It took a while, but Naruto’s finally back and we get some development along multiple fronts this week.
First off is the reappearance of Sasuke and Co., whom we find are still en-route to their unknown objective. Despite seemingly heading in a direction opposite that of the battlefield and all not being chakra sensory type ninja, they’re all stopped in their tracks by one thing—the emitting of Naruto’s immense chakra with the help of the Nine Tails. Some chills went down my back at this moment as I understood just how powerful Naruto has become and this is all we end up seeing of Sasuke and his group for the rest of the chapter, but I found it intriguing how Sasuke’s reaction was merely one of annoyance more than anything. I can’t quite explain it, but this reaction makes me feel like they (Naruto, Sasuke, and the other ninja) are going to end up coming to some kind of “resolution” of sorts—one where they toss aside all that’s happened in the past, but still ultimately requires a final (and probably fatal) fight between Naruto and Sasuke to really settle things.
Moving onward, Shikaku Nara’s plan finally starts unveiling itself, and it’s an interesting one at that. Making use of the Nine Tails ability and Naruto’s immense chakra, they’re actually able to distribute his chakra among the ninja army… leading not only to a healing of whatever injuries were present, but a complete replenishing of their power and a boost on top of it. Using this, Hinata gets yet another moment to shine as she stops the Ten Tails in its tracks with an incredibly basic technique, which is followed by the simultaneous use of the Nara clan’s shadow technique and Ino’s mind transfer to (seemingly) bind the Ten Tails completely.
In the end, Madara seems unfazed by it all for the most part (as usual), but it seems like even he was a bit amused at one point. As usual though, the real emotional one ends up being Obito, who continues spouting what pretty much ends up being rage at his own failures (and a continued denial of them and of the entire world). At this point his commentary isn’t anything special, but it’s starting to show that he’s in anything but stable emotionally, and it’ll likely either lead to his own or the Ten Tails downfall as a result. Still, despite the fact that it’s understandable how he ended up this way for the most part, it’s just sad to watch. It’s like all he’s doing now is trying desperately to rationalize the choices he has made in the face of an entire world of ninja that are rejecting his view, and there just aren’t many words to describe how far he’s fallen. Taking it to another level, it’s like Obito’s just literally asking them to either accept it so he can stay sane, or kill him off before he goes insane himself (although one could argue he already is).
Phew* That ended up being probably the longest Naruto post I’ve ever written, but it just shows what this chapter held within it. Considering the need to cover a lot of ground following the sudden two week hiatus, it was a pretty packed chapter, and in my opinion a fairly good one. Heck, I didn’t even end up talking about the emotional farewells from Shikaku and Yamanaka, whose ability to stay calm, be themselves, and trust their children to carry on—even in the face of certain death—gives us a great example of what great ninja are.