Sakura is not only Naruto's friend and team mate, she's also the disciple of the greatest medical-ninja in history. She's always been in Naruto's heart since they were children, but now Sakura literally holds it in her hand to keep his dream from dying with him.
Sure, when I was writing up this article, I could have chosen a more modern reference for my subtitle.GENERAL HOSPITAL, ER, HOUSE MD.,...SCRUBS; but the setting and the vibe of this issue just reminds me of M*A*S*H. I saw all the episodes of M*A*S*H in reruns when I was kid. While Alan Alda did play Hawkeye Pierce, he was also a frequent writer and director in the series. You always knew when you saw him credited as director at the start that things were going to get heavy.
Sakura's determination to keep Naruto alive no matter the risk reminded me of an episode of M*A*S*Hwhere Hawkeye, in a last ditch effort to save someone, resorted to direct heart massage. It was great drama then, and it still works today. This sort of character motivation should have been the focus a few weeks ago. Sure, I'd love to see Sakura take more of the spotlight in a battle, but this is almost as good. If not better in a few ways.
While I do love the scene, I think Kishimoto may have wanted to do a bit more research on anatomy before he drew this chapter. In this scene, he shows Sakura cutting through Naruto's rib cage to get to his heart. I don't have a medical degree, but I'm pretty sure you want to avoid causing more trauma to the body. Also, a bit extreme to go straight to that method before chest compression.
Things aren't as enjoyable outside of the good aspects of the chapter, and it's looking as if Madara will be the final antagonist of NARUTO. They say you should never have your hero defeat a god, because once they've overcome such an enemy, it becomes next to impossible to create a credible threat in the future. It wasn't bad enough that he was so strong his in mortal revived form that he was bashing around all nineBiju like they were nothing. He's now made himself the Jinchuriki of the Ten-Tails. Thus making him more powerful than the God of the Shinobi.
I may only be speaking from recent memory, but Madara has to be one of the worst final bosses of manga. Who is he to the protagonist? He's nothing more than a name in the history books. Obito was a better choice. He was the one who was responsible for his parents' death, the slaughter of the Uchiha, and countless other massacres across the Shinobi World. Even in BLEACH, Yhwach's actions are what led to the death of Ichigo's mother.
Maybe this critique is a touch premature. It's likely that Hashirama gave Sasuke some tricky jutsu that will pull the rug out from under Madara, but will it also remove all the Biju from him at the same time. That in itself would be just as convenient as was the ease of their capture.
After several weeks of annoyance, NARUTO really brought a great chapter in this edition of WSJ. Putting aside all the issues of Madara and Karin, this was an example of great character writing and drama. Connect the reader to the events, get us to care about what's going on, and don't be afraid to shock us. It hits all three points. It's even worth a second or third read.
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