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.