When it comes to surprising people on the battlefield, Naruto’s bread-and-butter Kage Bunshin no Jutsu is the most obvious possibility. Still, it didn’t occur to me that he’d leave a clone (or his true self) inside Son Goku just to push the controlling rod out. With his other self busting out his Kyuubi form, it felt like we were in store for a brute force “yank-that-shit-out” turning point. All the build-up toward it from Kurama about Naruto “doing what he does best” suggested as much anyway, since our orange jumpsuit hero is best known for going wherever his emotions take him and thinking about it afterward. In hindsight, this surprise development does show that Naruto’s vastly grown as a ninja by thinking several steps ahead.
The only thing that kind of throws me in for a whirl is the fact that one instance of Naruto is in Kyuubi form while the other is in Sennin Mode (a.k.a. Sage Mode) — two techniques that supposedly couldn’t be combined, similar to Dragon Ball Z Son Goku’s attunement with nature via the Genki Dama (a.k.a. Spirit Bomb) and his own fiery Super Saiyajin form (barring the anime original stuff that Goku pulled in the 7th movie against Super Android 13). I realize the restriction probably doesn’t apply since Naruto and his clone are completely separate entities, but the fact that he can be in both forms at the same time does open up the possibility that he can combine their respective techniques. This is but a mere observation though, as I really can’t see this coming up as a plot point in the future.
As for the flashbacks, some may argue that it’s a waste of pages to show that many scenes, but I actually liked the emphasis they provided. They also covered some of my favorite scenes that got me hooked into the anime to begin with, such as Naruto’s very first S-rank mission. For those still watching the anime, those scenes will undoubtedly be even better with the music to bring out all the emotions behind them, whereas for manga-only readers like myself, it builds up anticipation toward what all those feelings will culminate to next chapter.