Wow. Just, wow. I’m not sure about you guys, but that chapter totally threw me for a loop (in a good way). I mean, I got easily fooled multiple times in the span of a few pages! For one, with the first quarter of the chapter focused on showing the continuation of the Edo Tensei’s release and Dan’s attempt to go to Tsunade, I figured it’d be pretty straight forward. Dan would meet up with Tsunade, they’d have a nice emotional discussion and maybe some flashbacks, and it’d be the calm before the storm (the last battle) for the most part. But nope. Close but no cigar, Kishimoto says. We get Dan meeting up with Tsunade and their emotional talk, as well as a small flashback… but then comes the first small twist in the chapter. See, I kind of expected Madara to just accept that the Edo Tensei was released and that he would stop fighting—considering his initial reaction—but contrary to my predictions, he just kept on fighting. In the end though, I suppose it just fits in perfectly with his personality/character. In addition, the best part perhaps was the fact it gave Dan that one more moment in the spotlight, demonstrating just how great of a person he is, while also showing an obvious contrast to Madara. It also didn’t hurt that this made his reunion with Tsunade just that darn more emotional.
But in the end, the second twist is definitely the biggest one of this chapter. And well, it’s as many of you predicted: Madara indeed manages to counter the Edo Tensei’s release. It’s not quite the exact reasoning everyone predicted per se and it’s something I pondered a bit about too (possibility-wise), but I had figured that the Edo Tensei release would be the end of him, especially with the indications from the middle of this chapter. But well, although some may disagree, this is definitely a pretty positive development for the most part. I’m not hating on the Kages or anything of the sort, but it certainly felt unreasonable for all of them to survive the Ninja War, which seemed like quite a possibility judging from last few chapters. Madara’s full “reincarnation” so the speak, virtually guarantees the death of at least one Kage at this point, if not most of them. As much as I’d hate to see them go though, it’s just something I’ve been expecting for the longest time, and it just fits in with the whole “new generation taking over” theme that Kishimoto’s been alluding to throughout the entire Ninja War.
And well, what else is there to say? This chapter just redeems any of the lacking qualities of the past few chapters for the most part, while setting up some darn climactic fights in the future. For some reason though, I get the feeling that Itachi’s “leaving of his feelings” to Sasuke will play a big part soon… perhaps to the point where Sasuke ends up being the one that contributes to the defeat/sealing of the newly reincarnated (with UNLIMITED CHAKRA!) Madara. Subsequently, I can see the remaining Kages (if any) being too incapacitated to stop Sasuke, who I predict will actually spare the lives of the remaining Kages and go straight to Naruto. From there, I reckon it’d be practically impossible for them to have their fated battle considering Tobi’s continued presence… so I believe the end result will be Sasuke and Naruto taking down Tobi and ending the war, followed by one last showdown between the two to end the series. As for what happens afterwards, I’m a bit torn between whether I think Naruto survives or not… but I reckon he’ll most likely survive and become Hokage when all’s said and done. Either that, or (like some people have commented before) he dies and gets shrined on the mountain with the other Hokage anyway… and Kakashi becomes the next Hokage or something. Just my two cents and attempt at forecasting the end eh. 😀