" With the finale chapter finally here, I have conflicted emotions. I feel both happy and sad. The only thing I'm completely sure of is the gratitude I feel toward the readers. Thank you for supporting me until the end. Otsukaresama, believe it! "
- Masashi Kishimoto
I certainly appreciate the effort it must have taken to produce and publish this whole chapter in color. To the best of my knowledge, I believe this is only the second time that's been done. Now, if only this issue had a story that justified that level of production.
About the only real touch that surprised me out of this chapter is seeing how Guy didn't escape any consequence for what should have been a suicide attack. The once overly energetic taijutsu master is now wheelchair bound. I actually feel pretty sympathetic for the guy.
If you came to this looking for some sense of closure on events over the years, you're going to be sorely disappointed. The entire chapter is dedicated to showing the couples that came out of the series and their children. It doesn't even matter how nebulous these connections even are. You remember that one time Saimade a completely insincere compliment to Ino that one time? Well, that was apparently enough of a connection to warrant marriage and procreation for the author.
The kids even read like poor fan fiction. They're all mash-up clones who have the same personality of the parent they most resemble. Back when Naruto acted out in the first chapter, I actually felt bad when I realized how he was alone in the world with everyone hating him. That was sympathetic. On the other hand, Naruto's son, Bolt, doing the same thing just paints the kid as a brat who wants daddy's attention. It's a poor premise for rehashing old story, and paints the protagonist as a neglectful parent.
The worse offense of them all is in how we're just told in passing that Kakashi simply handed the title ofHokage over to Naruto at some point. This is what the character had been working for his whole life, but there's nothing to explain how he earned it over anyone else. I guess it was just passed on to him when Kakashi got tired of doing it. Did Naruto ever graduate past Genin? Who knows? What became of all the Bijuin Naruto and out in the world? Orochimaru, who's that? There's no attempt made to clear up plot here. It's all empty fan service.
Yeah, I'm rating this final chapter of NARUTO a 1 out of 5. This chapter had one job, to close out the events of the past fifteen years; and it completely failed at that. This wasn't an epilogue of a decade long series. It was a twenty-four page love letter to all the character shippers and slash fiction writers across the internet. This more deserved to be an omake published in the pages of the final volume edition. That would have been the appropriate place for this.
While I understand there is a new series starting in the Spring of next year that could potentially fill in some blanks, that fact is complete irrelevant to what happened in this chapter. That's what I'm reviewing here. In general, I've enjoyed reading the NARUTO series. In the case of action, Kishimoto does some really iconic scenes, but his character development is grossly uneven. It really feels as if this finale was just rushed out the door.
I've certainly enjoyed reviewing this series for you all, and thank you for reading my perspective. I may also review the new series when it debuts next year. Take care.
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