The art and action in the pages of this week's NARUTO is really top notch. One of the highlights for me this week was the image of the Nine-Tails wrapped in Madara's Susano'o. This is the sort of episode that you look forward to seeing animated.
A lot of people like to joke about how LORD OF THE RINGS director Peter Jackson is in desperate need for an editor. He creates incredibly visuals, but has an almost uncanny knack for over extending a story.(I say that as a person who owns all the LOTR Extended Edition box sets.) Masashi Kishimoto seems to be adopting the Jackson film philosophy into manga.
While visually amazing. There doesn't seem to be any justification for putting such detail into this past battle. Not only is it drawn out, but now we're actually going even further back to the childhood of Hashirama and Madara. It's essentially a fourteen page set up for a scene of skipping stones. Someone get Kishimoto an editor.
Was Kishimoto horribly betrayed as a child? Just look through the cast of NARUTO, and it seem that nearly everyone at some point has a childhood friend that eventually turned into a bitter rival who wants to defeat/humiliate/kill them. I think he's trying to go for the tragedy of friends turned enemies, but he's abused this theme to an almost comical degree. Does he seriously lack for any other motive for conflict between two people?
NARUTO has done little else these past few weeks than be an exercise in frustration. I understand why Kubo is dragging out BLEACH, but there has yet to be any justification for suspending the finale to the Shinobi World War for this leisurely paced trek down memory lane. I was almost ready to rate this a three, but my admiration for the art doesn't excuse the lack of plot and direction. If they had only filled in the rest of Sasuke's lines from last week. I'd at least understand what was at stake for the future of this story.
Do you think next week we're going to learn how Hashirama stole Madara's high school crush?