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 Naruto 495 review...

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benelori
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PostSubject: Naruto 495 review...   Sat May 22, 2010 1:19 pm

Dear readers, welcome to the weekly review of Naruto. I admit I’m delighted to write this review, because the manga is in a phase where the climax of the current arc is approaching, so I welcome everyone to join me to see where are things heading.
This time as well, Binktopia did a very good job from the quality point of view, and especially from speed point of view. Thanks to the great guys, and for Mangastream who released this chapter quite earlier than I hoped, but of course the review came out even later than most of you expected Very Happy.

But of course, most of our gratitude should go to Kishimoto sensei, who’s responsible for creating a superb chapter, quite the gem of this arc so far.
Previously on Naruto

Many people don’t like the current arc, because it’s focused entirely on Naruto, or the development of his character might be soap opera-like, or even rushed. Though we can’t ignore the fact that there were several undisputable strong points of the current arc.

As plot development and coherence is concerned, the detailed presentation of Kumogakure and mainly the development of Killer Bee and his relationship with Naruto were a breath of fresh air, after the whole Naruto chasing Sasuke affair. This automatically introduced new and not so new character: Yami Naruto. Yami Naruto is the manifestation of hatred, anger and all other emotions related to the darkness in Naruto’s soul. It cannot be called a separate entity, it’s more like the subconscious of Naruto. The confrontation between the two was presented as inevitable, since it’s the first step towards controlling Kyuubi, a Bijuu who exploits the darkness of its Jinchuuriki.
A secondary character, which lately enjoyed a lot of attention is Motoi, the Kumo guide. His past relationship with Bee served as a lesson for Naruto, in order to grow as a shinobi and be able to erase Yami Naruto.
Let’s see if Naruto learned his lesson.

The Eight- and Nine-Tails Jinchuuriki join forces! Let’s drop a beat to commemorate this historic event
As the author puts it we can assume from the first page, that Naruto will pass the exam with Yami Naruto. That is because it was made clear from the start that the Waterfall of Truth is the first step and it has to be done only by Naruto.

The chapter opens up in a very peaceful manner, and it reflects the entire chapter as well. The attack of the squid, to which Motoi fell victim was successfully repelled, and Motoi saved. Naruto is praised for the intent of saving Motoi, so Bee acknowledges Naruto as coo’.
The way Bee phrases his opinion about Naruto, followed by another fist-bump, made me think that the first fist bump was a greeting as well, not some infamous mind-read no jutsu. If we take a look at Bee’s personality, and what he did to control Hachibi, the way Naruto first wanted to learn directly from him, I think I’m right about this one. I think I can finish that and besides he... sentence as well.

Naruto went to Bee to ask for help, and I think to Bee he seemed not to serious about it, and the way he tried to impress Bee, showed that he is there just to rely on Bee, not to do something by himself. Therefore Bee thought:and besides he’s still just a kid
The way Naruto was prepared to jump in to help Motoi, the way he underwent some original experience at the Waterfall of Truth, made Bee think that Naruto has the potential to at least to be ready for Kyuubi.
As concluded in last week’s review, Bee’s presence somewhere near Naruto was not a coincidence, he went there to meet Naruto and decided to teach him. This points towards the fact that Bee knows very well what’s happening on the island, as he knew that Naruto already went to the Waterfall of Truth.

If we analyze this from strictly character development point of view, then I say this relationship is something really original from Kishimoto and it’s a good development. Previous teachers of Naruto like Jiraiya and Kakashi never treated Naruto as an adult, or at least not entirely. Their methods of teaching Naruto involved appealing to the childish side of Naruto, like playing with balloons, scolding him and ultimately Kakashi who showed signs of mistrust as well. His words although say otherwise, his surprised reactions makes still me think this way.
So until now the relationship between Naruto and Bee is developing smoothly and in an original way, but considering both personalities some childish behaviour is expected, but not in the moments of training and developing skill....at least I hope so.

The core of the chapter

The highlight of the chapter is certainly this statement and it proves the widely accepted theory that embracing, accepting his darkness will be the key of conquering it.
The mood of the chapter itself focuses on faith, and peace. The amount of comedy in the chapter is the first proof of all this. Tenzou’s remarks, the friendly conversation between him and Motoi, then the same with Naruto and Bee underline my statement.
Furthermore, the pace is picked up and Bee rushes Naruto to complete the waterfall training, which is a training to attain peace with ones self.

So Naruto engages again in the confrontation with Yami Naruto. The conversation proves to be a torment at first for the latter. As he is shown the autograph which was supposed to be signed for those shinobi at Ichiraku, he bursts into screaming, accusing those shinobi of manipulation, mistreat and for the suffering they caused.
Naruto handles the situation with calm and his answer is the one presented in the panel above: faith. This faight doesn’t come from just the events from now on, though. This faith is also represented by acknowledging Yami Naruto as the source of his development until now. Those dark years of childhood made Naruto grow as a shinobi, and he became worthy of the titles Gutsy Ninja and Nr.1 surprising ninja

But faith in himself means not just the faith in Yami Naruto as well, but Yami Naruto needs to have faith, too. We this in mind, Naruto hugs the attacking darkness, and all ends with Yami Naruto disappearing. Naruto’s resolve is impressing, but Yami Naruto is a product of Naruto’s personality, so maybe a little more resistance from him would’ve been nice. I knew that talking will be the method to take Yami Naruto on, but I expected Yami Naruto to try to persuade Naruto more than this. His sudden outburst somehow puts all these negative feelings into a bad light, strips them of their essence.

So putting away this tiny disappointment, let’s not forget that this confrontation is symbolic, so it was normal to be concluded with this speed and in this manner.
Naruto went prepared to the waterfall, and it’s safe to assume that he already knew what was going to happen, therefore the power and the influence of his negative feelings decreased. Yami Naruto’s influnce being weaker, the whole confrontation ended quickly, and the reason of the outburst is that Yami Naruto wanted desperately to maintain his power. With his power weakened, a real fight or some real resistance was unnecessary, because it was impossible in the first place. And that is thanks to Naruto who strenghtened himself, therefore even the tiny disappointment fades away.

This is the face of a guy, who is satisfied with himself as he overcame another obstacle in his development. The calmness, the smile somehow reassures us that the training will finally shift into second gear, but of course we shouldn’t let the our expectations take the glory of what really happened.

Therefore the core of this chapter is similar to what was in the last chapter, but with Naruto and his change in the focus. Bee presented the alternative of forgiveness, and pride for what he his and showed Naruto that this is the direction towards he should take.
The forgiveness idea was not something new for Naruto, if we recall his last moments with Pain. But this wasn’t well shaped and certainly wasn’t an element of his core personality. Naruto’s encounter with Sasuke made the base for his strength as a shinboi, strength to take responsibiliy and taking the matter in his own hands. But only now after dealing with his personal issues, we can call his emotional development complete, at least for now, since I’m sure future encounters with the enemy will be challenging as well.
Naruto achieved peace with himself, and by having faith in himself he is steadily becoming the hero, the villagers think he is.

Exciting developments

The last panel and Bee’s reaction to Naruto’s success at the waterfall, makes us to look forward to some very good story development, maybe even packed with some action.
The construction behind the waterfall is the place where Naruto will finally have some direct confrontation with Kyuubi. The first step will probably be something like a short exchange of words between Naruto and the beast, so that the beast will know that Naruto’s hatred is gone. Therefore Kyuubi developing a cloak trying to get out shouldn’t be a surprise, but that doesn’t mean there’s reason to be worried, since Mokuton and Samehada are there and ready for action.

For some final ideas I think the art in this chapter should be taken into account separately, not like until now.
In this arc the action really missed, and sometimes this lack of action, or lack of story development somehow dulled the art as well. Though the scenes where water existed were very well drawn, the rest of the panels were monoton and it definitely contributed for the slight feeling of boredom.
As mentioned above, the mood of the chapter was peaceful, funny. I don’t know if it came from Kishimoto’s state of mind, or the chapter itself influenced Kishimoto, but I noticed that every panel was very well draw, and I’m thinking about the details mostly, not just the shapes. Drawing everything in detail takes time, therefore a lot of patience is required as well. This patience is a result of a calm mind, so this feeling of harmony in this chapter is reinforced once again. Not taking just the waterfall panels into account, the elements of nature, the facial expressions, some of them combined with water to create an even more dramatic effect were great.

Quick summary/Opinions

Similar to this panel, I hereby nominate this chapter candidate to be the best in this arc. Though these last comments will probably make you feel that there’s no real difference from previous chapters, it’s still nr.1, so far.

Action lacked again, but unlike previous chapter, action is bound to happen, thanks to the cliff hanger. The reason is the pace of the story development. Naruto finally completed the first step, which was sooner than expected, so the story moves forward smoothly.
Character development is the magic word for these chapters, and this time as well, there was plenty. The relationship between Naruto and Bee improved, even Yamato and Motoi seem to be getting along better.
Naruto transformation though is the main event that happened, this transformation along with Bee’s approval is certainly a historic moment worth to commemorate.
Art was top notch this week, and there was even some past recollection, which for me is a key element for story coherence.
The only minuses of this chapter are the lack of action, and the fact that after all this time there’s still no news of the other people on the island, not even mentioning the outside world.
Though the lack of action somehow is saved by the cliffhanger, the mark is stil 8.5/10, which is a good mark for a chapter in a transition/training period.

Predictions/Want to happen

I really don’t know about this. Though I want Naruto to force out Kyuubi with that scroll, then attempt to take control of it, after that Bee taking Kyuubi’s chakra and forcing Kisame to reveal himself, I think next week talk will still be the main event. But at least I’m pretty sure Kyuubi will appear. Interaction between Naruto and Bee about the training, or the training site is to be expected, but the rest I dunno. I said the cliffhanger definitely screams some action, still I don’t think we’ll have that much of it. If the pace will be kept this way, though then expectation should remain high.

That’s all folks, I hoped it wasn’t boring. If the chapter was boring, though I suggest rereading some chapters, from the conversation with the frogs in order to get the full and engraved picture of Naruto’s development. But if the chapter wasn’t boring then please enjoy it until next week, and I hope the review will rise to the chapter’s level. That being said, and with warm thanx to you, Binktopia and Mangastream, I’ll take my leave, until next week.
Mata ne!
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