REVIEW: ‘Naruto’ Chapter #698 (1999)

Naruto (1999)

Chapter 698
Story & Art by Masashi Kishimoto
Chapters: 698-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?

[MAJOR Spoilers from this point on…]

Review: 2 CHAPTERS TO GO!

In this chapter Naruto and Sasuke’s feud comes to its not-so-bitter-end. Everyone is alive, but neither of them are in one piece. And we’ll get to that. I was wondering how Kishimoto was going to end this fight, and he found a pretty darn good way to do it. After their final attacks, both rivals find themselves lying on the ground unable to move. And so they just talk it out. They’re there for so long that a whole night passes.

It’s kind of sweet, until you realize the whole war from the last 2+ years of reading coupled with this fight lasted something like 4 days in real time storytelling. But you know what? I’m just gonna overlook it. I’m just so happy I was able to enjoy these last few chapters in the countdown to the end. No matter how the series ends now, I can at least be content knowing that for a short time I legitimately enjoyed Naruto again for what it was and what it was accomplishing. It felt like the amazing series I fell in love with for so long, before becoming so disenchanted by it for so long.

I don’t really remember the last time I felt this way about this series, but it feels so damn good.

The chapter was actually pretty good in all honesty. There was a bit of fighting at the beginning, but once the fight was over it turned into a talking chapter/reminiscing chapter. Sasuke didn’t get talked at by Naruto about how he should change, instead Sasuke came to his senses on his own after realizing how he really feels about his truest friend. And I quite liked that. While this chapter still doesn’t make up for the wishy-washy attitude Sasuke has had all series, it does feel as if this is the most we’ve ever gotten into his head.

It felt like… character growth.

Sasuke really has come into his own, and this chapter proved it as we got a walkthrough about how being friends with Naruto has shaped his life. Most villains usually end up doing this, and they’re always turned good or something similiar because of something Naruto has done but it’s whatever at this point. I’m just glad this didn’t happen because Naruto talked to him, it’s because Sasuke took the initiative to actively sit there and think things through for once.

That’s what makes this time feel different, and better.

Earlier I mentioned that both characters were alive, but not in one piece. Oddly enough the final panel reveal was my least favorite part of the chapter overall. It seems in their bids to outdo one another, Naruto and Sasuke used up so much energy that their arms were torn off. Not both arms, just one each. Sasuke’s left and Naruto’s right. How symbolic. And it’s Kishimoto’s penchant for everything to be symmetrical, for so many things to be “symbolic” that leaves me going “meh” when I see this. It just doesn’t feel like shock-and-awe but shock-and-oh well.

I’m sure Kishimoto really just did it cause it seemed like a cool idea, but there’s nothing about it that phased me. Sorry to say.

All in all, a stellar chapter to finally end Naruto and Sasuke’s feud. You did it Kishimoto, you did me proud. Next time is the 2-part series finale, so we’re getting exactly 700 chapters of Naruto. DO NOT disappoint Kishimoto! The entire world has their eyes on you now!

Final Score: 4.5 Final Attacks 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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