If there’s one thing I like doing in my free time, it’s playing chess. And gosh darn, does this chapter feel like a game of chess. I mean, think about it for a moment. White makes the first move in chess. Kabuto, mostly drawn in white, takes the initiative in this chapter, attempting to assert an early advantage via his superior sensory abilities. We have the subsequent counter by Itachi, who is dressed in black (coincidence?), and anticipates Kabuto’s moves based on prior knowledge about his character; very similar to how chess players study previous games of their opponent. Then, there’s the feint Itachi tries to pull with his words and the subsequent multi-pronged attack by both Itachi and Sasuke, which is just a great analogy to chess strategies where one tries to bait their opponent to set up multiple moves ahead. I mean, really, this chapter’s just a perfect representation of chess and the amount of thought that goes into each move, as well as the various types of strategies used by chess players.
And suffice to say, I love it. Nothing really happens plot-wise this chapter, but just seeing the pure abilities of all the people involved, the major impact that analysis can have on the battlefield in addition to skill, it’s just amazing. And if anything, it goes to show just how equally important tactics are in addition to raw skill. Overall though, it definitely looks like the Uchihas have taken the upper hand at this point, surprising both myself and Kabuto with the use of tactics from their childhood. I have to say, at this point, it sure looks like Kabuto won’t be able to do anything in the face of the Uchihas and their combined might.
**On a side note, I have to also mention how much I love the emphasis on the brotherly bonds between Itachi and Sasuke. I know some people probably dislike the recent developments, but at the very least, I believe Kishimoto Masashi has done a good job with that aspect. I mean, it’s slipped in just perfectly with the development of the battle and the plot. There’s the subtle incorporation of flashbacks, the chapter titles referencing “brothers”, and to top it off, there’s also the great scenes involving both Uchihas. Combined with great lines like “THE BONDS BETWEEN BROTHERS WILL NEVER FADE AWAY!,” it just sends chills down my spine.