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Posts Tagged ‘Kishimoto Masashi’

Naruto 505

[scanlation by Binktopia]

Holy hell what a jarring cover page. I was not ready for that.

Understatement (noun) def. 1: See above picture

Guy is not just on the cover page, but he’s actually here in the story. What a pleasant surprise. It’s about time to see some of the side characters reintroduced into the main plot.

When we first saw Naruto’s new chakra diagram, it seemed to me to be a visual representation of the change inside of him. Instead, it’s actually an outwardly-visible change in his appearance. I have to say, I don’t particularly care for the design. The head is okay, but the bits that look like the inner workings of a car aren’t so great.

But is he four-wheel drive?

The effect Naruto’s new chakra has on the environment around him is a telling sign of just how powerful he’s becoming.

Of course, sensing Kisame inside of Samehada and using his father’s teleportation technique are an even stronger sign.

Guy is back for mere moments before providing a moment of comedy. That’s entirely befitting of his character, I suppose.

While I’m excited to see Guy and Kisame set to fight, I’m worried that this could again not be the final conflict between the two. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Zetsu come and rescue him, or some similar fight-postponing plot device used.

Final Flash: Hugely promising increase in power from Naruto, and much-appreciated plot progression. Good chapter.

Naruto 504

[scanlation by Binktopia]

Heartfelt dialogue between Minato and Kushina. This is as emotionally engaging as Naruto has ever been.

The Third Hokage watches on as someone uses the Dead Demon Seal from within the confines of a barrier. Interesting parallel, there.

Incredible piece of action as the Kyuubi pierces both Minato and Kushina, but is stopped just short of Naruto.

Maybe Naruto is a little lucky after all

Unbelievably powerful parting moment between Naruto and his dying parents. Kushina’s motherly speech and Minato’s typically concise reply are perfect complements to each other and to the gravity of the scene. I readily admit to tearing up a little.

True tragedy

Back in pseudo-present time, Naruto thanks his parents and Kushina fades away. Fantastic emotion.

Final Flash: This flashback has been without question some of the very best shonen of the year. This chapter was a suitably magnificent conclusion.

Naruto 503

[scanlation by Binktopia]

What a pleasant cover page. Pity our protagonist has never had a taste of this kind of life. Kushina’s hair being in the shape of Kyuubi’s tails is an excellent touch.

Brilliant skill displayed by Minato. In particular, Flying Thunder God is an excellent technique with (apparently) an interesting limitation to it.

Kishimoto has been on a fantastic streak lately, producing some of his best artwork in recent memory. It’s not even just the grand-scale attacks and flashy techniques, either; something as simple as the transition of control over Kyuubi has been shown through the art rather than wasting space with excessive dialogue.

Clear, explanatory art

Hugely powerful scene between Iruka and his parents. In fact, all these scenes involving present-day jounin back when they were young and comparatively helpless carry so much weight. This effect could only have been achieved in the manner that Kishimoto structured the overall story. Extremely well done.

Stunning family moment between Minato, Kushina, and young Naruto. Kushina instantly gains credibility as one of the toughest females in the series, and not just for the lack of competition in that category. Her genuine smile despite obvious pain is impressive and uncharacteristic of most other Naruto females.

Sakura can only dream of being this good of a character

In the same scene, Minato’s sadness is overwhelming. Again, the art shines, most specifically in one small, yet precisely detailed, panel:

Moving

Closing out the chapter, Minato prepares the ultimate sacrifice to resolve the situation. As with seemingly everything else in Naruto lately, the final page is very well-drawn.

Final Flash: Fantastic chapter.

Naruto 502

[chapter link]

Is it wrong that I thought “I didn’t know Sasuke had a sister” before it clicked that that’s Itachi?

It’s fun to see all these other characters so many years ago.

Fantastic artwork of the entire village of Konoha under attack.

Nice scene of Minato standing on his own head

Incredible technique used by Minato. I hope we get to see more of his skills before the inevitable happens.

Showing techniques like he’s using to catch up to Minato is the only way for Kishimoto to legitimize Madara. Until now, we’ve only been told of his strength. We need to see it.

Interestingly, Madara neither confirms nor denies his identity. This supports the theory that “Madara” is not Uchiha Madara at all.

Excellent sequence of panels showing the kunai passing through Madara’s head. Kishimoto has drawn this chapter very well.

More great skill displayed by Minato. This is a good fight.

Final Flash: Strong chapter, especially considering it’s a flashback.

Naruto 501

[chapter link]

No more Naruto and Sasuke scenes, please. Even as babies. Actually, especially not as babies.

This is still brutal. Poor Naruto. Nothing goes significantly right for him for a good twelve years.

Manga's unluckiest baby?

I’m admittedly a little confused as to the exact mechanics with which Madara frees the Kyuubi. He uses the Sharingan to peer directly within Kushina right to the Kyuubi, which then somehow strengthens it to the point of breaking the seal himself? The pillars surrounding Kushina don’t seem to have any particular markings that would indicate a jutsu of some kind. I’m willing to accept that Madara is capable of freeing Kyuubi, but I’d appreciate a little more clarity.

It’s unfortunate the only time we get to see Minato in action is when he’s nowhere near fighting at full strength, given his concern for Naruto and Kushina.

Very sad last couple pages.

Final Flash: Fairly good chapter. This flashback has been sad, but its impact has been lessened by Madara’s lack of legitimacy as a villain.

Naruto 500

[chapter link]

Quite the milestone for this series. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, but recent chapters have brought the series back to enjoyable shonen.

Like the supposed symbolism behind Naruto’s orange jumpsuit, the whirlpool symbol on the back is an interesting touch.

Walls of text here. Not too much to comment on. Acceptable writing, at least.

So the Kyuubi was released because of Naruto’s birth? It was Naruto’s fault all along!

You jinxed it, lady

I can’t recall reading a vivid illustration of childbirth in manga before. Didn’t think Naruto would be my first instance of that.

Damn. Naruto’s had a pretty horrible life from day one. Minute one, even.

Final Flash: Nothing amazing, but nothing boring, either. A bit lackluster as a milestone chapter, though.

Naruto 499

[chapter link]

Nice to see Naruto becoming calm as he advances towards mastery of the power available to him, rather than becoming a berserker type. Also, his positivity here is a huge plus. This series got too bogged down in angst and negativity. Hopefully Naruto will soon be strong enough to back up his convictions and return the series to its enjoyable roots.

Assuming Naruto can use Rasengan Barrage outside of his own body, he’s becoming a far more formidable fighter already, even before the upcoming upgrade.

P8: Excellent art, and such ridiculous strength.

P12: What a moment. It’s going to be interesting to see exactly what Naruto will be capable of henceforth. Also, stand by for imminent Naruto re-tiering in our Great Shonen Tier List project.

Cracks are beginning to appear in Kyuubi’s strong facade. For his importance to the story, he’s barely been developed. Naruto’s reassuring statement to him seems to hint at a possible development in both Kyuubi as a character and the symbiosis between the two.

Kushina being the previous Jinchuuriki may not be hugely surprising, but it’s great that we’ll tackle the entirety of the past of Kushina, Minato, and Naruto within this arc. Also, a truth-unveiling flashback is a fitting time for the series to hit chapter 500.

Final Flash: Naruto is firmly back in the echelon of good shonen. Pleased by this chapter and excited for the next.

Naruto 498

[chapter link]

Good punchline from Naruto’s mom. Good punch, too.

Naruto realizing who she is and hugging her is a pretty touching moment. Well done.

“Just thinking how glad I am to see my mom’s a babe!” Uh… Naruto…

On the other hand, “You definitely take after me!” is a great line.

Her chakra being special will surely come into play shortly.

The flashback scene is sweet, but it’s also thought-provoking. It makes me consider the possibilities of the Naruto story without Sasuke. Minato certainly seemed to do well for himself without a pouting, unconvincing rival-turned-villain that taints what plot he touches.

Excellent last page.

Final Flash: Very nice chapter. One of the few instances I’ve found myself accepting a break in intense action.

Naruto 497

[chapter link]

For all this series’ missteps over the last couple years, the Naruto vs. Kyuubi cover art on this issue of Shonen Jump makes this feel like a truly monumental chapter. Let’s hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Naruto rapping to himself is not exactly the start I’d hoped for.

P4: What a fantastic spread. Excellently drawn. This is what power looks like, Kubo.

Gargantuan Rasengan? I would love to see this against a different type of opponent.

I shouldn’t be surprised that Naruto can lift Kyuubi, but I admit I am, if only a little. He’s grown so much since the last time we’ve really seen him interact with Kyuubi.

P11: Another excellent action scene. Great use of white space, speed lines, and slight sketch-art. Kubo and Togashi could both take note.

This entire chakra tug-of-war thing may never have been explained, but it’s being used in an interesting fashion.

What?! Out of nowhere, Naruto’s mother. Consider me surprised.

Final Flash: I am legitimately impressed by this chapter. Superb art, good plot progression, and a genuinely interesting twist. It wasn’t flawless, but this chapter proves to me that Kishimoto still remembers how to make enjoyable manga.

Naruto 496

[chapter link]

The architecture and lore Kishimoto has created in the first few pages is rather interesting. Too bad someone is rapping over it.

Okay, Naruto faking his own beheading was actually pretty funny. Yamato sold the scene perfectly.

Cone on, Naruto, enter this hyperbolic time cha– I mean, this room.

Finally, this is actually going to happen. Conquering the fox will be fun.

It’s a little odd not to even hint at an explanation of this whole chakra-sucking business. I guess we’re just supposed to go with it.

Bee and the Oxtopus can only help a little, too. We may have had a lot of uninteresting developments to deal with on the way to this moment, but this is still pretty meaningful for Naruto the series and Naruto the character.

Final Flash: I’m looking forward to the following week’s Naruto chapter for the first time in… well, I can’t remember when last I did. This series still has a little magic left in it, so long as Sasuke isn’t around.

Naruto 495

May 20, 2010 2 comments
[chapter link]

Naruto rapping on the cover page does not fill me with confidence.

P3, top-right panel: This panel is to be saved for posterity.

The entire discourse between Naruto and Dark Naruto is poor. No specifics to comment about. Just poor.

Those guys were just sitting there watching him? That’s… bizarre.

We’re done with the pre-training arc stuff. Now, to the actual training arc. I’m a little depressed to say that.

Final Flash: Not a good chapter, and very little to talk about, but at least we’re moving forward.

Naruto 494

Was not looking forward to this flashback at all, so entering with low expectations.

Just as expected: halfway through the chapter, and this has all felt pointless. We already know how tailed beasts ruin kids’ lives. We saw that whole flashback with the title character of the series. Speaking of which, can we go back to him already?

There he is, brooding over the awful truth of this world: That everyone hates you until you save their asses multiple times.

The squid moment elicited a half-smile from me, but I can’t help but feel like this isn’t the time for humor.

Really don’t care at all about Motoi.

And Motoi’s issues with Bee are resolved? How? Was Bee listening the whole time? This doesn’t make sense. You can’t use the audience to convey plot from character to character.

Final Flash: Unnecessary flashback featuring an uninteresting character.

Naruto 492

April 22, 2010 1 comment
[chapter link]

I’m enjoying Naruto’s reluctance to accept Bee. That fairly well sums up how I feel; he could still impress me, but I’m initially turned off.

Ballad-rapping? No one find inspiration in this, please.

I didn’t know Gai-sensei could get seasick, either. Of course, I didn’t even remember that he was on this trip.

Bee’s house looks more like an ox than his beast.

No, I don’t want Naruto to rap.

I would be happy with more Yamato, though. I’ve yet to find anything to dislike about his character.

We’re really doing this, Kishimoto? We’re going down the “evil twin / embodiment of my faults” route?

Final Flash: Maybe he’ll turn into Paladin Cecil and the series will get better.

Naruto 491

April 15, 2010 1 comment
[chapter link]

What the hell? Why does Naruto have to eat a frog?

Naruto the celebrity will be hard to get used to.

Officially tired of Kage meetings. This is an action series, Kishimoto.

Gaara is further establishing himself as a mature leader. Surprising character evolution.

Same-chapter prediction-to-development is so shallow. The frog says you’ll find the octopus on an island, and mere pages later, Naruto heads to an island.

They finally meet. I’ve already been sick of Bee. This is going to be difficult.

Final Flash: Frogs, a meeting, and a boat ride. Fairly inconsequential chapter.

Naruto 490

April 8, 2010 1 comment
[chapter link]

Kabuto could yet prove to be the redeeming villain this series has needed for years. His pure interest in ninjutsu, as long as it remains unaffected by personal motives on either side of the war, is refreshing.

Ten bucks says Konohamaru was in the obscured coffin.

Wait, who’s Tokuma? Was it really necessary to create another Byakugan user when Negi and Hinata don’t get nearly enough face time as it is? That’s too bad. I was actually excited for a moment.

A plotline loosely involving Orochimaru develops and, all of a sudden, Anko reappears.

Whoa. What Naruto is doing is exactly the same as what Negi is doing in Negima. Neither author is copying the other, obviously, but… how strange.

Time to go find us an octopus! … that’s actually an ox. … inside of a Bee. I’m lost.

Final Flash: For a developmental chapter, it was enjoyable. Let the coffin-theorizing begin! Friend of the site Clint has presented the theory that the body contained in the coffin presented to Madara is none other than… Madara! Quoth Clint: “If you look at his reactions, and what he’s saying, in the context, it makes a ton of sense. Tobi actually isn’t Madara, and he had to join up with Kabuto, or Kabuto would reveal him.” A fascinating theory!