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.
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!!!!
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.