Hmm, this week’s chapter was nice in that we have Itachi and Sasuke fighting side-by-side, but some of the things presented seem out of place. The translation I think had a large part to do with it, as some of the word choices used are just very un-Kishi like and other times just make me cringe at how bad the sentence structure is. Maybe I’m being too nitpicky – it is a free scanlation – but it just ruins the mood of the chapter when a supposedly genius like Kabuto messes up his own words and Itachi starts cracking jokes (Dr. Snake? Really?). That aside, this chapter was a good set-up for the battle to come between Kabuto and the Uchiha brothers, but I think the more interesting part then seeing Kabuto’s transformation was learning more about the backgrounds of Karin, Suigetsu and Jugo.
Kabuto’s new snake-sage mode was a surprise, but now that I think back it makes sense for Orochimaru that have tried to gain this technique. Each of the Sannins had an animal-aspect: Jiraiya had his toad, Orochimaru had his snakes, and Tsuande had her slugs. Since Jiraiya managed to master his toad sage mode by studying under the head toad guru, why couldn’t Orochimaru and now Kabuto have done the same. On the same line of thought, we could very well see Tsunade pull a slug sage mode on Madara in their current battle, though the thought of changing into half-slug can’t be too pretty :p
The only downside for Kabuto though is I doubt his sage mode will be nearly as powerful as the others, not because it is inferior but because I don’t think Kabuto truly mastered it. Despite proclaimed to be a genius of sorts, we now know that all of Kabuto’s powers have pretty much been stolen from others. The guy practically has no special powers to call his own, everything he has today was taken from somebody else. Kabuto doesn’t seem like the type to want to work hard at mastering something on his own, he would much rather attain power through taking short-cuts and stealing what others hve already obtained through hard work. That’s why I believe his sage-mode is going to be mostly show with not much bite, not worth the time of two Susanoo-users in my opinion. Jiraya and Naruto both committed blood and sweat to master the frog sage mode technique, it makes me doubt that Kabuto would have the same commitment when he received his current powers so easily by stealing from others. Kabuto will put on a fight to give Itachi and Sasuke to show-off their teamwork, but I think he’s still fated to lose – his only saving grace is that the brothers will have to go easy on him because he holds the key to stopping the Edo Tensei technique.
The more interesting part of this chapter was learning more about the history behind Karin and Jugo. People have joked in the past that Karin was an Uzumachi because she had red hair, but who knew Kishi would actually reveal it to be factual. So all direct descendants of the Uzumachi clan have red hair (Naruto is only half-Uzumachi) and have a strong life force, allowing some of them to possess high regenerative powers it seems). This helps explain some of Naruto’s unnatural resilience in battle as well, as we’ve seen recover inhumanly fast before. It was attributed to Kyuubi’s chakra powers before, but maybe it was Naruto’s Uzumaki blood at work the whole time.
The explanation of Jugo’s powers and those of his clan also sheds a lot of light on why they are so powerful, yet seemingly can’t control their own power. It seems that Jugo’s clan possessed bodies that can absorb nature chakra easily. This is the same chakra that Naruto uses to empower his speed and strength while in sage mode. But we’ve also seen that the inability to balance this chakra can spell disaster to the user. When jugo is in control of the nature’s chakra, he’s calm and able to communicate with the animals, but when it builds up he turns into a monster. Perhaps the reason why Sasuke was able to quell Jugo during his berserker tantrums was because his genjutsu was able to help Jugo balance the nature chakra within himself.
That’s my thoughts for this week. Let’s hope Kabuto puts up a good fight next chapter, but I don’t expect this to last more than two chapters at the most.
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