Thursday, February 25, 2010

Naruto Chapters 479-484

Summary: Sasuke kills Danzou and it seems like he's finally gone Dark-side. Team 7 reunites.

Serenphoria Says:

Quick house-keeping comments. I'm going to be screening comments from now on. Too much spam. Sad.

Okay, so, Danzou shows off all his pilfered Uchiha eyes and then he kicks it. Flashback a little too late, yeah? By this point I really don't care. So there were a few things that came out of the confrontation: a) another "bad guy" out of the way so we can get back to the central story b) chance for Sasuke to develop skillz without killing someone we care about and get him sufficiently exhausted so team 7 can interact c) more intrigue: what is Madara up to? Will he harvest the eyes?

Anyway: Gah! I can't decide if I want Karen to just die already or revel in possible Karen-Sakura!friendship. Bite marks everywhere. Ew. There is no reason why they couldn't keep the healing bites to appendages...unless they weren't just "healing" bites. *shivers*

Sasuke has always been an irrational drama queen to me (since he went renegade, anyway). You can't bring back the dead. And no one is laughing. Maybe he really is high on power and his perception of reality is skewed. That would actually explain things. It was rumored that Orochimaru drugged his ninja after all.

I'm actually quite excited that Naruto and Sakura are starting to look at the Sasuke-situation with adult eyes. They are not quite there yet; they are not quite ready to let go of a happy ending, but they will understand it if they don't.

OMG Naruto with his intense eyes, don't-mess eyes. Squee!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Naruto Chapters 458-478

Summary: Sasuke attacks the kages and is rescued by the Akatsuki. Madara reveals to the kages his plan to unite the tailed beasts in order to complete a technique that will allow him to cast the whole world into his illusion. He declares war against the ninja world when the kages refuses to hand over the eight- and nine-tailed beasts. Meanwhile, Naruto is troubled by the news that Sasuke is working for the Akatsuki and that even his peers are planning to assasinate Sasuke.

Serenphoria Says:

Super-long post here.

First, on a personal note, you’ve no doubt noticed that I’ve decided to update much more rarely. However much I’d like to stay current, my life’s schedule demands otherwise, so unfortunately, my impressions now will be in much broader strokes.

That said, it doesn’t seem like much has happened in the past three months and there weren’t too many moments that would have had me flailing if I had followed week after week.

First things first: Samurai are about as useful as the Storm Troopers they resemble, which is to say, useless. The word Samurai by itself exudes bad-assery and yet this group was grossly mistreated by the author as mere speculators and commentators to the action, which is a role any random nin or civilian could have filled. I’m disappointed that the introduction of the Samurai in this ‘verse didn’t live up to its potential.

And I’m getting really confused with all the new characters. Too many ‘feelers’ and rogue Hyuugas for my liking.

Now, on to the main course:

Madara: My, this man likes to hear himself talk. Was he really having such a hard time nabbing 8 and 9 tails that he’d reveal his plan in order to “negotiate”? By the way, if that’s your negotiation strategy, Ur doin’ it WRONG. Did he seriously think he could cause so much grief and then have the kages cooperate because he’s doing it in the name of peace? He has not earned any trust and yet expects everyone to entrust him with the power over all the earth. Silly megalomaniac.

Given this ridiculous situation, and Madara’s history as an unreliable source in the past, it seems probable that the plan he revealed is a strategically manipulative move to get the kages to react – perhaps taking him straight to the remaining tailed beasts or something more.

In fact, manipulation seems to be the over-arching theme of the past dozen chapters. To the kages, as unconvincing as he is, he feeds them a message of desiring peace. To Naruto, he speaks of the Uchiha’s destiny of hatred and vengence. I’m convinced that Madara NEEDS Naruto and Sasuke to fight – it’s the key to accomplishing his true plan, whatever that may be. Otherwise, his interest in Sasuke developing his doujutsu and Naruto accepting that it’s his fate to fight Sasuke (Naruto, who has otherwise rejected the idea of predestination with all his firey passion) would be hard to justify.

Sakura, I’m disappointed to see, chose manipulation to get Naruto to abandon his mission. No matter if her feelings have changed, the reason she confessed at this time negated any credibility to them. The characters justify her actions as an act of mercy, but really, she’s allowed to because they believe that the path of least resistance is to take away his motivation. Only they got his motivation wrong. Putting down Sasuke as part of her tactic proves as much. It isn’t just about his promise to Sakura and it isn’t about his bid for Sakura’s love. It hasn’t been for a very long time.

Yet Sakura operated under these assumptions because she herself is driven by her feelings for Sasuke, is projecting her solipsic mindframe onto Naruto. The differences in their growth is stark here: Naruto’s driving force is his concern for others (don’t use Sasuke as your puppet!) and rarely do we hear him flaunting his development. Sakura’s focus is herself. She thinks she is the center of Naruto’s world and therefore devises the love confession tactic to manipulate him. In part II she frequently voices how much Naruto has changed, as if to say look! I’ve noticed. I’ve matured. Sorry Sakura, not nearly as much as Naruto.

Okay, enough with the heavy.

Squee moments:

Gaaaaraaaaa!!!! OMG loving him and his sibs holding their own at the kage conference. But Gaara especially. Good to see that his age is acknowledged in his naïve/idealistic vision (and who’d have thunk that Gaara would be the idealistic one?!). And he suggested Kakashi as the interim kage! And reaching out to Sasuke? You know he did it for Naruto.

Killerbee and his brother. They are soo…brothers. Loving it!

WTF moments:

Danzou’s eye arm. WTF, Kishimoto. Are you not thinking about how chakra pathways work in your world? How many Uchiha body’s did you have to mutilate to get that going?

If you’ve made it this far, sorry for the text heavy post. Until next time!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Interim: Blog Update

Serenphoria Says:

On a completely personal note, I'm in the throes of wrapping up work and moving to go to grad school. As to how that will affect this blog, I see one of three options:

1) I will continue to post, albeit sporadically and infrequently
2) I will retire this blog
3) I will share ownership of this blog with someone else who can post on a more regular basis.

I started this blog as a way of recording and sharing with a few close friends my thoughts on the series. As time passed, a little community of readers started visiting more regularly and I started posting more regularly. However, I'm finding it extremely difficult as my situation changes to continue on any consistent basis.

My question to you all is...what keeps you reading at Mendokuse? If it's consistent commentary you want, I assure you there are many blogs/forums/communities out there that deliver that and I can go with option 1 or 2. If it's this little community of readers, then option 3 may be a way to go - in which case, I need volunteers. And if it's me specifically (and *blush* if it is), then I'd lean more towards option 1.

Please let me know your thoughts. I can't promise regular posts in the near future, but you can always subscribe to the feed so when I do update, you'll know automatically and not have to check.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Naruto Chapter 459: Sakura's Decision

Summary: The kages don't trust Danzou to be their leader. Shikamaru tells Sakura of the decision to hunt Sasuke.

Serenphoria Says:

Okay, so my comments are not going to be very cohesive, but here were some of the things going through my mind when I read this chapter.

I was happy that Kishimoto made the decision about the next leader a discussion. Too often, major decisions are made within one chapter, but here, we've got a complex situation with many parties that have a stake in the outcome. Also, the line "He is the embodiment of the darkness in the ninja world" filled me with glee. Dramatic much?'s true?


Wow, is Kishimoto giving CLAMP a run for their title of most number of eye-transplants or what?


I know tact was never one of Neji's strong suits, but ouch. Hey Shikamaru, remember the time when you totally failed to save Sasuke? Yeah, you should feel responsible to tell Sakura that we have to kill him now.


And finally: Everything that Sai said was very cathartic for me. His insight into Naruto and the recognition that others rely too much on him is exactly what I've been feeling. I know Kishi dragged this out on purpose to give Naruto the opportunity to show of his growth in strength and maturity, but it's about time that the other ninjas (who are all so awesome but we never get to see) are stepping up their game.


Shisui? What?!? aasdkfja;dfjadslflaksdjf;ak

Friday, July 31, 2009

Naruto Chapter 458: The Five Kages' Argument

Summary: After some tension, the five kages agree to an alliance. Danzou is nominated to lead the army. Meanwhile, Sai confronts Sakura about her and Naruto's relationship. (Read 458 here)

Serenphoria Says:

Please raise your had if you think Iron Man is in cahoots with Danzou.

*raises hand*

No one with a goatee-of-evil* can possibly represent a "neutral" country, that's all I'm sayin'.

I like the fact that there is a undercurrent of distrust between all the countries. It gives me hope that some of the nonsense ideas might be challenged. Overall, though, I found myself a little confused. Like BLEACH, there are too many names and associations to keep track of and they seemed to be speaking in several tenses in regards to the Akatsuki. They have been used, they could be used, etc. etc.

I also liked that there were others besides Madara and the First who could control the beast. Still an elite group, but even at this stage, the Naruto-verse is expanding. How exciting!

On a completely different story line....Sai, I did not see that coming.

I can't decide whether or not his actions are in character or not, but he's so socially awkward that I wouldn't put it past him. His words were both tactless and necessary. At this point, it seems that Sai is stepping in and really acting like Naruto's best friend -- someone who can't stand by and see his friend in pain and calls it out. And once again, it's Sai, despite not being able to understand emotional subtleties and complexities (or because of it), who sees most clearly and calls a spade a spade.

I don't think Sakura is necessarily suprised by the idea that Naruto loves her, but I do think she chooses not to think about it or acknowledge it, because then she doesn't have to face it and feel any responsibility towards Naruto. And by not acknowledging Naruto's feeling towards her, she doesn't need to be careful about what she says or does; she doesn't think about how she affects Naruto in a profound way. And because of this, Sai's insight that Sakura causes Naruto pain is a surprise.

With Sai saying it out loud, that Sakura hurts Naruto, it's become reality. I hope Sakura realizes that she's the only one that can release him of his curse. And I hope despite Sai feeling that his bonds are a curse at times, that they're worth keeping.

*See Mirror!Spock

Friday, July 24, 2009

Naruto Chapter 457: The Meeting of the Five Kages

Summary: The five kages gather for a meeting. Naruto begs the Raikage for Sasuke's life.

Serenphoria says:

I'm back! And too much has gone on for me to write anything intelligent, so let me summarize:

Sharingan: What, does everyone with a covered eye get one now? Lady!kage has one too, and Naruto's going to get one after those bandages come off. Sheesh.

Sai: Loving MotherHen!Protective!Sai, but for someone who supposedly can't emote, he really sucks at keeping secrets. I also love the fact that Kakashi could be the one that finally tips the scale for Sai's loyalties.

Zetzu: What the?!?

Naruto: I was also a little disappointed and indignant that Naruto bowed so easily, though for some reason, I think he's also totally keeled over in this latest chapter. Don't blame him...has he actually rested after beating Pain?

Welcome back Suigetsu and the Sand Sibs! I missed you guys.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Naruto 455

Serenphoria Says:

I'm unable to comment due to lack of internet access (see post 452) but please feel free to discuss.

If (Suigetsu meets Sai)
Then (Chapter == epic)

//outdated programming knowledge fail.