’s story telling has matured it’s only gotten better. I only used to watch Naruto for a bit of light entertainment (and it still remains so in some ways) but I do respect it a lot more.
          I don’t want to shoot anyone down for not liking the show, but a lot of the complaints seem a little petty. Rather than enjoy the show and determine why it’s good or bad, people seem to be assuming it’s short comings are for not staying the same. If a show failed to adapt and grow then that would likely also be a failure I assume. “Too repetitive.” If you don’t like Shippuuden by all means drop the show and re-watch the first arc over and over.
          The story has never been perfect. What it has been is entertaining. Some bits have been great some not so. Personally I’ve come to enjoy it over the year, and I intend to enjoy the end. That’s all it should come down to. Stop whining about things not being your way. If anything I found the first arc of Naruto to be more childish.

          Blaineo
    6. Its funny cuz I see it the exact opposite of you. I hated Naruto when it first came out I really only watched to the part when sasuke gets his evil mark. So when shippuden came out at first I ingored it. But I somehow watched it and like it better then pre-timeskip.

      infinite
    7. I prefer post time skip Naruto to the earlier arcs. Overall this is a fantastic series. I just like Naruto more as a teen evolving into a man and like Naruto as a little kid a bit less.

      Every major series (Bleach, Naruto, Fairy Tale, Nurahiyon No Mago)has arcs that work well and some not so well. Naruto overall has a good track record on their arcs both before and after the time skip. Naruto has also killed off characters that are important (Azuma, Jirayah, 3rd Hokage) to the series. Something the other series I mentioned don’t do.

      After this chapter its pretty clear that Naruto will fix the broken Sasuke. Originally I thought maybe they would fight to the death and Naruto end up having to kill him. Now I’m more leaning towards Naruto flipping Sasuke back to the good side and the 2 of them teaming up to take down Madera.

      I would like to see another time skip with Naruto as the Hokage (maybe married to Hinata) and Sasuke (married to Sakura).

      Karmafan
      1. Naruto post time skip is almost objectively terrible. It can still be enjoyed, but there are so much stupid shit happening with such frequency, it is impossible to focus on only the good parts.

        derp...
        1. Objectively terrible? Do you mean it was the goal to be bad, or it is a fact it is bad?

          Either way, I disagree.

          I think most people liked the first half because it was “new” more than anything else. There is still strategy and emotion in Shippuden, but it is downplayed a bit more because most people already “get” it. Do we need to beat a dead horse?

          Maybe Orochimaru was a better villain than Madara? I’ll concede that.

          Maybe Kakashi has be diluted to a support character from a main character? Sure.

          Maybe Sasuke’s emo-ness is just too much to take anymore? For sure.

          Those are bad points, but there are good points as well. Sage mode kicks the butt of just about anything else in the series to date, even this goofy glowy “Kyuubi mode”. Sage mode is just too awesome. The Pain fight? As spectacular as the Neji and Garaa fights were… I mean come on… the Pain fight was ridiculously epic. And what about Killer Bee? How freaking sweet of a character is he?

          I think sequels in general have a difficult time succeeding because so many people’s nostalgia of the “first” is so strong that anything but an “original carbon copy” is just lame. I try to take a clearer view of it. I try to see it as a true sequel and its own entity instead of trying to compare it to its predecessor.

          Then there is Bleach time-skip… and my theory gets flushed down the crapper. >_<

          Ricalloo
    8. ^@Karmafan
      I agree with you, and I don’t want to sound like too much of a downer when I say this, but haven’t those story mechanics been used a lot in stories and anime? What I mean is that a lot of characters have been converted and a lot of the characters that have been killed off in Naruto are always some form of a mentor character. It’s gotten to the point where you can usually predict who’s going to be offed and who’s going to live. Doesn’t make the anime bad, just predictable.
      Just my two cents.

    9. One idea I’ve thought about is in the final battle against Madara and Sasuke, Madara goes for the killing blow against Naruto but Sasuke sacrifices himself to save him, just like with Zabuza. That was a really emotional moment way back when. This bad ass character we all loved just died in front of our eyes, in a full page spread, no less. But his sacrifice would of course make Naruto go berzerk and finish off Madara. I think this would be similar to the pre-timeskip amazing-ness, no?

      Bossun
    10. Naruto aside, if Sasuke doesn’t die at the end that makes everything pretty pointless, and laughs at consiquences saying that you can go on a evil killing spree but it’s fine as long as one of your friends forgives you. Total BS I say, what should happen is that Sasuke sacrifices himself to stop Madora and end the war, nothing more really. Naruto dying serves no real purpose the way I see it. It’d just be the death of a naive character who lacked common sense. And besides, main characters tend not to die in shounens so I really don’t expect it.

      GP007
      1. There are lots of animes where the bad evil rotten villian becomes a good guy before its all said and done. It happens all the time in anime/manga. Redemption and forgiveness seem to be a big thing in the anime/manga world.

        Karmafan
        1. That doesn’t mean its good. If Naruto manages to Convert sauske back with a speech similar to what happened Pain, this series will have officially given me cancer.

          If the gift from Itachi to naruto was a message to Sauske that makes everything better, I will just rage for a while, and lump it with all the other stupid/convenient plot devices that have been pulled out.

          derp...
        2. And had that happened early on before he turned into basically a crazy killer, then ok, but I think we’re way cross a line now that redepemtion makes no sense.

          GP007
      2. I’ve been under the belief that Sasuke will live, but he’ll end up blind somehow; whether he takes physical damage to the eyes or something ends up overloading them anyway; either Madara having tampered with them or something cause, let’s face it, like Orochimaru, I highly doubt Madara would just so willingly give Sasuke a power like he had and risk him becoming just as strong or stronger than him without some sort of fail-safe attached.

        It would be, for cocky doujutsu-users like Sasuke or Madara who prize their eyes more than anything else, the ultimate punishment for everything they’ve done and would be a fate WORSE than death really.

        HalfDemonInuyasha
        1. You might be right. Perhaps Madera will steal Sasuke’s eyes and Naruto will take on Madera alone. Sakura might end up taking care of (and still loving) a blind Sasuke.

          Karmafan
    11. Nine-Tails: Naruto you have not done anything about Sasuke and he just sinks more and more in darkness ¿¡what are you going to do about it!?

      Naruto: I will think about it.

      You know, that is NOT an answer. Naruto is like a politician: “¿Migratory reform? we will do something about it later”. Let us see what Kishimoto will do about it, ha.

      If we are talking about ending a cycle of hatred then Lelouch earns my respect.

      Lectro Volpi
    12. I am a fan of Naruto until now.

      Yeah, I know what you mean about the OSMness fading and all…

      Sometimes, I find it a drag to read the new chapter week after week. (because there’s no significant progress.) I guess it already became a habit…but you know what? I don’t want to lose hope that somehow, Kishimito will redeem himself again.

      About the predictions…we can only guess.

      Eri
    13. Nice to know Kishimoto can still pull out a good chapter with ties to the pre-timeskip awesomeness. That’s what drew me to the series and kept me going for so long.

      I’m kind of hoping for a How To Train Your Dragon-feel finale, with Naruto succeeding in his goals to bring about peace but at the cost of perhaps part of his body, to show just how much he’s willing to sacrifice to save his friends and the future of the ninja world.

    14. Im sorry but the post-time skip sucks in comparison to the pre-time skip.

      Remember why we loved Naruto?
      He was the underdog
      Every arc in the series was EPIC! MORALLY EPIC!! and NARUTOEPIC!!!
      Naruto pwning Mizuki, Kakashi’s (who isn’t as epic as kishimoto makes him out to be)entrance, The Zabuza arc, The deadly chunin (showed us there is something to fear), Orochimaru (badass villian……… until post-skip), Naruto pwning Neji and Gaara, ITACHI’S ENTRANCE!!!!, The Sound Four arc all very EPIC and very realistic in the Ninja/Manga sense. Also everytime Naruto used Kyuubi it was for a reason in this part of the series

      Now Post Time Skip:
      Sakura v.s Sasori (well done epic)
      Naruto going Kyuubi mode for the 1st time in this series (lame)

      Now lets count the EPIC parts:
      Shikamaru taking down Hidan!!!! (fav character v.s fav villian imo)
      Jaraiya’s Death…… T_T simply beautiful
      Naruto v.s Pain OMFGEPIC
      Sasuke v.s Itachi (About time)
      Killerbee and Naruto (Im gonna love this)
      that’s it, I stopped watching until those scenes came in.

      Also the fact that almost every ninja now has some sort of super power that makes them on par with Naruto kinda sucks. They stopped being Ninjas vs Ninjas and became Freaks v.s Freaks. Examples: Suusano!!!(flipping hate that thing it ruined Itachi’s epicness for me personally), Kisame fish mode, Danzo’s arm, The Curse Seal was bad enough, Those fox brothers, Pain’s giant statue thing, Chouji butterfly was okay at first but then all these other freaks came in so now its unacceptable.

      Azul Flamed Samurai
    15. hmm, I honestly think that perhaps we’re being far too harsh on the second half of the series. The only thing that I think has really changed is the nature of the ninja battles. They have definitely become too overpowered, and honestly lack the use of tactics and pure “skill” that I really think attracted me to the series anyway. There was a sense of ‘compact’ scale and realism that made those battles among the best animated/drawn battles I’ve seen. They really didn’t rely on the kind of ridiculous ‘superpower’ abilities that really characterize the Shippuuden battles. I mean how many ‘kage’ and ‘super-kage’ level characters are there now? As much as I enjoy these later battles, i don’t feel for them on an emotional level in the same way I did before. (Kinda reminds me of Bleach in this sense… remember when the anime showed that FX when the spiritual pressure was really dense? Bleach’s scale has been completely blown apart and now exposes it’s lack of plot lol)

      Story wise I think that things haven’t gotten weaker to be honest. I think that it has brought in a sense of historical perspective that is linking together every single plot thread we’ve seen in the series. In this respect Shippuuden has a FAR harder job to do than the first half of the series because in order for it to wrap up properly, it has to take every single unresolved thread from the first half and resolve it in a coherent fashion.

      Finally are we perhaps forgetting the kind of fatigue that can kick in when you’ve been watching and reading a series for too long? When a work like this has been stretched out for over a decade, are we just going to be lapping up every single bit? One Piece is fortunate in that it had a defined end point clearly stated at the beginning. Naruto seems to be very much a story about successive generations and their battle with hate. Perhaps the perfect ending for the series (in an epilogue perhaps), would be to see Konohamaru’s generation passing on the ‘will of fire’ to the next generation, with the ‘hate’ that was so toxic before, safely dealt with thanks to the sacrifices Naruto made.

      Narrative
      1. I agree.

        Story-wise, Shippuuden is just as good, if not better than than pre-time skip Naruto. They’ve finally gotten around into starting to fill in various holes though, at the same time, keep digging a bunch of new ones, lol.

        Like, for example, considering how malicious and “poisonous” Kyuubi’s chakra is described to be to most people, how the hell could 2 developed adults like Kinkaku and Ginkaku survive for 2 weeks INSIDE IT while EATING its chakra-infused insides in general, much less live and able to use and control bits of chakra after the fact? I mean, even the Sora filler arc at least had his father having to use seals still and all when it came to using left-over Kyuubi chakra and even then, it wasn’t completely stable.

        The battles, with only a few exceptions (like Shikamaru vs. Hidan), have become little more than giant power vs. giant power (or hax items, hax techniques, or whatever) with not a whole lot of actual skill and tactics used like in Part 1 beyond basic observations and such.

        And, while I understand that Naruto and Sasuke are the “main” focal points, that doesn’t mean virtually every other character that they went through the trouble of introducing should simply be shoved into the background the whole time except unless it directly affects them in the main story(and even then, VERY little is really done for development or anything, like Team 10 vs. undead Asuma =\ ) or merely anime-exclusive fillers.

        Stemming from that, it does get a little annoying that so many truly powerful and experienced shinobi just get so “easily” defeated by Naruto/Sasuke/whoever, especially simply by some hax power, convenient event, etc. Kakuzu and Pain being a couple of the most prominent ones, IMO. I mean, at least Gai had to use SEVEN Gates to take down Kisame and even then, it was still close overall. Or having truly powerful and experienced ones on the same side purposely “dumbed down” in some way just to make the “main” character(s) look better.

        HalfDemonInuyasha
    16. For me, the reason I like pre-time skip a lot was because it focused more on the growth of Naruto and the ones around him.Like during the Chuunin exam, when Naruto fought Kiba and used that strategy on him.Naruto started using his head for once instead of talking trash like he used to.

      I believe what people really enjoyed about Naruto was the way the battles had a noticeable charm to it.I can’t really explain it so I’ll use examples.Like when Sasuke and Naruto trained how to focus their chakra to their feet in order to move faster just so they could level the playing field to fight Haku.Things like that where the training actually was necessary and fit the story so well that it wasn’t the usual “Oh well I’m going to do some training said to take a certain amount of years, master it in a short amount of time and then out hax my opponent”.

      Naruto became like that later on even in pretime skip, but at least the training became more believable given the circumstances.

      Everything in Naruto now so far has been about “my hax just gained more hax to beat your unknown hax” and “They gonna bring they guns and we gonna bring our guns, they gonna die together, and we gonna die together”.

      anishuma
    17. Naruto used to have a lot more heart imo. What you got was a young boy who was trying desperately to be recognized and his relationships with those around him. It was ultimately less about Naruto’s skills that brought him recognition, but his ability to make friends and stick to his morals that brought him happiness. That aspect of friendship has always been the most important part of Naruto to me, and it used to be more present in the series.

      innerchihiro
      1. This this this.

        I doubt ANYONE can invest themselves into current Savior Mesiah Naruto The One Who was Chosen By Destiny.

        Its like an entirely different character.

        UnknownVoice
      1. I hear you I really do, I promised myself that when I saw Sasuke left and i don’t regret my decision and am happy to be so close to the end…….. but still the 2nds not so gr8

        Azul Flamed Samurai
    18. Hm… Read this chapter because I thought some fights would come up, but okay.

      I think Naruto won’t end with this war. I think Kakashi will end this war, most porperbly with Sai and Sakura because he kills Kabuto (Kabuto has still caught Yamato so someone has to rescue him… So I think they will kill Kabuto and end this war)

      So, after this there will be an amazing *bam* *flash* *kabumm* *beam* *fire* *wind*… You know what I mean. I hope that in the end there won’t be a happy ending. Many Manga were destroyed by this (Look at Elfenlied)

      Pre-Shippuuden was somehow interesting that’s true. I liked this tournament-feeling of the Chunin-Exam, also I think the hunt of Sasuke was interesting, but the filler in the Anime… Gosh… To publish this was a big mistake…

      Said enough 😛 Don’t want to say more than the original post, but okay 😀 I would have said something more to kyuubi if I were the poster 😉

      SinShinTo
    19. I have to say:

      I hope Kishimoto tries to remember what made Naruto so good back then.

      Stopped reading this manga for now ever since the whole slow-paced “next challenger appears” weirdness of this “war” started. Just woke up one day and felt entirely unable to start reading a new chapter that is out. entirely uninterested and uncaring.

      Part II lacks the soul of Part I. Not only does Kishi forgot why Naruto lore and world was amazing, Kishi also forgot what made those characters tick.

      There’s no “characters”. these are templates for his ideas. You have generic black team, generic friendship team, generic hatred evil team, generic old team and so on(not to mention that part II is filled with sasuke/naruto-redux characters).

      Kishi uses those “characters”to anvil everyone reading that “yes the war is bad, everyone should hug and forget everything and abandon hate” and all that stuff. Sometimes I feel like I am reading some kind of weird translation version of Bible, except that Bible had a bit more interesting characters and lore.

      Kishi failed to make female characters competent, Kishi failed to make us care about Madara or see him as villain, Kishi FORGOT who Naruto was, Kishi forgot that these people were supposed to be ninjas and not characters out of DBZ and so on.

      I can only hope that when this manga ends and I decide to finish reading it, I will get at least a bit of satisfaction from the ending and etc. Because if entirety of post-pain-arc part II is anything to go by, I will most likely feel that reading part II was mostly a waste of my time…

      UnknownVoice
    20. Of course pre-time skip Naruto was better. Everything was new and fresh. Kishimoto depicted a ninja world in a way we’ve never seen before. It was mysterious, scary, and humorous at the same time.

      The beginning battles/stories were so strategy and emotionally driven that most of the characters who fought in them basically worn out their storytelling potential by the end. In Naruto’s world, most ninja seem to learn a few set of moves and that’s it unless you have a vendetta like Sasuke or a desire to become Hokage like Naruto there really isn’t much incentive for an ordinary ninja to train really hard and become super strong. Honestly, I think we were lucky to have had some of the secondary characters stand their own against some of the Akatsuki members.

      Kishi could have given these characters more stuff to deal with but he probably figured why even bother–everything they got would have paled in comparison to Sasuke’s and Naruto’s. Most of their stuff would have felt like pure filler for the sake of secondary character development and that’s not what you want in a weekly shounen story.

      Blueblu
      1. I want to see that scenario too, but you know Sasuke gonna redeem himself some way or another. Kishi’s kiddie/shonen fanbase is too large and he is afraid of pissing them off, and their parents lol.

        semtex
    21. I remember the first Naruto ep I watched was Sasuke REVIVED by the Curse Seal and beating the cr*p out of the Sound-nin. I had watched Ranma1/2 , Tenchi Muyo ( tenchi is useless 😉 ) ,Bubblegum crisis, DBZs and DB GT, wanted more fight scenes and more Japanese folklore 🙂

      Boy did I watch Naruto 😀 … FullMetal Alchemist is the only other series i sorta liked. Tried watching GunXSword but those Mecha stuff is just childish 😀 … much better to watch Macross or Gundam 😀

      Those who think Naruto isn’t so great … imagine if BLEACH was the longest running Anime and after watch DBZ … pure Navel gazing fluff 🙁 Melt your mind into a puddlde craazy.

      🙂 Happy that Kishi did this series.

      man_iii
      1. The main problem is that they are completely “negated” by the fact that they keep losing to mid-teenagers with, “realistically” anyway, merely a FRACTION of their overall power and experience (and the only “geniuses” to help somewhat make up for that are Shikamaru and Sasuke really), especially the more powerful and/or experienced ones like Kakuzu, Kisame, Itachi, and Pain.

        Maybe if Shippuuden took place like…7-10 years later (and even then, Naruto and co. would have A LOT of training and whatnot to do), I’d be able to appreciate the way things have gone more…

        The only Akatsuki member losses I can really truly appreciate being Hidan and Kisame; Hidan really being fairly low on the scale overall and only REALLY having his immortality to rely on overall against Shikamaru, who was a genius and had seen his fighting style before, allowing him to strategically work around it. And Kisame, being he was in his normal form and not merged with Samehada while Gai had to use 7 of the 8 Gates just to knock him down enough to barely capture (which was in vain anyway).

        I suppose Itachi can be up there too, but ONLY because of the fact that, even when like…90% crippled (diseased and almost completely blind), he was STILL holding back a lot against Sasuke in their battle. Even Madara stated that if Itachi had been truly serious about killing Sasuke and the battle not being an act, he could’ve done so anytime, instantly.

        HalfDemonInuyasha

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