Category Archives: Shounen

Naruto 648 – Fighting Dreamers

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Naruto 648

So Naruto’s having its swan song moment and boy is that bird singing up a (Ninja)storm. Since the start of the ninja war, thanks to the pressing threat of total global euthanasia via genjutsu forcing all the nations to come together and the ever-convenient plot device jutsu known as Edo-Tensei. This arc of the manga has been rife with flashbacks, resolutions, explanations and all other manner of red flags that signal the oncoming end of a series and despite a glaring lack of a certain Ero Sennin, I can certainly say that Masashi Kishimoto is doing a decent job of tying things up. This chapter is no exception, starting with Naruto and Sasuke’s initiation of their final assault on Nina-cum-Yggdrasil final boss Obito juxtaposed with First Hokage Hashirama’s memories of the very first Kage summit where we learn a couple key facts:

1) Hashirama’s a big dumb baby who cannot be disciplined because his ideals are remarkably powerful (also he can kick your ass six ways to Sunday).

2) Kishimoto loves sticking to established themes (because you did NOT need to see the symbols on the hats to know EXACTLY which Kage was from which village *looking at YOU scary sharp-toothed ninja and conspicuously tanned ninja*)

3) Kishimoto realizes the inherent complexities of major political negotiations and even though it was still overly simplified the reader can see in the fiscally minded requests of Tobirama and the particularly curmudgeonly demands of the Kazekage that handing out Tailed beasts like Halloween candy is not enough to bring an end to decades of bloodshed.

4) Sasuke’s dick just CANNOT get sucked enough. The skin needs to come clean off and that shit needs to become so white it makes Orochimaru look like the Raikage -_-. “Sasuke’s power still isn’t at it’s maximum” JEEZ-US!

5) Orochimaru is perhaps one of the most astoundingly brilliant ninjas in the entire series, curse seal is Senjutsu? Really? How the hell did he study, synthesize, package and distribute Sage Powers like it was crystal meth and just hand it out to a bunch of teenagers to toy with? Sure some of that seems like last-minute bullshit designed to allow Sasuke to fight on par with Naruto’s meteoric power increase but still it makes one wonder just how much that guy knew about EVERYTHING in the ninja world.

So for what this chapter lacked in action it made up for in light but meaningful exposition, which I suppose is good to get out of the way so that the ensuing battle isn’t bogged down by punch-by-punch explanation. The real feeling though, the real substance in this chapter, well for me at least, comes at the very end with the culmination of the First Hokage’s memories and his plea to all of the shinobi gathered at the battlefield to give all that they have to see his noble dream come to fruition; to fight for a dream they can all share in, that made me realize just far I had come on this not always glamorous journey with this manga; this “dream” called Naruto.

I think Naruto gets a lot of flak in the pop-culture scene because it represents a lot of the good and even more of the bad of what it means to be a popular series in this day and age of mindless nimrods who latch on to something decent and carry it to the depths of horrid, nerdy depravity with gross over saturation. I cannot count how many times I have withheld knowledge of my status as a Naruto aficionado to strangers for fear of meeting a detractor or even worse, a fellow fan *cringe*. Yeah, it’s weird, talking about Naruto in the positive when as a fan of manga like Berserk, Vagabond, Genshiken, GTO and a host of others I can honestly say that it doesn’t hold a candle to a single one of those; but It holds a special place in my heart all the same. It is one of the first mangas I ever started following seriously and it is a major part of my early youth and developmental otaku years. Now that it is in its penultimate arc I can feel for it a sort of longing, a strange kind of odd nostalgia lurking just beneath the surface of my skin; like hanging out with an old friend that you used to spend time with but have spent less and less time with as the years went on. Then, that fried calls you up to say that he’s joined the army and he’ll be going away for a long time, so for one last time you join him for drinks or a flick or just plain shooting the shit and as you spend time with him you begin to get a semblance of that old feeling; the reason you became friends in the first place. It doesn’t make you sad, but it does make you contemplative, tranquil even. Your old friend is gonna be gone, for good probably, but even though things were never as good at the end as they were in the beginning, it’s the beginnings that you treasure the most and it’s the times that shined the brightest that kinda clears away the muck of everything that came after.

I know a post like this is a little premature since it’ll probably be more than a few weeks before the manga actually comes to a close but i’d like to get my heavy goodbyes out of the way now so I can give it a simple nod and a Nice Guy Smile at the very end.

So whether the manga goes out with a bang or a whimper, know that this particular Hermit had a fun ride-ttebayo.

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Aspire towards Nirvana, fellow readers.

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Welcome Back Review: The Breaker

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Back again for the first time! OA here with my first ever comic review; today I’ll be covering the shounen martial arts epic The Breaker!

Our hero: the “Nine Abs Dragon”

Now before I begin I’ll just briefly explain some things for those of you who may be unfamiliar with this particular genre of printed media. The Breaker is manhwa which means that it is a comic of Korean origin (comparable to Japanese manga and Chinese manhua), so naturally there are some cultural differences; substituting sensei for suensengnim and getting used to terms like jashik and the honorific –hyung are among some of the minor adjustments that the readers will have to make. Of course, if you’re familiar with Korean culture (or just an avid manhwa reader) then these things should not be a problem and even then the barrier to entry is really quite small anyway so anyone can enjoy this series regardless of their ability to find Seoul on a map. Ok, review time!

From the creative team of Geuk-Jin Jeon (writer) and Jin-Hwan Park (Illustrator) The Breaker’s story starts off as pretty standard shōnen fare when our wimpy-but-determined bully bait male high school student Shi-Woon Yi discovers a secret about the new teacher at his school Chun-Woo Han; as it turns out that Chun Woo is basically the homoerotic love-child of Kenshiro from fist of the North Star and Ryu from Street Fighter.

After witnessing his erstwhile goofball teacher dispatch a group of thugs in an alleyway and then later save his life by bounding off the side of a building and demolishing a car without breaking a sweat Shi-Woon begins to realize that there may be more to this wisecracking playboy of a teacher than meets the eye. So here’s the thing, within the dangerous world of martial arts (referred to in this series as Murim) Chun-Woo is known as the deadly and powerful Goomoonryoung (lit. “Nine Arts Dragon”): master of nine of the deadliest martial arts in the world. Now naïve little Shi-Woon, who clearly has no idea of the concept of personal safety, confronts Chun-Woo and begs him to become his martial arts teacher which, after a series of several hilarious incidents, Chun-Woo agrees to if only to put an end to Shi-Woon’s constant pestering and get back to his usual routine of Lupin III-esque debauchery.

He’s about to show her the secret art of “Long Wang”

All is not perfect in the world of advanced martial arts training however, as Shi-Woon -unsurprisingly- learns that he lacks the physical endurance to undergo the training and so a great deal of the first several chapters is actually spent following Shi-Woon’s progress. Now, if this prospect doesn’t strike you as exciting worry not dear reader because these tame developmental scenes involving Shi-Woon are juxtaposed by awesome fight scenes as Chun-Woo encounters several people from his past such as the way-too-sexy medical martial arts expert and love interest Shi-Ho Lee (yes you read that right “She Ho”) as well as other members of the secret martial arts organization Murim as they investigate the murder of an influential martial arts master.

Shi-Ho Lee and her Kung Fu cleavage

As Chun-Woo and his comrades stave off the advances of these increasingly powerful assassins while trying to uncover the conspiracy, the reader is treated to some of the most excitingly choreographed fight scenes in contemporary manga/manhwa to date. While most action series in this format tend to focus on individual strikes and place emphasis on impact alone, the fights in The Breaker have a fluidity to them that feels very natural and still manages to keep the breakneck pace of a Hong Kong action movie scene. Granted, the martial arts displayed in The Breaker are a bit on the outrageous side, but it by no mean disrupts the sensitive balance between the suspension of disbelief and the adherence to known physical limitations required of action comic readers. What this means is that seeing a man punch through solid concrete is more likely to illicit a “Wow, I wish I could do it like him!” response as opposed to the dreaded “WTF!? How can ANYONE do that!? ” response that seems to plague modern shōnen media nowadays.

NOTHEFACENOTHEFACENOTTHEFAC-OOOHHH!

Another credit to this comic comes in the form of its well-timed and light hearted humour-provided mostly by the lascivious and wolfish escapades of Chun-Woo and the doe-eyed, puppy dog like innocence of Shi-Woon-which helps to ease the tension of the otherwise drawn out set pieces that make up a large majority of the plot . The cast is filled with interesting and imaginative characters that never feel cardboard or insipid even if they seem to be, for the most part, solely motivated by their overarching desire to kick the ever-living crap out of the protagonist. Very often characters (especially adversaries) are given brief but sufficient exposition in introductory scenes and their personalities are put on display long before their martial arts skills are; which in my book makes me appreciate them a lot more than your average cannon fodder supporting characters. In fact, I might venture to say that among the characters introduced in this series Chun-Woo may come off as one of the least interesting ones given his pre-established archetype as the ‘lone-wolf-martial-arts-master-who-has-turned-his-back-on-his-dark-past-after-a-traumatic-experience-and-now-hides-behind-a-poorly-constructed-façade-of-an-average-Joe-with-no-interest-whatsoever-in-troublesome-things-but-can-turn-into-a-monster-at-the-drop-of-a-hat’. Yeah okay, hey Chun-Woo, Himura Kenshin just called, he wants his life back! Obvious character models notwithstanding, the main cast of Chun-Woo, Shi-Woon and the oh-so seductive Shi-Ho all have excellent chemistry and work just as well as separate entities, each with their own unique mannerisms and motivations and a multitude of marvelous martial arts magic tricks that make their machinations all the more memorable.

Sidestep! Circle Strafe! Spot Dodge!

There is a lot to be said about a shōnen title that DOESN’T feel like a steady and formulaic progression of foreshadowing, fighting and trickling plot progression that repeats itself so often that you can time your damn watch by it; thankfully though, The Breaker is not one such series. The plot moves along like an unbroken sequence with a series of well tied together set-pieces that make minor divergences from the story now and then only to return to the main plot seamlessly at just the right points. It reminds me of a river with streams that branch off briefly to snake their way through the woodlands only to return to the main body once again; The Breaker seems to cover the goings on of its characters in a way that is mildly reminiscent of Baccano! or Durarara!, though certainly not as complex or delicately balanced as them it is still admirable nonetheless.
Yes The Breaker is pretty good but it certainly isn’t perfect. I will say first of all that, in much the same way it was difficult for me when watching Yu-Gi-Oh to believe that the whole world gave that much of a crap about a children’s card game, the idea of a secret organization comprised of martial artists as an analogue of the Illuminati was a bit of a stretch for me, especially considering that most of them were never really explicitly or implicitly stated to be involved in white-collar crime or even politics. I mean, am I supposed to believe that all the people in the world who know how to throw a roundhouse kick have the world securely in their muscular, concrete-pulverizing hands? A secret society where everyone is Chuck Norris seems a little far-fetched….awesome yes, but far-fetched.

Notice how unfazed the old guy in panel two is after seeing the carnage taking place onscreen. That’s because he was doing that at six…

Another minor hang up for me is the art style, while I understand and appreciate the gritty look that is applied to the fight scenes to make them feel more hectic and visceral, the artist has a tendency to rely too heavily on that style sometimes (even in non-action moments, though those are rare) and even though the drawings in general are excellent (especially when it comes to the ladies) I feel like I can do without wondering if I’m looking at the manga through a Frank Miller filter. I suppose I’m just spoiled from seeing action comic art the caliber of Vagabond, Tenjho Tenge and SunKen Rock….oh well.

I think I just walked into the wrong comic O_O…….*backs away slowly*

One final caveat (though this should be minor for most experienced comic readers) is the downright absurd resilience of the so-called wimpy male lead Shi-Woon. Now, to his credit he does show realistic and gradual improvement in his stamina and constitution and he even becomes refreshingly more confident and courageous with each successive chapter. Shi-Woon does get a little help from resident Medical expert Shi-Ho early in the manga with a remedy that is quite literally a ‘miracle weenie cure’ *snicker*, but for the most part Shi-Woon seems to get by solely on his Shōnen Jump protagonist-level endurance – I’m talking Bleach, One Piece, Naruto and Fairy Tail kind of endurance here people – to the point where standing up and fighting after being knocked unconscious and suffering from bone breaking injuries becomes a normal occurrence. Tying such incredible feats to an abnormally high level of Ki alone seems to be pushing the boundaries a bit, but even this is acceptable within the realm of the story. For as The Breaker-and it’s equally good sequel The Breaker: New Waves-stresses over and over again, Ki is king and all warriors are its faithful subjects.

Shi-Woon goes Nine-Tails/ Hollow Mask/ Kaio Ken x 10

For its intense fight scenes, engaging story, likeable characters and over-the-top techniques. I give The Breaker my solid recommendation with a B (B- if you prefer a more dialogue and intrigue heavy comic or a B+ if you’re a big fan of Hong Kong action flicks). For those of you who are interested in similar works I also recommend another manhwa called Veritas as well as the amazing SunKen Rock.

That’s his “Me Gusta” face…

Thank you so much for reading (or in the very least skimming over the words and ogling the pictures ^_^). Please comment if you like, comment if you don’t, comment even if you have ‘no comment’ (total comment paradox); just let me know what you think! So, until next time…

Aspire towards Nirvana, fellow manga readers!

Naruto 522: Kabuto’s Gambit

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This chapter was certainly geared towards the long-time readers of Naruto, or in the very least the readers who show a particular interest in the extended lore of the Naruto Universe. We have the return of old enemies Zabuza and Haku, as well as a few other interesting surprises.

 

Ahh, sweet nostalgia

We can see now that Kabuto’s reasons for attacking the otherwise uninteresting and totally untalented kunoichi Mitarashi Anko was simply so that he could extract from her more of his former masters impressive chakra in order to strengthen the Edo Tensei. Quite frankly I have to say that as far as talent and “genius” goes in this series Orochimaru continues to impress me to this very day, more so than even Itachi or Kakashi. When it has been several months after a character’s “official” death and that character’s deeds are still being revealed as extraordinary and groundbreaking, that is something special. When even death does nothing to stem the tide of a character’s influence on the happenings of the present truly, truly that character is something amazing! Oro’s body of work stands as a testament to his abilities which prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was and still is a consummate Shinobi genius, regardless of his ethics or beliefs. Kabuto’s totally riding his coattails though -_-#.

 

Damn, Akno got KabutOWNED!

 

I’m keeping my eye on you Hizashi Hyuga…

Now, I liked this chapter because personally it brought me full circle. What with seeing Haku and Zabuza reunited-and it feels so GOOD-so to speak, and then witnessing them perform exceptionally even in today’s world of space-time altering jutsus and DBZ-level techniques. It’s gonna be quite a shame-though, in Zabuza’s case fitting, poetic even- to see them turned into mindless tools of killing.

 

Bitches don’t know ’bout my special ninja skills yo, SLASH!

 

Haku is as gentle as I remember him. Nice.

The pic that spawned a thousand yaoi slashfics…

Time for round two Kakashi…

Isn’t this what you wanted Zabuza?

It was also a treat to see more of the ninja world opening up to reveal such interesting characters as Gari, a former team mate of Deidara’s and member of Al Quaeda the “Explosion Corps”, and the inexplicable scorch element user from Sand.

 

They don’t look so tough…

FIIIIYAAHHHHHHHH!!!!

Falcon………………..PAWNCH!!!!!

A team of immortal kekkei genkai users is formidable enough even with experienced ninjas like Guy and Kakashi on the team but where kabuto truly shows his-or is it oro’s-tactical genius is when he swiftly summons up some extra muscle in the form of none other than the legendary Seven Swordsmen of the Mist!

 

It’s the Wu-Tang clan of the Ninja world!

I was very very pleased with this turn of events because as a Naruto fanboy, my incessant desire to nitpick and obsess over small details and inconsistencies has made the dearth of information on the Seven Swordsmen a thorn in my side from the moment I first heard of them several years ago when I started following the manga. Excellent work Kishimoto-sensei! Now all you need to do is tie up the loose end of Sharingan supposedly being a genetic offshoot of the Byakugan even though it has been explicitly stated that the Sharingan seems to precede the very leaf Village itself long before  the first appearance of any Hyuga clan members. CONTINUITY RAGE!!! But I digress, awesome chapter with a nice lead in to what is shaping up to be an epic battle.

Aspire towards Nirvana, fellow manga readers! Until next time!

P.S. Jugo and Suigetsu pulled a Shawshank redemption on us and are off to get ice cream or go see a movie or some such unimportant nonsense. Whoopee -_-.

Naruto 500 – The (Re)Birth of a Series

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It's got that "New Seal" smell *sniff*mmmmmmm

It’s been a long time coming but it looks like its finally arrived. Naruto has finally matured as both a character and as an entire series (at least in my mind) and has effectively moved past the awkward, “Dragonball” phase of its development. No more are the readers subject to a completely juvenile, dumb-but-lovable protagonists whose choices are as black and white as the art of the manga itself. Granted, a lot of the character traits that make Naruto Uzumaki distinctly Naruto Uzumaki are still present, but they are tempered now-if only a little bit-by his newly found sense of moderation. It is regrettable that it took Masashi Kishimoto upwards of 450 chapters to give us the kind of hero we’ve been waiting for since day one. Now, I’m all for coming-of-age stories and hot-blooded protagonists who gradually learn to control their impulses over time but pacing is key; quite frankly Naruto should have been a little less Son Goku and a little more Yoshimori Sumimura ^_^.

Anyway, what’s passed is past and right now the future looks bright. Hold your heads high fellow Narutards your hero can finally stand tall among all the other cookie cutter Shounen protagonists and he’s a step above the rest simply because he had to work so hard for so long just to get there *nice guy pose*.

Now, with my blogging spirit restored, let’s see if I can go all the way this time without falling into a crack in the earth’s crust and wallowing in uber laziness.

Aspire towards Nirvana, fellow manga readers!

Double Feature!! Naruto – 470 & 471

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Like a good episode of Darker Than Black, some things are just best taken in pairs. For an auspicious occasion such as Kisame’s first real battle since chapter 257-258 this is most certainly appropriate.

Now as far as Akatsuki members go I have to say that Kisame has always been my favourite. I mean he’s so well-rounded; he’s dependable, self-assured, confident in his abilities, absolutely ruthless, frighteningly powerful and just incredibly interesting (to say nothing of the fact that he looks like the deranged love child of The Rock and Jaws :p). It’s just terribly unfortunate that he’s pitted against my favourite character to come out of Part II, the eight tails jinchuriki Killerbee (who makes me think of Blade if he were to let all of that sword swinging and back flipping get to his head and ACTUALLY became a ninja). But enough of this preamble there’s awesome ninja action to be getting to! Let’s GOOOOOOO!!!!!…….

AAAAAND look at Sakura being pissy and indignant for a couple pages -_- (sorry guys, the action is coming don’t worry). Neways, After Naruto’s very unambiguous declaration of ‘bitch be cool’-I’m paraphrasing of course-at the end of the last chapter Sakura offers her rebuttal.

Silly girl, Ninjas have no time for such trivial matters as (fake) confessions of undying love!

Now she sounds less like a girl confessing her feelings and more like an angry mother -_-

Whisker markings never looked so SERIOUS!

Naruto’s serious demeanor adds an interesting dynamic to this little scenario. We’ve all grown so accustomed to Naruto’s three emotional speeds: Battle-induced Anger, Training-induced Determination and Ass-induced Assness. Slowly but surely though, he’d actually been growing and developing as a character right before our eyes and very much under our-or at least my-nose. His stoicism, curt replies and incredible lucidity in this situation lends itself well to a description that I can only sum up as “refreshingly un-Narutoesqe”. Beautiful.

I've got important Ninja business to take care of now missy. So just run along.

So Sakura, her initial plan having failed terribly, wipes the egg off her face and makes a loaded statement that makes me worry more for her safety than Sasuke’s…

Just replace "Sasuke" with "trouble"....

FINALLY!!! What we all came here to see XD. So, the page opens on an image of a thoroughly pwned giant animal (which, we are informed by Bee’s singing coach is actually not a bear but a tanuki). And the action gets going right off the bat.

Singer, Warrior, Zoologist. Sabuchan-sensei is a man for all seasons!

So it seems the pen/pencil truly IS mightier than the sword...

Just when you thought samehada wasn't cheap enough it reveals another useful ability: It stretches!!!

LOL @ Bee's puns ^.^

Just when you thought it was going to be a typical ninja dodge-fest Kisame surprises everyone by taking Bee’s thrown sword to his shoulder and blocking his rear attack; but for some strange reason Bee’s raiton attacks can’t seem to pierce him.

In a surprising show of manliness Kisame opts out of the use of Replacement jutsu in order to block Bee's strike. NICE!

As it turns out (as if you didn’t already know) Samehada has been absorbing Killerbee’s chakra at high speed and relatively close proximity. This is the first time in the series that Samehada’s chakra absorbing ability has been given this much attention. Quite frankly I’m impressed by this ability even more so than I was originally since I once believed that the blade had to make direct physical contact in order to absorb an opponent’s chakra.

Well, THIS is awkward....

So, abiding by the DBZ principal of building up energy stores and using it to transform, it only takes a few swigs of the hachibi’s chakra for Samehada to go Super Saiyan.

Kisame reveals his Shikai

Not wanting to be outdone, Killerbee enters his hachibi cloak and gets ready for action!

Is it just me or does Killerbee kinda look like Blade in the bottom left corner there?

GO IN FOR THE KILL!!!!

OM NOM NOM NOM

ONLY SIX!? I thought Gluttony was a character from FMA....

Samehada is a fierce beast with an insatiable appetite for chakra! This battle’s getting crazy! So you know what happens next right!? SEGUE!!!!

Looks like Ao is having a little "private time" ^_~.

So the manga cuts to recent body snatch victim Ao and we get to see the difficulties his new tenant Fu is having with the removal of an important piece of furniture…

Hmm, the Uchihas could've used something like that....

So what do you do when you can’t move the couch? Why you take the whole LIVING ROOM duh! Just hope the landlord doesn’t catch you before the job’s done…

Damn, is that how they do things in ANBU: Root? o.O

Ao tells it to him straight. If you miss, you die! NINJA!!!

Alright, now that that’s over with we can get back to the good stuff. Killerbee is reluctant to go all out on Kisame for fear of endangering the lives of his singing coach and his giant pet gerbil (though in reality he just doesn’t want to compromise his vacation. tsk tsk tsk, selfish selfish Bee, too bad your brother already knows you’re gone and is going to whup your ass with his one remaining arm). Bee decides to go into Gear 2nd hachibi cloak version 2 and procedds to give Kisame some emergency chest removal surgery.

What a hero! 'I can't go all out, people might get hurt.....also, my vacation will be over :p'

"Contained the hachibi's power in human form"!? can anyone say 'Perfect Jinchuriki'? XD

First Sasuke, now Kisame. Bee won't rest until every single member of Akatsuki has had a taste of the Lariat!

What should have been a OHK is pretty much nullified by Samehada’s ultra cheap but admittedly convenient ability to restore chakra and heal wounds. Basically, Kisame’s sword has mana burn AND auto-heal. HAX!!!!

"He did it"? Please, it's never that easy in Naruto...

Uh oh, either he's about to barf or everyone's in really big trouble...

Kisame is just about ready to put an end to this duel so he lays his cards on the table and plays Umi. BOOM All aqua type ninjas receive an attack bonus, then he synchro summons “Kisamehada”; his effect: to freak you the f*%$ out! (10 points to the person who catches the references in that last sentence XD).

Wow, Kisame throws up almost as much as Kate Moss...almost.

"THAT GROTESQUE FORM HAS NO WEAKNESSES!!" Way to embelish there Kishimoto -_-. Is that supposed to make his death seem like more of a surprise when it happens?

Just what could this possibly mean for our hero Killerbee? What will “BEE” his fate? What will “BEEcome” of him? Will he “Bee” left to “BEEmoan” the terrible fate that has “BEEfallen” him!? Sorry, his manner of speech is infectious (or should I say “INSECTious”? As in insect? As in….BEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XD).

Aspire towards Nirvana, fellow manga readers!

P.S. I was wondering about that line Killerbee made back on page 3 of chapter 471 (“Octopuses eat sharks”). So I did a little research and look what turned up.

Prophetic maybe?

Naruto 469 – Dango Danzo Daikazoku

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BEAR ATTACK

Kisame's gonna kill you and make you into a Snuggie...

You have GOT to be kidding me! Are you telling me Masashi Kishimoto took an entire week off from the manga just to return with THIS!? First of all he completely forgoes the much-anticipated Kisame vs Killerbee fight (opting instead for a paltry, unsatisfying teaser on the first page wherein Kisame raises his sword to a BEAR!). Immediately following that disappointment is a quick check in with everyone’s favourite runaway Hokage, Danzou. Zetsu corpses abound as the Konoha cowards think of the best manner in which to deal with their Mist nin pursuer (who, incidentally, seems to get his hair cut at the same place Kisame does). Our valiant Kirigakure warrior, while hot on their trail, falls victim to one of Danzou’s escort’s traps in a matter of seconds however and is easily neutralized.

Dead Zetsus EVERYWHERE!!!

Is it just me, or does Torune remind you of Bato from GitS? O_O

Shintenshin pwns!!!

lol ima take ur body now kay? :3

At this point I simply had to ask myself just WHAT THE HELL did he have the Byakugan for anyway!? Don’t worry about all the Main and Branch family Curse Seal stuff Hyuga clan, apparently people are just far too STUPID to use your eyes properly anyway! >:-O. So now that that loose plot thread has been tied up, the manga then cuts abruptly to the Hokage conference where they spend a couple of pages trying to decide on a leader for the ‘New World shinobi Alliance’, ultimately settling on the Zetsu-choking, Hole-in-wall punching, Super Saiyan transforming, wrestling move doing, Sasuke-owning  Raikage because he’s the only man badass enough to lead a clip that rolls that deep. Of course who really wants to say ‘no’ to a man willing to cut off his own arm just to win a fight? I don’t want to get a Raiger Bomb, do you!? THEN ELECT THAT MOTHERF*CKA!!! Fitting indeed that a black man should lead the ‘NW(s)A’ desho?

COOPERATE BITCH!!!

Just like in Pokemon, in the Ninja world Rock is quite resistant to Lightning

Ten pages in-though really nine and a half but hey who’s counting….BESIDES EVERY FLICKING FAN WONDERING JUST WHAT THE HELL IS SUPPOSED TO FILL UP THE REMAINING PAGES!!-and we get right to the meat and potatoes of this week’s manga. This is what Kishimoto’s extra 7-day hiatus was all about. This is what he needed time off to get brewing in that magical little plot pot of his. This is what the fans waited an entire agonizing manga-less week to see!!!!………

Nagisa2

You see the pink one? That's the plot slowly being stragled to death -_-...

That’s right, though the title of this week’s update should have totally given it away (to be quite honest I didn’t read it, so you can imagine my surprise), Sakura organized an entire team of Konoha shinobi to enter into the harsh territory of the land of Iron to tell Naruto that she  “loves (him)” -_-…….

Yeah right......

Sakura uses "Moe no jutsu"!!!

Sakura casts confure ray....IT'S SUPER EFFECTIVE!!!

Lol @ Lee in the corner! Epic facepalm of heartbreak!

Forget WHAT!? Bitch you trippin'....

Lol, Kakashi's like 'Stand back Yamato, there are dangerous forces at work here....'

In case you forgot....

Sakura has a history of rabid fangirlism that negates just about everything she just said -_-

sad ninjas in snow....

If the whole 'touching moment in the snow' thing seems familiar it's because it's been done A BAJILLION times in Kanon, Clannad, Little Busters and just about every single romantic visual novel in existence >:-0

Seriously!!?? You know, when she first mentioned having to talk to Naruto about two weeks back I was kind of expecting the exact opposite. I was hoping for a tearful Sakura telling Naruto how terrible she was for making suffer so much pain and emotional torment for an unrequited love. How selfish she was to make him promise to retrieve the object of her affections, his rival, for her because she herself was too weak. I thought she would fall to her knees and beg forgiveness for the senseless act of placing the burden of protecting the friendship of team 7 squarely on his shoulders. Heck, I was expecting her to just plain get a boot to the head for no apparent reason; that would have been fine with me. But no, she comes with this bogus “confession” straight out of the blue in a feeble attempt to get Naruto off of his path to destruction. Now, I will say that I understand her reasons for doing what she did, surely her heart was in the right place but she failed to understand that asking Naruto to “just forget about that promise (they) made” is tantamount to asking him to deny his very beliefs! His credo! His Ninja Way! There is no way an obvious lie like that is going to deter Naruto from his Nindo, added to the fact that he genuinely cared about Sasuke’s well being  even before the issue of bringing him back for Sakura’s sake even became an issue. From the minute I saw those words I realized two things about the current state of the Naruto manga: 1) Sakura obviously has a very clear understanding of the gravity of the current situation and is willing to do what she can to mitigate it by ANY means necessary. 2) Confessions of love in this series hold absolutely no weight whatsoever! That’s the only way Hinata’s long overdue revealing of her feelings can be quelled, suppressed and ignored with such swiftness that one wonders if it ever even happened in the first place! That’s also the only way Kishimoto can get away with using such an important storytelling trope as a decoy; a means of subterfuge! Just another weapon in the ninja arsenal it seems -_-…

Bitch quit frontin'

Serious Naruto is serious!

Well if you didn't love him then....

Whoo! I almost swooned there for a minute. Is this really the same guy who invented Sexy no Jutsu?

Whether or not Sakura was sincerely lying to herself about her inexplicable feelings for Sasuke or she was just telling a bold faced lie, nobody was having it (heck even Yamato knew something was fishy about it and he’s only been a part of the team since the Time Skip!). I mean, Naruto isn’t the sharpest kunai in the pouch, but even HE can’t be expected to swallow that much tripe. I love the fact that from the very first moment you see his face in the manga his expression transforms subtly from one of mild shock and disbelief to one of calm, yet focused seriousness and stoic understanding. He knows what’s going on; with himself, with Sakura, with the very state of their entire convoluted relationship. He knows, and he’s ready to deal with whatever comes…

Aspire towards Nirvana, fellow manga readers!

P.S. THIS IS WHAT I EXPECT TO HAPPEN WHEN NARUTO GETS BACK TO KONOHA KISHIMOTO!!! PAY CLOSE ATTENTION!!!

Doing it right!!!

Naruto-kun, you never gave me an answer....

Naruto 468 – Ultimatum

Standard

A relatively short post today (partially because this chapter was lacking in discussion material but mainly because I’m far more interested in the post for the following chapter XD). So, let’s dispense with this thing quickly desho?

Madara go bye-bye XD

Walk in. Tell a story. Start a war. Leave. Damn, that guy is evil.

Madara leaves the Hokages to ponder his grim ultimatum. After unanimously deciding that they can’t trust Danzou as far as they can throw him-with the exception of the Raikage of course, I imagine he could toss his geriatric ass around as if it were a mere pebble-the council, or rather Gaara, decided to relay the message of the New World Shinobi Alliance to Konoha via “a Konoha shinobi whom [they] trust”. Now, when you mention trustworthy Konoha shinobi, only one name comes to mind; a true warrior of great skill and admirable rank, always consistent, very dutiful and loyal to a fault. You know him, you love him, he’s been there from the very beginning! I’m talking about the one and only………….…UMINO IRUKA!!! XD Nah I’m just kidding, who else but Hatake Kakashi (or as Gaara referred to him: “Sharingan no Kakashi”).

Sharingan no Kakashi

White Fang Jr.!!!!

Okay so that’s settled, now, how on earth does one fight against an angry Uchiha with a pet shop of dangerous biju at his command? Well our resident levitating senior citizen the Tsuchikage has an idea I think is most fitting of the crazy warmongering old fart. ‘I reckon we use them there jinchuriki we got and throw ‘em at the bad guys! Yup yup’ bellows the floating geriatric (I’m paraphrasing slightly of course but you get the gist ne?); well the once reticent Gaara once again holds his ground by voicing his refusal of this obviously reckless idea (you know, I am getting to like this guy more and more since the time skip ^.^).

KILL DEM VARMINTS!!!

this isn't Warcraft old man, you can't just toss your tanks out there at the front of the battlefield

MUDA DA!!!

I got a very Phoenix Wright feeling here....OBJECTION!!!

DATTEBAYO!!!

I love the look on Kankuro's and Temari's faces lol

With the approval of all of the other Kages, the Tsuchikage’s philistine plan was easily squelched; all problems taken care of right? WRONG! Timid, Seven Swordsman member Choujuro decides to meekly bring up the issue of one of his fellow members Kisame. Our shark-toothed peach boy proceeds to inform the members of the council of Kisame’s beast-like chakra levels (a fact which the audience has been well aware of for quite some time now) and how preventing him from getting to Killerbee would be their top priority. No problem, they have time right? CHIGAU!!!

Passion T_T

Manly man tears...of manliness T_T

Killerbee West

This is PRECISELY why rappers shouldn't sing

Cut to a non-descript forest. Bee stands before a mystical Enka master and his GIGANTIC BEAR (seriously, wtf?) training in the great ninja art of….singing the Japanese equivalent of Country Western music. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) his practice session is cut short as who should show up but Mr. Ghost Shark himself.  Manga reader, I’d like you to meet my friend Cliff, Cliff Hanger. He’ll be taking your manga away now, kthnxbye.

17(2)

Dude...sharks totally pwn bees any day of the week!

Now, I’d love to point out the arrival of Sakura and her team at Naruto’s location and the portentous significance of her arrival…but let’s just save all of that RAGEHATE enthusiasm for the next post okay?

We need to talk...

NOTHING good ever follows those words -_-....

Aspire towards Nirvana, fellow manga readers!