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Posts Tagged ‘Kishimoto Masashi’

Naruto 513

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

Tsuchi Tsuchi Tsuchi. Is everyone in the Tsuchikage’s group going to have Tsuchi in their name somewhere? Plus, combining themed names with color-related prefixes makes them sound like a sentai team.

Bench! is done, Kishimoto; draw proper noses again

It was bad enough that Deidara’s appearance was being reused; it’s considerably worse that his personality and consciousness have returned. Deidara was a pretty enjoyable character, but his time has come and gone. Reusing defeated characters cheapens both their final scenes and the current plot.

Pandaman! Oh, wait...

Bee playing Rock-Paper-Scissors against a crab is a great little joke.

I understand that Naruto is under the impression that he’s on an S-rank mission to study ecology, but I really don’t need to know about an armadillo’s private parts, thanks.

It’s nice to have confirmation that this isn’t the real Deidara, and that he really did die, but was that really an outstanding issue? I didn’t read this reappearance of “Deidara” as a shocking announcement of his survival, but rather a manipulation from Kabuto. It makes sense for the Tsuchikage to realize that he’s a fake, but spending more than one panel on this knowledge is a waste of time.

Manda lends credibility to just how powerful Kabuto is supposed to be, but it’s slightly unfortunate that Kabuto has to continue to rely on techniques and summons lifted from Orochimaru. Orochimaru was an excellent villain, but now that he is gone, Kabuto needs to stand out on his own merits.

The Six Million Dollar Snake?

Kishimoto has fallen in love with grand-scale attacks and artwork. The scene with the giant turtle being capsized would make for excellent animation, too.

The armadillo punchline is unnecessary and takes away from the seriousness of Kabuto’s first major action as an independent villain. Leave the blatant male nudity to Beelzebub, please.

The chapter ends with a fight poised to break out between fake Deidara and the Tsuchikage. This is immensely frustrating, as Deidara has already been defeated; any display of strength the Tsuchikage exhibits will mean significantly less against an already-fallen opponent. It shouldn’t have taken this long for the Tsuchikage to get in a serious fight, either.

Final Flash: Unfortunate treatment of Kabuto, inappropriate humor, and too much setup time for a useless fight.

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Naruto 512

[scanlation by Binktopia]

A chapter entitled “The Truth Behind Zetsu” and Kabuto on the cover. Looks like Kishimoto has finally heard my call for more exposition on the villains.

Poor Guy. No medical help is around, and Naruto isn’t exactly the delicate type.

Please stop making Sakura seem useful

Giant, island-sized tortoises aren’t exactly new, but the premise is effective here. I particularly like the tortoise’s hardened face.

Save us, Lavos

Finally, Kabuto steps out of the shadows and seeks some direct involvement with Naruto and Bee. Most excitingly, though, Kabuto’s reference to borrowing “this Zetsu’s body” alludes to Zetsu being more than just one person.

Excellent artwork on the Heretical Demon Statue.

I love how so many fascinating monuments and experiments are simply afterthoughts as Madara leads Kabuto down to their ultimate destination. This may not be the on-screen (on-page?) character development that I’ve wanted from Madara, but it does help to round out his overall image much better than simple explanations of his strength by the narration or by other characters.

There’s the big reveal: Madara has secretly developed about 100,000 Zetsu clones. This revelation carries with it a couple positives. First, it justifies the fact that “Zetsu” as we knew him was never explicitly strong, since individual strength obviously isn’t intended to be the highlight of a member of a massive army. Second, it provides the possibility of a massive ninja war, a scenario which would prove interesting if only because we’ve seen nothing like it in the Naruto universe.

Next week: Zetsu army vs. Dougal County Sheriff clones

Final Flash: Excellent setup chapter. Kabuto is like the antithesis of Sasuke, in that everything involving Kabuto seems to improve the plot.

Naruto 511

September 23, 2010 1 comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Fairly average Jump cover despite the celebration of the milestone. Despite already knowing when Naruto began, it’s still surprising to reflect on eleven years of the series.

Madara wastes no time in taking back the Rinnegan. Unfortunately, that isn’t a segue into plot progression in this chapter; instead, we’re being treated to a flashback to finally put this trio to rest. While I appreciate knowing that we’ll be finished with these three for good, I have to question just how much was left unanswered as of last chapter. I don’t particularly dislike any of these characters, but I don’t feel they’re worth a full chapter postmortem flashback.

Of course Jiraiya wore a toad suit and forced his three students to do the same. Why wouldn’t he?

It's impossible not to miss him

Great couple pages of silent storytelling. The last few panels of page 11 are an example of Kishimoto making good use of the imagery he created within this same chapter.

The remaining pages dealing with the Amegakure trio are somehow simultaneously touching and out of place. Again, the imagery used is evocative, but it still feels as though devoting an entire chapter to these characters at this point in the story is counterproductive. Yes, this is the last sensible chance Kishimoto will have to do so, but even now it feels too detached from the original plot involving these characters.

Madara’s new mask looks pretty good. It’s an appropriate evolution of his previous mask. Zetsu is still around, playing the information expert, but most importantly, Kabuto is back in the picture. It’s no understatement to say that the enjoyment and legitimacy of much of the remaining plot relies entirely on the way in which Kabuto is used.

Final Flash: A suitable end to a what felt like a diversion from the main plot. The last few chapters have been enjoyable as a standalone read, but have felt awkward in context.

Naruto 510

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

As well as Kishimoto has been drawing lately, even he has to be called out for excessive use of speed lines.

The 'speed line to detail' ratio is off

The limitations of Madara’s dimensional transfer ability go a long way to bring some sense of balance to his otherwise seemingly-overpowered nature.

Konan has prepared impressively for this showdown with Madara. Even considering her recent tendency towards trite idealism, she’s easily one of the best females in this series.

Of course, it’s not unexpected that Madara survived Konan’s attack, but it is unfortunate that he’s done so by revealing just how much power he really has. The positives of the limitations on his intangibility are clearly outweighed by his possession of Izanagi.

No, just approaching "broken"

The one-panel mention of Danzou does provide some hope for a logical defeat of Madara: If the “this is not actually Uchiha Madara” theory is true, then this impostor could be another example of someone who boasts “only an incomplete form of Izanagi.” Barring that scenario, though, Kishimoto will be fighting an uphill battle to keep realistic the possibility of someone in the Naruto universe defeating someone with complete control over the power to turn imagination into reality.

On a lighter note, Konan made a rainbow.

The more you know?

Final Flash: Konan is enjoyable, but unfortunate confirmation of Madara’s ridiculous strength makes for a ‘good’-at-best chapter.

Naruto 509

September 9, 2010 Leave a comment
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Naruto is “light personified”? That’s taking an interesting character and boiling him down into something decidedly less interesting.

Madara being behind Yahiko’s creation of Akatsuki is such a cliché. Not only that, but Madara also apparently gave Nagato the Rinnegan. Just because a series has a supremely powerful villain does not mean that said villain should be involved with every last plot detail. It seems that while Naruto has improved immensely over the last several weeks, Madara hasn’t.

His eye is too talkative

Aside from how generally disappointing it would be for Konan to be offed here, it would also specifically be unfortunate because it would eliminate the possibility of seeing more of these beautifully-drawn paper-based attacks.

Odd timing for a flashback with these characters. The excellent recent action has provided a launching point from which the series could have continued to progress current plot; to instead feature a flashback of out-of-focus characters seems to be counterproductive.

Madara took some serious damage from Konan’s attack. That’s both gratifying (because Konan is an interesting character who shouldn’t become villain fodder) and unnerving (because it likely means she doesn’t have much left to offer). Still, for Kishimoto to allow his ultimate villain to suffer such damage is a huge positive, as it helps to build Madara’s credibility.

A sign of a confident author

Yet another excellent large-scale attack, as Konan swallows up Madara within an ocean of paper. Great artwork by Kishimoto.

Final Flash: Not a bad chapter, but an unusual choice of direction after the past couple arcs.

Naruto 508

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Bizarrely noble cover page.

Typically, I am against speed lines, but Kishimoto has used them well within the first several pages of this chapter. Instead of making them the focal point (or the entirety of the background, in some cases), he has used them to complement the action without overpowering the detail in the art. Sometimes, they’re even used as a style of shading, actually embedded in the rest of the art. Very nicely done.

Itachi signals a major test: Is the recently-improved Naruto still tolerable with the presence of one of the Uchiha brothers?

Interesting conversation between Itachi and Kisame. There are a couple of odd moments, but overall, it’s a nice look at what was hinted at being a curious relationship.

Very good, Itachi

Kisame ends up killing himself with his own sharks, and the title of the chapter ends up completely suitable. What a great way for him to go.

It seems Killer Bee will get Samehada after all. The only worry there is the prospect of an increased role for Killer Bee, who has been enjoyable only as a support character.

Nice closing words from Guy, but in this shot he looks remarkably like Catherine from Gintama.

Unusually reminiscent

Kisame having one last trick up his sleeve is completely appropriate, given the recent emphasis placed on his control over information. This is an acceptable compromise between an outright Guy victory and a Kisame escape.

Stunning last page. Madara faces off with Konan, but calls her Nagato? I’d be very happy to see Konan in action, as she was one of the more interesting Akatsuki members, but I worry this may further cheapen Nagato and Konan by using them as fodder for the decidedly uninteresting Madara.

Final Flash: An appropriately strong end to Kisame’s active role in the series.

Naruto 507

[scanlation by Binktopia]

“The long grudge match enters its final chapter!” It seems this will be the true conclusion of the Guy/Kisame rivalry. This will be good timing for it.

As with so many recent Naruto chapters, the grand scale of the artwork is excellently pulled off by Kishimoto.

Excellent massive attacks

It’s so completely satisfying to see Guy standing over Kisame like this, and it’s even better to see him taking absolutely no nonsense from Kisame, either.

What an amusingly direct visual metaphor for mind-reading.

Not exactly subtle

A Kisame flashback likely means that this truly is his last stand.

Morino Ibiki is in Kisame’s flashback. It’s a little puzzling that we haven’t had more exposition of Morino, since the more we learn about the inner workings of Naruto, the more relevant he seems to be.

While I still strongly dislike the Uchiha Madara character, it’s interesting to learn specifics about where he’s been behind the scenes. Seeing him in control of the Mizukage helps to develop his credibility.

If Kisame had the proper awareness and energy to bite his own tongue, why wouldn’t he have done so before leaking as much information as he already has? The flashback establishes him as a character whose priority is the protection of information, and yet he lets so much slip before dramatically cutting the link right as Madara is about to reveal himself. That’s a little too Hollywood to feel consistent with his character.

Final Flash: Good, interesting chapter, and a great fight in full.