Monday, April 26, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 82 (4/26) -- Naruto, Vols. 45-47 by Masashi Kishimoto

I wrote about the three immediately previous Naruto volumes back on Day 16, mostly talking about the shape of the series to that point...and that means I'll have even less to say here than I did then.

(Of course, that's why I chose this to be the Book-A-Day post that I'd be writing on a Friday night, after a long week, and immediately after wandering around the neighborhood with Thing 2 putting up Cub Scout Food-Drive notices.)

From Kishimoto's introductory comment in Vol. 47, I gather that this battle is not just a really big one, but the beginning of the climax of the series -- so my estimate, in that previous review, that the story (and now, I guess, the series) would end with Vol. 50 is looking more reasonable by the moment. Of course, there are still two shadowy nasties with plans to destroy Naruto's home village of Konoha (assuming there's anything left of it after this battle, which may be an unwarranted assumption) -- Naruto's ex-teammate Sasuke, and the mysterious hypno-masked leader of the evil Akatsuki ninjas (whom the reader and Sasuke knows all about, after the epic conversation in Vol. 43) -- so I may be off by a few hundred pages. But I wouldn't be surprised if Naruto ends in the next year or so.

In these six hundred pages of the story -- that may seem excessive, but a manga like Naruto is the comics equivalent of a big epic fantasy, leaping from one subplot to another and shifting focus from the hero gaining his true power to the villains discussing their fiendish plots -- the uniquely nasty ninja Pain attacks Konoha, demanding Naruto.

In Vol. 45 and 46, Kishimoto starts off with Sasuke's team's attempt to capture the last fox-tailed ninja who isn't Naruto, and then dives into the main event, switching between scenes in which a small army of Konoha ninja, singly and together, attempt to fight Pain's seven bodies (and fail miserably) and with scenes of Naruto training to learn sage jutsu from a bunch of ancient, ultra-powerful talking frogs on Mt. Myoboku. Eventually, of course, Naruto -- stronger and with new skills from his training, as always in shonen stories -- comes back to fight Pain himself, and that takes up pretty much all of Vol. 47.

So these books would be pretty much incomprehensible to anyone who hasn't read the first 8,000 or so pages of this story. I will say that Kishimoto is good at delivering on what he promises -- his battle scenes are truly epic, and even a reader like me (who doesn't bother to keep track of the different kinds of jutsu, their strengths and weaknesses, and the other gaming-style trivia of the world) finds it gripping and exciting. And, for the first time ever, I'm actually caught up with this series -- and that's something to celebrate.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
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Listening to: The Fauves - The Dirt-Bike Option
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

James Moar said...

50 volumes is a bit of a lowball -- it's already at 51 in Japan, with enough uncollected chapters for another book and no ending yet. But broadly, yes, I think it's ending soon.

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