Masashi Kishimoto has been spinning Naruto’s story for 15 years now. I cannot possibly imagine what reserve of fantastic imagination he has drawn upon all this while, but of late, his touch seems to be lost.
The last few chapters have been little better than fillers; fillers can at least be identified from a mile away, but predictability at the cusp of climax can be soul-killing. ( I’ve watched every single episode since Naruto, when the orange-haired protagonist was a kid: I watched all the fillers too.)
Unfortunately, once Uchiha Madara caught hold of Naruto’s share of Kurama’s chakra, my interest has waned and it seems I am not alone.
After Uchiha Itachi, Sasuke, Pain, Danzou and the story of how Konohagakure came to be (aka the rivalry between Senjū and Uchiha clans) , Obito’s reasons for joining forces with Madara were anything but a surprise to me.
We’re all stubborn shades of grey but I think Kishimoto risks mundaneness by following the formula: a goody two shoes with a flaw in character, or a weakness of some sort is eventually led to choose the path of darkness, having lost courage to dare to hope again.
Pain’s trigger was watching Yahiko die and Akatsuki fall apart; Danzou always wanted to be the Hokage but failed to acknowledge his faults, Madara allowed petty clan politics to rip his precious friendship with Hashirama apart.
Finally, Obito failed to see Rin sacrifice her life: all his eyes could see was Kakashi’s failure to keep his promise to Obito and Rin’s murder.
Their stories are undoubtedly unique, but the pattern eventually kills any anticipation that might breed.
In Bleach, or even One Piece, some villains are just that: stubborn villains. They might’ve been born angels but eventually they chose to be the bad guys and are pretty happy with being playing the part.
Can we, for once, have a villain who relishes his villainy in Naruto?
The series hits the bull’s eye when it comes to depicting the strength of character, integrity, personal ideals and the importance of chasing dreams, but has begun to flounder in the baddies department.
PS. Remember Death Note’s Yagami Light? His madness had humble, righteous origins and a delirious end.
Kabuto reviving Sasuke was a nice touch.
Thank you for drawing Naruto, Sensei!