Hey, it’s the first Naruto chapter of the year after Kishi took a break for the holiday season and the new year. Although this chapter had some nice moments and we are seeing more progression in the bond between Kyuubi and Naruto, I was somewhat disappointed that Kishi didn’t have more in his offering after a 2-week break. We certainly do have the standard 17-pages we’re accustomed to, but I think having so much of it devoted to cut-and-paste flashback snippets from past chapters is a little too fillerish.
However, I do understand the point Kishi is trying to push with these flashbacks – they’re actually flashbacks that Kyuubi is rememberin; this fact alone reveals that despite Kyuubi’s usual demeanour with Naruto, he actually has been carefully watching his host’s every action with great intent. If Kyuubi truly just despised Naruto like all his previous hosts, then he would have cared less about these key moments in Naruto’s evolution as a great shinobi. The Kyuubi of the past was certainly more interested in exploiting Naruto to have a chance to regain his freedom, but as Kyuubi has gone through both the hard and good times with Naruto as his host over the years, he has come to see that Naruto means what he says and is not one to betray others – even a tailed beast. Naruto may be thickheaded, but he is about the most honest and sincere guy you can find in the Naruverse, Kyuubi understands this because the knucklehead continues to come through every time on his promises with action, not mere words.
The action in this chapter was on the light side, but you got to love how inventive the guy is with his limited repertoire of techniques. I don’t believe there has been a recorded case in the past where a shinobi managed to induce vomiting in a tailed beast by using mass shadow clones in the beast’s digestive tract. But the real ingenious moment in this chapter was Naruto leaving behind a sage-mode clone inside Goku as a back-up to help push out that chakra stake Tobi is using to keep the beast under his control. It’s one of the oldest tricks in Naruto’s play book, but it has proven to work time and time again because even the cleverest opponent fails to foresee such a simple yet effective tactic. Just on a side note, I think the chains themselves are a power from Tobi’s Sharingan, but the use of the chakra stakes is borrowed from Pein and Tobi may be using his Rinnegan to allow him to combine both chain and stake techniques.
I would like to yap more, but like I mentioned a good chunk of this chapter was filler. At this point, I think it’s a sure bet Kyuubi will commit to becoming a true partner with Naruto fairly soon. It would be such a nice scene when a combined Naruto/Kyuubi combo finally brings down this fake Madara.
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