REVIEW: ‘Naruto’ (1999) Chapters 689-690

Naruto (1999) Chapters 689-690 [Double Chapter Review!]

Story & Art by Masashi Kishimoto

Chapters: 690-Ongoing

Summary: Naruto is a young ninja-in-training, having grown up in the Village Hidden in the Leaves, who is shunned and isolated from those around him because of the mysterious beast lurking inside of him. This causes Naruto great pain, but he decides to work past it in order to become the greatest ninja that ever lived. Along the way he makes many friends and enemies. Can Naruto do it?

Review: These two chapters, back-to-back, bring a supposed end to the long war that has been playing out in the series for the last few years. The 3rd great ninja war as it is called. Ever since Naruto began act 2 of its story a long, long time ago, the series hasn’t been – in my eyes – as good as it was in act 1. This is due to many, many things, but especially since the end of the Pain arc (an arc I flat out loved until its ending) I have been incredibly aware of just how… bad Naruto as a series really is.

And I’ve come close to dropping it multiple times, so why do  I keep reading? Because something about the series makes me still have feelings for it, and makes me want to see how everything plays out. Now, the series is definitely not over yet. It still has a lot of loose ends to play and probably a few more villains hiding in the bushes. So I presume the series will probably, finally, end in 2015.

The battle that has been playing out between our heroes of Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and Kakashi vs. the goddess Kaguya has been way less than stellar, with Kaguya being a very boring 2-D villain and several revealing retcons to the series just getting under my skin. Finally, though, the battle is over. So what did I think?

Well, I liked how it came to an end. Without going into spoilery bashing, I’ll talk about a few of the things I liked without spoiling as much as possible. While it was more a deus ex machina than anything, Kakashi’s new abilities are interesting and I was happy to see him get some badass moments that were helpful in saving the world. I was also happy to see the combined efforts of Team 7 bring about an end to tyranny.

Sakura continues to praise herself as “equal to Naruto and Sasuke” and while that is VERY not true, sadly, I was glad to see her get a moment to shine in the final battle. She actually did help quite a bit and that was nice to see.

Kishimoto has been building this epic tale for years, and it ended in purest shonen fashion which is to be expected. With sacrifices along the way, and the return of a few surprising figures as well. I really liked team 7 early on in the series, they were a fun unit to experience the adventures of. It’s only fitting they were able to come together in this big, absurd, not-subtle at all, battle. Complete with ridiculous power displays and big, bombastic brawling.

The art, I feel, has dropped in quality these last few years. The lines used in the series are thicker and it seems like Kishimoto has been cutting corners to get out certain panels quicker. There is a beautiful image though in chapter 690 of the way of the 6 paths that is poster worthy though.

I am interested in seeing how the whole series comes to an end. In future reviews, I will probably use spoilers, so be warned, but while these chapters were still pretty lackluster in accordance to the story it’s been building from, they were also pretty good as just a nice, final fight sequence to bring this long war to an end.

Final Score: 3 Members of Team Seven out of 5


DERRICK-image

Derrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.

You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net

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