Another year of Naruto is upon us, the last year in the manga; though it is just as likely that we will be dealing with the anime for at least another year, if- not two. The Naruto franchise is of such fame that the powers that be aren’t likely to allow its brand to die anytime soon.
But enough of that; another year of the Naruto anime not only portends 12 new months of great material, but also more opportunity for filler. Which is the pit within which the anime is currently wandering. One might choose to take a positive approach on the topic, what with this filler arc being the best we have seen in…forever (and mostly because of Itachi).
Yet that would require ignoring the simple facts; the last few months of canon Naruto anime episodes have been some of the best we have ever encountered; this is Naruto as it should be, as it has always been, precluding the filler garbage, and in light of the current (albeit pleasant) desert of filler, I thought I would look back at the last season of canon Naruto material, truly magnificent outside of the filler element that still pepper even the best episodes.
Rather than simply touch on each and every episode, all the memorable elements that occurred within this massive span of episodes, I will instead make mention of those specific factors of the series that proved most crucial to my enjoyment as well as story and character progression:
I have never been Kabuto’s biggest fan; once a point of intrigue I will admit to getting relatively bored with his antics after he took over from Orochimaru. He simply seemed somewhat aimless and purposeless. It is a testament to Kishimoto’s foresight that all that madness had a purpose to play, not only within the Anime’s current timeline but the future of the manga.
Was I impressed by Kabuto Vs. Itachi and Sasuke? Well, not as much as I thought I would be, not that this particular battle had any downsides. In fact I would wager that this is one of the very few true shinobi fights we have seen in quite a while, which allowed the Uchiha brothers the opportunity to deploy all manner of wit to destroy what turned out to be an impressive foe.
It would be the rare individual that thought Kabuto stood an actual chance against his superior opponents; yet one cannot deny the efficacy of his progression in rationally transforming Kabuto into a threat worthy of Itachi’s attention, because I truly couldn’t fathom how Kishimoto would actually allow Kabuto to pose a credible threat.
I will show appreciation for the Kabuto flashback, truthfully of little importance with regards to developing the character, but none the less mildly interesting, especially the first part which showed us how Kabuto acquired his trademark glasses, harking back all the way to the Chunin exams, within the first few episodes of Naruto, when a mild mannered somewhat weak Kabuto nearly lost his marbles after that one soon to be Gaara fodder sound ninja cracked his lenses.
Admittedly touching as far as humanizing Kabuto (at least one part of it); but other than that, this was the one part of the last few months that was largely uninteresting in Naruto.
2. The Tailed Beasts-
Okay I will admit to enjoying the tailed beast song, a rather catchy tune on top of its implications to the story. I don’t know why a lot of fans expressed so many mixed emotions over the revelations regarding Kurama’s true name and the past that saw him transform into a demon, as if divesting him of his evil persona took something away from the series.
We have spent the better part of Naruto under a rather dark understanding of the nine tails fox and the other tailed beasts, entities around which the entire Naruto concept revolves; finally having some story development in this section cannot be a bad thing, understanding that these demonic representations of all evil, through which the various Jinchuriki harnessed such great power, actually possessed a conscious will for good as well as evil, could have been warped by the darkness of man kind and greed for power into the giant monsters they became.
I think the anime did a great job of humanizing these initially nameless characters; more than finally revealing Naruto Uzumaki’s transformative power at work, it also brought a new dimension to the series by basically casting humanity as the bane of their own existence, actions by even great shinobi like Hashirama and Minato, even in their most heroic element, only acting to stir the hate of the nine tails, turning it into the manifestation of chaos and hate it became.
The giant battle was awesome, Naruto and Killerbee teaming up against the 7 rinnegan wielding Jinchuriki considerable entertaining, especially as the fight escalated from conflict between overpowered undead shinobi to a clash between giant monsters.
Say what you want about Naruto, I love the way it will stray out of its comfort zone into all manner of territory, touching the dramatic elements, violence, comedy, sometimes even sneaking out of shonen into seinen realms.
And biju bombs all round.
3. Naruto Uzumaki
The man of the hour; take way Itachi, Minato, Hashirama and Madara-basically excluding shinobi godhood- and Naruto is hands down my favorite character of the series; it’s probably because I have spent HUNDREDS OF EPISOPDES waiting for him to finally shine that his current savior mentality doesn’t really phase me.
And no one can claim that it isn’t deserved, that Naruto doesn’t provide considerably more pleasant and rational character development than anything you will find in Bleach; you watch him strike the battlefield like a nuke and contend with the might of Kabuto’s entire zombie army all on his own, and it becomes difficult to use words like overdone or overpowered, not when you consider the fact that the character spent nearly %70 of his own series in the lowest tier of shinobi, almost always playing second fiddle to Sasuke.
There is greater satisfaction watching Naruto stand up to Obito and decimate the landscape than following Sasuke’s battles with the likes of Orochimaru, mostly because everything you see the young orange ninja display he took what feels like an age to master.
The final cloak transformation was AWESOME; what was turning out to be the worst double episode in Naruto history, bogged down by endless flashbacks was transformed into greatness.
Not just the AMAZING biju battle that came before, displaying Naruto’s very imaginative use of his new chakra arms, not just his combination with Gai and Kakashi; Naruto Uzumaki’s final cloak is the best looking thing I have ever seen in Naruto; I don’t know if it is the colors, the black lines against golden flame, or the great CGI, but I could look at chakra cloak Naruto all day.
And that final clash with MADARA UCHIHA (the man’s name requires emphasizing) following an even more epic clash with Obito…how am I supposed to wait for so long to find out what happens next? Someone tell me if this clash with Madara lives up to the hype or whether I should really temper my excitement.
Episode 322 marks the very first time I ever saw Naruto look completely and utterly afraid, Madara proving himself that large of a threat mere minutes following his arrival.
Am I the only Naruto fan that thinks that Itachi can simply do no wrong? I mean, ever since Kishimoto flipped the switch, turning the second most famous Uchiha from psychopath to desperate hero, he hasn’t pulled any punches in portraying the disturbing extent to which Itachi went to protect the leaf village, basically inferring to the fact that no end could justified the genocide of an entire clan.
And you would think that that would darken Itachi’s shine; only he still comes out of his storyline as the hero, and I cannot figure out if that is Kishimoto’s fault, or Itachi is so damn likeable that he could slaughter an entire hospital of babies and still have you rooting for him.
Episdoe 339 has to be one of the best Naruto episodes I have ever seen, not only because it brought the Itachi plot line to its final and decisive end, but the insight it provided into the psyche of Itachi the genocidal psychopath. I don’t know what I always imagined about the night the Uchiha clan fell, but I am pretty sure my visuals were so much more violent than what we saw in 339,usually involving a cold eyed Itachi brutally maiming and murdering to his heart’s content.
True Itachi was anything but bloodthirsty; one need only look to the best scene of Ep 339, when Itachi accosted his parents, allowed us to understand that they not only saw their death coming but knew who did it, going so far as to attack Itachi’s soul with a weapon stronger than any sharingan Jutsu; basically forgiving him for what he was about to do, allowing him a moment to breakdown before he finally delivered the blow amidst a storm of tears.
I mean, look at that face; that is the face of an Uchiha who would rather not commit genocide, but will do what he must.
Deep stuff; the idea of so many people assigning Naruto to the stuff of children, meant to entertain those of less discerning tastes, baffles me, with scenes such as this and more.
It reminds me of Doctor Who’s Day of the Doctor episode, which, more than any other Doctor who episode I have ever seen, finally brought the message of the doctor’s sin home, by having Badwolf Rose remind the warrior doctor that in killing the vast number of murderous timelords on his home world, he would also be annihilating several innocent souls, of which the children numbered a massive two billion.
And that is why, even after several centuries travel, we find a doctor incapable of shirking the chains of his guilt, not because of the death of an entire galaxy, but the destruction he wrought upon 2 billion innocent children.
Equally you find EP 339 taking the series into dark territory by allowing us to understand the true sense of Itachi’s sin, murdering so many innocent men, women and children to crush a rebellion; far from justifiable, certainly not for a village as vile as Konoha…but we all still love Itachi.
It’s decided; Danzo is the most evil being to ever walk the Naruto world; I cannot be imagining the fact that almost every major moment of despair that has ever been suffered in modern Konoha times can be traced back to Danzo.
Not even in Orochimaru do you find a nature so dark, Danzo basically twisting and warping souls and lives left and right during the long duration of his existence , the ripple effects of his actions continuing to echo through out the lives of giants like Itachi and Kabuto and Pain, each of which would only serve to pass the hate Danzo created in them onto the world around them.
There is no forgiving Danzo; I cannot believe I actually felt sorry for him in his final moments, as he reminisced on all he had done for the supposed sake of his village, before his life was snuffed out. At least Madara has the decency to not mask his actions behind benevolent intentions; he wants to rule, end of story.
Danzo actually believes his crap of good guy doing the wrong thing for the right reason.
I will admit that I haven’t been the biggest fan of Sasuke for quite a while now; but I found that these episodes made a genuine attempt to cast him in a different light; especially when he first meets Itachi in Episode 329, another favorite of fine.
Firstly, I loved their interaction, with Itachi basically blowing his brother off, knowing what Naruto didn’t, that Sasuke was so far gone that no amount of talk would change him. Itachi did what Itachi does best, spew out masterful wisdom in some of the series’ best lines, basically admitting his hand in the chaos that became Sasuke’s childhood and that he could have done better by simply telling his brother the truth and trusting his judgment.
It was a poignant few moments, one compounded by the emotional expressions cast upon Sasuke’s face; for two or so episodes, what we got wasn’t the avenger or whatever he calls himself, but Sasuke the leaf shinobi, one that showed an extraordinary amount of control in falling behind his brother and taking his lead.
He basically became old Sasuke for a while, innocent and vulnerable; basically listened to what Itachi had to say and probably found himself in Naruto’s footsteps for once, now chasing after someone that wouldn’t associate him the time of day.
These episodes proved that Itachi was very wrong about Naruto being the one person that could save Sasuke.
I don’t know why he never considered the possibility that he alone possessed the power to control his brother, Itachi being the one person that Sasuke actually respects unconditionally. Like he had told him several times over, Naruto simply cannot understand what Sasuke went through, not like Itachi.
To an extent EP 339 managed to justify, at least in my eyes, Sasuke’s psychotic rage towards Kohonha, specifically with that flashback in the restaurant, where Sasuke had to sit back and listen to the very people his brother saved drag Itachi’s name through the mud. Maybe Sasuke isn’t the whiny baby I always envisioned him to be. Maybe he’s just been confused all this time, incapable of understanding why Itachi would even now continue to fight for a place like Konoha that only continues to reveal new levels of corruption.
7. The five Kage-
THIS FIGHT WAS EPIC. Even knowing the eventual outcome I was on the edge of my seat the whole time; having considerably underestimated the Kage following Madara’s introduction, these shinobi proved to me why they stand at the top of their respective villages.
Admittedly it is quite easy root for Kazekage and even Tsunade, but Tsuchikage? In the space of 10 episodes he became my favorite living Kage of the present time, a true legend in his own right, not only standing up to the mighty Madara but basically raising his head as the spirit and soul of the anti Madara team.
Gaara is always awesome. The combos were awesome, so were the speeches, especially in the face of the most powerful Jutsu I have ever seen. Simply put, the five Kages rock, even boring old Tsunade (the verbal abuse she took from Madara was certainly galling).
There is something to be said about Madara, that he didn’t only achieve victory but managed to strike fear into the hearts of the five strongest shinobi of their respective villages.
It is unlikely that I am alone in declaring Tobi as one of the greatest Akatsuki members we have seen; I don’t know what it is about the loony character that endears him to me so much; but if they had to discard him (which they did quite a while ago, to my disappointment) Obito would be the perfect replacement.
Fake Madara Tobi was kind of bland; Obito on the other hand is turning out to be one of the better villains of the series; yes, I was spoiled about the identity of the man behind the mask. No, that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of some of the best story progression we have seen in Naruto in a while.
And it isn’t just the execution-which was amazing, specifically that flashback episode, chronicling Obito’s life up until his supposed death, done in complete silence, yet conveying so much with mere expressions and gestures- but the emotions the story evokes.
Because, of course you are going to root for this young Naruto-esq fellow in this attempts to return to his friends despite his current predicament; of course you will sympathize with his plight in the face of the Kakashi/Rin revelation, even cheer him on as he looses it against those shinobi.
Then you start hating him; because he didn’t simply carry out Madara’s will in approaching Nagato; he obliterated the lives of Nagato, Yahiko and konana, destroyed the bright future of the first Akatsuki and its message of peace, basically crafted within Pain a hate and despair that would haunt him for all his life, eventually leading to Konoha’s destruction and Jiraiya’s death.
And that last battle, against Yahiko’s comrades; was it really necessary to kill them all, so brutally? From that one shinobi that stuck himself in cement to protect his comrades, to Yahiko’s fate to Nagato’s heart rending despair to the kakashi/Rin storyline; Naruto went pretty dark with the Obito story, and did more to transform the series than any other arc.
This is indeed Naruto at its best, leaving you wondering whether to sympathize with Obito, cheer for him even, or damn him to hell. Am I the only one that thinks Obito had more than a simple crush on Rin? Because he seemed downright obsessed so much so that I can believe him doing everything he has done up to this moment for her sake.
And who else thought they might have been watching a Seinin after Obito’s rampage? Because that was one bloody massacre.
KAKASHI KILLED RIN? WHAT? There has to be something I am missing here; because Naruto took a complete 180 degree turn after that scene; I always figured Rin died and Kakashi probably felt some guilt in failing to protect her but, to kill her himself; that would send anyone over the edge, and Obito was already in a bad place at that point.
And this is the point where they choose to leap into fillers, just when the series is at its most intense?
kakashi, Naruto and Gai vs. Obito is one of the most intense and action packed battles I have ever seen; every move, every punch, kick, biju bomb was so perfectly choreographed as to wring the last drop of tension out of that scene.
Naruto fights haven’t been this…shinobi-like in a long while; Kakashi hasn’t been this good in ages, and we haven’t seen Gai so skilled as he he proved to be against Obito’s sharingan. The entire set up of this battle was perfect, Naruto bringing the overwhelming power, kakashi doing his analytical thing in the face of Gai’s awesome nunchaku play.
This here fight is a must watch for any Naruto fan; rather than spoiling the fun, the slow motion scenes allow you a deeper understanding of just how close this fight was, how far towards the edge each side stood against the other’s might. The fact that it was brains and strategy rather than power than brought the conflict to an end is an added bonus.
MADARA UCHIHA IS AWESOME; you cannot watch this legendary villain in action without wanting to scream his name over and over again.
What is the one major similarity that is also a difference between Aizen from Bleach and Naruto’s Madara? A simple question with a simple answer; Aizen was so overpowered he quickly became tiresome with regards to Bleach’s dragging plot.
Madara is so overpowered IT’S AWESOME. You simply cannot resist that swag, the arrogance of this greatest of Uchihas as he basically goes about schooling the shinobi world in the basics of true power. And its like not matter how bad ass you think Madara is at any given point, each new episode somehow manages to top the Uchiha badassness.
First was that total ownage of the shinobi alliance, Madara basically tearing through a few hundred to thousand foot soldiers with pure Taijutsu. Then Onoki (tsuchikag), Gaara and Naruto rallied their forces to stop him. And what does he do? Well, just look at this.
YES, A FREAKIN METEORITE: and since when could Susanoo perform chakra seals?
The five Kage finally rally to bring Madara to a stop and…I never thought it possible that the combined force of the shinobi world’s top authorities would look so tame. Well, Madara sure wasn’t impressed, in fact losing interest and retreating from what he thought was a pointlessly boring battle, but not before doing this.
AND WHAT THE HECK IS THIS? THIS THING IS MASSIVE.
I am in awe of the greatness of Madara Uchiha.I cannot wait to see how he deals with the kyubi cloak. I find it difficult to believe that even Hashirama could have dealt with both Madara and the nine tails at once; that doesn’t seem rationally possible.
11. Ten Tails-
So the Ten tails is more demon god than chakra Beast? And it is sealed within the moon? Interesting.
Michael Jackson returns and he still want's Sasuke’s body.
Here’s the thing about these most recent episodes of Naruto; Kishimoto has been doing a heck of a job basically closing all the loop holes too many Naruto fans were to quick to nitpick at; and I for one cannot help but feel satisfaction at this level of story telling, the interweaving of plots and characters and plans, all leading to one hell of a series finale.
If you’re not watching Naruto right now, then I do not know what you’re up to; the only series that could possibly draw me away from Hunter X Hunter.
Nakama power, most of us know what this is, the worse thing, and i mean THE WORST THING TO EVER COME OUT OF MANGA AND ANIME.
I don’t know how accurate it would be for me to claim that Nakama power isn’t a particularly new element in anime, because i haven’t really watched that much anime or read that much manga before the year 2000.
It is possible that Nakama power is a relatively new element, an invention of recent times; but it could be something relatively old that has only exploded in recent times. I spoke in a post sometime back about how it was likely that most tropes were not always tropes, the idea that the clichés of Dragon Ball Z weren’t particularly cliché when they first appeared on screen, and indeed could have been something inventive at the time.
Same thing with nakama power; it could have been a relatively acceptable attribute of anime years before manga and anime series and movies began inundating their stories with its presence.
+So a question to those of you who have been watching anime for a quite a long time, or have had the opportunity to encounter older anime and manga titles; Is nakama power a recent creation or did it exist even in those ancient days of anime.
It occurred to me a few weeks back that there might be a positive twist to nakama power that i had never considered, which is the purpose of this post; to find the lighter less infuriating side of nakama power.
But first, what is Nakama power? That is if you are relatively new to anime and have no idea what we keep raging about.
Think back to those old Kung FU movies; Jackie Chan has finally arrived at the climax of the story, challenges his clearly stronger final foe and is getting his ass kicked all over the battle field; that is until the enemy makes the stupid mistake of revealing to Jackie the fact that he killed his master.
And suddenly Jackie is on his feet, rejuvenated with new greater strength and brings his foe to his knees.
That is basically Nakama power, a sudden surge of strength generated within a clearly weaker protagonist, empowering him or her to defeat a sometimes near invincible foe, elicited by thoughts of one’s Nakama.
Nakama is the Japanese world for friend, and basically refers to one’s non romantic love for another; usually used to show a deep attachment and fondness between characters.
In some cases (One piece) the term will refer to a group of people who share a closeness surpassing that of family.
Nakama is what drives most characters in anime and manga, both heroes and villains, to do what they do.
+WHY ALL THE HATE FOR NAKAMA POWER?
Before trying to see the possible pros that Nakama power might have, it might be prudent to understand exactly why some of us otaku not only hate but loath this element in anime and manga.
Thinking about it, you can probably remember a point in time, probably a few years back, where the presence of Nakama power, even in excess amounts like Fairy Tail, did not irk you.
This hate for nakama power seems like a fairly recent creation, and i would impute it to the injection of a realistic perspective into the fictional world of anime and manga.
Yes, we understand how fictitious anime and manga is. These big haired characters do not exist, cannot exist and as such we as viewers understand the fact that the laws of realism will be broken at some point in time; anime doesn’t have to make sense in relation to the real world, it just has to entertain, no matter the context.
This, based on some people that i have spoken to, is the mind set that initially prevailed and probably continues to prevail today. No one can expect realism to rule in the context of a fictitious universe.
Except that i believe we actually do; most otaku that i know today cannot simply accept the rules and laws governing an anime and manga universe just because it isn’t real.
As anime and manga fans, there is a part of us that expects a sense of logic and rational to rule; no matter how crazy One piece gets, we will, at one point in time, expect the goings on of the series to keep to some common sense, even while following their own virtual regulations.
Nakama power grates on many otaku minds because it is, for lack of better terms, complete and utter nonsense. It throws out even that tiny essence of realism and logic we expect to find in any anime and manga out the window.
The idea that the outcome of EVERY SINGLE FIGHT that the protagonist will ever partake in is predetermined, that one can expect us to believe that the feelings a character has for friends and family can somehow transform into raw power…that simply stretches even otaku imaginations to a breaking point.
When a story becomes sappy to the extent of Nakama power, when one can break the rules of their own world (which is the one golden rule in anime and manga, that a story strictly follow its own rules) as well as ours to beat the odds, the story loses its appeal; their is no point in rooting for a hero that doesn’t relate to anything remotely real.
Frankly all this hate for nakama power (from a few) comes down to two points:
-It’s cheating- and why should we care about a hero that can only overcome challenges, not through hard work and determination, but by basically breaking the rules of his universe (which, if i think about it, is what all that business regarding the heart of the card was, in YuGiOh!…still enjoyed it though).
Now that i think about it one could impute the success of Game of thrones to a warped sort of Nakama power, only this time it’s the villains that control it.
-It’s lazy writing- and this is what it usually comes down to for most series i have come across, villains so powerful that it almost seems like the writer has no idea how the hero could possibly win in a fair match (here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen with Madara…it would sort of suck if Naruto and killer bee defeated Madara moments after he owned the kages).
Give me a random power up any day; heck, even Goku’s power ups had more rational than nakama power, because Goku had the advantage of being a Saiyan. Beating Frieza was within his limits. Even if he had to reach Super Saiyan 10 to beat Bils, he is a Saiyan. Achieving greater super saiyan levels is a rational progression…i think.
+THE GOOD IN NAKAMA POWER?
Considering how many times i keep have raged against nakama power, it might come off as odd that i would write a post attempting to defend it. And in truth that isn’t exactly what i am trying to do.
I spoke to an anime fan a few weeks back that actually put up a defence for the concept; well, defence is too strong a word, rather the fellow simply expressed his positive interest in the nakama power idea, and sufficing to say i was flustered.
I wasn’t sure whether or not to believe him, but i eventually came to the realization that for a while now i had made some blanket judgments about otaku and how every ardent anime and manga fan obviously had to hate the idea of nakama power.
It never occurred to me that there might be people out there who actually support the idea of nakama power, or at least don’t possess the same kind of hate for the idea that i do.
That is what got me thinking, attempting to consider nakama power objectively and how it might actually positively impact a story.
-When Nakama power is appropriate-
Yes, there are times where nakama power isn’t a total nuisance, especially in shonen series; only one situation in fact, when the impact of nakama power is minimal with regards to the outcome and only serves to accentuate a specific element about the protagonist.
In other words even with all his speeches about nakama, it is difficult to cry ‘nakama power’ against most of Luffy’s victories because, considering all the strategies he has deployed previously, as well as his gear abilities, Luffy always stood a favourable chance of attaining victory.
The idea of appropriate nakama power use is to present evidence of a rationale to support victory. IN other words if nakama power really only serves as a means of strengthening one’s will, bolstering mental strength, which in turn allows one to use pre existing abilities to defeat an opponent within his sphere of strength, then nakama power can prove acceptable.
Beyond that, outside of shonen, i have seen arguments for nakama power in shoujo and romance anime and manga; i cannot comment further on the truth of that idea because i rarely indulge in those genres. But it is an interesting consideration, that shoujo somehow benefits from nakama power.
Then again that brings up the question of what exactly nakama power is, and if such elements in a romance or shoujo series could be called nakama power. And what exactly would that look like? Anybody that reads or watches shoujo and the like, i am curious as to your take on the matter of nakama power in such circumstances.
-There are moments in a story where nakama power on exists to bring heart to a series, allow the ideals of friendship and the like to proliferate a plot, only ever done well when nakama power in this case is secondary.
Just look at Naruto; i can hardly complain about Naruto’s many speeches about his nakama; because while someone like Ichigo makes his speeches as he prepares to unleash some silly and random power up, Naruto Uzumaki does so-at least in most cases-after the main event, when his enemy is down and beaten, debilitating the very idea of Nakama power.
- I guess one can forgive comedy, whose purpose is to use all elements available to its writers to entertain; which is why i am only now learning to appreciate fairy tail. Take it too seriously and the nakama power elements in the series will infuriate you. Learn to understand what it is, light heartened and fluffy, and you will start to enjoy it, no matter what Hiro throws at you.
+THE LEGITIMACY OF NAKAMA POWER?
After trying and failing to come up with anything that might resemble a benefit of nakama power, it occurred to me that i might be looking at it wrong. Rather than some silly and lazy tool to force protagonists to the fro of a story, has any one ever tried looking at Nakama power as just that, a power?
It is possible that there might be some sort of mistranslation from Japanese to English; that maybe nakama power isn’t some wishy washy feeling that somehow creates new power out of nothing, but a genuine power, like ki.
It is possible that we have all along been misunderstanding the purpose behind the stories these mangaka tell; that Natsu isn’t simply wishing himself more strength, but instead tapping into an actual tangible ability within his spirit, which he transforms into raw power, like haki or something.
That would change everything, that there is a legitimate and rational explanation for nakama power. Who came up with that term anyway? Nakama power, i mean?
Take that into consideration and Natsu beating Laxus was little different from Goku finding a well of ki within him, from which he defeated Vegeta.
What is the problem with nakama power? Simply put, it is everywhere, it is irrational even by the standards of a fictitious world; it makes every story and every fight predictable. It is unfair against the antagonist, basically cheating.
And within any serious anime or manga story, it should seize to appear.
But what do you think? Given time and imagination, could nakama power possibly find a place in anime and manga?
This was a disappointing Ubel Blatt chapter, the first in quite a long while; which is quite surprising, because where the chapter failed wasn’t the plot per say but the art, which somewhat floundered.
I really don’t have that much to say about chapter 121; following the advent of the order of Gungnir last month, mayhem predictably ensued.
As with everything related to the so called King Glenn, they tapped into psychopathy in trying to brutally murder everyone that they perceived irrelevant to Glenn’s cause.
Poor men and women could only sit back and watch as Brank Fan and Gedouza began cutting through flesh and bone with their new found strength, overwhelming even Rosen’s sword skills and the reputation of his knights.
Interesting i guess, but we expected this, Rosen finding himself face down in front of the very power of his former master, which he was unwilling to submit his body to because of its dark nature.
It is truly the dawning of a new day, where the honor of the seven lances (fake or not) has been allowed to die away, with lords and heroes left and right bowing to King Glenn, most having their minds warped in pursuit of a greater power.
And of course Koinzel had to come to the rescue of the dying group; that was the highlight of the chapter, knowing that the arrogance of the new order would finally be defeated, Glenn’s disciples understanding the simple fact that they were far from unmatched.
But truth be told i would have preferred to have Ato continue her duel with Gedouza, any chance that allows her to further develop her abilities and character independently of Koinzel.
But even taking into account the sword Koinzel gifted her with, i guess her opponent proved too overwhelming to fight against.
Whatever the case, the art in this chapter was just…off; not the art itself but the arrangement. Too many panels seemed wholly unnecessary, almost like Shinono was just trying to get the page count up during his battle sequences, which also failed to flow organically from panel to panel.
Too many moments left me confused as to what had just happened.
RATING: 2/5, pretty basic chapter, nothing interesting to see besides Koinzel, whom i have been waiting to make an appearance for an age. I have always thought that Koinzel and Glenn each pursued goals so far removed from each other that they had no need to fight against one another.
However with this fight against Gungnir, there can be no stopping the conflict.
CLAYMORE is the only manga i know that could possibly stand a chance of competing with Naruto for my adoration; dark, violent yet moving seinen manga series do not come as a good as this (though Ubel Blatt is pretty close).
Chapter 148 was amazing, somehow managing to generate more entertainment juices than even the last two chapters; i know, pretty difficult to believe, especially when considering what transpired in chapters 147 and 147.
But chapter 148 actually managed to bring more than chaotic action to the table (of which their was actually plenty of). We got some AMAZING Claire and Raki action-with the pair getting the best panels out of the entire chapter, an emotional death and a foreshadowing of the end.
Claire and Raki double team Priscilla. A dire situation begins to unfold.
There is this nagging voice at the back of my mind that keeps asking me why the hell the manga is choosing to extend the Priscilla conflict across so many chapters; because it is definitely starting to feel like it’s been forever since this battle first began.
But then again that is a voice i can ignore, not when you consider the foreshadowing in that last panel. I mean, if Priscilla is completely revived and is about to go crazy, what the hell can we expect but destruction on a massive scale.
What has set the last few chapters of Priscilla’s battle with the ghosts apart is the nature of her opponents; which is why i spoke of a tiny voice, because you cannot help but appreciate what we have had the opportunity to witness on paper.
Far from a Goku Vs. Freiza scenario, Nagi made the smart decision to keep the roster of combatants dynamic, a rational outcome if you take into account Priscilla’s strength.
Her power is such that any one enemy that faced her would have come under meteoric strength, losing in the most spectacular manner. So of course it made sense to keep her opponents dynamic, throwing at her everything from awakened beings to abyssal ones to ancient male claymores and so on.
It is only because of how brutal the last few chapters have been, the sorts of enemies that she has come against, that we can believe the logic of Clare bringing Priscilla to such a low point. So, i guess, this hasn’t ran too long, just yet.
+I will admit to feeling some anxiety over the logic Nagi would use to explain Raki’s success at striking Priscilla; truth be told this wasn’t the ass pull i thought it would be.
AND WE GOT TO SEE ISLEY, quite a treat, as he could be my favourite character of the series; did anyone else find the means of his passing a little sad, if not harsh?
Speaking of which, what happened to those undead creatures we saw back during Isley’s fall; i believe the organization referred to them as abyssal hunters of some sort, so powerful that even Isley was fleeing from them…just when you think we might have come to the crux of the claymore world, a closer glance reveals how much more we still have to explore.
Anyway i loved that flash back and i could believe Priscilla casting Raki out of her mind once she cut him down, so much so that he could sneak upon her undetected; it is an interesting consideration how much planning and resolve Raki poured into his mission, that all those moves he made after the time skip were aimed not only at finding Clare but placing himself in the most opportune place to put Priscilla down.
Oh and that flash sword panel/panels…EPIC. This is why i love Claymore so much, how visceral and crisp the art feels; and in a way it makes Priscilla out to be more of a monster than we assumed.
Looking at those panels carefully, Clare clearly dissected her into several thousand tiny pieces within that instant; and what, she healed herself? Regenerated her matter? How? And to what extent can she keep it up, because one then has to wonder how anyone can stand a chance against her.
That last panel said quite a lot; with the ghosts exhausted, exactly how will ANYONE stop Priscilla. Keep in mind how crowded the battle field was a mere ten chapters ago, the anti Priscilla army now reduced to a select few fatigued Claymore, most of whom aren’t likely to master the will to fight.
+Admittedly Tabitha’s death in this chapter was better than what i thought would be a quick demise in the last chapter. Rather than fading away instantly, there was greater impact following the opportunity imputed to her to say good bye to her friends.
Nagi orchestrated the scene beautifully, making it look like she was about to heal her self, close all her wounds, rise to fight once more, only to use the last of her strength imparting some words of wisdom to Miria. Epic stuff. Epic death for a truly Epic Claymore, one who probably didn’t receive nearly enough recognition and appreciation ( i will admit to forgetting most characters outside of Clare, Miria, Deneve and Helen).
PREDICTIONS: We still have Miata standing, and everything we have seen so far suggest that she was on a path to transforming into another Priscilla type claymore, equally demented and just as unnaturally powerful.
Though we can all agree that Miata doesn’t fall anywhere within Priscilla’s range, power wise; no one does, besides Dauf and the destroyer both of whom are long dead.
And we still haven’t seen the hunters yet; minus any of these appearances, well, this is the first time we have seen Priscilla go truly crazy, actually losing her self to the monster.
All Hell is about to break loose…again.
RATING: 10/10 perfect chapter, great art, heart warming final minutes for Tabitha and of course the raging demon god (as they called her) that is Priscilla, about to be unleashed.
Have i said it before, how AWESOME this manga is? Because it is, the perfect balance of action and story in each and every single chapter. Having reached this point it is becoming more and more difficult to wait each and every week for a single 22 page chapter.
Gowther concludes his fight with Threader; Hellbram, Dreyfus and Gilthunder break free of Hauser and Geera’s constraints.
At this point it no longer matters to me how long we will have to wait till Arthur and Meliodas meet. Because the Dreyfus battle is proving to be the most diverse and dynamic conflict we have seen in the entire manga.
What i love is how unpredictable these fights are turning out to be. Gowther Vs. Threader was amazingly drawn, not in terms of art quality per say but the flow of events, the fight scenes amazingly choreographed and the outcome so…organic.
I like manga that have come to understand the idea that a good battle need not end with a knock out; having watched the sins expend considerable energy trying to verbally clear their reputations, it was interesting watching Gowther basically allow Threader to reason the problem out by himself.
Rather than batter him with reason, Gowther simply nudged and prodded, providing him with enough hints and questions for the violent fellow to generate his own doubts; and even without that verbal ending, gowther’s battle with threader managed to be both extremely short and unbelievably entertaining.
And now that we have arrived at the crux of this section of the conflict, with Diana and Geera and Hauser basically saved, we need only sit back and wait for the opportunity to see just what Gowther is made of.
I for one cannot wait to see him let loose.
+On a side note, has anyone considered the possibility that the sins might be a little too overpowered? Think about it, two arcs prior we saw Meliodas, with his singular power, overcome Hellbran and the collective power of several new Holy knights.
Now of course he was in his demon state, but that is none the less saying quite something. And then there is Diana who possessed more power in that one strike of her hammer than Hellbram, a bunch of new Holy knights and HENDRICKSEN HIMSELF put together.
That says quite a lot, and i am not complaining per say, merely stating an observation; this doesn’t disparage my enjoyment of the series. The fact is, though, Diana only came so close to death in the last two chapters because she was ambushed, took a ton of damage while trying to get her bearings, and once she seemed to have finally gathered her wits, had a bunch of holes blasted through her.
Then there was than business of saving human lives. Whatever the case you could say that every single sin that we have met so far possesses the ability to thrash the likes of Dreyfus and Hendricksen single handed. Again, not a bad thing, merely something i have noticed.
Or maybe this says something about Dreyfus, his superiority to Hendricksen. Admittedly he looked quite badass in this chapter.
RATING: 10/10, seriously, this manga is on fire, this arc is on fire, this chapter was on fire. At this point The Seven Deadly Sins is going to have to struggle really hard to mess things up.
HIGHLIGHTS: Threader breaking Gowther’s neck.