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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Micro Manga Review: Naruto GN 56

Naruto GN 56
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
200 pages
Team Asuma, Reunited: Naruto and the Allied Shinobi Forces battle Kabuto’s hordes of reanimated ninja soldiers. In the process, they come face-to-face with old friends brought back from the dead…plus enemies and weapons more fearsome than any they could have imagined!
So the first half of this volume is a write-off in terms of story and plot. I know that's a mean thing to say about what I suppose is a pivotal battle during the current arc but considering it's all based around characters that are either new or mostly periphery, you can hopefully forgive my blah behavior towards the whole thing. At least the artwork throughout the volume is consistently amazing, showing howKishimoto's strengths truly shine through during moments of action.
This is not to say that the Kinkaku/Ginkaku vs the Allied Shinobi Forces bits were boring. Actually, they were pretty well choreographed and very interesting, especially with the sealing techniques. Plus, it highlighted the ninjas' awesome mind-to-mind communication system, something I've been really loving in this recent story arc. It's like a shinobi mind meld coupled with a psychic walkie-talkie!
The star part of this volume is highlighted in the book summary: the bittersweet reunion of Team Asuma. I'm trying to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, so I'll just say that the arrival of a certain character will certainly tug at readers' heartstrings in the worst way possible. But let us appreciate for a moment how much Shikamaru, Ino, and Choji have grown and matured into their respective roles. I don't know any jonin or kage who wouldn't be proud of the ninja they've become.
My second favorite part is actually the cliffhanger involving Naruto. He's not as clueless as folks would like to think, and considering the nine-tails inside of him that's very dangerous. It's because of his actions that I am very much looking forward to volume 57; good thing it's out already!