Going back to last week, I had mentioned in the comments about how I fully expect most of the older generation of ninja to be killed off in some way… but I definitely never expected this. In one fell swoop, Kishimoto not only demonstrates that he won’t hesitate to kill off some of the more popular characters in the series by killing off Neji, but also simultaneously provides Naruto and Co. more fuel from which to retaliate in full force. The emotional dynamics of the situation have always been a key part of how things develop, and it’s safe to say that things are setting up for quite the show.

Of course, one must also consider however that this is a shounen manga, and that characters that have been “killed off” may yet “live to see another day.” Corny puns I know, but as SeishunOtoko mentioned over in IRC, there’s always the possibility of an Obito Rinne Tensei swooping in there. It’d fit in nicely with my prediction about most of the older generation dying (because Shikaku pretty much can’t be revived even with the technique since his body’s been vaporized), but alas, I just can’t see this happening with a high probability.

Regardless, the bottom line seems to be the same as last week, as the combined might of Obito, Madara, and the Ten-Tails seem to be pretty overwhelming. There’s still Shikaku’s plan brewing in the background however, as one of the many potential X factors in the fight—along with the potential return of either the Kages or Sasuke. Notably though, the conversation between Madara and Obito this week also seem to hint at one more additional X factor in Obito himself, as the latter clearly puts himself in a position where everyone (including Madara) is regarded as a potential enemy. Makes you wonder if he has some plans of his own regarding the Ten-Tails.

Either way, we’ll see how it goes. If there’s one thing that’s for sure though, it’s that we should pretty much start expecting deaths every chapter from now on. No time for tears however, as there’s a war to fight!

92 Comments

  1. Next time on Naruto: Naruto loses his friggin mind and lays a hurting on the Juubi and it’s masters.

    Seriously though, wasn’t expecting Neji of all people to die, but I suppose the seal leaving his forhead means he’s really dead, now it’s just a question of wether he will be resureccted or not.

    Also seems that Obito and Madara are already at odds and Obito will have to sacrifice himself if he really wants to succeed with the Moon Eye plan.

    Things are getting very interesting.

    Zero Hour 17
      1. True. Seems pointless. It’s like threatening to destroy the world for money, fame or power and then actually doing it. What’s the point afterwards?

        I actually liked how Naruto is now so aware of Hinata. Not only did he say her name when she said she’d protect him but also how the look of desperation he has whenever she’s put in danger or around him.

        Pretty sure all the shipper’s can sigh somewhat in relief as it looks like they -may- be confirmed unless something happens to her and Naruto goes berserk…again….

        Horus
    1. This reminds me of Bleach, the part where Aizen took out everyone from the mock Arrancars to the Captains and the Captain Commander, then Aizen wanted to make himself a God until Ichigo with his father’s help got enough power to stop him. I guess the same thing will happen with Naruto if Kurama gives him enough power to stop him.

      K C M
  2. Thanks for the fast post!

    For a moment there I thought Kishimoto would rid himself of the problem of having to conclude Naruto x Hinata love story. Phew!

    Zephyr: Edited for ya. 😛

    Fluca
  3. farewell neji, you finally got the spotlight after ignored since part 2.

    why im getting the feeling that rinne tensei will once again revive the dead after tobi mentioned he can use that hax jutsu in his ego talk with madara? :S

    Ryuuzaki21
    1. So Madara can use the Edo tensei on himself, but not the Rinne tensei, fuck logic! Regardless, it was a good chapter, seeing Neji back and being useful to the plot. His character had much to offer, but Kishi seemingly didn’t have time to develop it further.

      SouthSky
      1. I’d guess it’s because of both techniques being revival techniques, so since Madara is essentially “alive” again already (it’s his actual soul; only the body is artificial), using a second technique that also involves reviving yourself when you’re technically not even dead would be pointless.

        HalfDemonInuyasha
      2. Also forgot to mention, Rinne Tensei doesn’t cost the life of the user.

        The only reason Nagato died after using it was because of using too much chakra than he should have (like Kakashi did by choosing to overexert himself with the Mangekyo Sharingan to save Chouji, resulting in his owndeath). By the time he used Rinne Tensei, he had already spent tons of chakra using the Six Paths and the various techniques (multiple Summonings, Shinra/Banshou Tenin, Chibaku Tensei, etc) the whole time since he arrived (and his big Shinra Tensei that wiped out the village and Chibaku Tensei especially expended a lot of chakra, and Chibaku Tensei failed) to the point where Konan was warning him about using too much.

        HalfDemonInuyasha
      3. Rinne tensei isn’t a life consuming jutsu, Nagato used it on hundreds of Konoha shinobi and villagers, and only died because he had drained his chakra while fighting Naruto. The way I see it, rinne tensei bounds a soul to a body capable of sustaining life, which differs from edo tensei in which a soul is bounded to a corpse. Therefore, Madara only needs to create a new body of his, and bound his soul to it. Seems pretty reasonable if we consider all the stuff he has done during the war, that’s why I say his conversation with Obito is baffling, so to speak.

        SouthSky
  4. “we should pretty much start expecting deaths every chapter from now on”

    exactly what i thought when Neji went down. honestly, i dont know if i’m gonna be able to handle watching everyone die

    Slee
  5. What a chapter. There was that nagging feeling that either Neji or Hinata would die once it was made clear that Hakkesho Kaiten wouldn’t be enough to deflect the full scale of the Juubi’s attacks. Still though .. Kishimoto definitely isn’t pulling punches here. The flashbacks really did well to showcase just how far Neji has come as a ninja though and his final words/thoughts were no less moving to me.

    inaban
  6. I cry for Neji and the others that died. However, if Kishi kills them, I hope it is permanent. Another Rinne Tensei would ruin it. After Neji, I’m beginning to think who’s next?
    And also, I think the smart readers already had an idea of what to think of of Madara’s inability to become juubi’s jinchuuriki. 😉

    Soulsphere
  7. Any death flags on Tenten?

    Honestly, I think it would be better if she died and helped motivate Lee and the others. Better dead than forever forgotten in the background.

    MasterDragonKnight
      1. I agree with that. Kakashi can’t die because, well…he already did once when he died fighting Pain and one of the duo surely will die. With Guy they can do flashbacks of both Lee becoming a ninja and how he and Kakashi always competed against each other. All I know is, nothing is off-limits. Well, except Hinata – I can’t tell if Kishimoto is pseudo-shipping them for popularity sake or trying to lay more groundwork for a future NaruxHina ending.

        7godeohs
    1. As much as I’d like for her to shine in the main story Tenten is way more awesome in the Rock Lee spinoff manga, a perfect tsukkomi machine for her crazy teammates. Even more in the anime version with Yukari Tamura voicing her.

      For the chapter itself it’s sad to see Neji die like this, Gai’s team was my favorite genin team back in part one and Neji had some really good moments there. I’d rather see him die as a result of a fight like his pseudo death against Kidomaru but I guess he’s just too weak for the current villains. Now Naruto’s old genin friends remind me of Tien and Yamcha in DBZ, even after having great parts in Dragon Ball the new bad guys were just too strong.

      D2bro
      1. I admit I haven’t watched all 38 episodes of the anime (giving it a weekly slot wasn’t the best approach for it). Usually I just check the previews to see if they’re doing manga material or not before deciding watching it.
        The manga on the other hand is pretty good. The comedy Taira-sensei creates with the characters and lore works like a charm and it’s always fun to read. Plus hell, like I said Gai’s team is one of my favorites of the series haha.

        D2bro
  8. All this talk about defying destiny and he ended up being another Branch member who died protecting the Main House…which, in his very own words, was his destiny.

    Lovely.

    He really only died because it makes absolutely no sense for Hinata to become Clan head when he’s so much better than her. The whole Hyuuga house would look like idiots if that was the case. And even if he does get revived, his curse seal is gone meaning his Byakugan is destroyed and he can’t be Clan head anyway.

    Well played, Kishi.

    EmD
    1. Well, let’s also not forget that there’s been a constant toting about teamwork in Part 1 too, yet throughout Part 2, it’s been a lot about Naruto and Sasuke single-handedly fighting and everyone else being told to stay out of it for one reason or another (like they’d “just get in the way” and such), lol.

      HalfDemonInuyasha
  9. To be honest, Neji had become almost irrelevant so it was very easy to kill him off.

    However, we still have good memories of Neji being a signficant character back in Part 1. So yeah, RIP Hyuuga Neji.

    EamonX
  10. These “characters we know” deaths would have had a lot more impact if they had happened at the beginning of the arc, giving it an “anyone can die, no matter how young” atmosphere. Like Obito’s reveal, it’s something that was simply brought in far too late in the game to make a notable difference.

    Da5id
      1. He may come off like one to those who just skim through his posts without thinking about what he’s saying (or are just total Naruto fanboys/girls who, like with other things they like, thinks anyone who criticizes what they like is wrong and must work for the devil), but, to me anyway, he offers good points on how things have gone. It’s easy to just accept things as you read them without thinking, but when you really do think about things and look at how the story has gone so far and whatnot, it’s also pretty easy to see things “wrong” too.

        HalfDemonInuyasha
      2. Thanks, man! 😀

        And Felix, it’s neither. Rather the contrary, I actually care about the story enough to point out where it wastes its potential. True, a lot of my ranting isn’t necessary and gets obsessive at times (believe me, I’ve noticed when I go overboard.), but for the past couple arcs I had been given hope that even an incredibly linear story like Naruto could have a strong finish. However, after the rushed reveal about Obito and the wasted opportunities in timing moments like character development and death, all it can be at this point is lukewarm. Plus, I’ve read it all this time, I might as well read it till the end, right?

        Da5id
      3. Okay, maybe i judged you, before knowing your points, they are valid, after all, well to be honest, naruto was really good, before , shippuden after that, it lost his emotional impact, i dont know why, the only two parts i can recall that really hit me, in Shippuden, was the reunion between naruto and his mom, and the death of jiraiya, after that, i just keep watching because at least the developments were not boring, but well i have to admit that i was dissapointed in Obito being Tobi, it was kinda like WHAT?. But well everytime i read a Naruto Post i always saw your comments and thought, that guy really hate the story, so is good to know where you’re aiming at.

        Felix
  11. I just can’t really feel bad for Neji’s death nor Shikaku’s and the others.

    This is primarily because such characters have had very little time on screen/page (especially with Part 2), and even during the times they WERE there (like Neji earlier in Part 2 along with the rest of Team Gai), they didn’t really do all THAT much, thus making them seem much more like slightly more important support characters than “main” characters. Unfortunately, this is something that commonly happens when you make SO many “important” named characters (Bleach and other shonens do the same thing). So many of the characters just don’t get that much decent development/time aside from a couple episodes/chapters once or twice and then they just sort of fade into the background while the REAL main characters get all the spotlight; maybe they get a few words here and there, maybe a brief scene of them fighting, but otherwise, they end up not really contributing all that much to the story as a whole and it is usually those types of characters who die first somehow.

    Like EamonX said, Neji (and a bunch of others) have sort of become pretty irrelevant to the story as a whole, so it makes it easier to kill such characters off as it won’t really impact the story that much and will also serve as an excuse to piss off Naruto. Much like Hinata’s “death” at Nagato’s hands, which allowed Naruto to fall back on Kurama’s chakra (as usual) and break free when he was clearly pushed back and caught already.

    Even Kakashi’s seemingly important role in things from chapters ago just seems to have vanished as well all for Naruto to take center stage.

    HalfDemonInuyasha
  12. I liked the part where he reminded Naruto that Hinata is part of his life…

    Well, poor Neji. He was one of the better characters ante timeskip, his development dropped to zero after that. Anyway, I get the feeling that most characters will revive in some bullshit way to please fans anyway.

    virox
  13. Poor Neji…
    =(
    While I don’t like his death, it’s at least a good thing to see him willing to kill of characters, unlike Bleach, where they just magically can be healed by plot armor. -.-

    Silivious
  14. “expect most of the older generation of ninja to be killed off”

    I did as well, regarding the Raikage and the “Flying Ninja,” but this wasn’t expected. Poor Tenten, she was in love with him and poor Lee as he hasn’t complete his dream.

    you should do a poll on “which character you expect to be killed off” and “which character you expect to live.” My bet is Naruto will die.

    L002
  15. I really hope that Kishimoto doesn’t use the Rinne Tensei to bring back the people who died, it tarnishes their sacrifice and makes death cheap. I was kind of miffed when they did it the first time, but that was remedied by the fact that it wasn’t the last arc of the series and they needed certain characters alive.

    I really respect this series because it gives death meaning and doesn’t talking down to it’s primary demographic. I remember being 13 and seeing the Third Hokage die and not think much anything of it, until I realized that not only was he a major protagonist, but also the fact that he wasn’t coming back. This is something that you don’t get from most teen shows and that is why I will defend “Naruto”, the series, sure it is run of the mill shounen, but it takes the audience seriously.

    Spencer
  16. This scene reminisces One Piece, doesn’t Neji look like Ace and Naruto like Luffy, however Naruto is not going to pass out like Luffy I’m sure of it. If Neji was really meant to die like Ace it would break my heart all the same and the funny thing is that both characters happen to have their fates in a big war( although both wars were waged for different reasons )

    K C M
  17. Based on that exchange between Madara and Obito, what they’re telling me is that they could easily win the war if Madara charged straight at them as a suicide bomb, but chose style over efficiency. Sounds like they’re setting themselves up for failure.

    Gekokujou
  18. Is Neiji’s dad stll around?

    I had the impression he was at HQ, but I think he is in the field after one of the panels. I recall he was in the early battle as well.

    Anyway, if the theme is letting the next generation come to pass, and retiring the old guard, it is not possible Neiji’s death is permanent if his dad is alive.

    Either obito hax rinne tensei or tsunade “heal everyone and I die” will occur imo.

    Nanashi
      1. Ouch tough crowd!

        I have attention deficit disorder, and some details skip by me even if major.

        Anyway after reading the manga since it came out, I felt burned when Pain hax brought everyone back. Sure it it was always possible, especially with shonen, but it felt a bit cheap..

        As for Neiji and his death right after the madara/obito dialogue, it just seems entirely contrived.

        And yes, I have no idea where his dad is, and I can’t be troubled to go back and read lol!

        Nanashi
      2. Just to be nice, Neji’s dad died when he was still a child. Kumogakure (Hidden Cloud Village; A is the Kage right now) had sent a false peace delegation to Konoha, but they really wanted to try to kidnap Hinata so they could get the Byakugan for their village, and only a Main House member would be usable as Branch House members have the Caged Bird Seal on their forehead that a Main House member can activate, which would kill the Branch Member and permanently seal off the Byakugan, thus it can’t be taken.

        Anyway, Hinata’s father, Hiashi, killed the kidnapper only to learn that it was the delegate and, as a result, Kumo demanded Hiashi’s body as compensation for the death. Despite arguments that, correctly, Kumo had been the perpetrator that resulted in the death, Hiruzen gives in and agrees. However, rather than giving Hiashi over to them, Neji’s father, Hizashi, who is Hiashi’s twin brother (and made a Branch Member simply for being born second) volunteered to be used in his place (given he was a Branch Member, so they could use the seal). His death is what lead to Neji’s whole belief in fate being set in stone until Naruto beat him in the Chunin Exams in Part 1.

        Hizashi would eventually end up being revived via the Edo Tensei by Kabuto (along with many other prominent and named shinobi/kunoichi) and used to fight in the war, though we only get a few scenes of him before an undead (and freed) Itachi (through a Genjutsu from the Mangekyo Sharingan eye of Shisui Uchiha he put in one of his Genjutsu crows and planted inside Naruto to react to his own Mangekyo for use against Sasuke by having the Eternal Mangekyo) manages to stop Kabuto using the Izanami technique and undoing Edo Tensei, so Hizashi’s soul was freed and he died again along with all the others revived.

        But, as you can see, Madara managed to bypass the undoing with a set of seals that allowed him to make himself his own Summoner of Edo Tensei and kept himself alive.

        HalfDemonInuyasha
    1. Well, there is always the possibility that Madara casted the Infinite Tsukuyomi already and everybody is caught inside it, with nobody (as well as us, the Readers) realising it.

      I’m a Longtime Lurker here, now i finally got around of writing something in here. Pleased to meet you.

      Alchemist
  19. Wonder if there’s reason why they haven’t focused on the Byakugan like the other two eye doujutsu? Kubo trolled on the Tobi 3 Magatama holed Mask and Obito’s face does have his human limitations lol, but I feel with these chapters it will get more spotlight due to its uniqueness or will Hinata with Neji’s death get a Mangekyō Byakugan?

    ark noir
  20. I’ve figured something out. It’s true that Neji was killed but I think Lord Hiashi will used the reincarnation technique to bring him back just like Elder Chiyo brought Gaara back. He( Hiashi ) may not know the technique but He will ask a sand ninja like Kunkaro to show it to Him.

    K C M
  21. I quite enjoyed this and the last few chapters. I was expecting Hinata to try to pull another self sacrifice (Naruto was obviously worried about this as well), but I though Hisashi would take the hit, not Neji. Neji’s death has more impact on Naruto than Hisashi’s would have, and neatly takes his character arc full circle from trying to kill Hinata in the beginning to sacrificing himself to save her at the end. It also echoes his own father’s death to save Hisashi’s (foreshadowing anyone?). One thing confuses me though; in the panels it looks like Neji’s trying to save Hinata, but Naruto’s question (“Why did you do this for me“) and Neji’s response seem to indicate that he was trying to save Naruto, not Hinata. Perhaps both? Or is there something else going on that will be explained via flashbacks… It would be just like Kishimoto to insert Naruto’s reaction to Hinata vs Pain into the middle of a major fight.

    Another thing that struck me while reading this chapter is that Naruto’s still acting pretty naive. There are those panels in the beginning (“What happened to them?!”) which show to me at least that he doesn’t really understand that people are dying. I like how for the first time since the wave arc the gritty reality of the ninja world is getting rubbed into Naruto’s idealism. I’m looking forward to how he’ll respond, especially considering that this is the first time one of his friends has gotten hurt in front of him and he can’t respond by going into Kyuubi-rage mode. I really hope that everyone who dies STAYS DEAD. I lost all remaining patience for resurrections with Orochimaru. Heroic sacrifices loose almost all impact when they have no meaning a’la Dragonball Z.

    R.I.P Neji Hyuga, and may your spirit wreak everlasting vengeance on Naruto if he doesn’t take care of Hinata properly.

    Hochmeister
    1. Well, in DBZ’s defense, at least they had pretty tense times where the Dragonballs disappeared or looked like they could, thus taking away that avenue (and even then, Earth’s Dragonballs can only revive a person once AND the being had to die from “unnatural” causes). Like when Piccolo died (and, by connection, Kami) against Nappa, that took away any chance of bringing anyone back until they learned of going to Namek itself (which was a 3 month journey), but then they’d have to fight enemies who made even Vegeta look like nothing at all, and who they just barely survived against after taking so many casualties, who were also looking to find them (of course ones like the Ginyu Force, Frieza, etc).

      But even when they finally managed to get all of them themselves, they learn they need to speak Namekian to use them AND they operated in a completely different fashion then the ones from Earth (3 wishes and multiple revivals per person, but only 1 revival at a time rather than being able to revive multiple dead people). So, of course, Piccolo was the choice as it would also bring back Kami and then Earth’s Dragonballs, only for Porunga to disappear with Guru’s death. Of course, Piccolo almost died several MORE times after that, thus risking them again and losing all hope. So in order to bring things around to save the others, King Kai had to use a tricky “bypass” of Earth’s Dragonballs (the fact that Guru “died of a broken heart” from the deaths of his people, thus an “unnatural cause” of his death) to bring back Guru, thus bringing back Namek’s Dragonballs, then having Porunga teleport everyone (minus Goku and Frieza) to Earth. But then AGAIN, Earth’s Dragonballs disappear when Piccolo has to fuse with Kami to become strong enough to fight the Androids later on, leading them to having to find a new guardian )in Dende) and create new Dragonballs, and so on.

      And even further, there’s the fact that the Dragonballs, at first, required a whole year to be able to restore their power to be usable again, with the newer ones by Dende being every 3 months (or 1 month if you don’t use both wishes). And even with the shortened time frame, there’s the fact that, after each use, all seven scatter to completely random places all over the planet, so unless you got a genius like Bulma or her father or someone capable of creating a device capable of looking for them (though most people in the world don’t know WHAT they are or that they even exist in the first place), then you’ll most likely only be getting 1 use out of them anyway.

      It isn’t quite like Naruto, where they have these techniques more or less at their beck and call and can be used at virtually any time they please.

      Hell, GT (though non-canon) took it a step further with the Black Star Dragonballs and the fact that not only, after each use, do they scatter randomly all over the entire UNIVERSE, but the fact that if they’re not ALL brought back to the planet the wish was made, the planet will be destroyed (and it DID happen to Earth too, lol). Nothing quite like that in Naruto, lol.

      HalfDemonInuyasha
      1. And don’t forget that GT also had Baby, who possessed some of the main characters and made so the ones who weren’t possessed had to kill them to win, but since they didn’t have the Dragonballs, they couldn’t wish them back if they killed them.

        And then there was the Shadow Dragons (which had a lot of lost potential as a final storyline), where it turns out the characters have actually abused the hell out of this magical resurrection powers and actually had to destroy them to make sure everyone else lived!

        Da5id
      2. All that’s true, but my point was that once death was subverted in DBZ it ceased to have much meaning beyond becoming one more obstacle the good guys had to overcome to be victorious. Obviously this story can work (and kind of did for DBZ), but I don’t want to see this happen in Naruto. Happy endings are nice, but the real world doesn’t work that way. I’d prefer to actually see the series deal with death rather than sidestep the issue with another mass ressurection. It’s much more relatable.

        Hochmeister
      3. @Da5id

        And even with the defeat of all seven Shadow Dragons, and the Dragonballs restored, they all went bye-bye with Goku to prevent such a thing from ever happening again, so life went on as “normal” on Earth after. (And resulting into the tons of totally guesstimated one billion power level for Goku, lol.)

        HalfDemonInuyasha
  22. Was anyone else really, really hoping for a “…And because you’re my Hokage.” at the end? I keep waiting for it and Neji’s death would have had a LOT more significance if he had said this.

    Circles

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