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Naruto Chapter 525 – War on Four Fronts

naruto-retro1Post Author: Bob

When Kakashi announced that he was going to go all out last week, I thought for sure we’d get a whole chapter devoted to his battle, but alas Kishimoto has other plans. I would have preferred to let Kakashi’s battle resolve first before moving on to the other battles of this war, but maybe is planning form something grander. Chapter 525 is another set-up chapter where no real action occurs but we’re introduced to two additional fronts of the war as well a plethora of new and revisited characters. We also get a lesson on formation deployment from old man Shikaku; I guess with a war of this scale, a sound battle plan is needed.

Shikaku’s battle briefing for the kages might seem a little long winded. I’m sure a lot of the kiddies probably weren’t too interested in the 2-3 pages where Shikaku talk about strategic deployment and pincer movements; it’s a shonen battle manga, after all. It might have been drab reading material, but we now pretty much have a good idea of who each character and their division will be fighting and who will be available to assist who when things get hairy. So essentially, right now the alliance army is fighting four different battles:

1. Kakashi’s division is held up fighting the Swordsmen of the Mist far west of the main army; it’s unlikely they will be able to get back fast enough to help the other divisions.
2. Kitsuchi’s division is holding off the main force of the white Zetsu army. Currently, this division has probably taken the most losses and low on energy since they’ve been fighting the longest.
3. Darui’s division is defending the beachhead against a smaller group of white Zetsus backed up by a significant group of resurrected shinobis.
4. Gaara’s division has set up a defensive position in the south and has intercepted a small group of four shinobis. However, all four are previous kages.

Mifune’s division will act as reinforcement and is stretched out along the lines, ready to fill any gaps. Shikaku’s plan is basically divide and conquer. He sees Darui’s division as most vulnerable to being overrun and wants to shift forces from Mifune to help them while wheeling most of Kitsuchi’s division around to assist as well. And then half of Gaara’s forces will also break off and provide even more back-up for Darui. Once Darui’s enemies are destroyed, they’ll return the favour by helping destroy Gaara’s enemies and so on. The plan is ambitious, but the sheer amount of reinforcements Shikaku is sending to Darui tells me he has no confidence in the kid’s ability to hold the line. Shikaku is also pretty much screwing Kitsuchi’s division by leaving them a skeleton crew to hold off the bulk of Madara’s army and somehow hold out until the other divisions are finished. He’s also underestimating the power of four ex-kages – each of whom is equivalent to a small army in terms of power. Not to mention that this Mu guy is with them, someone they believe only the current Tsuchikage has a chance against.

Mu, the second Tsuchikage, is the most interesting amongst the four kages Kabuto sent against Gaara’s division. He apparently possesses no chakra and is virtually untraceable, yet is able to use Dust element – which we’re told is a combination of Earth, Wind and Fire. Mu is capable of this feat through his “bloodline expansion”, a special trait that goes beyond your normal bloodline limit abilities. Mu was the one who taught the Third Tsuchikage the Dust element techniques, so needless to say he will possess similar powers to his student minus the negatives that come with an old geezer’s body. Of the other kages present, I’d say the second Mizukage is the next most powerful since he was able to kill Mu (himself dying in the process), then the Third Raikage, and with Gaara’s dad last since he just looks like some scrawny gangbanger trying to look tough.

There’s no kages on Darui’s side, but he’s got a large number of S-class and jonin-level ninja to contend with. Kakuzu, Asuma, Dan and Hizashi Hyuga are here along with two guys we haven’t heard of before: Kinkaku and Ginkaku, who are obviously heavy metal fans. I originally assumed Kabuto was going to use the dead Konoha guys as psychological weapons, particularly if he can get Tsunade to face Dan, but so far it appears he’s just going to use them to back up the white zetsus in combat. Yet, even though Asuma, Dan and Hizashi are powerful jonins, they’re not very useful in a large scale battle like this where the area effect abilities of an S-rank like Kakuzu really shine. Well, I think Kishi must have something more significant for these guys to do. But with characters like Tsunade and Shikamaru so far away from this battle, you have to wonder how these reunions with dead loved ones will occur.

Other things of note:
– agent Zetsu has snuck behind enemy lines to assassinate the feudal lords? I actually hope he succeeds, those guys are like overpaid bureaucrats and totally useless as leaders; plus, they have horrible taste in hats. When this war’s finished, I think all the villages should stage coups and take over running their respective countries — I have no doubt that the previous Great Ninja Wars, like our own World Wars, were started by stupid politicians and foolish leaders.