Medaka Box Volume 5

Posted in Medaka Box, Weekly Shounen Jump on July 11, 2010 by Rejuvenation

Here we are. After an agonizing 3 month wait from volume 4 being released, we finally get Medaka Box volume 5 on sale for July. I will be ordering my copy this week. Anyway, Akira Akatsuki continues to improve on his covers. While I felt volumes 1 and 2 to be okay at best, I found the volumes 3 and 4 covers to be better. With Volume 3 being my favorite and Volume 5 possibly making it a draw between the two.  Akira Akatsuki decides to throw the Zenkichi whiners a bone and lets him take center stage. Which isn’t bad since Miyakonojou is likely to hog the cover of volume 6 to feed his massive ego even more lol. I’m just glad that Akune, Koga, Naze and of course our main character Medaka got featured on this as well. Altogether they make the cover one of the better ones of the series.

This volume covers chapters 35-43. Beginning with the climax and conclusion of Zenkichi’s fight with Munakata and ending with Medaka’s memory loss. Although for me, the highlight and best part of this volume is Akune’s battle with the strongest girl in the 13 Party, Koga Itami. During the bout Akune shows his abilities but we also get his back story and true  motivations for wanting to stay by Medaka’s side. You can also see the influence in Akune’s fighting style and just how much he cleans his act up. Considering he was instantly hated by the fan base on sight, although mainly by all the Zenkichi fans because he is his rival, this did a good job of making Akune far more likable for most of the readers. Although I never thought Akune was that bad. Of course we get Koga’s motivations and back story as well which ended up surprising in itself. I find Koga to be a rather playful and enjoyable character as well. Of course the character development doesn’t stop there. We also get more information on Maguro as well as a curve ball that even I wasn’t expecting. The Kurokami bloodline really doesn’t stop amazing me.

As far as the first week figures go, Medaka managed to sell 59,279 copies. A very good first week considering WSJ apparently released in the middle of the tracking period since all its other titles had a bit lower figures than normal. The second week should hopefully increase the overall sales and improve on volume 4 by expanding a bit beyond the 105K in two weeks record it set for this series. I’ll update that when the figures come out in a few days. Anyway, volume 5 is worth the money and I most certainly will be happy to place it next to volumes 1-4 on my shelf. I eagerly await volume 6′s release.

[Medaka Box] We Made It To Our One Year Anniversary And We Continue On

Posted in Medaka Box, Weekly Shounen Jump on July 7, 2010 by Rejuvenation

As you can see by the rare color pages from chapter 56, we have achieved a rare event. Medaka Box has reached its one year anniversary! This is actually a bit late because the series debuted in May 2009 and it got its acknowledgement a couple weeks back in Issue #30 of this 2010 calendar year. Never the less, I was not going to let my personal stuff get in the way of me properly recognizing Medaka Box’s birthday. Especially after all the battles that have been fought over the course of its serialization.

This has been a long road for this series. We have made it to a year despite the odds being stacked against us. We have had people constantly shoving disproportionate amounts of hatred on Medaka Box for some of the most asinine reasons I have had the displeasure of encountering. From the beginning there were haters who dismissed us. When those people who missed the signs that were building the story to its current form they formed a hate coalition and were rooting for it to fail because they somehow felt betrayed by the story’s goals. Even now, there are still people who are up to current scanlated chapters and have taken a look at the released RAW chapters and still don’t understand what and who this story is about. People from all sides wrote us off and said we were never going to make it to this point and constantly tried to pull the chicken little bullshit and claim the sky was falling on Medaka Box. Well, all I have to say is this. We are still standing bitches and we made it to a year and counting. For anyone who is wishing death on this series, your window of opportunity keeps closing as the weeks go by and we get closer to the 2 year mark where an anime announcement becomes more likely. We have gone up against these crowds countless times by now and won basically every round. It will be a thrill to win this one too.

Medaka Box despite all of the controversy has some impressive achievements. It is one of the few remaining manga from 2009 along with Kuroko no Basket, Beelzebub, and Hokenshitsu no Shinigami. Unlike the first two 09 series, Medaka Box has largely had to fend for itself and did not get the luxury of Weekly Shounen Jump constantly saving it with color pages when it ranked poorly or have it being pushed with a higher amount of colors than the other series in the magazine. Despite the lack of promotion Medaka has managed to survive and become the newest series in the magazine that can sell 100K copies per volume. Especially achieving that mark before I need all the fingers on one hand to count the number of volumes that had been released. Not bad at all considering Psyren still can’t get over the 100K hump and it took Sket Dance something like 10 volumes to exceed that point too. Impressive considering the series was so underestimated the first volume was under printed. Such a thing pretty much kills the argument of only a big name saving protecting this series. It managed to get a Vomic which can be seen as an initial step forward to getting an anime some time in the future. Surprisingly, it was awarded color pages for that which is rare considering Jump normally just leaves it to fend for itself. To top all of this off, it managed to survive a year which is very impressive considering how WSJ is known for killing its series left and right and just throwing them up against a wall hoping they stick.

We got over a major hurdle but we aren’t done yet. Once there is an anime to stabilize the ranking or at least ward off any potential notions of cancellation we can ease up. Until then, we can’t take what we have accomplished for granted and assume we are in the clear. Jump titles like Busou Renkin and Mx0 are the next benchmarks to exceed as both had lived more than one year but hadn’t gone beyond two for the most part. After that, the goal is that much closer within reach and the number of examples of cancellations is diminished.

Medaka Box has given us an interesting year to say the least. I hold this series very dearly since I’ve been there from the start and seen it come a long way so far. Hopefully, Medaka Box’s 2nd year is even more interesting than its first. Either way, I intend to keep enjoying the ride.

Why Naruto Has Become Shit-tier Shounen

Posted in Manga Review, Weekly Shounen Jump on March 30, 2010 by Rejuvenation

Overview

One of the most overrated and horrible shounen in ways for the past 4-5 years. This series takes all of the potential it has built up in the beginning and basically treated it like toilet paper. I do not know how many times I have seen something in this manga and thought to myself they wasted a perfectly good plot. Hell, it isn’t only just the plots. It is the characters, the entire world that has been built, and even the fights that end up getting wasted or trampled on. Part 1 Naruto had its ups and downs too but never has it gone into the outright bad writing that seems to be a constant in Part 2.

Naruto has become a train wreck series and has been for almost half a decade now. Some people disagree but they just kept missing and/or ignoring all of the warning signs because they were too drugged up on nostalgia for the series. I am sure that the Narutards are going to invoke the don’t like it, don’t read it mantra but I need to go into great detail to explain my problems with the series so I have something to reference. After all, this is critique first and an avenue to vent my frustration 2nd. Despite the tripe that keeps spawning in the series, I am actually still a fan of Part 1 and I believe it was at least written competently. So I most certainly don’t enjoy seeing something I once liked mutate into a massive pile of shit. That and ripping into a shounen that has become shit-tier is copious amounts of fun! Lets take a look at how badly things have degenerated.

Forgetting Characters And Destroying Characters

As the manga goes on it seems like most of all the characters just continue to get worse. If they do not get worse then they are put into storage only to be brought back out to stand around and do nothing. Most times they don’t get to do anything in most of the arcs they appear in. They will say or do one or two things but end up not doing anything significant for the rest of the arc they appear in. Nine times out of ten they will go through the Dragonball syndrome and cheer lead for the main characters. Even worse in a lot of cases that when they even try to help or want to help they get treated like worthless fodder by the people they are trying to assist. For a series with a fuck ton of characters, you would think that Kishimoto would somehow manage to effectively use the ones he brings up instead of just always being spectators. But much like the majority of Kishimoto’s writing in Part 2, his ability to handle characters seems to have degenerated as well. 

Naruto-Has become arguably one of the worst main characters ever in the history of shounen. His character from Part 1 and his character from Part 2 feel worlds apart. As Part 2 goes on, his character actually degenerates more and more. His main goal of becoming Hokage he decides to link into his goal of saving Sasuke. Citing how “If he can’t save one friend he does not deserve to become Hokage”. Never mind the fact that as I am currently writing this post, this retard has already saved several of his friends(Gaara and Sakura) and his entire village on top of that.

Hell, his entire fixation on Sasuke is beyond disturbing and goes far beyond what any “friendship” could possibly excuse. Here is a guy who has murdered, attempted murder on you and the girl you like multiple times, was excited about killing your teacher and even wanted to destroy your entire village. This isn’t including how he basically attacked four other representatives of other nations and tried to kidnap one of those representative’s brother. Sorry kiddo, but your mind is fucked up for not paying any of that attention just because “he is your friend”. The double standards in ethics for how he treats Sasuke in comparison to most everyone else has been down right sickening just because he is a “friend”.

Even worse is that their friendship in Part 1 was hardly there. They spent a good deal of time just squabbling with each other and fighting each other out of dislike. This strong friendship that Kishimoto is trying to portray is hardly there and mostly an illusion. Sasuke himself doesn’t even want to be fox boy’s friend and has treated him like shit 90% of the time they were ever around each other. Each time Naruto chases after him Sasuke literally has to smack him with a lightning coated hand just to get the fuck away from his stalker. Naruto, showing that he understands shit about Sasuke’s motivations, somehow got surprised that he wasn’t coming back to Konoha when he got rid of Orochimaru. You fucking dunce, he fucking told you why he was leaving and what his goal was. Why the fuck would you think he is returning without accomplishing that task? Of course Naruto’s response to Sasuke not coming back is *drum roll* to chase after him again and capture Itachi. Brilliant! Sasuke even finally asks the kid what the fuck his problem is in one of the latest chapters and Naruto keeps on regurgitating the same old shit. “Because you are my friend”. This unhealthy obsession has prompted many in the fandom to question Naruto’s sexuality because of just how hung up he is on Sasuke. Likening him to an abused house wife who just won’t leave that husband who treats her like shit. While some fight over Naruto’s sexuality, I believe the abused wife syndrome is indeed a good comparison to this hang up he has on Sasuke.

On another frustrating note, although not as frustrating as Sasuke, is the amount of ingratitude Naruto’s character displays. Hinata for instance helped to save his life by putting her’s on the line yet he doesn’t even have the fucking decency to go and thank her. Never mind the fact that he hasn’t answered her confession at all. (No, I am actually not a fan of Hinata but this is rather fucked up on his part) The fact that Shikamaru has been a better friend to him than the likes of Sasuke ever has is another annoying factor. Shikamaru can even relate to the kid on the aspect of losing their masters but since Sasuke was “first”(hardly) Naruto seems blind to everyone else. Never mind the other people like Lee, Neji, and others would gladly be friends with him. But whatever, Naruto is too hung up on the past and addicted to Sasuke to even pay attention that what he always wanted for most of his life has already materialized around him.

This pacifist crap that he has assilimated post Pain arc has possibly been the worst turn his character has ever taken. He has been groveling to other people and whining like a big baby even more than he has before. Letting Karui beat the shit out of his face was an undeniable low point of his character. Groveling to the Raikage about not taking the completely justified action was another low point. Hyperventilating over finally realizing Sasuke is a wanted criminal and the world is going to take action against him was the lowest point yet. That was completely ridiculous and unnecessary. He should have known that long ago but being the retarded ninja he is, Naruto is the last one to arrive to the party. By this point, most people really should have lost hope in this sad excuse for a main character. But Naruto being Naruto even decides to one up himself and bring up this bullshit about both he and Sasuke dying because they are zomg powerful. Right, because Madara and Shodai who were also unbelievably powerful enough to create a crater called vote ended up dying in their confrontation…oh wait neither of them did. That just caused many in the fandom to get even more pissed and likened the situation to a Romeo and Juliet lover’s suicide.

Oh and how can I forget that this kid ends up being some child of destiny/prophecy. After all the talk in Part 1 about making your own destiny and not letting yourself be controlled by fate, it turns out that Naruto himself is someone automatically “destined for greatness”. What a crock of shit to introduce at this point in the series after driving home the importance of deciding your own fate. Not only that, he is the son of one of the most powerful shinobi in his village’s history. Ok, the fandom saw that one coming from light years away and Kishi decided to keep this unrevealed for over 400 chapters for apparently no reason at all. One would wonder why Naruto himself never asked about his parents or why the likes of Jiraiya, Tsunade, Sarutobi, or Kakashi would never tell him even as he finds out about the fox in his belly and gets older and older. It just feels downright retarded that this was kept under wraps from him for so long and even revealed to Naruto himself in an anti-climatic matter on top of that. So all of this crap about “hard working Naruto” gets less impressive when you get confirmation that he has some of the finest genes anyway. He may as well be in the same camp as Sasuke and Neji only minus a manifested bloodline ability(Kyuubi still manages to make this a moot point anyway). Having Naruto destined to be the ninja messiah removed a lot of the things that was built on in this series. 

Naruto’s fighting style is boring to read. It is basically Kage bunshin and Rasengan. It was sort of alright when he learned Sage Mode but it was basically back to making more clones and bigger Rasengan jutsu with it. Fucking boring and unimaginative. This is supposed to be the main character yet I actually dread seeing him fight more than most other characters. It would be one thing if his Rasengan variations actually did different things, but the majority of them all are only bigger and just blow more shit up. The Rasenshuriken being tossed is a slight improvement but considering how much chakra it eats up and its limited usage, it is best reserved as a finisher at best. If it isn’t that, it is down to massive rage and popping Kyuubi tails. I really love the diversity here.

Sasuke-Oh boy, is this one an extremely touchy subject in the fandom and even in the story. His base breaker status was pretty much solidified at the end of Part 1 due to his actions. In Part 2 as the story goes on he even manages to steal the limelight so much that many people keep saying to just rename the series to Sasuke or Uchiha. I really can’t fault them in most cases because as it stands now, the latter half of the manga has been mostly about Sasuke and his family. Sasuke’s quest for revenge has resulted in him in getting probably two to three times the amount of full length fights as the titular character. Most of the significant villains in the series(Madara, Orochimaru, Danzou) ended caring far more about Sasuke than they did about Naruto for the most part. Even Kabuto said he was going to go after Sasuke first before getting to Naruto. The Big Bad is an ancient relative of Sasuke’s and routinely watches over him to make sure he progresses in strength and hatred as well as offering him a major power up along the way. Sasuke’s clan in general were one of two main founders for the main village in this series. Both clans being super powerful and basically descended from the strongest character in this series’ history. Naruto spends so hundreds of chapters stalking and obsessing over Sasuke and is so deranged to the point he moronically feels the need to put him on the same pedestal as his dream. “I can’t be Hokage if Sasuke isn’t by my side” is pretty much what this amounts to. *gags* Considering Sasuke is the most popular Naruto character in Japan, this is hardly a surprising move I suppose if Kishimoto is trying to pander to the fan girls.

Sasuke himself has had his character horribly derailed since the death of Itachi. The number of stupid and illogical decisions he has made since then has grown to the point that it contradicts his established character traits. Storming into the location where the 5 strongest shinobi leaders in the world are having a meeting because you want to kill one is not the brightest of plans. Also in the fight with Killer Bee, you would think that Sasuke rekindled the power of friendship dwelling deep within his heart and that he still will be taking the morally gray path. Well, all of that is out the window as he has decided to be even angrier than he ever was at Itachi. He willingly kills people now, abandons and sacrifices his team mates we had to waste time seeing him gather, and decides to lump in all of the innocent people in Konoha with what only a handful of individuals were responsible for. Personally, it has felt that Kishimoto has had no idea where he has really wanted to take Sasuke’s character for the majority of Part 2. It clearly shows in the interviews like Jump Festa when he talks about the Sasuke developments in the story. He kept flip flopping between black, gray, and white as well as showed that he wasn’t going to completely be anyone else’s pawn.(He ended up being Madara and Itachi’s anyway) Sasuke has pretty much lost his brain and all reason in what really feels like a poor attempt to make him overly antagonistic just so Naruto can finally overcome him and because there is a shortage of villains at the moment. This wouldn’t be much of an issue if Kishimoto had just kept consistent with Sasuke’s character throughout the 2nd part of the story. Quite frankly, it is just very bad writing on his part.

Sakura-The fan girl whose entire existence revolved around Sasuke at one point then ends up revolving around Naruto and Sasuke in Part 2 after she becomes the medic. She really doesn’t have much motivation for anything else if it doesn’t involve these two in some way. After hundreds of chapters of pissing people off with her uselessness, she finally has her crowning moment of awesome against the Akatsuki member Sasori. Sadly, right after that it is straight back to irrelevance and cheer leading Naruto which was pretty much business as usual. Well, the few times he actually gets to even fight in Part 2. Sakura really gets screwed in Part 2 as one of the characters that gets pushed out of the spotlight in favor of some of the other ones.

In recent chapters Sakura actually tried to take a more proactive role in the story. Of course, her methods were highly questionable at best and down right stupid at worst. This included lying to Naruto to try and not hurt him but it backfired, lying to her team mates about how they are going to confront Sasuke and putting them to sleep so she can go it alone, and managing to not make any difference at all in the recent encounter with Sasuke only to be saved by Kakashi and then later Naruto. Before this, Kishimoto said that Sakura was going to act more like a heroine. Well clearly Kishimoto has no fucking idea about how a heroine acts because clearly these events are not it. Sakura ends up having an opening to finally kill Sasuke but ends up failing because one of the few moments over 3 years ago he was kind to her. Never mind the fact that he just tried to fucking kill you 5 mins ago. Oh, and the poison kunai she tried to attack Sasuke with wasn’t going to work because Orochimaru gave him the antibodies. So it turns out that she could have even gotten a hit on him with the Kunai as Sasuke was weakened at this point and everything would still be fine. Nope, it seems that Sakura was just doomed to fail completely on this one. Most people saw it coming but god damn, Kishimoto didn’t need to go about it like this and make her look utterly incompetent. This further cemented many complaints among the fandom about Kishimoto being sexist. Of course, one wonders why she would bother with poison in the first place when she has super strength which would have been far more effective.

So after the Sasuke and Naruto encounter winds down, Sakura has an inner monologue saying how there is nothing she can do now and it is completely up to these two. Oh great, so we finally have the nail in the coffin that Sakura is pretty much not going to be able to contribute anything else to this story besides being a medic and will never be anywhere close to her team mates in anything. Jutsu, character development, and any other improvements should be given up on. Kishimoto has clearly given up on Sakura.

Kakashi-Gets really screwed in this story. He is almost always stuck baby sitting and looking after other people when he fights. His chakra capacity is also on the very low side so when he fights for too long he ends up being trapped in the hospital and/or bed until he recovers. This gets lampshaded by Sakura after the Hidan and Kakuzu battle. Sakura mentions how it is strange not to see Kakashi in the hospital again after such a huge fight. Also Kakashi has the unfortunate role of being the villains punching bag as he almost always goes up against those who are out of his league. Pretty much every Akatsuki member he has faced off against and the Ex-Akatsuki Orochimaru have put Kakashi in his place. Even with his stamina improvements and Mangekyou Sharingan in Part 2, it still isn’t enough.

Surprisingly, Kakashi is the only main character who hasn’t been completely trampled on by Kishimoto’s bad writing. He is also the only main one who isn’t annoying to see on panel and doesn’t carry massive amounts of angst with him every damn day of the week in Part 2 despite his short comings. How he handled his reunion with Sasuke and even told Sakura how it was his fault that Team 7 ended up as it did. Despite admitting to not being a very good teacher to them all, he is willing to take responsibility against Sasuke and sympathizes with how Sarutobi felt facing off with Orochimaru. Kakashi’s character is probably the one of the few positive points I am willing to award Kishimoto here.  Kakashi’s fights still need work though. Oh, and he needs to stop being brought up for being Hokage only to have it snatched away from him every time he gets close. He is building the hype and potential and when it never gets realized it is going to piss a lot of people off as a waste.

Yamato-Another of Naruto’s baby sitters when Kakashi isn’t available and cheer leaders. Yamato has been pretty shafted in terms of development because his entire character has revolved around these two things. Mainly being a walking plot device most of the time to make sure Naruto doesn’t stupidly unleash the weapon of mass destruction sealed in his stomach. A first he seems like a competent shinobi and that he may end up with more interactions with Danzou and Orochimaru but we see how that gets thrown out the window since Sasuke took them out. Plus Yamato seems to get less and less competent each time we see him. For fuck’s sake, the last time he was shown he was suppose to be watching Naruto and making sure he doesn’t leave the hotel room. Instead he fucking falls asleep and fails to wake up from the sounds of Naruto creating a massive hole to escape through. Damn this is fucking sad.

Sai-Another of the members of Naruto’s bitch squad who will gladly kiss Naruto’s ass any chance he gets because he taught him the wonders of bonds. This is actually pretty sad since the first bond Sai gets to learn about is the highly dysfunctional Sasuke and Naruto bond. He pretty much entered the series as the poor replacement for Sasuke and hasn’t really contributed much of anything since his arrival. Well, he helped to feed the horrible romance sub-plot but only the pairing fans really care about that at this stage of the game since Kishimoto can’t write romance for shit. He was hyped by Danzou as being the “strongest of his generation” but talk is cheap. We have never seen him in an all out fight and his jutsu hardly seem like the kind that make him “strong” in comparison to many of the other shinobi. I hated Sai when he was introduced and I hate him still. He is a filler existence and at this point the series can go on without him even being a part of anything else with Danzou gone.

Akatsuki And Other Villains Get Shat On

The villains being defeated in the most retarded of ways pisses me off. In almost every fight you either get things massively stacked against them, have them catch massive amounts of stupidity, or have them incredibly weakened. The main problem I have with this is that it makes the fight the opposite of entertaining. They are frustrating and hard to enjoy. It is hard to believe in the “growth” of characters when the opponents they are facing are constantly handicapped in some manner. It is a shame because the Akatsuki were actually an interesting group of villains when first introduced and many became fan favorites throughout the fandom. Oh, and the fact that a good number of fights have in Part 2 have had the idea of tactics and strategy removed in favor of “My uber jutsu is bigger and more haxxed than yours so you die” doesn’t help at all. Anyway, I’m going more into detail about how many of them were cheated. 

Sasori-He was strong enough to take on Chiyo who taught him and knew what 90% of his jutsu did. She was someone who was a rival to a sannin and she ended up having that Sannin’s apprentice . Add on Sakura who had the freaking antidote to his poison and the odds were even more stacked against him. Despite that, Sasori was still keeping them on the defensive and giving them a run for their money. Oh but of course, Sasori is too strong of an opponent even with a lot of things in Chiyo’s and Sakura’s favor so you know what time it is right? Time for Plot-induced stupidity to make a house call!

When Sasori was using his iron sand jutsu in a bullet rain form he was ripping his opponents apart. So what does he decide to do next? Create lego blocks for no damn reason when what he was doing before was far more effective. So of course smashy-smashy Sakura punches the large blocks back at him. Oh, I also need the highlight the stupidity of sending in his most powerful puppet close range just so Sakura could use her super strength to smash it into bits. He could have killed her just fine from a distance. Ugh, the PIS hit Sasori hard. So when Sasori finally lets a hundred of his puppets out Sakura and Chiyo start smashing them like nothing. Of course Sasori had 2 more scrolls with that many on hand as well and could have easily overwhelmed them. Oh, and the death blow he was dealt could have been dodged but he didn’t do so. Unfortunately, Sasori is just so strong that he had to want to die in the end in order for him to finally go down. (He also isn’t the only Akatsuki to do this)

Hidan-Ugh, a poorly handled fight indeed. Ok, first of all we find out that Hidan is an immortal one trick pony. He only uses one jutsu where he gets his opponent’s blood and then inflicts pain on himself. Any pain he causes on his body automatically gets transferred to his target. Oh, and this only works while he is inside of his ritual circle. So you would think that despite having a very broken but limited jutsu you would think that he has something else up his sleeve right? Wrong. How the hell he managed to get into Akatsuki with just this up his sleeve is a miracle.  Especially since Asuma demonstrated the most practical way to deal with his kind and beheaded him. Of course, since Hidan gets his head sewed back on by Kakuzu Shikamaru ends up going about his 2nd encounter differently. That being to dig this massive hole on his family’s sacred land, trapping Hidan in it and blowing up the surrounding parts of it to bury him alive.

Now there were a number of bullshit flags that come up as I read this fight. The first one being Shikamaru somehow being able to match Hidan in speed to initially catch his shadow. Keep in mind that this is the same villain that was on par with Kakashi and his Sharingan eye open which helps him to predict movements. Shikamaru should not be able to keep up. Ok, after Shikamaru catches his shadow he runs with Hidan over to his family’s sacred land. Now this wouldn’t be an issue normally except that Shikamaru was not capable of holding Hidan in their first encounter. Keep in mind that Shikamaru is known for his low chakra capacity which makes it hard for him to finish long battles or pin opponents with large amounts of chakra. There is no way that he could raise them to high enough levels in the one week that he had in between fights. Especially to hold in place an Akatsuki member and run a fair distance to the area where he set up his trap. Oh, and the final miraculous crap that happened here is Shikamaru somehow managing to use the vile of Kakuzu’s blood, positioning it right where Hidan attacks but not getting hit, and Hidan not noticing  he hit the vile and not really Shikamaru. Oh, and putting the fake cut into place too. Basically, most of what Shikamaru pulled in this fight was utter bullshit and are things he is not normally capable of with his parameters of abilities. That makes two bullshit Akatsuki deaths. 

Kakuzu-Arguably the oldest Akatsuki member(next to Madara anyway) and his forbidden jutsu is controlling these black tentacle things which can rip out his opponents’ hearts. His tentacles actually allow him to use the elemental affinities of those hearts as well as using those hearts as stock lives like in a video game. Kakuzu has a maximum of 5 hearts he can hold on to(Well that is all he had at the beginning of the fight anyway) which is funny since he makes sure each of those hearts covers all of the 5 elemental affinities. Needless to say, when it was time to brawl Kakuzu was absolutely dominating Kakashi, Chouji, and Ino. He spends a lot of the fight throwing out elemental ninjutsu like Halloween candy. Just as he is about to kill Kakashi, Shikamaru’s bullshit magic tricks kick in and Kakuzu loses one of his lives because Hidan used his blood for his masochist jutsu without knowing. He loses the first when Kakashi Raikiris him in the back at the beginning of the fight. Anyway, Kakuzu gets back up after his partner’s stupidity cost him one of his lives and goes back to trouncing the Konoha ninja. Of course, just as he is about to kill his opposition once again this time Naruto and the rest of the new team 7 arrive to save their asses.

Naruto decides to tell everyone to let him fight because he wants to be an “adult”(bursted into laughter right here because he still acts like a child hundreds of chapters after this fight) and cross some fictional bridge. Of course Naruto being the massive failure he is, bungles this first attempt at showing off his latset nuke-in-hand jutsu he developed(Rasengan jutsu named after a projectile but he can’t throw it) and gets caught by Kakuzu’s tentacles. His babysitters jump in to save him but he still has the audacity to refuse team work and go it alone. I was very pissed off about this at the time this fight was happening, but I will get into that later. Well, Kakashi and Yamato decide to spoil this brat and let him have another chance. Oh, and plot-induced stupidity decides to pay us another visit in this battle. Naruto charges up his nuke again and spams his clones. Kakuzu somehow gets the bright idea to ignore the clones and only worry about the hand nuke. I repeat, he ignores the clones of the person who has the strongest of the 9 bijuu and unlimited chakra therefore he could technically spam all kinds of other overpowered jutsu too. Keep in mind that Kakashi all the way back in the first bell test tells Naruto that turning your back on the opponent is very poor ninjutsu. Someone who is probably at least 5 times Kakashi’s age and fought with the first Hokage should know this damn well. It is the fucking basics of combat. Kakuzu was never displayed as an idiot either, that was all left up to his partner Hidan. Ok, well after this very very dumb decision Kakuzu pays for it by having Naruto attack him from behind with the nuke and a massive explosion occurs. Ending with Kakuzu slowly dying in a ditch and Kakashi coming in to finish him off with a Raikiri. This crap pissed me off to unbelievable levels when it originally finished. Ugh, one more bullshit Akatsuki death to add to the list.

Orochimaru-I was never that big a fan of him and was among the first to point out that he wasn’t as hot shit as everyone was making him out to be. He admitted inferiority to Itachi in Part 1 and the Akatsuki at the end of Part 1 pretty much treated him like a nuisance they could have dealt with at any time. Considering the abilities of many of the Akatsuki members, this is definitely nothing to be skeptical about.

Anyway, Orochimaru gets a pathetic end to his pathetic existence. He pretty much gets mentally trounced by Sasuke when he gets his possession jutsu reversed on him and gets his powers absorbed by the Uchiha avenger. Why you would be dumb enough to challenge an Uchiha to a genjutsu fight when you already lost the same fight in the same manner to his older brother is beyond me. Well, Orochimaru rears his ugly head again when Sasuke is weakened in the Itachi fight. Of course Orochimaru being hardly a threat in Part 2 to stronger shinobi, gets easily dismantled by Itachi and sealed away for good in an eternal genjutsu. We see some white snakes trying to flee the scene but they get burnt by the flames of Amaterasu. Sayonara Orochimaru, your sorry excuse of an existence has finally been put to an end by the very thing you sought most. I am glad the snake man is gone and I can’t really cry foul on this one. Itachi was already established to be head and shoulders above Orochimaru.

Deidara-His fight pissed me off a bit less in comparison to his peers. The main knocks against Deidara’s fight with Sasuke are the following. first of all clearly Kishimoto has never played pokemon before because lightning does not beat earth. Well, in the Narutoverse it does which makes Sasuke Deidara’s worse enemy. All of his lightning jutsu counter Deidara’s earth jutsu. Second, the Sharingan once again evolves somehow to see microscopic bombs in Sasuke’s blood stream. Since when did the Sharingan become the Byakugan? Third is Sasuke somehow still being able to put Deidara into a Sharingan illusion despite the fact that he trained his eye specifically to counter Sharingan illusions. The fourth is probably what most haters of this fight complain about most. At the end of this match, Deidara decides to blow himself up. Sasuke somehow manages to summon Manda who is the snake boss summon, hypnotize him, hope in his mouth and unsummon him all while the explosion is going off. While Sasuke never said he was low on chakra, the speed of managing to do all of this right before the explosion went off and not getting caught in it himself is a high level of bullshit and breaks the suspension of disbelief. Suigetsu decides to check the snake scroll he has with him and summons Manda again. Who as we can see, pretty much shielded Sasuke from the blast and eventually dies.  The Akatsuki death toll increases by one.

Itachi-This was the most hyped up fight in the entire manga. You would expect Kishimoto to actually deliver right? Well, you guessed wrong. Half of the fight is played out in a genjutsu and the other half was fairly underwhelming. You would think two people who should have copied a number of different jutsu by now would have used far more than they actually did. Especially in Itachi’s case. Well anyway, Itachi is pretty much half blind throughout this fight and he is still giving Sasuke trouble despite the pain. He uses the first two MS jutsu and Sasuke manages to overcome them both. Sasuke then plays his trump card which is calling down a bolt of natural lighting down to strike Itachi. Too bad for Sasuke Itachi already activated the 3rd MS jutsu and nothing else Sasuke does penetrates it. No surprise since it tanked a bolt of lighting. Anyway, Itachi pretty much dies right in front of Sasuke after tapping his forehead. The person who supposedly made Sasuke’s life hell is finally dead. Mission accomplished right? Pfft, hardly. I’ll cover that in entirety in a later section though. Oh, but we find out later on that his body was disease ridden as he was fighting and he threw the fight anyway. Yes, Itachi was pushing Sasuke into a corner without even trying to win the fight. Ugh this fight was already underwhelming before but with that revelation I ended up feeling cheated because one of the strongest shinobi at this point of the story didn’t even go all out. This brings the Akatsuki death toll to 5.

Pain/Nagato-This is the “Akatsuki Leader” and the person with the supposedly “most powerful eye” bloodline jutsu called the Rinnegan. Well of course since he got blessed with this power, he naturally develops a god complex. Well after preparations are made, he decides to storm Konoha with his six pain bodies+Konan. Now I don’t quite like how this was handled because even if it is Pain, Konoha should have been able to handle at least half of his bodies. Konohamaru who isn’t even chunnin level managed to school one after all. It is also funny how a few of Konoha’s most powerful shinobi like Gai, Yamato, and Neji weren’t even in the vicinity when Pain launched his attack. Tsunade also was busy sitting around trying to help the wounded and dead for the majority of the attack too. Honestly, it pretty much felt like Konoha was depowered to make Pain’s assault look that much more deadly and in turn make Naruto that much more godly when he defeats him. And Naruto even manages to fuck that up.  

Ok, Naruto’s fight with Pain was pretty atrocious and follows all of the bullshit I mentioned earlier. Nagato decides to use Deva Pain to nuke Konoha but of course all of his Pain bodies are weakened because of this. Oh and look, Naruto manages to arrive at that exact moment with his frog army that he didn’t use the chakra to summon himself. Naruto spams his Rasengan jutsu and utilizes his Sage Mode to quickly dismantle the crippled Pain bodies while the frogs handle the massive summons. Oh, and of course Naruto is getting coached about what pretty much each Pain body can do and how to fight them. Just as Naruto moves on to Deva Pain his full power finally comes back. Well, Naruto quickly starts getting his ass beaten and Deva Pain trounces the frogs. Since Nagato can pour all of his power into one body and spread across six, Deva is several times stronger now. Deva eventually pins Naruto onto the ground and he can’t get up. Unfortunately, Deva Pain goes into the evil villain monologue rather than just finishing Naruto off. Time for a plot device to save his pathetic ass. In comes Hinata to start her futile attempt to save him. Deva owns her and stabs her in the chest to which Naruto goes Kyuubi over and releases the highest number of tails to date. Eventually reaching a number of eight. Well, it looks like Naruto is screwed and has no other choice but to unleash the Kyuubi. Cue another deus ex machina.

The 4th Hokage, Minato comes out of no where and stops Naruto just in time before he fully unleashes the Kyuubi. He then gives the kid a pep talk and unloads all of this information on him and basically charges him with finding a peaceful solution to the ninja system. Oh, and he decides to drop the oh so surprising revelation that Naruto is his son.

Well, back to Deva Pain. Who Naruto confronts again after the Kyuubi gets back on his leash. Well, Naruto’s plot armor starts really going the extra mile here(As if it hadn’t already) and all of a sudden he is managing to compete with Deva Pain without Sage Mode when he was getting schooled by him before when he had it. He finally finishes Deva off with a regular Rasengan after launching a clone at him. *yawn*

Ok, so Naruto finally finds the real Nagato and is surprised like a number of readers that he is a anorexic cripple. Some weren’t though since they figured there was a reason he wasn’t using his real body to fight. Oh, but Konan is with him too. Surely this is the chance she can take to defeat the exhausted Naruto and capture the Kyuubi for their plans. Being a women in Kishimoto’s manga and Naruto’s plot shield still strong as ever, of course Nagato doesn’t allow this. The two have a chat and Nagato tells his dramatic past that almost every damn villain in this series has. He then asks Naruto what his answer is to this chain of hatred prevalent in their world. Well, Naruto doesn’t give a real answer and uses a fucking book that Jiraiya wrote to somehow convince Pain to turn over a new leaf. This is beyond retarded since it is basically something he already encountered with Jiraiya. Naruto brought nothing new to the table, he fucking regurgitated the things Jiraiya has been saying for decades apparently. But this somehow manages to move Nagato enough that he joins Naruto’s gang of recruited bitches. Oh, and uses all of his chakra and life force to hit the fucking reset button to raise all of the Konoha shinobi he killed.(Fuck you Kishimoto, bring Jiraiya back too!)  Nagato dies and mostly everything is back to normal since before Naruto left to train. Other than Konoha’s structure itself anyway. Pain wasn’t all that bad until we saw the man behind the bodies. What utter bullshit and another Akatsuki bites the dust horribly.

Konan-Is an Akatsuki member that got screwed in a different way. She never got to show all of her abilities and jutsu. Each time she has tried to fight or show her abilities she got interrupted in favor of Nagato, stopped by Nagato, or needed to be saved by him. She pretty much got shoved into the typical role of females in this series and was Nagato’s satellite that was always hanging off of his shriveled nuts. After Nagato dies she pretty much decides to trust Naruto just like Nagato did and leaves the Akatsuki to do her own thing. Such a waste of the Akatsuki position that could have gone to someone else.

Kisame-Itachi’s partner and one of the 7 Swordsmen of the Mist. He specializes in water jutsu and his sword Samehada eats the chakra of people it comes in contact to. Kisame’s special ability is to fuse with that sword and morph into one of the street sharks with chakra compareable to the Bijuu Akatsuki has been trying to seal. He traps Killer Bee in a huge water dome that he can control at will and has the advantage in. Killer Bee is having problems fighting Kisame while also protecting his Enka teacher and pet. When Kisame releases the jutsu Killer Bee reveals he has been playing possum. Ironically gets betrayed by his own sword during this skirmish and this is his downfall because his sword had decided it liked Bee better and fed him his chakra. Then Killer Bee’s brother, the Raikage, shows up and they both tag-team Kisame and beheaded him, moving so fast he couldn’t even react.

Loads of people hated how this fight turned out. Calling it one of the worst Akatsuki fights in the series. It was so bad that even Kishimoto must have realized this so it later gets revealed that this was really just a Xanatos Gambit by Kisame and Zetsu so the former could infiltrate the Cloud village and capture Killer Bee while his guard is down. Yes, Killer Bee stupidly took a sword that would betray its own master back home with him and Kisame is hiding inside of said sword. Hopefully, Kishimoto will make the 2nd fight better but considering his track record with the Akatsuki so far I wouldn’t put much faith in it.

Madara-He hasn’t been in a real fight yet but that is mostly because he has already lost in a fight with Shodai and has never been at full battle capacity again. He also faced off against Minato the 4th Hokage but ended up getting the Uchiha pet sealed into Minato’s retarded son. Other than that he has been an amusing villain. When he is being serious and when he is screwing around in his Tobi persona. He is literally untouchable due to some space-time Sharingan ninjutsu and has been playing Xanatos Speed Chess whenever he gets curve balls thrown at him. His plan to become God and use the moon to make everyone on earth to obey him is what you would expect from the final villain. I am sure this won’t last though because Kishimoto seems to have major problems having his villains go down in a believable manner for the most part. He probably can’t even get to that stage of his plan considering he needs the Kyuubi and ripping it out of Naruto will equal death for the moronic ninja.

Danzou-His defeat actually didn’t piss me off all that much since he was mostly all defense with moderate offense via Izanagi and warping reality around his body. Danzou is getting a spot here more so because he is pretty much the only major villain to never even meet the supposed main character. Despite trying to take steps behind the shadows to confine Naruto to the village and acquiring both Shodai’s and the Uchiha’s power which appeared to be moves to completely control the Kyuubi. Not only that, but all of his other plotlines that Kishimoto had apparently set up but decided to never explore or resolve before he became Sasuke fodder. His rivalry with Tsunade, the potential for a civil war because of his actions as Hokage, his search for Kabuto to help him with his arm which also relates to his dealings with Orochimaru, his ties to Root and Sai, and the backlash from the rest of the ninja world as a result of his stunt pulled at the Kage summit. Danzou is pretty much the poster child for “They wasted a perfectly good plot”.

You Are Safe From Death Unless You Are A Villain Or Old

 The revival of characters when all of this effort/emotion was put into their “deaths” is extremely annoying. As if you need to be making the obvious character shields for “certain people” anymore obvious. This is especially sad because Naruto in its first half until gave off the impression that anyone can die for the most part. You would most certainly think that is the case considering the line of work these characters are in. But this pretty much gets shattered in Part 2 and you know that certain characters are never going to die even though it wouldn’t take away anything from the story if they did. After a certain point in Part 2, it is clear that only villains and older generations can be killed off. A shame for Chiyo and Jiraiya since they were far better characters than many of the people in the younger generation.

Neji’s and Chouji’s fights during the Sasuke Retrival arc built them up, had them grow physically and mentally as shinobi, and gave them both awesome endings to their fights. Fast forward to Part 2 where both are complete non entities and don’t really do much of anything in their appearances. If they were going to end up like this, Kishimoto should have just killed them off at the heights of their characters.

Gaara’s character had been built up fairly well in the Rescue Gaara arc. It showed how far he had transitioned and improved in comparison to what he was like when he originally fought Naruto. Going from a monster that everyone hates to the beloved hero and idol for the sand village. The circle of people crying over his dead body was heart warming. Well, too bad Chiyo decides to throw a wrench in this scene and gives up her life to revive Gaara. A perfectly good development gets partially ruined because Kishimoto didn’t keep him dead for good.

Kakashi in his fight with Deva Pain had showed some new tricks and heroically defends his village. Sadly, Deva Pain was too much for him and Kakashi kicks the bucket. This sparks a personal meeting with his father Sakumo aka the White Fang where they catch up. Thought Kakashi was gone for good? Well, made you look! He gets revived along with the rest of the Konoha shinobi because of Nagato’s bullshit Heel Face Turn.

Hinata during the 6 paths of Pain vs. Naruto and his frog army. Naruto is pinned down and defenseless. Deva Pain goes on with the evil villain monologue and then Hinata jumps into the fray, confessing her love for Naruto and stating that she would gladly give up her life in order to save his. Well, of course she stood no chance against him so she gets blown away and stabbed. However, the more annoying thing about this is we find out she is still alive. If Deva Pain was so intent on spreading pain and misery, you would have to wonder how he can’t even manage to stab Hinata in her fucking heart to instantly kill her and cast Naruto into despair. Of course even if he did properly kill her then, he only would have brought her back later.

There are probably more examples but I think the point has been made clear with the ones I have already used. I always find it funny when Naruto supporters used to say no one dies in One Piece except for in flashbacks when that can just as easily be applied to Naruto. Only villains and older generations die here. 

Leave No Moral Unbroken

The contradicting themes compared to the first half of the series really piss me off. When it comes to an aesop, Kishimoto seems to have become the shounen king of not following them. Many people call Kishimoto out on this and I am no exception. If you are setting some moral up, don’t go and contradict it with the different characters or even the same damn character breaking it.

Already mentioned before, but Naruto opposing destiny and saying how he was such a loser. When in reality, he comes from one of the best shinobi in his village and is some messiah of prophecy.

Sasuke is another example. Kakashi said if he relied on the Curse Seal it would stunt his growth and corrode him. Hah, in Part 2 he seems stronger than ever and actually mastered the thing where it is pretty much at his disposal as a free power up. No signs of weakening in any form show up all the way until the point he loses it in the Itachi fight. Also revenge and hatred have made Sasuke stronger than ever despite all of the friendship preaching and claims of how he wouldn’t be as strong. Hell, after ditching his team and sacrifice the most arguably loyal among them to get his revenge, he is getting another power up from his brother’s eyes who he also tried to kill out of revenge. Sasuke is one of the strongest shinobi in his world currently. Even worse, Madara pretty much states that this was his destiny since he was born as an Uchiha and hatred is freaking hard wired in their heritage.(Unless you are Itachi or Obito) Worse still is the fact that Naruto recently says that he can’t even defeat Sasuke and at worse he would die in battle with him making it a stalemate. At least in terms of power, it is clear that Sasuke’s path was hardly the wrong choice and Kishimoto has allowed him to shit on many morals and consequences along the way.

Rock Lee’s theme gets bastardized a lot. He works harder and harder but the poor boy just can’t seem to catch up. He also ends up having a profession ending injury in a stage of the story where no other shinobi had to endure such a psychological and physical challenge. Even when he gets back fully healed, he couldn’t really do shit to the genius shinobi in Kimimaro. He ended up needing to be helped out by Gaara who was the very person who crippled him. Of course in Part 2, it is made very clear that he is still no where near the people he was busy trying to compete with in Part 1. Hard work doesn’t pay off all that well when your competition have way more advantages at birth it seems.

Kakashi forbidding Sasuke from getting revenge at all in Part 1 while he gladly helped Shikamaru in his revenge for Asuma in Part 2. And no, the context does not fucking matter in this case because Kakashi was pretty much adamant about Sasuke never ever getting a crack at Itachi thus pushing Sasuke further away from Team 7 and Konoha. If he told him that they would set up a mission to hunt Itachi down after Sasuke trained more than it at least wouldn’t have gave Sasuke the impression that Konoha could care less about dealing with his clan’s murderer. Shikamaru got his revenge and was enjoying every minute of it. Denying Sasuke that same right the way he did helped to fuel his desertion. Clearly, Kishimoto isn’t applying the same rules to everybody across the board. Revenge is only good and allowed if you do it in the name of the will of fire.

Also, for a manga that was so heavily focused on team work, it seems more often than not people are outright refusing to work in teams. The “I can do it all on my own or you would only get in the way” statements get really agitating to see pop up so often considering Kakashi would have failed his team had they been making statements like that right up to the end. This was not so damn rampant in Part 1. But of course Kishimoto shits all over this in Part 2 and is busy eliminating what other characters can constantly and actively contribute to try and over saturate the spotlight on a select few characters. Most critics know which ones I mean and I am not only just talking about Sasuke.

Is Kishimoto Sexist Or Not?

This has been a question asked more and more as Part 2 goes on. A number of people are angry because of his treatment of women. With not only constantly making them weaker than their male equivalents, but also making them almost completely hollow or bland without those male equivalents being in the picture. Any contributions are pretty much marginalized as plot devices, healing or some other form of support. Actually, this isn’t all that surprising considering that Kishimoto has already pretty much stated in an interview that he does not understand women well and can’t draw them well. Considering a lot of people say his females look like men and how most of them suck in Part 2, this should be no shock to anyone. If I do a quick memory check,  get the following.

He put the only female Hokage in a coma to remove her from the story and make way for Danzou. As if Tsunade couldn’t directly confront Danzou and his coup herself or something. The only female Konoha Jounin instructor(Kurenai) gets pregnant and removed from the story. Pretty much all the females in the rookie 12 are cheerleaders or have to use the males as crutches for their characters(Sakura, Hintata, Ino and especially Tenten). Temari is the only female sand sibling in the Rescue Gaara arc that did not get a fight and spent the time worrying and crying over her brothers. Chiyo, who was the strongest female we had seen since Tsunade, was killed off to bring back Gaara. The female cloud Jinchuuriki was treated as cannon fodder to hype Hidan and Kakuzu. Konan is the only Akatsuki to not get much focus or a full out fight. Not to mention she was pretty much over Nagato’s nuts the whole time like Kishi’s females tend to be with their male teammates. Karin was completely infatuated and loyal to Sasuke but he repays her with a chidori spear and orders Sakura to kill her if he wants her spot. When Sakura finally decides to do something useful other than heal Kishimoto dooms her to fail in the worst way and has her go about things in some of the most horrible ways possible.

Yeah, at least in Part 2 I’d say that he is. The only saving grace is the current Mizukage but don’t be surprised if he finds a way to screw her over in the future either. She is more of an anomaly at this point and he will probably gladly take the opportunity to screw her over.

Reveals Of Bullshit Proportions

Ever since the start of Part 2, Kishimoto has been bringing up more and more crap into the story that has actually ruined it and in some cases retconned story elements for new plot lines he decided to tack on to the story. Funnily enough, the most recent reveals are where a lot of the Naruto faithful have said the series jumped the shark. Only that it jumped the shark long before that but I digress. Back to the absolute crap Kishimoto has come up with and revealed in Part 2.

One of the biggest ones involves this nonsense about the Juubi. It was already stated in the past that Kyuubi was the strongest tailed beast. Now apparently that isn’t true and Juubi is the strongest since it is basically something that spawns itself once all the other Bijuu along with Kyuubi pull a Voltron. Also that people who are familiar with this Rikudo Sennin guy are all shocked that a 10-tails exists and didn’t know before hand? How the fuck is that even possible when the Rikudo Sennin was the fucking 10-tailed Jinchuuriki? Kishimoto is pulling shit out of his ass.

Speaking of Rikudo Sennin, he got shoved into the story out of nowhere too when Nagato first showed up. Why the fuck was the most powerful ninja and apparently the originator of all ninjutsu just now being brought up after hundreds and hundreds of chapters? The likes of Jiraiya and at least Kakashi were already aware of him. The Uchiha and Senju were descended from him and know of his existence so this should have been passed on to Konoha as a whole. Legend or not, this should be something that fucking gets covered in the ninja academy. It is more than important to cover the originators of your way of life. An American not knowing who the founding fathers are is disgraceful and likewise I apply the same to all ninja not knowing the creator of ninjutsu. This was another thing that Kishimoto randomly pulled out of his ass.

The Rinnegan in general is something that was clearly tacked on as a bloodline ability along with the rest of the Rikudo Sennin nonsense. Once again, if there are 3 big doujutsu in the world, this needs to be covered earlier in the story when you are discussing the other two. But of course since Kishimoto made it up some time after Part 1 ended it figures that he didn’t mention it before. Hell, at that time it was said that the Sharingan was a mutation from the Byakugan. Considering Kakashi also was aware of the Rikudo Sennin legend on his own, it is hilarious he would make a comment about it being spawned from the Byakugan back then. Well, we see how that turned out and what direction Kishimoto decided to go in. That retcon button must have been hit so much that it should have been stuck by now.

Jiraiya having the time to take off 3 years from a fucking world war to train 3 brats from technically a village they are not aligned with is bullshit. First of all, Jiraiya should have been charged with desertion at such a crucial time period and Konoha should have sent ninja to go and retrieve him. Even if he was becoming a rising star at that period, that just further cements how much his side would have really needed someone like him in a war. Even more on Jiraiya is not letting his superiors or anyone else he is close to know that he fucking found the Rinnegan in the middle of the Rain country. Jiraiya got proof that Rikudo wasn’t just a legend right then and there and this is something that is imperative to tell the rest of your kinsmen because it directly involves their founding and lineage. Since Jiraiya found this out in his glory days and even before he trained the 4th Hokage, it should have been common knowledge that the Rinnegan and by extension Rikudou existed by the time Part 1 rolls around. Well, of course none of this happened because this was more shit that Kishimoto pulled out of his ass yet again and only came up with in Part 2.

The Senju being made an actual clan along with the Uchiha who all are descended from the Rikudo Sennin. If all of Konoha are Senju or their was some Senju clan, where the fuck were they at in Part 1? If they were on par with the Uchiha and numerous enough to start Konoha and govern it, they most certainly should have still been around in some tangible form. Even if they blurred in with the rest of the Konoha populace, their should still be numerous pure blooded ones around since the other Konoha clans like Abarame, Hyuuga, and Akimichi still exist and carry their defining traits/culture. Tsunade is the only one that was confirmed to have any “relation” to these people and that is because she is directly related to the Shodai, her Grandfather and the Nidaime, her Great Uncle. Even then, she never made any mention of actual clan members.

Speaking of Shodai, he has been retconned a fair bit in terms of events and in terms of power. First of all, it was stated that he died in battle and what was the Valley of the End. Kakashi when he got there even compared Naruto and Sasuke’s battle to Shodai’s and Madara’s making it seem like the same result happened with that fight. This was consistent…until Part 2 came. Shodai now did not die at the Valley of the End but also has Bijuu controlling powers that allowed him to completely tame all of these tailed beasts. Nothing was said about this in Part 1 and you would think it would be fairly relevant to mention considering the main character has one of those sealed in his body.

Sasuke actually having the Sharingan when Itachi killed the clan that night was bullshit. It is hilarious that he somehow forgot to use it along with that memory until Madara had to fill him in on the details. He had to gone through years before he ever activated it again and even more years to remember when he really activated it. Another ass pull from but less rage worthy than the other ones.

These are all just situations off of the top of my head that most definitely aren’t right and was poorly rammed into the story, fucking with continuity. I am sure that there are probably more that I have missed along the way. Fact of the matter is, Kishimoto’s bad writing is all over Part 2 and you would have to be extremely blind not to see that.

Conclusion

You might actually wonder why I linked so many tropes this time around. Indeed, this rant has the highest trope count of any other entry I have done. Well, I did this on purpose to show that as much as the Narutards try to play this series up as the best thing ever and no series is like it, that it in fact has a shit load of things in common with several other forms of media. Kishimoto is not some genius writer, between the two halves, he would average out as barely mediocre. But supposedly he had a different editor in Part 1 and we could possibly attribute that half being so good to that editor. Judge him on Part 2 alone and he is pretty much one of the worst shounen mangaka I have ever come across and is almost as big a hack as Kubo Tite if not bigger.

Naruto has fallen so far that it has acquired shit-tier shounen status. The shit has been piling up so much and for so many years that it now counter acts almost all of the good points from Part 1. When this craptastic series finally ends, I will be among the many happy to finally be able to finish this garbage story and laugh at all the Narutards crying over losing the manga they worship like a diety. I know that there were all kinds of hopes and thoughts of “maybe it will get better”. I should know, because I was one of them but I pretty much accepted that the manga wasn’t going to get any better and was likely to get worse right after the Hidan and Kakuzu fights. True to form, Kishimoto proved me right.  The Naruto series deserved better than garbage and so did the Naruto fans. Whatever series Kishimoto works on next after Naruto, I most certainly will not be reading it after he massively butchered his current manga.

Medaka Box Volume Four Cover

Posted in Medaka Box on March 29, 2010 by Rejuvenation

This one is actually my 2nd favorite cover after the volume 3 cover with Unzen and Medaka on it. I have been lucky enough to have 2 characters in a row that I really like on them. Maguro Kurokami carrying his sister with that smirk on his face is highly amusing since he lives just to be adored by her. (Haha she doesn’t feel the same) It seems Akira Akatsuki will continue to change Medaka’s position in the covers from now on rather than just having her stand in the center with her fan like in volumes 1 and 2. This is a welcome change although I didn’t hate those covers by any means.

Maguro’s role in this volume(if it covers the chapters I think it does) was a significant one since his actions gave Zenkichi a chance to prove himself and threw a wrench in Chairman Shiranui’s plans. We also find out that he was the actual director for the Flask Plan and was the original creator of it. Sparking this entire plot line. The three of those factors are worthy enough for him to be on the cover in my opinion. Of course, I expect the Zenkichi supporters to whine about him not being on it for 3 volumes in a row and especially a volume he fights in but whatever. Zenkichi even getting to fight this time was because of Maguro anyway.

Overall, I like this cover. Akira Akatsuki is at least improving on them as we go and hopefully he continues to do so. His art being among my favorites in WSJ, Medaka Box’s covers deserve to showcase that.

A Popular Shounen Does Not Make A Quality Shounen

Posted in General Shounen on March 28, 2010 by Rejuvenation

This can not be stressed enough. I most certainly will be saying this every time someone decides to cite internet, American, world-wide popularity or sales as a reason that a series has actual quality. Can a series that sells well also actually be a quality series? Of course. Look no further than Full Metal Alchemist.

However, just because a certain series sells extremely well or is extremely popular it doesn’t mean it is good. It just means it has a massive enough fan base to keep supporting it in some way regardless of if there has been a decline in the manga quality or not.

Lets Look At Some Sales

Reborn’s future arc gets a lot of criticism and bashing. Despite that, those volumes still have sold at least half a million copies a piece for the most part.

Bleach after the Soul Society arc still sells anywhere between 600K-900K copies despite being complete and utter tripe.

Naruto since Part 2 started can still manage to sell 900K copies per volume and even breaks the million volume barrier.

Fairy Tail sells 300K copies and more even though that manga was only any good in its first year or so.

Shin Prince of Tennis has sold over 200K for each of the volumes it released.

A number of very popular series here and as you see, they sell a fair amount. Regardless of if they have fallen from grace or not. Personally, its a travesty that some of these series can still sell the ridiculous amounts per volume they do while being horribly written.

Internet Popularity And International Popularity Mean Nothing

Being massively popular on the internet as you know, means very little to the Japanese manga market. Actually, even a series being extremely popular overseas and outside of Japan means nothing for them money-wise as that market doesn’t even generate a 10th of what the Japanese market does. The argument of series X sells more than series Y outside of Japan so its more popular/better written. More people read and buy manga in Japan than all the other areas in the world combined so that can come off as very misleading.

There are a good number of manga that get popular on the internet in English-speaking communities. However, if that doesn’t translate over into the Japanese community a series is less likely to live long. This is especially the case with manga from Weekly Shounen Jump. A recent example in Akaboshi demonstates what I mean. It had almost an instant following from its debut and their was constant whining because it was constantly ranking poorly in the WSJ magazine.  Well, of course when it finally got cancelled, the outcry and angst erupted as expected. Series like MxO and Double Arts which had followings online also fall under this.

Even if there is a massive following online for a shounen manga, if there isn’t a decent size enough in Japan to keep it alive the online fandom has a higher chance of getting their heartbroken. Also even if it has this large amount of popularity online, it still doesn’t mean its a quality shounen. The likes of Reborn, D.Gray-man, and Prince of Tennis for instance have degenerated into crap but can run on pure fan girl power to keep their hearts beating. In Japan and online.

Conclusion

Quality by popular vote does not determine anything about a shounen manga’s level of quality. All it does determine is how well received something might be by the mainstream. A series can be the most unoriginal and poorly written thing around but still have a massive fan base behind it. Whenever I see this used as an argument, I go to smack it down like the poorly constructed one it is. I will continue to do so whenever it gets used to try and defend bad shounen.

Villains In Shounen

Posted in General Shounen on March 27, 2010 by Rejuvenation

Here is a topic of interest and I have had plenty of time to think about. What constitutes a good villain? There are a fair amount of factors. Threat level to the protagonists obviously being an important one. Has the villain been well developed or is he as boring as watching paint dry? Has the villain undergone villain decay and only continues their downward spiral? Are they actually developed characters or more like walking plot devices? Are they the kind that you love to hate? All questions that pop up often so lets take a look.

The Villain At Least Needs To Be A Valid Threat

Whether directly or indirectly, the villain should be able to cause problems for our heroes that they aren’t just going to easily overcome. A villain that keeps getting their ass kicked is not interesting to see and actually tends to piss people off most times when they show up only to confirm their weakness time and time again. Unless you are Buggy the Clown from One Piece. The OP fandom seems to have a soft spot for the guy.

In contrast, very rarely is an unbeatable villain any fun either. These guys take magnificent bastard status and amplify it to ungodly levels so they lose what makes people love them. When everything is always according to plan and you are so exceedingly overpowered that nothing can phase you, that results in a backlash and massive amounts of hatred. A big reason for me personally, is that it paves the way for bad writing and opens up the situation where only the author can save them now. Aizen from Bleach being the biggest example in current shounen that I have come across is practically the embodiment of this.

Also they should be able to at least win a few times along the way to fight off the decay. Effective implementation of the Xanatos Gambit or cause them to make a choice that spawns a “what the hell, hero?” moment are great options. Ideally, the villain will succeed in enough of his preparations to create the final battle and the climax of the arc/story where he will be defeated by the heroes. Although failure to resolve the climax in a well written manner will often result in hype backlash.

Time To Pull An Old Yeller

I admit, I much prefer my villains being killed off or permanently incapacitated while they are at the height of their villainy. Seeing a likable villain decay to the lowest of points on the villain scale is never fun.

One thing that just really needs to happen more often is knowing when to let a villain go. Whether it spawns the ever popular sorting algorithm of evil or starts a chain of man behind the man situations, at least it is fresh. Anyone that has followed the Inuyasha series knows god damn well how boring it is to drag out a villain and his defeat when nothing else interesting is really happening between points A and B. Orochimaru(I am far from a fan) was giving vibes of this during Part 1 but quickly decayed and was dispatched in Part 2 like a chump. Although many fans of his hate how he was dealt with.

I Want My Villains To Be Characters And Not Just Plot Devices

No, villain X needing to be stopped just because he is run of the mill evil does not cut it. Normally, I want to know why they are evil or see the passion involved in the chasing of their goals. The former being within limits please. When used in excess, you get very tired of seeing the same formula very quickly. I’ll use Naruto as an example, 90% of the villains have had some sad an awful past that turned them into the monsters they are today. That was fine the first 2 or 3 times but by the time Nagato/Pain came around enough is enough. That was something that is better used in moderation. Also you do not need multi-chapter flashbacks to get that point across.

It is fine producing the complete monsters that we love to hate as long as it is done right and they get their just desserts before the end. These at least tend to be more entertaining than the run of the mill villains for the fact that you truly see the disregard for life that they have. But they also still fall under the “know when to let the villain go” thing because even the novelty of that sadistic factor will begin to wear off.

While it isn’t easy to do anything completely original, please at least don’t fail to make your villains interesting. Or even in the case of your story context, make the villain interesting in comparison to the other villains you have already introduced earlier on in the story.

Conclusion

I know that this may come off as picky to some but I most certainly feel that all of the above are valid claims to have. After reading a certain amount of shounen, you start wanting to see villains handled better and differently from the typical ones that tend to pop up. Or the absolutely crappy ones that you can’t stomach at all anymore. There are a number of villains I thoroughly enjoyed despite containing a familiar trope or two. The key thing is that their execution was exceptional. It isn’t easy to always do but a reader definitely appreciates when they find a villain that stands out from the rest of the generic ones that populate the demographic.

If I Could Change One Thing About Current Shounen

Posted in General Shounen on March 26, 2010 by Rejuvenation

It would be the Goku clones. Yes, he is one major figure in terms of shounen. He is one of the most beloved characters of all time in what was the highest selling manga series in Japan for over a decade. Only recently being dethroned. However, just because Goku’s character worked in the 80s and 90s that does not mean I want to see him rehashed constantly in the 2000s and beyond. There are already enough idiot hero types. We do not need them all to be replicas of Goku as well.

So far the only Goku clone that hasn’t pissed me off is Luffy. Possibly because he emulates him so well but still manages to stand on his own in ways that it doesn’t really bother me that much. Despite that, anyone who has read or watched the Dragonball series knows which traits I am talking about.  Being extremely naive to the point of childishness, having a black hole for a stomach, being the dumbest person in your verse(for the most part), and only really being a genius when it comes to combat and getting through battles with sheer force of will in many cases. Oh, and the excess of orange. You can see the blatant homage in the case of Naruto’s fucking ugly jumpsuit.

Now I am not saying that Goku’s traits were bad at that time. They obviously worked well enough for him. To be more exact, it is the excess number of carbon copies that have popped up that use his combination of traits. Just because you take Goku’s character traits and paste them into your character it does not mean it will make your manga as massive and well received as Dragonball. It most certainly won’t be placing it in the same sales tier or same level of recognition either.

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