So with the fight between Sasuke and Danzou well underway, let the speculation begin. This series has a tendency to keep us guessing what a character’s abilities are early on, only to pull a handful of surprises before a given fight concludes. In some cases, it even purposely leads us one way just so it can throw us completely off on what’s in store. As such, anything suggested between now and then should probably be taken with a grain of salt, even though some theories are a lot better thought out than others. In Danzou’s case, they’ve thrown us in for a bit of a whirl by having Karin hint at the possibility that his ability to elude Sasuke’s attacks isn’t genjutsu. However, both her and Madara are fixated on the Sharingans on Danzou’s right arm, which appear to close every time he uses the technique(s) in question.
While I could easily theorize that the eyes act as a chakra reservoir of sorts for his technique(s), I’m still at a loss on what he’s actually doing to fool everyone. I’d imagine that Madara has the best idea, although Sasuke seems unfazed during all the exchanges as well. I can’t help but wonder if that’s because Sasuke doesn’t feel threatened by Danzou’s techniques so far, or if he’s simply so focused on getting revenge. He hasn’t really given us any indication on what his thoughts are, but it looks like he’s pulling out all the stops by using Amaterasu right away, as well as his new hawk summon. As for the appearance of Itachi at the end of it all, any guesses as to whether this is something Itachi left behind in Sasuke or just a clever genjutsu on Sasuke’s part to throw Danzou off?
It’s so gross seeing those Sharingans squirming about Danzou’s arm so I didn’t even want to use that as the picture for this chapter. Just to clear up any confusion from last time, they do appear to be fully developed Sharingans (3 dots), but not of the Mangekyou variety. Much like many people have suggested, I’m under the impression that Danzou went farming for eyes from all the corpses left behind during Itachi’s massacre of his clan. As Kakashi has shown us, it’s possible to continue developing Sharingans after they’ve been transplanted to their new host, which explains how Danzou has so many high level eyes. Sealing his arm evidently hides the fact that the eyes are there, since Ao’s Byakugan didn’t pick them up specifically during the Kages’ summit meeting.
As for Sasuke, it looks like he’s using his Mangekyou more now, along with the ability to summon Susanoo. I gather he activated his eyes when he killed Itachi, since the requirement is to kill the person closest to you. After the big revelation of how Itachi gave up everything for the sake of Konoha and how he was always looking out for his little brother, I presume this means he was the closest person to him. Sasuke didn’t go as far as obtaining an eternal Mangekyou like Madara suggested though, meaning he too will lose his vision down the stretch. However, I’m still a bit puzzled about how all this works. I mean, Itachi’s eyes were on the verge of degrading to complete blindness so I could see why he needed a fresh pair of Sharingans as his new light to make his Mangekyou eternal. The same with Madara and his brother. Now is it expected to work the same the other way around if Sasuke were to take Itachi’s degraded pair of eyes? i.e. Does the eternal requirement basically come down to activating your own Mangekyou and then taking another’s regardless of its state? (Funny how that seems to be the case.)
Anyway, the heavy reliance on genjutsu from Sharingan users still seems like a cheap way to develop suspense from their fights. The way I see it, it’s equivalent to the ultimate “it was all a dream” cop-out ending. Except here, it’s the “it was all a genjutsu” way out. I don’t recall exactly, but during Sasuke’s fight versus Itachi, that must have happened at least two or three times with each of them “turning the tide” by breaking free of the other’s illusion. As such, I’m reluctant to take anything as reality when it comes to Sasuke’s fight with Danzou just like we saw at the end of this chapter. Unless there’s some verification following a supposed killing blow, I’m not taking anything they show me (especially cliffhangers) at face value.
Aside from that, I found it funny how even Kakashi thought Sakura’s digging her own grave by going after Sasuke. Sure, we don’t know how much she’s developed since her fight with Sasori (for which she had HUGE help from Chiyo of Sunagakure), but it’s hard to imagine anyone measuring up to Sasuke’s growth now short of Naruto. That’s likely the way they want to play up their eventual encounter, so I’m almost willing to bet that no one’s going to be able to stop Sasuke until then. That includes Danzou right now. As for Naruto himself, I feel sorry for him. It’s almost like his motivation in life for the past three years has come to a crashing halt. With all his friends abandoning any attempt of saving Sasuke and Naruto well aware of their reasons for doing so, the thought on what he should do literally eats him up inside to the point where he collapses. He’s a simple-minded protagonist who wears his heart on his sleeve, but even I didn’t expect that to happen.
* Updated with links.
Let’s cut to the chase on this one. An arm covered in eyeballs is SO GROSS. They really need to get over this whole doujutsu craze in Naruto. The next thing you know, Danzou’s going to whip Sharingans out of his nipples. YUCK!
In less disgusting news, I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that Fuu’s from the Yamanaka clan. The whole mind-body swapping technique was pretty much a dead giveaway, plus his white/blond hair. I guess I had trouble imagining someone from Ino’s clan as a top ninja of Root. What was less obvious though is that Torune’s an Aburame. Unless I’ve overlooked something, I don’t recall him performing any techniques until now, let alone bug-related ones. Now that I think about it, the mask he wears does follow the clan’s tendency to hide their eyes. That said, I’m not going to get into the speculation game regarding Aburame Shikuro. However, I will admit that bringing up an unfamiliar name was a nice teaser of things to come. Much like the Yamanakas, I didn’t really picture an Aburame being the other top ninja in Root. My impressions of those two clans came primarily from Ino and Shino, who aren’t too impressive. As such, I like how they changed my opinion of them here.
Regardless, I don’t see how anyone’s supposed to fight Madara at this point when he has the ability to phase in and out of existence as he pleases. Perhaps the only way to attack him is with a similar space-time distortion technique, such as Kakashi’s Mangekyou Kamui. I definitely don’t see Naruto being able to do anything against him unless he starts innovating some new techniques, but I’m sure they’ll tackle that obstacle if/when we get there. For now, it’s Sasuke vs Danzou. I totally forgot Sasuke and Karin were just chilling inside Madara’s alternate realm all this time. This fight should be interesting, but I was actually happier about seeing Karin again.
What a chapter. While the action may have died down (sorry shounen-fanatics), the story actually took a turn for the better. First off, Sai tells Naruto that all his friends have decided to kill Sasuke as well. It’s for the sake of the world and all, but still a huge shock to Naruto when he hears that Sakura plans to kill him herself. Whether or not she can actually defeat a Kage/Jinchuuriki-level ninja is another story of course. It’s too bad she wasn’t born an Uchiha with a resolve like that though — she’d be well on her way towards obtaining a Mangekyou.
After all the heated discussion before, I’m relieved to finally have it confirmed that Sakura’s confession was merely her way of lifting a lifelong burden off Naruto. Yes she cares about him and thought this would make things easier on him, but I wouldn’t be the least bit happy if I were in Naruto’s shoes. Love may have been there, but evidently not the right kind, so it’s still a pity/self-sacrificial confession in my eyes. It doesn’t sit well with me that she tried to make him believe in a false love just to distract him from the matter at hand. So for that, kudos to Naruto for not buying it right from the onset.
Three cheers for Kakashi as the new acting Hokage? I’d so go for that over Danzou any day of the week, even though I find Kakashi’s stamina and personal interest somewhat lacking for the position. His skills and character are definitely suited for the job though. As for the arrival of Gaara, I was happy to see him give Naruto some resolve on what to do about Sasuke, but his whole bit on becoming Kazekage long before Naruto’s Hokage dream came off as a subtle shot. Obviously Gaara’s way too serious to make jokes, especially seeing as he swore to protect Naruto with his life, but I laughed at the thought of him saying, “What’s the holdup Naruto? I’ve been a Kage for so long already.”
As usual, we have another great cliffhanger like this manga’s well-known (hated?) for. While I’d be totally for another round of Sasuke vs Gaara after they’ve powered-up so much, Madara vs Danzou should be pretty good too. Out comes Danzou’s right arm… another Uchiha body part he supposedly stole. Speaking of which, is anyone else a bit turned off by how stealing eyeballs and limbs is the “cool” way of powering up in this series? Whatever happened to promoting inner strength and doing things with your own abilities to young kids?
…You bring out the swarm. Except in this case, that means his Raikage brother for some gang beats. Seeing as the last chapter left Bee at Kisame’s mercy, I’m a bit surprised how quickly the tides turned. It wasn’t like Raikage and co. hopped in right away either, as Bee managed to get a pencil attack off before hand. In any case, is it safe to assume that Kisame’s dead now? I mean he got decapitated and everything, but I’m still skeptical about any death in Naruto until I see either a funeral or some acknowledgment from comrades. Also, just so that there’s no misunderstanding on the technique Kisame was trying to pull off, it was a “Suiton Daikoudan” 「水遁大鮫弾」, which literally translates to “Water Technique, Huge Shark Bullet”. Judging by its name, it wasn’t any sort of replacement/escape technique.
The rest of the chapter with Ao surviving and Mizukage seeing through Fuu’s ability was fairly run-of-the-mill, but they ended on a decent cliffhanger with Sai approaching Naruto about Sakura’s confession. It’s been suggested to me that what Naruto doesn’t know is that permission to dispose of Sasuke as a missing ninja was given, however I double-checked this because I sort of recall him already knowing. Well it turns out he does, after hearing it from Kiba at the end of chapter 451. As such, the only thing that comes to mind at this point is that Sakura confessed because she’s concerned about Naruto putting himself in more danger for her sake. i.e. That it was a semi-guilt-driven confession. Are there any other possibilities that I’m overlooking?
* Oh right, Naruto’s not aware that Sakura and co. are going to try and take out Sasuke themselves. Somehow, I don’t think they’ll succeed…
While I’m a bit disappointed that the Kisame/Bee fight basically came down to a chakra suckfest (with a shark trying to drown an octopus), I was pretty amused by the fact that Samehada chose delicious-tasting jinchuuriki chakra over loyalty to Kisame. Queue annoyed owner’s football punt above. I don’t approve of animal cruelty in the slightest, but I just saw that whole scene as a pet dog taking a liking to someone else, causing the owner to kick his own dog out of disgust. It was almost like, “Alright go get him! Wait, why the hell are you licking his feet!?” Kisame may have won the fight, but that was some pretty good self-ownage by his sword.
Aside from that, I couldn’t help but laugh at the descriptive diagrams explaining how Kisame’s huge bubble of water moves with him and how leading him in the opposite direction would allow Punta and Sabu-chan to escape. It’s at moments like these that Naruto really comes off as a shounen manga, making me imagine the eyes of young kids just lighting up when they read that part. I can’t help but picture a light bulb instantly switching on in their heads along with the thought, 「ああ、なるほどね。」 “Ah, I see.” What didn’t sit so well with me is how drowning is still an issue here. I mean, the ninjas in this world have unreal control of chakra and can stick to surfaces, walk on water, clone themselves, throw balls of pure energy, create huge pools of floating water, turn into huge monsters, and a whole lot more, but they can’t for the life of them generate a pocket of air with some oxygen in it. Sorry to say, but my suspension of disbelief just breaks down there. -_-;
Yeah yeah, I know it’s just a manga, but that doesn’t mean I can’t poke fun at it!
Well that’s news to me. If you were taking bets on who would win a fight between an octopus and a shark, I’d probably say a shark without a second thought. Killer Bee’s line made me curious enough to look it up though, so here‘s an example of an octopus taking out a shark. I don’t know what’s more impressive though, Bee’s ability to tame his 8-tailed beast and be in complete control while using his version of the jinchuuriki cloak, or Kisame’s infinite chakra-battery Samehada that he can surprisingly fuse with. However, I can say that Naruto (as a series) is looking less like a battle between ninjas and more like a battle between freak shows at this rate. Speaking of which, what’s with Samehada anyway? It’s nice to know that it has a limit on how much chakra it can absorb in one go, but it still looks like a huge porcupine more than anything else. Also, I don’t really need to hear Kisame talk about how big it’s gotten. -_-;
The other notable part is Fuu’s attempt to retrieve Ao’s Byakugan by making him cut off his own head off. While Danzo probably wants the eye retrieved so that other villages don’t have a Konoha kekkei genkai (bloodline ability), is anyone else starting to think he might want it for himself? Sharingan + Byakugan? Not saying it’ll happen (because it’s the wrong-sided eye anyway), but that would be pretty overpowered.
I know it’s Sakura’s nature to be a tsundere, but forcing the whole confession on Naruto and trying to make him feel bad for not giving her a response doesn’t sit well with me. Even if she has to maintain a tough exterior, I don’t think forcing a favorable response is the right way of going about it. Also, what started as a confession quickly became Sakura’s means of telling Naruto to stop going after Sasuke for her. It’s almost as if she’s given her half-baked feelings to him now as compensation for what she’s put him through. By the sound of things, she’s reluctant about it too.
I don’t doubt that she cares about Naruto and his well-being, but her inner apology to him comes off as her regretting doing this and trampling on his personal desire to help Sasuke. No matter how you slice that, I still see it as her feelings not being genuine enough. What’s funny though is that she’s taking it upon herself to find Sasuke, but drags Kiba along. If she asks Rock Lee for help too, I’m going to start having flashbacks to what she just tried to fix with Naruto. That said, I’m curious as to what Kiba was referring to when he suggested telling Naruto the “truth”. If I haven’t overlooked anything, it looks like they’re both hiding something from one another at this point.
Anyway, we see how Gaara can get people to change just like Naruto does, which is a predominant theme as usual. More importantly, we finally see some Killer Bee vs. Kisame action. I find it pretty ridiculous that Kisame’s Samehada can absorb the amount of chakra a Jinchuuriki has, but hey, I don’t write this stuff.
* From what everyone’s telling me, what Naruto doesn’t know right now is that Konoha’s decided to kill Sasuke themselves. I gather that’s what Sakura’s team is out to do right now. Thanks to those who pointed this out.
First off, I’m treading on unknown waters by bringing the other shounen-tastic series to RC, but I shall face embrace thy Narutards head on! That said, who really cares about the establishment of the ninja alliance and the impending fourth ninja war when Sakura is confessing to Naruto! You know, I was just starting to like Sakura more lately, but I just lost a lot of respect for her after this “pity” confession. All I see it as is her way of ridding herself of the guilt she feels now, after she FINALLY realizes what she’s put Naruto through all these years. Well I’m sorry Sakura, you can sell your body to him at this point, but the damage is done you inconsiderate girl.
I’m so glad Naruto didn’t buy into her confession and best of all, threw it back in her face at the end. I mean, does she not realize that him accepting this now and throwing away his resolve for the past 3+ years would immediately make all the hardships he’s gone through chasing after Sasuke meaningless? Personally, I’m sick of Naruto’s ongoing pursuit of the runaway ninja who would kill him without even flinching, but at least he sticks with it and never wavers. For the first time, I actually respect Naruto’s stubborn attitude. He has his way of the ninja and Sakura just tried to trample on it. God, what a stupid girl. You’re not scoring with the next Hokage after Danzou curls over and dies with these wishy-washy feelings!