Sunday, July 12, 2015

Naruto Gaiden: The Seventh Hokage - Full Review

Written by Shiggins

Underwhelming is the word of the day.

I'm not saying it's bad or anything. I just expected more, and I think a lot of us were expecting at least some sort of payoff. Maybe if we'd known it was only ten chapters long, we'd have had less expectations and therefore, I wouldn't be feeling disappointed. When Naruto Gaiden was announced, I thought Kishimoto was going to go maybe 50-100 chapters long and we'd get some amazing drama. As it is... it's adequate enough. And since it was only ten chapters, I decided I'll just review them all at once.

It's so pretty. Does the rainbow represent the freedom of gay marriage perhaps?
So what's the main story? Well, Sarada Uchiha (or as some dumbasses call her "Salad"), is the daughter of Sakura and Sasuke who are apparently husband and wife. However, Sarada has never met Sasuke and is questioning if Sakura is her real mother since she's unsure if Sasuke has any feelings for the pink-haired heroine because he's never around. Then Sarada finds a photo of Sasuke's old "Team Taka" and sees a girl who wears glasses just like her: Karin.

No seriously. The fandom believed that the glasses was proof that Karin was the mother... It's almost funny when you think about it.
And right away, you can see one of the main problems with this "Part 3". The story is predictable and feels like it had to be made, rather than wanted to be made. Anybody who isn't a whiny loser on a Facebook page knows that Sarada is the daughter of Sakura but when Sarada was first revealed, the fact she had glasses made people question who her real mother was; Sakura or Karin. Honestly, this was mostly from the NaruSaku audience who couldn't handle the fact that Sakura loved... the guy she said she had loved for the entire series. I knew as soon as the first chapter was over that Sakura was going to be the mother and if you honestly believed it would end with Karin as the mother, you're not reading the same story I am and you haven't been reading Naruto properly.

Yes! Karin, that is the best line you've ever said in your entire life!
One thing that stood out for me especially was the very uninteresting locations. The Naruto series has a great reputation of interesting villages and settings, such as Amegakure and Orochimaru's Hideout. Despite the fact that Sarada is travelling throughout the majority of this story, we never saw any places that made any impact. All of them were generic trees or hallways. On the one hand, this did make us focus more on the characters but one of Naruto's strongest points was the atmosphere and none of these locations really persuaded me to feel anything.

"Ah a fence! The perfect place to mark your grave!"
Speaking of features I felt utterly indifferent to, the main villain is token! It feels like Kishimoto wrote the story about Sasuke and Sarada, but then his editor said "okay, add a fight scene here and there" so Kishimoto had to strap on the first thing that came to his head. Shin Uchiha is so bland and so forgettable that I almost feel sorry for him. He never does anything or explains any of his motivations. He's obsessed with Itachi and the Uchiha. Why? He has a weird creature by his side that has a Sharingan and looks like a mini Ten-Tails spawn. Where did that even come from?

If I ever see another Sharingan-user after Gaiden, I am going to lose it.
However, this doesn't mean that Naruto Gaiden is by any means "awful". And a major reason for that is Sarada herself. The daughter of Sasuke manages to surpass both Hinata and Sakura in terms of character and this is partially because unlike Sakura, she doesn't seem to sabotage herself with constantly stupid decisions, and unlike Hinata she actually gets given screentime to do shit. While Kishimoto ignored Hinata and wrecked Sakura, he has redeemed himself somewhat by giving us a heroine that is funny, quirky at times, clever at other times, sensible and strong both physically and mentally. Throughout these ten chapters, I really grew a soft spot for Sarada and she quickly became my main purpose for reading this mini-series.

Even Sarada cannot resist Chocho's charm.
The big mystery of Sarada's true mother was one I remember knowing how it would end, but being really scared that Kishimoto would pull the carpet out under my feet and fuck it up. As expected, we got a few twists and turns and "ooh could it be this or that?" moments that made us wonder. I know a lot of pricks kept jumping at every damn reveal as if that was the final word and it got annoying very quickly. Just wait until the final chapter before commenting, guys. It's pretty fucking easy to wait. Anyway, I'm very glad Karin isn't the mother. It would have been a development that really hurt the fanbase.

Some lovely gore to turn you sadists on.
The other kids are surprisingly not involved with Sarada's adventure. Instead of this turning into Sarada leading a gang of misfits to Sasuke, it's just one character tagging along. This character happens to be the hugely funny Chocho Akimichi, daughter of Choji and Karui. She has this weird silly plot where she's looking for her real dad, since her dad has to be handsome or something... Actually, is she a parody of the fans who complained that Sarada wasn't Sakura's daughter? If that is the case, that's genius. I'm not holding my breath for something like that though...

It's funny how hot he looks here but all the anime previews for Boruto make this guy look frog-like and scary.
As I said before, you really don't see enough of the Konoha 11's children to really get a firm grasp on whether or not you like them yet. Inojin and Shikadai have potential to be interesting but until there are more films or manga, we'll never know. I will say though that every panel with Boruto is annoying! Boruto is such a pain in the ass, with that whiny attitude and pout! Sigh...

Orochimaru's appearance was very confusing and far more intriguing than Shin Uchiha could ever hope to be. I know that's not a fair comparison since Orochimaru is the best villain, but it's heavily implied he still does experiments and everybody just leaves him alone since he's apparently being passive and NOT murdering people for fun and bodies anymore. This gets even stranger when we see him and he's younger but won't explain why. This could potentially be a set-up for a really interesting plot in the future, where we discover Orochimaru is still stealing bodies and Suigetsu, Karin and Jugo are helping him but until then, Naruto's decision to only have Yamato (hooray for Yamato cameo!) spy on him is very odd.

And I can't believe how much hotter you look now that you're supposedly a goody.
Another confusing subplot is the reason Sasuke left the village, implying there is a force "stronger than Kaguya" on the horizon. Leaving aside the fact that bringing Kaguya back to try to justify that ending is really dangerous, the resolution doesn't exist. Obviously, they're building up the film as that will involve Kaguya's descendants but even that would have been more interesting than Shin Uchiha. In fact, imagine if that new kid Mitsuki had been the main "foe", involved in the plot that Sarada gets mixed up in while finding out about Sasuke... Hmm... That might have overshadowed Sarada's mission though... It's a double-edged sword here, huh?

I'm so utterly indifferent to this film, it's astounding.
We saw Kabuto! Not only is he not working for Orochimaru anymore, but he's actually got his snake face AND he works in the orphanage now. So it looks like Itachi trapping Kabuto in that genjutsu did exactly what it needed to. I know that probably seems minor but I liked it.

On a last note, where the fuck were Hinata and Himawari?!

Summary Opinion: When the series focuses on Sarada and her drama, it's surprisingly good. It's well-written and pleasantly drawn, with only minimal complaints. When the series focuses on what feels like a half-assed villain plot, it opens up a plethora of plotholes and crap that nobody cares about. It's a build-up for the film, and that's pretty lame.

Overall Manga Rating: 3.5/5

Character of the Series: Sarada Uchiha. The greatest Naruto heroine of all the generations.

Predictions: The film is going to be okay. Nowhere near the level of recent DBZ movies but maybe higher than the level of most Naruto films. Boruto isn't going to get that much better but Sarada should hopefully remain good, unless the anime truly buggers her up... OH GOD, IT'S STUDIO PIERROT, RIGHT?! SHE'S DOOMED!

Not sure if Kishimoto should thank the majority of his fans after their response to his ending... but I thank you for your flawed but brilliant work, sir.

Shiggins:[Admin]   .
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on or go to his tumblr page

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