Well darn, I gotta say I didn’t expect that coming. Granted, the signs were definitely there—the constant repetition of various cycles through the series’ length being one such sign—but I still didn’t expect Sasuke out of all people to just come waltzing in and saying he wants to be Hokage all of a sudden. To say it felt somewhat out of character feels like a bit of an understatement, and it’s something that I feel definitely could’ve been developed a bit better, considering the rather dramatic 180 his character has taken (and the fact that it’s insanity to expect people to just forgive him after all he’s done until this point).
In the end though, I guess it’s nothing particularly hard to accept—again, due to the nature of the series up until now—but it does leave a slightly… “sour” taste in the mouth after going through what would otherwise be considered a pretty epic chapter. Because when you got all four Hokage whooshing in the picture showing off their ridiculous skills, along with a nice chat between Minato and Naruto to get things going, there’s just nothing quite like it. Admittedly, I got a little case of the chills watching the latter’s interactions, and it’s a notion that really redeems this chapter for the most part—even if some of the culminating developments seemed a bit forced.
Either way though, the return of Sasuke and the reformation of Team 7 does bring an interesting new path of development from here on out—as the story really starts shifting in focus toward the future. Granted, Madara likely won’t let himself be finished off that easily, but with all four of the former Hokage present (and considering how quickly they locked down the Ten-Tails) I don’t see him lasting that long… which leaves us with what seems like the likely result of Naruto fighting Sasuke for the Hokage position to end things. Admittedly, it’s not a bad place to end—should it end there—and I see the other former Hokage (and Naruto himself) stepping in to help facilitate Sasuke’s return to the village in order to make these events possible. From there, it looks like it’ll be a pretty straight forward Naruto leading as Hokage with Sakura by his side ending—although I do find myself chuckling at the prospect of Sasuke somehow winning and becoming Hokage… heh.
In any case, the end really just… kind of snuck up on us there didn’t it? After looking like this fight would last quite a bit longer, it suddenly looks like it could all be over in a few chapters time, and it makes me wonder if Kishimoto isn’t under some kind of pressure to finish up the series before the year or something—which would definitely be a pity if true, although we’d probably never really get any real confirmation even if it is. I guess we just gotta continue savoring this while it lasts eh? Time sure flies…