We’re finally back in the thick of things after a two week break, and it’s interesting to see how the series is literally taking things as close to the cliff as possible. For the past few chapters now, we’ve been constantly teetering on the edge of what would likely be the significant development that changes the tide of the battle (or ends it), and this week continues this trend. What this means is some forward progress was made, but nothing of the significant variety. This chapter boils down to Gaara and Sakura working together to try and revive Naruto by bringing him to Minato (and vice versa in regards to Orochimaru/Karin& Co. with Sakuke), and it’s generally within expectations in the overall scheme. Madara’s awakening as the new Sage of the Six Paths is almost complete, and really, it’s just a matter of time before something big has to happen.
That said, there was one thing of particular note from this chapter, and it’s the fact that Naruto and Sasuke are actually both “dead” at this time. It’s pretty obvious that they won’t stay that way for long, but it’s still intriguing to think about from a story perspective because it’s quite unusual to have two of your biggest characters dead, even if it’s only temporary. Furthermore, it makes you wonder if this “on the precipice of death” moment may not be seized on by Kishimoto to stretch the coming of the climax even longer, and I’m hoping this doesn’t end up being the case. At least, I hope that if he does do some kind of otherworldly dialogue or what not, it’s nothing more than a chapter—because there’s such a thing as drawing out the suspense too long, and this part would be especially vulnerable to such an issue. Guess we’ll see.