Manga Mondays: Naruto Volume 8: Life-and-Death Battles

After a months long hiatus, I’m finally back! Let’s hope I can keep this up through the end of the year! πŸ˜‰

So, this volume of Naruto begins with the continuation of Team 7 entering their assigned room at the tower in the middle of the Forest of Death.

Once inside, they are finally allowed to open their scrolls, which, surprisingly, include a summoning spell and the person summoned just so happens to be Iruka, who we later find requested to be the one to present the news to Team 7 about their failing or passing. After congratulating them, and giving them an explanation of the sign on the wall, he lets them enter into the other room, joining the other 18 Genin who passed as well.

While there, the Hokage gives them words on congratulations, and an explanation that the Chunin exams are used not only to foster friendship between the nations, but to also begin training these future Chunin to be prepared in the event of a war. Once he has completed his speech to them, another Jonin of the Leaf Village, Hayate, enters and prepares to explain the next part of the exam to the Genin. The next test will be one-on-one battles, and they give the students the option of dropping out at that moment, if they feel they are unable to continue or do not wish to fight.

During this, Sakura tries to convince Sasuke to drop out, as the Cursed Mark Orochimaru had left him with was causing him pain even now and then. Sasuke refuses, and their conversation is cut short as Kabuto raises his hand, saying he feels unable to continue, leaving shortly after and thinking to himself that he won’t let Orochimaru down.

Sakura, afterwards, continues trying to convince Sasuke to drop out, saying she’s afraid of what may happen, since he’s in pain and seems unable to battle. Sasuke tells her to stop, saying he won’t drop out because he has several people he wants to fight, and tells Naruto that he is one of them.

Though Anko believes Sasuke should be pulled from the exam and put under ANBU watch, Kakashi vouches for him and the Hokage agrees to let Sasuke stay, unless the Cursed Mark begins to take him over. The exam continues as usual, and Sasuke is one of the first two picked for the first battle, along with Kabuto’s teammate Yoroi.

Kakashi stops to tell Sasuke that should the Cursed Mark begin to act up, he will step in and stop the match. As the battle begins, Sasuke quickly realizes he’s unable to use any chakra, especially once Yoroi gets a hold of him and begins to drain his chakra. Sasuke is able to kick Yoroi away, and uses a copy of Lee’s Lotus technique to finally defeat Yoroi, passing onto the next round of battles though thoroughly exhausted.

Sakura relieved, Naruto yelling at him, Sasuke leaves with Kakashi who intends to seal the mark on his neck, which he does, before being confronted by Orochimaru after Sasuke passes out from exhaustion. Kakashi threatens to kill Orochimaru, who reveals he wants Sasuke for himself all because of the Sharingan. He leaves shortly after, and Kakashi wonders if he made a miscalculation with his threat to kill Orochimaru.

During this, the next battle begins, being Shino against Zaku, who appears to still have two broken arms. At the beginning of the battle, however, Zaku reveals his left arm is still somewhat fine, and attacks Shino, believing to knocked him down, only to be proven wrong when Shino stands again and has an army of beetles behind Zaku, who pulls out his right arm and tries to attack both Shino and the beetles at the same time, only to have his arms, shockingly, blown off in the end, giving the win to Shino.

The next battle, which Kakashi returns in time for and calms Sakura’s fears by telling her that Sasuke is resting in the infirmary, is Kankuro against Kabuto’s other teammate, Misumi. Misumi is able to bend his bones any which way and coils himself like a snake around Kankuro, eventually “breaking” his neck, before realizing it’s simply a puppet and Kankuro is a puppet maser, who gains victory by trapping his enemy with the puppet and breaking his bones beyond being able to even move.

The fourth battle, which begins in this volume and ends in the next, is Sakura against Ino. Both take this battle seriously, having been friends in their childhood and their friendship being broken later on. The battle is both girls showing off their Taijutsu and other special skills, with Kakashi commenting that Sakura is the most advance with her chakra control of all the Genin, and Asuma believing that Ino is not up to par with her once best friend.

The two continue fighting for ten minutes, before Sakura begins to mock how Ino spent all her time caring for her hair and looks, which angers Ino to the point that she cuts her hair and throws it to the ground, preparing to use her Mind Transfer technique to make Sakura concede defeat. She is, in the end, successful in transferring her mind into Sakura’s body, and the volume ends there.

SO. Have to say I’ve always loved this volume, and the episodes based on it. The battles are amazing to read and watch, and being able to see Sakura, my favorite character, fight, is always enjoyable!

Next week, I hope next week, we’ll have the next volume, the ninth! I really do hope to keep up with this and finish up all 72 volumes and the single volume spin-off again, then give you all a true, final review of the entire series. πŸ™‚

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