As cool as it was to see Oonoki tell Naruto that it’s the Kages’ turn to fight, part of me couldn’t help but be amused by the other interpretation: “You ain’t stealing our thunder boy!” The most satisfying development was Madara’s arrogance though, as it gave clear indication that he doesn’t intend to turn tail against the best the current ninja world has to offer. I do however want to see Muu quickly removed from the fight so that he doesn’t come in as any sort of a wild card. Hopefully A and Oonoki’s combined attack will lead to that before long, as switching from the Light-Weight Rock Technique (Keijuugan no Jutsu) to the Added-Weight counterpart (Kajuugan no Jutsu) at the very last second was not only an effective fake-out, but should spell certain death for just about anyone when they’re paired with A’s speed and power. It was enough to sending Madara’s Susanoo reeling, so I’ll be a little disappointed if Muu isn’t quickly sealed right after. Ultimately, what I want to see is an uninterrupted fight between the Five Kages and Madara to confirm if the legendary Uchiha is as “hot” as he’s renowned to be.
I’ll admit that I “geeked it out” a bit at the thought of the five Kages as the ultimate MMORPG party, where Gaara is the main tank, Oonoki is the off-tank/buffer, A and Mei are DPS, and Tsunade is the healer. The chapter kind of set itself up to be interpreted as such, thanks to Madara’s observations of his opponents’ abilities. The best part of it was that the Kages are team players, putting themselves in the roles they were best suited for. As a natural extension to that, it’s nice to see that the story didn’t overlook some of the obvious developments, such as Tsunade tending to Gaara and Oonoki’s wounds, and explaining to Naruto (and us) that she didn’t have to use all the chakra stored in her Yin Seal. (I guess her Souzou Saisei isn’t an all-or-nothing technique after all.) I always like it when all the story bits are succinctly addressed so that the battle at hand can grab my undivided attention. It’s a lot more enjoyable to see Mei’s Lava Release Bloodline Limit — which appears to be what Tsunade had in mind to counter Madara’s fire ones (more so than her Water Release) — when I’m not thinking about why Tsunade didn’t take the time to try and heal first.
Amazingly enough, just as this battle’s picking up, the real Naruto (presumably) is literally bumping heads with “Madara” and the resurrected Jinchuuriki. It’s going to be pretty insane to see the upcoming chapters divided between these two fights, as I can already picture cliffhangers switching over to the other fight for added suspense. I’d imagine Naruto will get some much-needed help — B if he doesn’t have to take a leak again and probably some other high-tier Jounin — so I’ll be expecting big things from the next chapter with the extra week off.