Saturday, April 23, 2016

Naruto Side Story Review - The Path Shone by the Moon Light

Written by Shiggins

Naruto's final mystery resolved?

When chapter 700 unleashed itself upon the fandom, causing the divide between Haters and Appreciaters, I was one of the few who barely showed any interest in their war because my concern was not over ships. Instead, my worries and confusion went towards the greatest anime villain of them all; Orochimaru. Where did he go? What does he get up to? Why wasn't he the final villain of the series instead of bloody Kaguya?

Not gonna lie. It'd be a nightmare to crawl out of that pit... I mean, it's already terrifying but still. 
However, it's wrong of me to build this up like it's Orochimaru's story. In actuality, this chapter is about Mitsuki. For those of you who don't know, Mitsuki is the mysterious third member of Team Boruto, who stands alongside banana-hair Boruto Uzumaki and surprisingly badass Sarada Uchiha, who first appeared without any real ceremony and never got the credit he was due. It always felt like we were building up to this chapter whenever he made that rare appearance, instead of just telling us his story when we see him. Thankfully, this return by Kishimoto is beautiful... if you're a sadist.

I still have no idea what the limitations of technology is in this world. Are there phones? Ipads? Sex toys? Can I play Ratchet and Clank in this world? They have computers already, so there must be some of those things!
The boy Mitsuki wakes up in a lab, confused and groggy. The mad scientist Orochimaru steps over and gives Mitsuki a drink, which apparently is disgusting and causes the cup to fall and break. Orochimaru then takes his leave and asks his assistant Suigetsu to escort Mitsuki to his room later. Mitsuki then asks Suigetsu who he is, to which Suigetsu remarks how this is the 6th time and tells Mitsuki that he failed a mission with Orochimaru, before attacking Mitsuki himself with a kunai.

Holy crap! Luffy just took an interesting tu... oh. Damn.
Mitsuki demonstrates the power of stretching to defend himself, and Suigetsu explains that Mitsuki lost his memories to an enemy, so Suigetsu had to make sure he was still able to fight. So the two go into the room where Orochimaru is, who tells Mitsuki that he is Orochimaru's child and he cares deeply for him, hence why they are going to get his memories back from an armoured ninja they named "Log".

Oooh Orochimaru! Now THAT is the one I love! Oh, how I've missed you!
Rightfully confused, Mitsuki asks for more information. Orochimaru tried to steal Log's backlog of memories he stole from other ninja, hence Log retaliating by stealing the memories. As Mitsuki doubts his abilities, Orochimaru says he is special and repeats how Mitsuki is precious to him. So now they have a mission; To find Log and get Mitsuki's memories back from him!

So with their armour on and Orochimaru's hair up, giving him his most feminine look yet, and they come to a barrier. Mitsuki is told he has the power to break it, and Orochimaru tells him how to use it off-panel while Log senses their arrival. So the two run off to confront Log, and the battle begins between Orochimaru and Log. Log's armour provides defence against Orochimaru's snakes to defend against his poison attacks, and Log's ninjutsu seems to hold Orochimaru in shadows.

That is entrapment, asshole!
Orochimaru's last words about "Sage Power" resonates within Mitsuki, and just as Log is about to finish off Mitsuki, he is stunned. A tiny snake of Orochimaru had managed to slither inside the armour and had now paralysed him. Orochimaru then gets up and goes inside, while Mitsuki is to stand guard over Log. Log, claiming to feel suffocated by the mask, asks Mitsuki to remove it. He also claims that Orochimaru is the one deceiving him, and the mask is removed to reveal...

*gasp* Old man Mitsuki!
Yes, it's an older Mitsuki from years ago! Both of them are synthetic humans made from science things and such! Older Mitsuki, OM, says that Orochimaru is seeking the embryo from which each of them were created, and Mitsuki is confused as to why OM would want to destroy it. OM tells him that humans made from this embryo are not real humans and is against nature. Orochimaru only seeks his own convenience, so he'll keep creating humans like Mitsuki and OM for as long as he likes.

This is when Orochimaru returns, claiming to still love them both from the bottom of his heart, and Orochimaru begins to justify his fucked-up behaviour by "doing it out of love", to which OM is understandably angry. OM then turns to Mitsuki, begging him to defeat Orochimaru here and now. Orochimaru says to ignore him, and he has the embryo so he plans to make more "siblings" for him. God damn, I love you Orochimaru! Speaking of things to love, Mitsuki reacts!

....Am I in heaven?
Mitsuki has had enough, activating his gorgeous Sage Mode and deciding to make the decision for himself. Suddenly, Mitsuki rushes forward and steals the embryo, the key to the case for it, and he leaps off by himself. Orochimaru stands in awe as OM suddenly moves and lights a cigarette, which is something disgusting and only bad people do!

Orochimaru tells OM that he put "a picture of the sun" inside that case, and it turns out that Orochimaru and OM have been working together six times to create a Mitsuki that has free will and makes his own decisions. Orochimaru just hopes he won't have to erase Mitsuki's memories a 7th time. The "sun picture" is Boruto apparently, presumably with other kids from the village, and both Orochimaru and OM wonder what Mitsuki's future could be as they talk about the light in the darkness and... they lost me a bit at the end but then Mitsuki names himself and we end and wow!

This image couldn't be more Batman if it tried.


I mean villain! Sorry... Got carried away but what a good chapter! Madara and Obito (spoiler alert: Tobi was Obito) and the Akatsuki are all good, but I will always have a special place in my heart for Orochimaru. This chapter fully embraces his sadistic methods, his manipulative skills and his love for experimentation. To see a villain go to such lengths "to see what happens" is far more unique than trying to take over the world. And unlike when Orochimaru suddenly decided to turn good, the "see what happens" decision has opened up tons of possibilities, while also letting Orochimaru keep the personality he always should have had.

Mitsuki is a very interesting character as well. He manages to be endearing during such an event by not whining all the time and asking legitimate questions that we, the reader, want to know. He's not angsty or unsympathetic, and we don't have to handle him going into pure emotional cringe-worthy complaining and false justification like Sasuke did. Mitsuki's decisions make sense, and that makes him far more relatable. Just like Orochimaru, I want to see what he does next.

....I guess this makes sense in a manga sense, but I'm still sitting here utterly clueless.
However, this does bring me to the major problem with this chapter. Which is simply this; Why does it even exist? Developing Mitsuki under Orochimaru's science is fantastic and this chapter kept me guessing all the way throughout. When Mitsuki transformed into Sage Mode, I flipped out because that's beautiful, but why even bother showing us it? If this was say, Dragon Ball Super, we know we'd be continuing the story so we could see more of it and watch it develop.

The thing is, Kishimoto isn't writing the manga anymore. The anime itself hasn't even gotten to Kaguya yet, so if there's a future anime planned by Kishimoto that will be 100% filler claiming to be canon, then this one-shot is far too early for that. Or is this a set-up for an upcoming Boruto movie sequel? I haven't seen any official news yet... or is this meant to excite me and make me read the butt-ugly upcoming manga of Boruto with some of the most painful artwork I've ever seen in a manga? If it's that last one, then I'm really not amused because I still haven't decided if I'm going to check it out yet, and I don't want to go from the gorgeous Kishimoto style to the ugly style in the hopes that we might be talking about Mitsuki in there.

I can't throw up enough at the preview images of Naruto and Sasuke.
There are other quibbles as well. Why is Suigetsu working for Orochimaru in the first place? I would have thought he'd run away as soon as possible, considering how he used to behave around the snakeman. Where are Karin and Jugo? We can assume the Sage Mode DNA inside Mitsuki is related to either Jugo or Kabuto (when Orochimaru drained chakra from him during the war) but we know Karin choose to continue working for Orochimaru too, so this big question still looms over the chapter.

Taken as a singular chapter, this was amazing and instantly wonderful. However, in the grand scheme of things, my opinion begins to deflate under all the unanswered questions and possibility of an unanswered future. I can confirm though that if Kishimoto went back to writing another official series based on this increasingly interesting generation, with Mitsuki and Sarada in lead roles, this chapter would remind me to definitely check it out.

Manga Rating: 4/5

Best Part: Orochimaru finally returns to his glorious roots.

Worst Part: Lack of continuation.

...Why am I blushing all of a sudden?

Shiggins:[Admin]   .
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  1. I mostly will have to disagree since this is more on the "backstory for a later arc" kind of thing in the coming Bolt Manga cause now you're gonna have the part of fanbase expecting Mitsuki to be using this sage mode power and even ask why he hasn't been using it in the bolt movie and what not kind of thing.

    next problem is this didn't really answer nor resolve anything that has been brought up on a repeated basis about the unanswered stuff in the Naruto world since if I had to guess Orochimaru likely stole Madara's research on creating the white Zetsus but took a step further with a mysterious embryo that is likely Ootsuki clan related. while yes it's good to see orochimaru back in his roots that only makes the question of "Why the hell is Naruto even letting him run loose?" that's like Batman purposely letting the Joker escape arkham just he can kill people and nearly blow up gotham so Batman can save the day in the publics eye you know.

    then there's my personal concern of the bolt manga being a repeat/reboot/retelling of the whole Naruto story under the guise of a new generation where now everything Naruto and sasuke did is being redone through bolt and mitsuki which makes for a really shitty story if that's the best the author of the bolt manga can do. nostalgia moments are good and all but if a story about a new generation can't at least try to be a separate entity of it's predecessor then what is the point of even doing an officially approved continuation of Naruto?

    sorry I know that was a bit of a rant but I feel that's the main problem I have with this one shot and what it's basically setting up in the coming bolt manga next month.

    1. Has it been established that this is for the Boruto manga? If so, that's a shame because as I said, I'm still not sure I even want to look at that manga. It's petty I know, but unavoidable.

      That is a fair complaint, yes. As part of Naruto's unfortunately messed-up continuity, the oneshot seemed adamant on not answering half the questions the series set itself up with during that final arc. Like I said though, I was trying to look at this more as a standalone chapter, rather than as part of the series as a whole. Since there was no definite sign that this story is being continued by Kishimoto or someone else in the future, I wasn't sure about choosing to consider it as "part of a grand plan".

      Honestly though, I'd rather think that Orochimaru just used his amazing scientific brain to create Mitsuki, rather than involve Zetsu and Kaguya's clan and all that other horseshit. It's easier, it's simpler, and it's far more interesting for all characters involved. And before anybody replies to this comment, I don't care if "Kishimoto said in an interview" or whatever. Unless it's portrayed in the canon, it doesn't count or exist.

      As for the Boruto manga itself, I'm going to try to save judgement for now. I think the idea itself could be good, although I wish they had waited a few years before releasing it. Shonen Jump probably want to cash in on Naruto as much as possible right away. I think we should try to keep judgement on Boruto's manga until after it comes out, since Naruto has always been a series that loves to surprise. Maybe Boruto will be too. Besides, Sarada and Mitsuki are awesome. That could be a saving grace.

      Sorry about such a long answer but long rants deserve them. I like rants, so long as they're respectful and cohesive.

    2. well I think i'll just stick to my fanfic idea on basing something with himawari as it's maing character cause I don't think I want anything more to do with a continuation that looks to want to repeat the whole 3 man team curse thing that was done with team 7 and before that kakashi's team and before that the sanin team where before that was started by madara and hashirama only to later learn it was started by the sage of 6 paths 2 sons only to later learn this partially influenced by black zetsu who was working for kaguya the whole time. I hope i'm wrong in that statement since at the very least despite the fan comic looking art style or perhaps a bit more death note/prison school looking art style the story drifts away from what was already done and tries to be it's own thing over rehashing or reusing stuff done in the Naruto series. at least not till we how well they hold the story together for the first 10 chapters where by then we should have an arc going.

      one of the downs with me and bolt manga is that well for the most part we've already seen 2 well now 3 of the kids on team seven as main focuses of the story and whether intended to or not they more or less gave away what to expect in their developments for their future to where it would be better to start from a time skip a couple years later to leave a bit of mystery there. since I feel this has to dive any deeper more than likely himawari would've been the better choice to go through it since with bolt he's following sasuke and sarada is following Naruto to where we already where those routes lead so it be better to start with a character who has yet to have a clear goal in what they want then build from there.