Is anyone paying attention to what's happening right now in the manga? I really can't understand why Tsunade wasn't more useful. I brought this up in CV but if Jiraiya could take on all six of them, kill one, and find their secret then shouldn't Tsunade (who is another Sannin) have been able to do a lot more than just stand there and tremble in fear when one of the bodies comes to see her? I really can't get a grasp on Pein's real power. One minute he's fighting slightly better than a Sannin, the next moment he's taking on the entire hidden leaf village, the next moment one of his bodies is having trouble with freaking Konohamaru, and the next he's destroying Konoha in a single blast. However, At least Naruto's back. ZOMG!! Do you have any idea how long I've been waiting for a good Naruto fight? I would hate to be disappointed.
To be honest, I've had an on-off relationship with this series. It started out cool and original, then it got really really convoluted as time went on. A friend of mine convinced me to give Shippuden a try, but then they bring in ninjas capable of destroying entire cities who just won't freaking die, and then they show Naruto and co. just kinda flying through the forest instead of hopping along the branches, as if they just don't care. I can't even bring myself to call these people "ninjas" anymore. Ninja would imply that they actually use stealth and cunning to make their attacks, but instead what we have now is Dragonball Z with another name, where the good guys and the bad guys will continue pulling mind-blowing superpowers out of their asses until the writers get bored with the story arc and give the good guys an "ultimate technique" that can't be countered, until the next story arc anyway. Naruto will always win in the end because he can shout louder than his opponents, but then the next Big Bad Guy will render everything he's learned completely useless until he goes through another training montage, and then the cycle will repeat itself until the gravy train stops flowing for the writers.
Maybe I've grown cynical, but dammit why even bother calling them "ninjas" when all they have to do to win is scream out their giant flashy attacks louder than their opponent? The only Naruto character I can recall who actually used stealth in his attacks carried a huge freaking zanbatou on his back, and the only time I've seen the ninjas wear all black was during a funeral scene for that old Hokage who died.
As for Pain, when I read his character description, he sounded like a Marty Stu character that some fanfic writer would create: a ninja capable of destroying an entire city by himself, with the power to transfer his conciousness and powers between seven or eight different bodies that can be revived if they're not all dead at once. Then I realized he's an actual character in the story. Man, it's really gonna suck when everything Naruto learned to fight him becomes useless against the next "ninja" with the power to destroy an entire country with his magic fingers except for all characters wearing Plot Armor.
No offense, just personal opinion. It reminds me of DBZ and YYH now, more action and less story i hope it wouldn't be the "main character gets stronger that nobody actually catches up and eventually becomes useless" syndrome.
I finally Like that Naruto has caught up, he was never really the strongest till now, (not counting nine tails). There was always someone stronger then him and it ended with him needing the help of his friends to carry on, Judging from Sage Naruto it finally looks as if he has become the thing they always talked about.