It’s been a long time coming, but the flashbacks are finally over… and it looks like the Hokage are going to be given their chance to join the fray. Interestingly enough, Sasuke also ends up stating his intention to join the fight too—buoyed by an intent to ensure that his brother’s sacrifice would not be in vain. I had mentioned this as a possibility last week myself, but even so, it was something I wasn’t expecting to see. Still, with the return of Karin as well, it looks like this is just one of those things where the general story’s really just starting to wrap up, and the future chapters look like they’ll be pretty spectacular. Admittedly, I’m slightly torn in terms of my acceptance of both Sasuke and Orochimaru’s “sudden” willingness to help fight Madara, but at the same time… I suppose it’s a development befitting a shounen manga—though I wonder if Kishimoto’s being put under some kind of time pressure to wrap things up at this point.
Regardless, the general feeling I get from this chapter ends up being quite a positive one. The whole bit about the Hokages realizing the consequences of their actions and regretting some of the mistakes they’ve made in the past was fairly well done, and seeing them stand on their respective faces on the Konoha mountainside gave me some chills as well. Indeed, it’s quite the symbolic moment, and something that’s emphasized further when you consider the fact that things are kind of going full circle for the Hokage. After all, it can be said that all of this started out with decisions (and mistakes) made by the First Hokage—ones that would shape the decisions of future Hokage and be built on in successive generations. With their return to the battlefield, it gives them that one last chance to erase a threat to the village (and the world) that formulated during their reigns—both wrapping up things they caused and also freeing the new generation to deal with their own problems (passing on the torch so to speak).
Notably, while we’re on the topic of passing on the torch, the whole bit about the Will of Fire (the will of the First Hokage) passing through the generations was also a prominent topic this week. It’s nothing particularly new, considering how many examples we’ve seen with the current generation already, but at the same time it’s something that you can’t really get tired of—especially when it’s linked to the whole bit about the Uchiha and how the will of the village ended up being received the best by them out of all the respective clans. It’s a nice bit of irony considering all the developments so far, and it’s something that’s also nice in the commentary that you can’t really just discriminate against everyone of a certain background/ethnicity just because of past events. Indeed, people can change, and the Uchiha—despite their supposed predisposition to being controlled by their Sharingan—are no exception.
Looking forward—I know I’m repeating myself here, but I can’t help it—the future chapters look like they’ll be amazing. It’ll be quite something to see Madara’s reaction to the first and second Hokage’s return, Naruto’s reaction to Sasuke and his father’s return, and the rest of the Konoha army’s response in general to the return of the most revered ninja in their history. And of course, let’s not forget the inevitable epicness that’ll come from the Hokage using their ridiculous techniques—not only with unlimited chakra supplied from the resurrection jitsu, but likely powered up by Naruto as well. Definitely some fun stuff coming up.
UPDATE: Seems like manga’s on break again, so next post will be on 4/24.