Posts Tagged ‘Kishimoto Masashi’

Naruto 519-521

December 21, 2010 4 comments
[scanlation by Binktopia]

(519) I thought Sasori’s defeat was pretty clear and settled last chapter. I don’t really find this bit of closure necessary.

As if Impure World Resurrection hasn’t done enough damage to this series already, it’s now revealed that Kabuto’s control over his zombie army is limited by their “inner feelings.” If Kishimoto is going to resort to such a game-changing storyline as a technique that revives half the cast, he should at least have the decency to stick to his guns and make the technique perform as expected. This is almost like a sheepish apology.

Least appropriate "love conquers all" timing ever

I appreciate the scene with Kabuto and Madara, which hints at the back-and-forth nature as each vies for power over the other, but I would much prefer if this relationship was expressed through actions rather than yet more internal monologue, which has been far too evident in Naruto lately. You are not authoring Death Note, Kishimoto; this is shonen action, so show some action.

Finally, after years of waiting, it’s time for Naruto to learn to turn into the Kyuubi. It’s going to be really strange to see the protagonist in such a form. Hopefully, it’ll be reserved for extreme circumstances, because otherwise the series could get pretty boring as our hero Godzilla-rampages through everything. Also, why focus on a new form when Naruto still hasn’t perfected the Yellow Flash technique? Teleportation seems far more devastating to me than a power increase.

Furthermore, didn’t Naruto just go through a training arc? The focus of the series may have shifted elsewhere, but the last major actions of Naruto were fighting the Kyuubi within himself and stacking blocks. This is his third consecutive training arc without any fighting in between. (His brief attempt against Kisame doesn’t count as legitimate action.)

All the diagrammed explanation of chakra exchange is fairly uninteresting, but Naruto attempting the Tailed Beast Bomb and making himself throw up as a result is pretty funny.


Fortunately, the Tailed Beast Bomb turns out to be extremely similar to the Rasengan, meaning this training arc is practically guaranteed not to last too long. That’s a huge relief.

(520) Seeing Naruto’s new chakra-laden character design in full color doesn’t much help to rectify how much it looks like plumbing.

There is a "plumber's snake" / Sasuke joke to be made here

The first page teaser says “A next-to-impossible training goal!!” Really? When was that established? Don’t over-dramatize something straightforward.

Seeing Anko reduced to this is depressing. As I’ve made clear, she’s never been a particularly important character, but she was given a storyline relating to a hugely important character, decent powers, and a strong personality. It’s immensely frustrating that she was in the hands of Kishimoto, who seems completely unable to write a good female character.

Rather than the direct confrontation I was hoping for in the last chapter, we’re presented with a pseudo-diplomatic standoff between Madara and Kabuto. This may not be the action I requested, but it’s at least superior to further internal monologue.

It’s interesting that Madara snapped the neck of one of Danzou’s lapdogs. That is far from the style of violence used throughout this series.

This explanation by Kabuto of Impure World Resurrection is taking far too long. This feels like the kind of content that an anime adaptation would create to fill time. Knowing how the technique works is useful, but we don’t need this many pages of explanation.

As usual, the technology level of the Naruto universe baffles me.

Leave him alone, he's playing Ye Olde Rez

Kabuto’s chapter-ending declaration, if true, is profoundly ridiculous. This technique has single-handedly made this series boring.

(521) Great cover page, but Zabuza should never have been reintroduced.

The coy exchange between Madara and Kabuto finally finishes this week, at least for now. It might have been too early for these two to face off, but Kabuto’s character is suffering with each chapter that he continues to be involved with the lifeless Madara.

The extra point is good

A volcano of men just erupted.

… that’s the last sentence I ever expected to type. It’s eerily factual, too.

There are no sexual overtones to this. None.

It’s so depressing to see characters like Kiba and Shino relegated to a fraction of a page each. It’s no coincidence that the arcs in this series that featured such characters far more prominently, such as the Chuunin Exam and the Sasuke Retrieval Arc, were the most exciting. These characters deserve more attention, and they certainly deserve said attention more than who is ultimately destined to receive it.

Without a sliver of surprise, Zabuza meets with Kakashi. Of all the legitimate complaints against this arc, the sense of inevitability in the fight pairings is the most upsetting. Weekly manga is all about the perpetual sense of excitement, as readers wonder what will happen next. Deliberately eliminating that sense of expectation is a fatal mistake.

Final Flash: What could have been a brilliant arc has thus far been presented as aimless and predictable. I’m finding it tough to maintain interest.


Naruto 517-518

November 26, 2010 6 comments
[scanlation by Binktopia]

(517) Who the hell is this guy? Why am I supposed to care about him? Why would Kishimoto start such an important arc by focusing on a complete nobody? This is ludicrous.

At least he’s part of Kankurou’s group, so we get to see a couple familiar faces (as Sai is also part of this division), but if the focus really must be away from more relevant character, I’d much rather be looking at Kankurou or Sai directly, rather than having them as supporting characters to this new guy.

Best job description ever

Kankurou is displaying solid leadership early on in this arc. This kind of detailed minutia, including delegation and tactical planning, is fascinating in most war settings. I can only hope Kishimoto continues this trend.

Anko has been defeated already. I think it’s finally safe to write off her as a complete waste of a character. No, Kabuto was never going to lose to her, or to anyone this early in the arc, but the insult is not that she lost to Kabuto, but that she was up against him at all.

Furthermore, the plan of the Allied Shinobi Forces is ridiculous. Capturing Kabuto simply won’t happen, unless he allows himself to be captured as a ruse, and using illusion techniques on him to trick him into ending Impure World Resurrection is prone to certain failure.

As expected, seeing Deidara and Sasori on the battlefield is tiresome and rehashed. Having new opponents for them is nowhere near refreshing enough to compensate for the fact that we’ve seen the entire extent of them as characters, whether in terms of abilities or personality.

Our awkward chapter protagonist does offer some decent insight into the reality of war, realizing that there is no time to grieve over fallen comrades. That’s a good understanding to reach, but it would be much nicer to read through the eyes of any other character.

Almost like this is out of a manga or something

Sai’s brother?! That’s the last straw. Shin has only ever been shown in extremely brief flashback images. I doubt he’s even had dialogue prior to this chapter. There is absolutely no excuse for including him among the resurrected characters. Kishimoto has completely devalued himself as an author by striving for such a neat and tidy storyline, where every character has a perfect opponent. This is pathetic.

Also pathetic is the last panel of the last page. This character has only just been introduced, and now his decision to stand up and fight is supposed to carry weight? Not a chance. What a rubbish chapter.

(518) Please tell me that we won’t have to suffer through each “good guy” appealing to his resurrected former friend/family member/mentor/etc to “snap out of it” because “it’s me!” Seeing Sai do so immediately weakens him as a character. Everyone in the Allied Shinobi Forces is aware of the Impure World Resurrection technique at this point, so there’s no excuse for this.

Omoi’s “trick” was to slash in another direction. A character is being praised for turning around. Please kill Omoi. This is unbearable.

You can say that last part again... and again...

Finally getting to see Kankurou fight seriously with the Sasori puppet could redeem this battle somewhat.

Kankurou’s ace up the sleeve always seems to be having more puppets than the opponent realizes.

Once again, Deidara and Sasori are getting far too much of the spotlight. Not only is Impure World Resurrection ruining any chance of the arc being good, but it’s also precluding the possibility of new villains being introduced, or even existing ones getting a suitable amount of exposition. Sai’s big moment of anger means nothing, because he’s fighting characters who shouldn’t exist.

Good art, meaningless situation

Perhaps the only thing worse than every character having to meet his/her perfect opponent is having such a face-off be resolved peacefully. Sai’s brother being freed from established constraints through the power of love is sickening.

… well, okay, no. It’s not fair to say that that would be the “only thing worse.” Seeing Sasuke again would be worse than that.

Kankurou barely gets to show off, and the battle is over. That’s just insulting. Even considering the idiocy of the resurrected characters, the very least Kishimoto could have done was give all the time wasted on Omoi to Kankurou. Horrible.

Final Flash: If this opening action is to be any indication, this is going to be an overwhelming disappointment of an arc.

Naruto 516

November 14, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

I’m still sickened at the sight of all these resurrected characters, but at the very least, I can appreciate that they are aware that they’ve been resurrected. I realize that this facet of Impure World Resurrection had been established as far back as the Third Hokage vs. Orochimaru fight, and again reestablished as recently as the beginning of Deidara vs. the Tsuchikage, but it bears repeating that this quirk of the jutsu exists, because it’s the only minor detail preventing this scenario from being 100% awful. With this included, it may only be 99% awful, but that’s worth something.

It's not much more enjoyable for us

Sasori’s remarks on the present state of Akatsuki do provide a somewhat surreal feeling, as it’s bizarre to watch someone learning about the world after their own death. That poignant moment is quickly moved past in favor of unsatisfyingly easy comedy between Sasori and Deidara.

Kabuto’s plan to erase each resurrected character’s personality is a tactically wise one, and one that is in keeping with his intelligence, but it will negate the only redeeming quality of his overall decision to revive meaningless characters.

After some more moments of discovery by returned characters, and an irritating mention of Sasuke, some action begins, in the form of a fight between Kabuto and Anko. This is tremendously disappointing; of all the possible fight combinations and potential matchups, we have to begin with one that is entirely too familiar? The plot between Anko and Orochimaru may never have been thoroughly resolved, but that plot thread seemed to have been ignored on the basis of lack of interest, not on the basis of a later return. Kabuto clearly isn’t going to lose here, thus Anko will either be rescued and still seek revenge, or blatantly lose and negate the point of even having her exist.

Predictably, a hastily-assembled army comprised of warring factions must deal with internal strife. I realize that Gaara’s rank would rightfully be questioned by those unfamiliar with him, but it’s a shame that such doubts weren’t played out in a more subversive way.

Gaara’s speech doesn’t really suit him. His transition from brooding antagonist to anti-hero to leader has mostly happened off-screen, so while I can accept that he’s an ally of the protagonists now, I have a difficult time accepting that he’s able to deliver such an inspiring, impassioned speech.

Furthermore, Gaara’s speech revolves around Naruto to a fault. Using Naruto as an example of the heroic people in the world worth protecting is fine, as is mentioning Madara’s plan to collect the tailed beasts, but relying on Naruto at the end of speech sounds entirely selfish. “Save my friend” is far too specific of a cause to inspire true unity among such a large, diverse group.

"Also, I want you guys to do my laundry!"

Final Flash: Complete setup chapter. After the lingering disappointment of the resurrections, Kishimoto has a long way to go to recapture the excitement surrounding this arc.

Naruto 515

November 5, 2010 2 comments
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Not much of a Jump cover, it must be said, but the color page and chapter cover are markedly better.

Tsuchigumo carrying the entire turtle-island is the proper way to amaze the audience with his power and ability. It’s unfortunate that this wasn’t his first action after leaving the Kage Summit. That entire showdown with Deidara Mark II should never have happened.

Explaining Naruto’s thoughts in the introductory text blurb is no better than explaining plot in a narrative box. In fact, it might even be a bit worse, because at most, the introductory blurb is supposed to be a throwaway recap of what brought us to the beginning of the current chapter. Kishimoto has his strengths (art, creative concepts), but considering this alongside his recent over-reliance on thought bubbles, proper storytelling clearly isn’t one of them.

It’s incredible how disheartening the mere mention of Sasuke is. My will to continue reading this chapter has suddenly diminished.

Sasuke? Motoi does not approve.

An Aburame clan member appears! My will is restored. I realize that my hope for Shino to become a vital part of the cast will never come true, but his personality and his clan’s ability are so interesting that I can’t help but be excited to see any of them, even if I realize they’ll again be relegated to the background soon enough. As far as relevance to the story, I’m pleasantly surprised with the pace at which the war arc is moving forward. I don’t want a return to the unnecessarily rapid pacing from back around the Invasion of Pain arc, but Konoha finding out about Madara’s Zetsu army this soon after it was unveiled is a good choice.

Bee is right, Naruto; stacking blocks is considerably more important than returning to wait for Sasuke.

Do well and you'll graduate to Lego blocks

Despite a succession of wise decisions by Kabuto, Madara continues to focus all the credit on Orochimaru. I respect that Kabuto had to get his knowledge from somewhere, but this much focus on a supposedly deceased character implies that we haven’t seen the last of him, at least in some capacity. If that must be the case, I hope for something more imaginative than his consciousness overtaking Kabuto’s.

The frantic planning at the Kage Summit sets the tone properly for the impending war. That said, Gaara’s contribution to the proceedings is a little… misguided.

Fighting without fashion? Folly.

Gaara is an interesting choice of Commander General. I’m pleased that Kishimoto didn’t overly favor Konoha by putting Tsunade in charge of everything. With military divisions being formed on the basis of combat range or specialty, Gaara is a logical tactical choice; despite his other position as Division 4 (Long-Range) General, he is not exclusively a distance fighter, as his abilities can support the entire battle. I’m also pleased to see Kakashi in a position of importance, though Guy surely mustn’t enjoy being his subordinate.

Afternoon Tiger aftermath < being the lesser eternal rival

Temari and Shikamaru are logical choices for the long-range division, but Chouji’s inclusion in such a group is bizarre. Unless Kishimoto later provides some explanatory strategy (such as every group needing close-combat muscle in the event of an ambush), I can’t see any sensible reason why Chouji would be in this group. Surely, he’s been included because of his chemistry with Shikamaru. Speaking of Shikamaru, I’m a bit disappointed that he wasn’t given a leadership role. I have no particular complaints with those who have been chosen, but with so much emphasis having been placed on Shikamaru’s tactical brilliance, an outright position as Division General (instead of a proxy role under Gaara) would have made sense.

Kiba certainly is excited to go off to war. He is certainly a brash character, but I hope this arc is authored in an honest, horrifying way, enough to have characters such as Kiba come to shocking realizations about the senselessness and brutality of war. That’s not to say I’m hoping for meaningless character deaths, of course.

With this chapter building up excitement for the war arc so well, the last two pages come as an immense crushing blow. This isn’t a Mega Man game; Naruto and friends shouldn’t have to re-prove their superiority over previously defeated enemies right before the final boss. Also, while the overall idea of resurrecting old characters is bad enough, the choice of characters revived is even worse. Reviving Akatsuki is groan-inducing, given the growing sense of achievement and relief readers have felt as the series has progressed, but it’s also understandable; they were some of the most powerful characters in the history of the series. The Kages are the most sensible and least irritating of the bunch, because hearsay strength aside, they’re an unknown quantity. All that said, though, reviving characters like Zabuza and Kimimaro is heinous. They provide no creative edge to the storyline, no tactical benefit that couldn’t have been covered by introducing new characters or even by giving each Zetsu clone individual abilities. They have been brought back merely for a parade of nostalgia, for a self-congratulatory reminder by and for Kishimoto. I have lost some respect for this series and this author because of the end of this chapter.

Final Flash: Sasuke’s brief appearance aside, the chapter was admirably raising anticipation until a spectacularly awful train wreck of an ending. Expectations and excitement are decidedly gone.

Beamcast – October 25

October 25, 2010 Leave a comment

[download link – 157min, 68mb]

In this week’s show:

Sket Dance anime adaptation set for Spring 2011
One Piece has 200 million books in print
New shonen magazine, Sakura Hearts

Licensing announcement
Viz: Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)

Non-shonen news
Fruits Basket, Pluto live action adaptations

Weekly Oricon rankings (10/11 – 10/17)

New releases

Fullmetal Alchemist – Second Season Viridian Collection (DVD) $49.98
Naruto – Season 4 Box Set 1 Uncut (DVD) $49.95
One Piece – Season 3 Part 3 (DVD) $49.98
Trigun – Complete Series (DVD) $49.98

Kuroshitsuji (vol. 3) $10.99
Cirque du Freak (vol. 7) $10.99
Code:Breaker (vol. 2) $10.99
Hero Tales (vol. 4) $10.99
Negima! (vol. 28) $10.99
Pastel (vol. 15) $11.99
Soul Eater (vol. 4) $10.99
Zombie Loan (vol. 10) $10.99

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

Which among the Jump “Super Legends” is your favorite author?
1. Toriyama Akira (Dragon Ball, Dr. Slump) (46%)
2. Sorachi Hideaki (Gintama) (20%)
3. Kishimoto Masashi (Naruto) (17%)
4. Konomi Takeshi (Prince of Tennis) (10%)
5. Akimoto Osamu (KochiKame) (5%)
6. Usuta Kyousuke (Sexy Commando Gaiden: Sugoiyo! Masaru-san, Pyuu to Fuku! Jaguar) (2%)

This week:
Which of these 100+ chapter series is most deserving of an anime?
(Bloody Monday, Code:Breaker, Kimi no Iru Machi, MiXiM11, Psyren, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan)

The Great Shonen Tier List
Characters added:
Oars (One Piece)
Akimichi Chouji (Naruto)
Dio Brando (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
Jirou (Toriko)
Sasagawa Ryohei (Katekyo Hitman Reborn!)
Son Gohan (Dragon Ball)

Anime Discussion
Nurarihyon no Mago (ep. 16)
Legend of the Legendary Heroes (ep. 17)
Shinryaku! Ika Musume (ep. 3)
To Aru Majutsu no Index II (ep. 3)
The World God Only Knows (ep. 3)
Bakuman (ep. 3)

This Week in Manga
0:41:57 – Donten Prism Solar Car 1 (new series!)
0:47:18 – Naruto 514
0:54:42 – One Piece 601
1:03:11 – Bakuman 106
1:11:31 – Beelzebub 81
1:17:12 – Fairy Tail 206
1:21:27 – Hayate no Gotoku! 293
1:24:51 – Kekkaishi 326
1:31:27 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 403-404
1:38:23 – AR∀GO 40
1:44:07 – Toriko 115
1:50:23 – Gamaran 67-68
1:55:22 – The World God Only Knows 118
1:58:49 – Mahou Sensei Negima! 306
2:04:19 – Zettai Karen Children 235
2:08:33 – GE ~ Good Ending 55-56
2:12:35 – SWOT 13
2:16:44 – Enigma 6
2:26:27 – Bankara-san ga Tooru
2:31:49 – Air Gear 292
2:32:48 – Code:Breaker 108-109
2:34:17 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 311

Chapters of the Week

Final Flash

Comments / questions / additions? Email the show.
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Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork

Naruto 514

October 22, 2010 1 comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Uh, Kishimoto? As enticing as the title “Kabuto’s Plot” is, I can’t be made to overlook your attempted Disney-esque subliminal drawing.

... ahem.

Even in a fight against completely new opponents, it’s still disheartening to see Deidara in action, with all his old abilities.

I would have much preferred to infer Naruto’s stupidity, rather than to be explicitly reminded of how stupid he was through cheesy internal monologue. In fact, there have far too many internal thought bubbles in Naruto recently. That’s a terrible storytelling crutch on which to rely, akin to Togashi’s excessive use of narrative boxes.

Kurotsuchi’s combination attacks are a nice use of forethought and skill, but it was again accompanied by internal thought bubbles. Also, there’s no way Kabuto is falling victim to these opponents.

Even Deidara is getting in on the thought bubble bonanza. This is ridiculous.

SAY THAT. With your mouth.

As expected, Kabuto was both too prepared and too strong to be defeated by Kurotsuchi, Yamato and the rest. Capturing Yamato is an interesting choice, as well.

Just as Deidara and the Tsuchikage are about to use their powerful attacks against in each other in grand shonen fashion, Deidara is recalled by Kabuto through one of his now-trademark coffins. This confuses me slightly, as I was under the impression that Deidara was a reformed Zetsu clone, not an undead summon. If he’s the latter, then I don’t quite understand the earlier exchange between Kabuto and Madara, when Kabuto offered to help if he could borrow a Zetsu clone. If Deidara is a Zetsu clone, however, then Kabuto suddenly becomes considerably more intriguing, as the ability to summon and recall these clones at will is a huge asset.

Tsuchikage conveys the urgency of the situation, as Yamato is brought before Madara. The information that could be drawn from him already makes Kabuto’s improvised choice of kidnapping Yamato a sensible one, and one that further raises his credibility as a villain, but the less obvious and more interesting part of Kabuto’s statement is his claim that with Yamato, Madara can now produce “a lot more [Zetsu clones].” If this is true, then Kabuto’s tactical analysis and quick decision-making cement him as the premier villain of the series, far and away superior to the all-too-straightforward Madara.

Final Flash: Great chapter for developing the best hope this series has remaining for a great antagonist, and a mercifully brief display of less interesting characters, all of whom have “Tsuchi” in their names.

Beamcast – October 18

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

[download link – 124min, 55mb]

In this week’s show:

Level E to be adapted into anime by Studio Pierrot
Saijou no Meii live action adaptation

Weekly Oricon rankings (10/4 – 10/10)

New releases

Hayate the Combat Butler (Sub.DVD 7) $39.98
Naruto Shippuden (DVD box 4) $49.98
Naruto Shippuden Special Edition (DVD box 4) $69.98

Rin-ne (vol. 5) $9.99

20th Century Boys (vol. 11) $12.99
Vagabond (vol. 33) $9.95
Vagabond – VIZBIG Edition (vol. 9) $19.99

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

Which of these Fall 2010 shonen anime are you watching?
1. Bakuman (50%)
2. The World God Only Knows (25%)
3. To Aru Majutsu no Index II (15%)
4. Shinryaku! Ika Musume (10%)

This week:
Which among the Jump “Super Legends” is your favorite author?
(Akimoto Osamu, Kishimoto Masashi, Konomi Takeshi, Sorachi Hideaki, Toriyama Akira, Usuta Kyousuke)

The Great Shonen Tier List
Characters re-tiered:

Kurosaki Ichigo (Bleach)
Yoshina Ageha (Psyren)

Characters added:
Magellan (One Piece)
Hyuuga Neji (Naruto)
Black Star & Tsubaki (Soul Eater)
Sannomiya Shiho (Zettai Karen Children)
Senji “Crow” Kiyomasa (Deadman Wonderland)
Yamamoto Takeshi (Katekyo Hitman Reborn!)

Anime Discussion
Nurarihyon no Mago (ep. 15)
Shinryaku! Ika Musume (ep. 2)
To Aru Majutsu no Index II (ep. 2)
The World God Only Knows (ep. 2)
Bakuman (ep. 2)

This Week in Manga
0:41:20 – Soul Eater 79
0:46:30 – One Piece 600
0:57:27 – Naruto 513
1:03:44 – Bakuman 105
1:09:31 – Fairy Tail 205
1:13:41 – Hayate no Gotoku! 292
1:18:18 – Kekkaishi 325
1:20:45 – AR∀GO 39
1:24:11 – Toriko 114
1:27:33 – The World God Only Knows 117
1:30:36 – Defense Devil 69
1:32:29 – Mahou Sensei Negima! 304-305
1:37:32 – Psyren 139
1:40:51 – Nurarihyon no Mago 126-127
1:46:35 – Zettai Karen Children 234
1:49:30 – Kimi no Iru Machi 109
1:52:08 – SWOT 12
1:54:52 – Enigma 5
1:59:07 – Air Gear 291
2:00:41 – Bloody Monday: Season 2 – 43
2:01:18 – Gintama 326-327
2:02:27 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 310

Chapters of the Week

Final Flash

Comments / questions / additions? Email the show.
Want to share with friends? How kind. Have a shortlink:

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork