Written by : FrillyPhoenix
This is it, the climax of the Naruto vs. Sasuke fight has been reached.
And I believe nobody can deny it is one of the most emotional chapters of the manga.
I mean, even Emosuke couldn't hold all the feels by the end of the chapter !
Just as Sasuke is about to hit Naruto, the latter suddenly gets up and punches Sasuke, taking advantage of Sasuke's exhausted state. Naruto's will of never giving up gets on Sasuke's nerves but gets him praise from Kurama, who's almost out of chakra to give to his host.
Sasuke decides to use Kagutsuchi for his next and last attack. You know, that technique that cost the Raikage his left arm at the Kage Summit ? If you read today's chapter 'til the end, then you already know what I'm implying here, right ?
Since Sasuke's use of the Rinnegan isn't very good, Kurama knows he won't be able to absorb Naruto's next attack. Kurama also knows the next attack is going to make Sasuke realize his true feelings for Naruto...
So Naruto and Sasuke go at each other with everything they have. Their jutsus collide creating the 5565445421575th round explosion of the manga that destroys what's left of the Valley of the End.
Deidara's lives on my friend : ART IS AN EXPLOSION, hum !!!
This is it. The fight is over. Naruto and Sasuke are lying on the floor, next to each other and are both gravely injured. Sasuke wakes up after Naruto, and realizes the state they are in.
Since neither of them is able to move, they start to chat. Sasuke asks Naruto about his reasons for never giving up on him when everybody else did.
Naruto, who's usually the talkative one, simply answers that it's because they're friends, he can feel Sasuke's pain because it also hurts him very much.
This scene strongly reminded me of what happened at the end of the Gaara vs. Naruto fight. Naruto is always able to feel other people's pain through fighting.
Follow several pages of inner monologue on Sasuke's part. He remembers his younger days, when he had lost everything and knew that Naruto had nothing too. He remembers feeling good having someone else who was living a similar situation, and how good it felt to have Naruto, then Team 7 as another family, but also the fact that it made him feel weak and jealous of Naruto's prowesses.
He remembers how hard it was to live with these contradictory feelings inside him...
Next, we have Naruto and Sasuke waking up in the morning (they must have fallen asleep sometime during Sasuke's inner monologue). They're alive but still cannot move at all, otherwise, Naruto says he would have punched Sasuke until he'd open his eyes which causes Sasuke to... LAUGH ! Yes, as unbelievable as it sounds, Uchiha Sasuke graces us with his first laughter of joy in 15 years !
Naruto gets back to his childish ways, saying he still wants to fight, but Sasuke on the contrary, has the first mature reaction in years: he admits his loss with a smile on his face ! That's two incredible things at once for our little Emosuke, who would never show his emotions before.
They continue to tease each other and while they do, Sasuke does yet another thing we've never seen before : he cries... of relief !!! And these are most certainly his very first tears of hapiness !
The last page of the chapter is probably one of the most impactful Kishimoto ever drew, in my opinion. It shows that they both lost an arm but the blood lost from their injury makes it look like they are holding hands. They're are connected, at long last.
And Sasuke ends the chapter on a nostalgic note by calling Naruto "usuratonkachi", which is what he used to call Naruto back in part one.
Thoughts inspired by this chapter :
This chapter is beautiful, yes. This is Sasuke getting a huge boost of character development.
However, I do feel a few things are rushed/missing, but not in this chapter, in the manga as a whole.
Reading Sasuke's inner monologue made me realize that something is missing but that should have been crucial for the plot : the problem with Team 7. Yes, I love it, you love it, Kishi loves it and tried his best to give us nostalgic feels by bringing them back together since chapter 631. But I've always had a problem with them.
Everytime a member of Team 7 has a flashback, they remember how good and fun the old days were. Now, if you think about it, we only saw two of Team 7's adventures : the first one in Nami no Kuni and the Chuunin exam. However, I hardly call these "good memories" : Nami no Kuni ended up with two deaths and only Naruto and Sasuke were together for training and fighting (plus, Sasuke almost died too). The Chuunin Exam wasn't much of a good memory either. Sasuke started to become evil and Orochimaru and Gaara ruined the exam. Not much Team 7 interaction.
Now, I do know that they are said to have done a lot of little missions together, but I've always felt like there never was a real Team 7 dynamic. So every time there's a flashback about them, I kinda feel it is too forced because we, as readers, never really saw "good" Team 7 moments (the only one I can think of is this one). It is sad to say, but the first and last time we saw the four members of Team 7 were ALL involved in a fight when they delivered the last blow to Kaguya.
tl:dr : we/they are making a big deal of Team 7 it when it shouldn't be the case...
One of the rare times Team 7 did something all together in part one...
Also, I wish Sasuke's development had been steady during the series, and not shown recently only... He did have one time when he had Team 7 feels when fighting Bee with Team Taka, but that's about it if I'm not mistaken...
Opinion on the chapter :
I loved it. Oh boy, this is one of the best chapters of the manga in my opinion.
As I said above, I do feel like the "Team 7" thing and Naruto and Sasuke's friendship is a bit much, as they only had little interaction in part one (and the rest is mostly shown in flashbacks), but it is very emotional nonetheless. It feels good seeing Sasuke opening up, expressing his feelings openly and smiling.
When you think about it, Sasuke's loneliness is something HE created unlike Naruto who was rejected by everybody, Sasuke was popular with everyone, but he chose to be alone. And now that he finally accepts Naruto (and hopefully, the rest of the team)'s friendship, it feels like a weight has been lifted from his shoulders : his auto-desctructive way of thinking.
Him deciding to accept other people's feelings is a great improvement for someone who thought its was a weakness to rely on others. But I personally never blamed Sasuke for that, because I know it is hard for some people to rely on others after a trauma a big as the one Sasuke endured. I'm simply happy to see Naruto and Sasuke together. That last panel of them was very touching and impactful (and we now know why Naruto's arm is wrapped in bandages in The Last).
I now want them to reunite with Sakura and Kakashi, so they can heal and celebrate together.
Good thing(s) :
+ the fight is finally over
+ Sasuke finally putting his feelings into words
+ his smile, his laughter, his tears
+ the last picture, with their arms cuts but with their blood connecting them
+ "usuratonkatchi"... oh Sasuke, you nostalgic granny
Meh thing(s) :
• the quality of the art isn't very consistent, but this time, who cares ?
Bad thing(s) :
That's it ! Today's review is rather long, but I loved this chapter so much that it made me very talkative, sorry about that, and thanks for reading. Next week will have two chapters (so double-review for me **sob**). The last time in our lives we'll be able to read NARUTO... that's depressing, but I'm sure Kishimoto has a beautiful ending in stock for his fans. Let's enjoy the manga 'til the very last page ! It's our duty as shonen readers !
FrillyPhoenix:This NaruSaku (wor)shipper has secretly sworn to take over the world with her fluffy kawaiiness. But since she's too lazy for that, she spends her time playing video games, promising herself that her dominion will start after she's done with this one game. 734853478h4538 games later, she's still in bed. You may find her in her own kingdom, the only place she has managed to conquer so far: deviantArt.