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Posts Tagged ‘Naruto’

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.

Fatality

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.

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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.

Beamcast Special – November 25

November 25, 2010 2 comments

[download link – 22min, 9mb]

This special edition of Beamcast is exclusively focused on The Great Shonen Tier List!

Characters added:
Mr. 2 Bon Clay (One Piece)
Kankurou (Naruto)
Kurapika (Hunter x Hunter)
Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Inugami Kotarou (Mahou Sensei Negima!)
Utsumi Seiji (GE ~ Good Ending)

Character re-tiered:
Minami “Ikki” Itsuki (Air Gear)

Beamcast – November 22

November 22, 2010 1 comment

[download link – 184min, 77mb]

In this week’s huge double-show:

News
SWOT canceled
Fake Hunter x Hunter return information
37 manga publishers to launch North American manga portal
New Shueisha magazine: Saikyou Jump
Air Gear vol. 31 bundled with anime DVD
One Piece vol. 60 sells over 2 million in 4 days
Negima‘s Akamatsu plans free site for out-of-print manga
Dragon Ball SD spinoff manga
One Piece, Toriko 3D film trailers streamed; themes by Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

Licensing announcements
VIZ: Tenjou Tenge (unedited, 2-in-1 omnibus)
Tokyopop: The Sacred Blacksmith

Non-shonen news
Starz making live-action adaptation of Noir
“Nonexistent youth” bill to be resubmitted
4Kids reports net loss of $9.8 million in 3Q 2010
Zac Efron not starring in Akira
Satoshi Kon’s last film resumes production

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

Which of these partially-scanlated series would you most like to see caught up?
1. Cage of Eden / GTO: Shonan 14 Days / Sket Dance (19%) (tie)
4. Yankee-kun to Megane-chan (18%)
5. Kuroko no Basket (13%)
6. Onidere (7%)
7. Hajimete no Aku (4%)

This week:
Which of these sidekick characters is your favorite?
Al (Fullmetal Alchemist), Don Patch (Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo), Furuichi (Beelzebub), Komatsu (Toriko), Koutarou (Mahou Sensei Negima!), Krillin (Dragon Ball), Shinpachi (Gintama), Zenkichi (Medaka Box)

This Week in Manga
0:17:14 – Soul Eater 80
0:22:19 – Donten Prism Solar Car 3
0:25:19 – Kure-nai 35-36
0:29:27 – One Piece 604
0:37:40 – Naruto 516-517
0:46:59 – Bleach 426-427
0:52:09 – Bakuman 109-110
0:58:19 – Beelzebub 84-86
1:06:29 – Fairy Tail 211-212
1:10:55 – Hayate no Gotoku! 296-297
1:16:50 – Kekkaishi 328
1:21:15 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 406-407
1:31:42 – AR∀GO 43-45
1:38:17 – Toriko 117-118
1:43:24 – Gamaran 70-71
1:46:38 – The World God Only Knows 121-122
1:55:52 – Defense Devil 72-73
1:57:59 – Mahou Sensei Negima! 308-309
2:05:01 – Nurarihyon no Mago 130-132
2:16:03 – Zettai Karen Children 237-238
2:24:15 – GE ~ Good Ending 59
2:27:59 – Kimi no Iru Machi 112-113
2:34:06 – Enigma 9-10
2:42:07 – SWOT 16-17
2:47:07 – Moon Walker LTD.
2:51:36 – Kintoki
2:56:20 – Gate 7 – 1 (new series!)
2:58:04 – Air Gear 294-295
2:59:26 – Code:Breaker 111
3:00:39 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 314-315

Chapters of the Week

Final Flash

Comments / questions / additions? Email the show.
Want to share with friends? How kind. Have a shortlink: http://wp.me/pJOZe-WH

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork

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.

Beamcast – November 8

November 8, 2010 1 comment

[download link – 140min, 60mb]

In this week’s show:

News

Viz sells downloadable manga via iPad app
Viz announces online Shonen Jump supplement
Viz confirms Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, Psyren licenses
Leiji Matsumoto, Shigeru Mizuki earn government honors

New releases

[anime]
Tsubasa, RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE – Season 2 Viridian Collection (DVD) $49.98

[manga]
Inuyasha (vol. 54) $9.99
Inuyasha – VIZBIG (vol. 5) $17.99
Maoh: Juvenile Remix (vol. 3) $9.99

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

Which sport do you prefer seeing depicted in anime/manga?
1. Basketball (29%)
2. Boxing (24%)
3. Football / soccer (20%)
4. Baseball (16%)
5. Tennis (11%)

This week:
Which of these partially-scanlated series would you most like to see caught up?
(Cage of Eden, GTO: Shonan 14 Days, Hajimete no Aku, Kuroko no Basket, Onidere, Sket Dance, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan)

The Great Shonen Tier List
Characters added:

Perona (One Piece)
Kaguya Kimimaro (Naruto)
Lambo (Katekyo Hitman Reborn!)
Sakuragi Hanamichi (Slam Dunk)
Nagase Kaede (Mahou Sensei Negima!)
Jonathan Joestar (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)

This Week in Manga
0:25:38 – Sankarea 11
0:28:33 – Bleach 425
0:38:55 – One Piece 603
0:50:15 – Naruto 515
1:02:29 – Bakuman 108
1:06:30 – Beelzebub 83
1:12:58 – Fairy Tail 210
1:16:37 – Hayate no Gotoku! 295
1:20:40 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 405
1:26:41 – AR∀GO 42
1:33:45 – The World God Only Knows 120
1:40:12 – Defense Devil 71
1:43:22 – Psyren 141-142
1:49:07 – Nurarihyon no Mago 129
1:53:37 – GE ~ Good Ending 57-58
1:57:56 – Kimi no Iru Machi 111
2:00:34 – SWOT 15
2:06:44 – Enigma 8
2:14:00 – Code:Breaker 110
2:16:04 – D.Gray-man 200
2:17:47 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 313

Chapters of the Week

Final Flash

Comments / questions / additions? Email the show.
Want to share with friends? How kind. Have a shortlink: http://wp.me/pJOZe-Uj

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork

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.