I hope no one thought that the colorful 12 Days of Anime posts on the front page meant that you wouldn’t be seeing another crappy Weekly Shonen again. Cause if you did, you were wrong. Sorry about that.
Even though nothing much happened, I have no real complaints. The chapter was funny.
There is really not much I can say about this chapter.
Kon’s antics were expected, but funny regardless. I actually thought the whole palace of beautiful women thing was awesome.
The dude who made the Zanpaktou seems pretty cool, but it takes me a while to get used to such off-beat characters. The way he says “Nice to meet you” backwards is an interesting touch. Apparently, he also uses English.
The “beat back the Zanpaktou rage” training is nothing unexpected. Zanpaktou powerups have almost always involved subjugating the poor Zanpaktou by force. (I am not actually sure if they are fighting the rage of their swords or some other arbitrary collection of rage).
Actually, when you think about it, Bleach has always been about acquiring stuff through subjugation and force.
How did Ichigo become friends with Chad? He subjugated some bullies?
How did Ichigo become friends with Renji? He beat Renji in a fight.
How did Ichigo become friends with Zaraki? He beat Zaraki (kind of) in a fight.
How did Ichigo become friends with Byakuya? He beat Byakuya in a fight.
How did Ichigo become friends with Grimjow? He beat Grimjow in a fight.
How did Ichigo gain the trust of Soul Society? He attacked Soul Society and attempted to subjugate it to his iron rule.
It’s kind of a scary thought. Bleach is about subjugating the desires of others through force in order to accomplish your own desire.
Then again, I’d wager that most fighting series share a similar philosophy. I am not really sure how the obviousness of that philosophy in this manga reflects upon the manga as a whole. I honestly don’t know.
Before we get to the one good thing, I want to talk about the bad things.
BAD THING 1: Naruto’s Shonen MC-Kun Syndrome is getting worse
What is Shonen MC-Kun Syndrome? I am sure I have alluded to the problem before (though likely not by name), but it is a disease that many Shonen MC’s are inflicted with. The disease makes our characters have occasional periods where they forget their own identity and carry out cliche actions for the greater good of the Shonen OverLord.
Who is the Shonen OverLord? That’s a question for another time.
A lot of mangaka have this horrible tendency to just forget about any character development their character may have received. The characters are then forced to say something uncharacteristic in order to force the plot along. Now, characters that exist for the sole purpose of moving the plot are not new and not universally bad either (see Puella Magicka Madoka), but they are bad when you don’t actually have a worthwhile overlying plot. They are also bad when you have actually given them some development.
In Naruto, we don’t have a good overlying plot and Naruto was supposed to have developed by now. But, no! Kishi makes him forget the fact that he is a fucking experienced Ninja and that therefore, he should not be so hung up on one death and the words of the enemy should not affect him this much.
Naruto, your parents are dead. They have been dead for 15 + years. Stop fussing over their death.
Your friend died defending you. He died the way he wanted. Stop fussing over his death.
Some of your teammates are dead. Ninjas die all the time. Stop fussing over their death.
Now, I hope I didn’t trivialize death and the suffering loved ones go through when someone dies. I can perfectly understand that you are meant to be sad when someone dies. I can understand tears, grief and a loss of direction, but Naruto’s reactions don’t feel natural.
They feel forced. It feels like Kishi is saying, “hey, a guy died AND SINCE THIS IS A SHONEN, MY SHONEN MC will react THE WAY A SHONEN MC IS MEANT TO REACT! THEN HE WILL FEEL BETTER WHEN SOMEONE TELLS HIM TO CHEER UP”.
It’s cliche, silly and destroys any individuality Naruto might have built up as a character until now.
BAD THING 2: Everyone worships Naruto
I am sure I have mentioned this before, but I really don’t like how everyone is so hung up on Naruto.
Yes, he is the main character.
Yes, he saved Konoha from eminent destruction once.
Yes, he is one of the strongest ninja in the Ninja World.
But, he is also just another human being who happens to be ~15 years old.
Why does the Ninja alliance, which consists of pretty much every ninja alive, come to a grinding halt when Naruto is having an emotional moment. Why does everyone look up to Naruto for guidance?
Yeah, I know he changed the ninja world and helped unite the Ninja World with his talk-no jutsu, but still…
You can’t have an army (even an army of individuals that normally operate in much smaller teams) so reliant on one person. That’s just asking for failure.
I know that Kishi is going for a the whole everyone gives up being a cold ninja and becomes a warm friend thing, but that doesn’t mean, I have to like it! This manga was cooler back when everyone was a badass ninja who only relied on his/her teammates and not some hokey pokey religious leader with a magic fox.
As others have pointed out, the situation would have been very different if Hinata had died, not Neji. Who would have snapped Naruto out of his despair in that case? Would the entire army have failed? Well, it is also possible that if that had happened, Naruto would have gotten really mad or so depressed, the fox would have been forced to take control.
I liked how Kurama joked about taking control and I also liked how Kurama said he was Naruto’s parents mortal enemy.
I liked how Bee was able to make the 10 Tails eat its own attack.
Oh, right onto the major good thing from this chapter.
Dear Naruto x Sakura fans,
Dear Naruto x Sasuke fans,
Dear Naruto x Anyone fans,
p.s. If Kishi does something horrible like kill Hinata or finds another way to get Sakura and Naruto together, I will be very upset. You will do well to avoid me on that day.
p.p.s. Hinata is one of my all time favorite Shonen female characters. I love her so much.
The beginning of the chapter showed us a little more of Baby 5’s powers and Franky dealing with them. It was nothing special. The goodbye speech between Vergo and Don Flamingo was nice and kind of touching.
Anyway, two far more interesting things happened this chapter.
Interesting Thing 1: Caesar kills (or at least gravely injures) Monet
I had not been keeping track of the hearts at all. I had totally forgotten that Monet had her own heart taken. I did not know how Oda was going to stop the island from blowing up or how he was going to protect the Straw Hats if it did blow up.
I did not see Caesar killing Monet as Oda’s method of ensuring Straw Hat survival.
Oh man, this scene was ripping with delicious irony. Caesar was so lustful for revenge, he attacked Smoker’s heart even though Smoker had not done much to him. The funniest thing about it all was that by stabbing that heart, he ensured everyone’s survival and not just Smoker’s. It was delicious.
Poor Monet though. She had an interesting character design and slightly interesting character to. I kind of wanted her to join the crew, but no where near as much as some other folk who were likely left devastated by this chapter.
(Even if Monet survives, expecting her to join the crew despite her extreme loyalty to Don Flamingo would be very silly. Please don’t do that.)
Interesting Thing 2: Don Flamingo decides to act.
Don Flamingo was so desperate to keep making Sad, so desperate for revenge, he left his fancy villa and decided to fly over to Punk Hazard.
This was quite the twist.
I’d like to imagine that a part of Don Flamingo is happy that he gets a chance to save his crew.
I wonder if Oda will explain how Don is going to navigate to Punk Hazard? Does he have an eternal pose or something on him? Or is he just a pigeon with a built in compass? Also, how does he fly? Is he using his strings to reject air or something?
Now, some people might be hoping that Luffy and Don have a showdown and Luffy beats up Don. I am sorry, but I don’t think that will happen. Or, if a showdown does happen, it will end in a tie. Don Flamingo will not beat Luffy because doing so will make the new and improved Luffy look weak and will get everyone killed. And, Luffy will not beat Don Flamingo because doing so would make the introduction of the butler/little girl useless. We would also not get to see the rest of Jokers crew and we won’t get a full crew on crew showdown like we’d expect from One Piece. Joker seems to be backed by some really interesting people, so there is no way we won’t get to see more of them before his eventual defeat.
So, I don’t think Don Flamingo is going to get his butt kicked. I actually don’t think he will meet Luffy at all. In fact, I am not sure what will happen.