I had a thought as I read through the latest of installment of Mashashi Kishimoto’s Naruto series, am I being overly critical? I thoroughly enjoy reading the series, but I have been critical of the path that Kishimoto has taken for the las several installments. I have felt as if Kishimoto is either prolonging the series by adding “filler” story-line sub-plots, or he does not know where he wants the series to go.
While reading this latest installment I began to question that logic. I am continually reading the series. I am anticipating every new installment. I am writing about the experience after that reading. I am engrossed in the experience of the manga. So Kishimoto is definitely doing something right. He has created three dimensional characters that the reader becomes invested in their plot-lines.
That being said, I am conflicted about Naruto 620. I feel like the chapter drags and continues the storyline of the 4 Hokages and Sasuke. I felt like Kishimoto created a child-like persona for the 1st hokage and a much more forceful character in the 2nd Hokage. That seemed strange at the time. How could the brother of the first shinobi be stronger than the “god-like” shinobi that defeated Madara?
Fast forward to this installment. Now the first Hokage is strong enough to resist the endo tensei (reanimation jutsu) and the second cannot. This comes after the 2nd Hokage flares his Chakra enough to shock a room full of incredibly powerful shinobi. He tries to leave and cannot. This scene explains how Madara was not controlled by it as well. He absorbed the first hokage’s cells and thus his power. I did like that change. It gave the reader a sense that even though the first hokage was child-like in his caring about the rest of the world, he would have been a force to be reckoned with once roused.
I did like the flashing scenes of the fight between Madara and the 1st Hokage. It was interesting, though kind of repetitive, to see how Madara used the 9 tails and he countered with his Mokuryuu no Jutsu (tree dragon). You get the sense that this battle was at a higher level than any of the shinobi battles we have witnessed thus far.
What I didn’t like was that the last installment ended with the story of the village and shinobi. This installment ended with the story of the village and shinobi. So while this installment seemed to reveal some of the mythology of the Naruto world, does it advance the plot, or simply prolonging the plot? So I continue to question to direction of the series, but still anticipate the next installment… Kudos to Masashi Kishimoto.