Obito beget Madara, and he was followed by the resurrection of Kaguya. All these foes have been defeated by Naruto, who has saved the world; but what of his destiny to bring it into balance? Is that the next challenge for our hero?
Four years, people. Four bloody, long years this war has been going on. Sure, we may be a month or so short. I'm unsure what month "The War Begins!" chapter was originally published, but the closing moments of this arc could continue until we get a better idea of where this story is heading next. That's at least another two week.
Wow, I actually had to sit here for a few minutes and think about that. That NARUTO could actually have a future story that doesn't involve this war saga. What could that be like? It's been so long. It even sounds too good to be true.
With that issue aside for now, Kishimoto does a spectacular job in the art for this chapter. It actually looks like something he's been wanting to build to for a while now. Things move at a really good pacing, and I wasn't bored at any point. Yeah, Naruto's little self-righteous moment with Black Zetsu was kind of pointless, but it wasn't that big a deal. The quality of the visuals more than makes up for all of that. This is a chapter worth reading and enjoying.
Okay, the one thing in this chapter that I can not accept is what's revealed near the end, and that's the appearance of Madara Uchiha. What is Kishimoto doing?! Last we saw him. He was shattered into a thousand pieces by the return of Kaguya. Hashirama found his legs, remember? Now, one of the Tailed Beasts just spits him up, and he's right back to be a potential pain in the side. He was made into a Jinchuuriki, and now he no longer holds that power. He had better be dead or dying....for good this time.
Who knows, perhaps Kishimoto if going to try and pull a redemption for Madara the way he has for so many others. He could try, but there's no way I could accept it. I still don't accept Obito's.
I am incredibly hesitant to call this the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War. This war has had so many false endings that I fear I'll be suffering from a fictional equivalent of post-traumatic stress for as long as this series is published. Always on edge for the war to pick up again.
I think NARUTO will have a place in manga history, but maybe not in ways that even the creator realized. Have you ever heard of the concept of "war fatigue", where the public loses support for wars when they go on for too long? This series is testing what we could refer to as reader fatigue. What happens to the audience if an arc it stretched out for this long? It all ties into with morale, and mine for this manga has dropped significantly.
I know I'm sort of rambling here at the end, but you'll just have to humor me. I'm still trying to process that this particular journey in my reviewing of this series could be coming to an end. It's been a disturbingly long time since I've enjoyed reading a chapter of this series. Maybe that's due in part to the potential of moving forward instead of fighting the same old wars again. The problem is with where this story can go. All the loose ends have been pretty neatly tied up. I guess we'll just have to wait for next week to see.
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