It took a week, but we've finally been given a chapter that focuses on what should be important. The near dying protagonist. Everyone is rushing in a frantic pace to keep him alive just long enough to pull some rabbit out of the hat. It's some genuine tension in a story that has been dragging on for far, far too long. It does fall a touch flat as Hinata abruptly trips over nothing. The author was trying too hard there.
Maybe I've been reading this series long enough, but I'm getting the distinct impression that I can see where this melodrama is heading. Mind you, this is just my own prediction, but I'm betting that Gaara is rushing Naruto to Minato. That way he can seal the other half of Kurama into Naruto. Doesn't sound too far fetched, right?
It's almost as if Kishimoto had to think up a reason for the alliance's long absence on the fly, and his expositional dialog is incredibly heavy handed. Suddenly, every single one of these people are completely out of power. Yet no one has seem to have thought up the brilliant idea of spreading out or creating a smoke screen. To top it all off, we discover that the Shinobi Alliance is being held back by Spiral Zetsu, and the revival of one of the lamest jokes in the series' history. Poop jokes, seriously?
For as much as I enjoy the art, it sort of contradicts the plot. Several characters are talking about a lack of power, but they're still cloaked in the Nine-Tail's chakra boosting armor. While I'm on the topic. How do they even still have that protection? It was based on Naruto's connection to Kurama and his concentration. Neither of which he now has.
For the first time in a while, I didn't feel the urges to skim the pages. It was a pretty entertaining read. The finer lines are where the chapter falters. He's not especially gifted and combining drama and humor, and this giant holding back the alliance feels completely made up as an excuse for why no one has been helping in the previous weeks. it's a certain improvement. Let's hope Kishimoto can keep this up.
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