Naruto Volume 13

***VizMedia did not have a hand in this post other than the publication of the series in the US. They did not provide me with a copy of this book to review. It was done for fun, not monetary gain.***

 

Welcome back to our manga summary&reviews, at last!! I’m so glad to be back at this, I’ve missed it so much! We’re going to try and power through to finish Naruto, so we can move on to Boruto, Assassination Classroom, and other manga! Yes, I will be doing a post about the Naruto ten chapter spin-off, The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring, so just please wait for that! πŸ™‚

Because I’m going to power through Naruto, I will be attempting to post EVERY SINGLE WEEKDAY DAY until we’re DONE with this series!! If I miss a day here or there, please forgive me. This is the longest manga series I’ve read and this will be my third or fourth time through it, so I may need a break every few days! This is part of why the posts will be exclusively on weekdays, and because of hwo my semester is laid out, I should be able to read a volume a day and get a post up as well!Β  Sound good?? I hope so, because we’re starting this right now!!

The last volume ended with Shikamaru forfeiting his match to Remark, which surprised everyone in the end. Ino rages a bit at Choji about it, while Naruto hops down from the viewing area and starts to yell at Shikamaru. Instead of taking the yelling, Shikamaru tells Naruto that there was a match even he was looking forward to seeing, that being Sasuke vs Gaara. During this, Might Guy and Rock Lee arrive at the arena in time to see Sasuke’s match, and Lee learns that Naruto defeated Neji. For a just a moment he’s shown to be upset about it, before silently congratulating Naruto.

Sakura of course is worried about why Sasuke hasn’t shown up (she’s not seen him since the last part of the exam and if worried about the curse mark). The Third Hokage is given a message from Kakashi, and judt a few momenta later Kakashi and Sasuke finally appear, just in time for the match. (Sidenote: Sasuke’s outfit at this part is my favorite of his outfits apart from when he’s an adult.Β ( Β΄βˆ€ο½€)γƒŽο½ž β™‘ He looks so nice in all black!!)

After a bit of banter between Naruto and Sasuke, the former and Shikamaru start to make their way back to the viewing area, but are stopped by the sight of Gaara murdering two ninja from another village. They had been hired to get him to quit so their master’s bet on Sasuke winning would happen, but of course Gaara wasn’t just going to quit, and took their lives instead, before heading to the arena’s battlefield.

Just before the match starts, Kakashi, Guy, and Lee make their way to stay near Sakura and the others to see the match. Sakura is very upset Kakashi never stayed in contact with her during the last month, but after he reassures her that Sasuke’s mark is nothing to worry about, she come down. Kakashi however is a bit worrisome about the lackluster ANBU presence there.

As soon as the match begins, Gaara attacks Sasuke with his sand, causing the latyer to move back to avoid being hit. The strange thing is that Gaara begins speaking to “mother” and promising to give her tasty blood. Ignoring this, Sasuke begins an onslaut of Taijutsu maneuvers, attacking Gaara and his sand clones and shield, to the point his speed and moves begin to mimic Lee, who becomes heartbreakingly jealous at hearing Ino praise Naruto and Sasuke to Sakura.

Sasuke’s speed with his Taijutsu moves keep Gaara on his toes for a bit, before he turns in with a Shield of sand covering him, and protecting him from Sasuke’s attack. Although his Taijutsu can’t break through the sand shield, Sasuke has one move that he’s fairly confident can break through the sand. While that’s going on, Naruto and Shikamaru are still in a slight state of shock over Gaara murdering the two characters from earlier, and after a moment Naruto decides they must stop the match before Sasuke gets killed.

While Sasuke is preparing his attack, Naruto and Shikamaru reach everyone else and Naruto starts to tell Kakashi why the match needs to be stopped, before his sensei tells him there was a very good reason why he and Sasuke were so late getting there. As Sasuke finishes getting ready with his attack, Kakashi tells them he taught Sasuke this specific move because they’re so alike, and it ends up being his Chidori Lightning Blade that he used during the battle against Zabuza about ten volumes ago, and this attack proves able to break through Gaara’s sand shield!

As the origins of the Chidori move are explained by Guy, Kankuro and Temari are both surprised that Sasuke has broken through Gaara’s sand shield, and after hearing their brother scream about his blood when he realized he was injured, they’re equally surprised that someone has actually hurt Gaara to where he was bleeding (this will be explained in later chapters). When Sasuke frees himself from Gaara’s “ultimate defense”, a large arm made of sand exits as well, before going back into the sand shield and Sasuke notices a very, very different eye in the shield and it basically freezes him in place.

Soon enough, all the members of the audience have fallen asleep via a Genjutsu, which includes Shikamaru and Naruto in the group, while the “Kazekage” launches an attack at the Hokage, which in turn begins an attack on the entire village as Sarutobi realizes this person is NOT the Kazekage but is instead Orochimaru in disguise. As the Sand ninja infiltrate the village Kakashi and Guy protect Sakura, which was able to keep herself awake by releasing the Genjustsu on herself.

The Sound Four (they will have a much larger part in a few volumes) seal Sarutobi and Orochimaru within a barrier that prevents anyone else from getting inside. Their battle begins while Kankuro and Temari grab Gaara and run off with him per their instructor’s orders, and Sasuke follows after them. Soon enough, Kakashi tells Sakura to wake Naruto and Shikamaru, as he has a new A Rank mission for them, which is to track down Sasuke. She does so and they make their way after him with one of Kakashi’s ninja dogs, Pakkun, as their fourth member. While this happens, Sarutobi attempts to stop Orochimaru from using his “reanimation” jutsu, and prevents one out of three coffins(??) from being brought forth, as Sarutobi states he can’t believe Orochimaru has summoned these “spirits”.

And that ends volume 13!! This one leads us from the abrupt ending of the Chunin exams into what is known as the Konoha Invasion arc, and yeah, things are going to be a bit crazy from here on, but bare with me! We’re going to get through every bit of it! πŸ™‚

I really do enjoy these chapters, mostly for the fact of Sasuke being back in the story and his design at this time, but the story is taking it’s turn into an arc that creates a lot of changes later on (no spoilers until we get to those volumes of course haha). While this arc isn’t myΒ favorite of the various arcs in Naruto, it’s still a very good one, and its full of action and fight scenes, which might possibly make for smaller posts over the next two volumes, but you know, it’ll be fine. We’ll get through it, and move to the next part soon, but for now, look forward to volume 14 tomorrow! πŸ™‚

My Spoiler Free Impressions: My Hero Academia

***This post is a look into my personal feelings on the series My Hero Academia. This is not meant to be some deep retrospective where I take apart the series piece-by-piece, but it simply to show the feelings I hold towards this series and some of the characters.***

I think it’s safe to say by now that I’m a very big fan of Shonen manga and anime. I started out as a very young child watching Dragon Ball with my dad in the afternoon on weekdays, and then moved into Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh when they were on the Saturday morning on block on what used to be WB (now known as The CW). Those got me into trouble and they were banned from my house for a little while (don’t want to get into details) but eventually they made their way back in and I got back into the series.

Naruto was the first Shonen I watched that I actually remembered the plot. With Dragon Ball, I was young enough that I have a few memories of sitting and watching with my dad and sisters, but I don’t remember all the details of the story (*mental note to go back and rewatch it at some point*). So when I started watching Naruto in January 2007, it became my thing. I stuck with the anime while it was on Toonami, and then moved to manga as my library slowly got more volumes it, and I stuck with it until the manga ended in 2014. I still have yet to finish Shippuden, but I’ll get there eventually. I also own 64 volumes of the manga, and all six of the post-canon light novels that were released in the US.

When the Naruto manga was about to end, I started looking for a replacement series to read. Enter Assassination Classroom, which was my very first manga review on this blog. I was able to keep up through volume 6, but I’ve fallen behind (and I know the manga has ended) and I still enjoy the series very much (it’s my first OT+ rated series!), but it’s going to take me some time to get back into it.

Now, let’s fast forward to this January (2018). I had recently made the decision to subscribe to FunimationNow, Funimation’s streaming service for dubbed anime. I thought this would be a great way to get through some anime while I was on my Christmas break, and it’s proven to be worth it in the three months I’ve had it, I don’t plan to stop subscribing any time soon.

My Hero Academia (MHA) is one of Funimation’s licensed titles. They produce and release the dub version, and release the DVD/BluRay sets as well. I had started thinking about getting into MHA last year, while talking to a friend about it. I really, really wanted to get into the series last year, but because of how busy my schedule was and everything, I couldn’t. It had pushed aside because I was trying to focus on my classes and everything. It was also something that I’m not normally interested in, but I had heard so much good about it that I was interested. I mean, a story about people who have super powers (called Quirks)? That’s so cliche, would I even like it? I’m not into superheroes, but something about this series just grabbed me.

January is when I finally sat down and watched the first two episodes. They hit me with feels and I got close to crying during the end of the second episode. This was right after my spring semester had begun, and that Sunday I had a bunch of homework for one of my classes, so I pulled up the Funimation app on my Kindle and started MHA from where I left off, episode 3.

I finished the first season in a day. All 13 episodes, completed in one day. After that, I had to slowly continue on because of my classes and work. I got sick in mid-Feburary to the point I wasn’t able to go to class or work for three days, so I instead spent that time watching MHA and relaxing.

I finished the second season the week after I was sick, during snow days where my campus was closed. I was hooked. Head-over-heels in love and still am! The series is so fabulous and amazing, I’m eagerly awaiting the third season on Saturday!

I also decided I wanted to read the manga and be ahead of the anime, so I knew was happening, and because I was anxious to see what came next. As of posting this, I’ve finished all 11 volumes that have been released in English, and I’ve purchased 8 out of 12 volumes. This story is so good, it’s amazing. I’m not going to go into plot here, I may do a review of each volume separately at some point, but right now, I just want to go into my favorite characters real quick, starting with my absolute favorite character of the series.

The moment he’s introduced, all you can really think is “what a jerk”. But honestly? Katsuki Bakugo is much more complex character than that. He’s not just a school bully (although he definitely is one at the beginning, I’ll admit that for sure). He’s unbelievably confident with a Quirk that allows him to create explosions from his hands, using his sweat, and he’s determined to be the #1 hero someday. He’s quite antagonistic towards the main character, and almost anyone, but he slowly seems to start getting better, especially considering the events surrounding him in volumes 9 – 11. I understand why some wouldn’t like him, but somehow, SOMEHOW, I got attached to Bakugo immediately, and everything that happens in volumes 10&11 have solidified him as my favorite character in the whole series. He’s got to make up a lot of past wrongs, but he’ll get there. I’m sure of it.

Second, I want to discuss the character who was close to pushing Bakugo out of first place, and that’s Shoto Todoroki. I seem to always go for characters that have sad/dark backgrounds, which makes Todoroki’s place of second on my list very…odd. Normally he’d be in first, and I love him very much, for sure! His story breaks me, it’s heartbreaking, and I still am shocked by everything that happened to him when he was a child. His changes from volume 5 onward are very apparent, and important to his character. He’s a fan favorite all around (having won Best Boy at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards this year), and I’ll definitely say, if Bakugo hadn’t somehow gotten my attention the way he did, Todoroki would be in first place (I’m not gonna say it’s impossible for him to end up tying with Bakugo on my list, that may happen for sure).

Finally, for this post at least, let me talk about our main character, Izuku Midoriya. He is definitely like your typical Shonen protagonist, but he’s also the sweetest one you’ll ever meet. All he wants to do is be a hero that can smile and save people. That’s it. He wants to be like the current #1 Hero, All Might, and a chance encounter gives him what he needs in order to, hopefully, one day do so. He’s a very innocent character, a bit jumpy at times, but he also has a lot of heart and I can’t help, I have to cheer for him in everything that happens in this series. I have to cheer for him to become the #1 hero someday, I have to cheer for him to do well, to hope his friendship with Bakugo can be rescued, to hope his friendships with all his classmates holds. Midoriya is a character you can’t help but cheer for. I’ve never met a main character that was a precious as Izuku Midoriya, and I’ve asked it on Twitter, but I’ll ask it here too: how did we get blessed with such a precious main character??

All in all, even though I didn’t go too terribly in-depth with this post, My Hero Academia is a series that can’t be missed. It’s amazing. The story is getting deeper as we go, the characters are growing up and maturing (especially Bakugo), they’re learning how to use their Quirks the best they can, and they’re taking on villains much sooner than they expected, but they’re doing well.

No series has gripped me this hard and made me fall in love with the characters like this since Naruto. Seriously, NOTHING has taken hold of me like this since then. My Hero Academia is one of those manga that’s going to be remembered and well loved for a long time, and I intend to see it to the end myself.

I might make a second post about this at some point, maybe after I’ve read more of the manga or start reviewing it here, but for now, this is where I’ll stop. I hope to go more in-depth at some point, but we’ll see what happens. πŸ™‚

 

Birthday 2017 Haul

I had my birthday this past weekend, November 4th, and now I’m 24, OMG!

Apart from that, I got some lovely gifts from my family!

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OK I didn’t receive everything here as a gift, bought two of the items pictured myself, but I’ll get to those in a bit.

So, what I received was Big Hero 6 on BluRay/DVD, an Oriental fan, a hamper, Pokemon Activity kit, cross necklace, decorative pillow, and a black, faux fur blanket.

I did also receive a set of FitBit Flex bands, but they were too small for my wrist, so, we have to return them. 😦

Close ups of the gifts from my three sisters. πŸ™‚

The things I purchased for myself were as follows:

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Naruto volume 38, which now leaves me 8 volumes away from having the complete series.

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A plush Bulbasaur backpack hanger. He was on clearance at GameStop and I love Bulbasaur, I had to get him!!

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle volume 2! No joke, I had no idea if I had this DVD yet, but I bought it anyway. I didn’t have it already, so, all good! πŸ™‚

Lastly, I purchased this AMAZING find from HalfPriceBooks. Fruits Basket Ultimate Edition! This is a HARDCOVER omnibus of the first two volumes of Fruits Basket! And just for reference…

Comparison of the Ultimate Edition with a “normal” Fruits Basket manga (forgive the messy volume 7. I bought it used because Hatori was on it and he’s my favorite character.)

Well that’s everything I got for my birthday this year. πŸ™‚ I’m very happy with everything and grateful for what my family gifted me. ❀

Manga Mondays: Naruto Volume 12: The Great Flight!!

Happy Manga Mondays, and Happy Halloween, dear readers! Let us begin!

Our last volume ended right when Naruto and Neji were able to begin their battle in the final round of the Chunin exams. For most of the match, Neji gives Naruto a lecture about destiny and how he’ll never become Hokage, because he wasn’t born into such a destiny. Naruto states that he came to the battle prepared to lose, and during the whole match, in between hand-to-hand combat, tries to convince Neji that people can change their destinies, no matter what others say or think.

This obviously strikes a cord with Neji, who tells Naruto about the Hyuga clan, and the history of the Main Branch and Cadet Branch, explaining that his and Hinata’s fathers were twin brothers, but her father Hiashi was the first born, and therefore a member of the Main Brach, while his father Hizashi was the second born, a member of the Cadet Branch, whose duty was to protect the Main Branch. When he was still a small child, Neji had a cursed seal placed on his forehead, a custom of all Cadet Branch members.

He states that a kidnapping attempt on Hinata happened when she was about three-years-old, and Hiashi ended up killing her kidnapper, who turned out to be the leader of the Land of Clouds, who Konoha had just signed a peace treaty with. Because of this, the Land of Clouds demanded Hiashi’s body as a repayment for the death of their leader, but Neji’s father was used in his place, being Hiashi’s identical twin. This has caused Neji to harbor a grudge against the Main Branch ever since.

As the battle continues, Neji attempts to stop all of Naruto’s chakra, but because of the Nine-Tailed Fox, it doesn’t work out as planned, and Naruto eventually overtakes him and ends up winning the match in the end. Afterwards, in the recovery room, Neji is approached by Hiashi who tells him the true story about why his father was handed over to the Land Clouds, and Neji appears to accept this, and begins to rethink his views about destiny.

The next match is supposed to be Sasuke against Gaara, however Sasuke still has not shown up, and the spectators are getting restless as time goes on. The Hokage nearly tells them that Sasuke must forfeit, before the Kazekage convinces him to wait, as everyone there was anticipating this one match more than any other, and he agrees. This moves up the next two matches, causing Kankuro and Shino to be the next battle, but Kankuro forfeits immediately, because of a plan he makes mention of this.

Shikamaru vs Temari is the final match in this volume, and it’s a whirlwind, literally. Temari uses her fan and wind style attacks, while Shikamaru uses his shadow possession and continually attempts to trap Temari to get a hit in on her, and eventually does so by using the holes Naruto made during his battle against Neji to trap her. And the ending of this match is a surprise to all who have never read this volume or seen the episode. You won’t be able to guess it unless you’ve seen it before.

So, this volume obviously had some good character development for Neji, but at this point in my Naruto obsession, I still did not like him (I came to do so much, much later), but he is more tolerable. Learning more about Shikamaru and his attacks were interesting as well, but I bet you all know exactly who’s battle I’m most excited for. ;D

We’ll get to that battle next time though. I can’t promise a Manga Mondays post next week, but I will try my best! πŸ™‚

See you next time!

Manga Mondays: Naruto Volume 11: Impassioned Efforts

Happy Manga Monday!! Let’s get started with volume 11 of the Naruto series!!

The last volume left us with Naruto meeting a new character, who we find in the first chapter of this volume is the Toad Sage Jiraiya, the novelist of the Icha Icha Paradise series that Kakashi is usually seen reading. Because Ebisu is now out cold, Naruto demands Jiraiya to train him, and eventually convinces him to do so after showing off his sexy jutsu, which makes the old pervert agree.

Jiraiya starts by releasing the seal Orochimaru had placed on Naruto during the Chunin Exams, and that allows Naruto to finally control his chakra well enough to complete the walking on water exercise. After this, Jiraiya decides to teach Naruto to use the toad summoning, and the first one he summons is simply a tadpole. This continues for the next couple of weeks, with Naruto constantly trying to summon a real frog, and failing as he does so. Eventually, once his chakra is depleted, Jiraiya throws him into a ravine and Naruto is finally able to properly do the summoning, but ends up summoning the chief of all toads, Gamabunta. Of course, since Naruto is still just a young kid, Gamabunta doesn’t believe that he actually summoned him, until Naruto is out cold from using all his chakra, and the giant toad sees that he did in fact sign the summoning pact, before leaving Naruto at the hospital for rest.

In between this, we see Gaara is confronted by Dosu, who is killed by Gaara’s sand after trying to assassinate the killer redhead. As well, we see Kabuto speaking with Gaara’s squad leader, Baki, about the alliance between Sound and Sand, which Hayate overhears and notes that the Sand village appears to be breaking their peace treaty with the Leaf village. Right when he’s about to rush to tell the Hokage, Kabuto says he’ll take out Hayate, but Baki interferes and we soon see that Hayate has lost his battle, being killed.

Another cut away from Naruto shows Sakura and Ino at the hospital to see Sasuke, but they learn that he left the hospital in the night and no one has seen him, but at this point we also get a scene where Kakashi is shown climbing what looks to be a mountain and someone is there waiting for him (and if you read this and can’t tell who it is based on the silhouette, I feel bad for you). While they’re at the hospital, a nurse finds Rock Lee, who is still supposed to be recovering from his match against Gaara, outside trying to train, before he collapses and Sakura, while she and Ino wait for the nurse to return, asks why boys have to push themselves so hard with tears in her eyes.

Naruto eventually wakes up in the hospital with Shikamaru there, who tells him he’s been knocked out cold for three days, while in another scene we see Gaara in Rock Lee’s hospital room, appearing to try and kill him, before Shiakmaru and Naruto show up, stopping him with Shikamaru’s Shadow Possession and a kick to the face thanks to Naruto. As they talk and try to understand what the deal with Gaara, it comes out that, like Naruto, he has a living demon sealed inside of him, and it, along with other urges and things from his past, cause him to want to kill every living person, in order to feel alive. Before anything else happens, Gai appears and tells them to save everything for the finals of the Chunin Exams, and Gaara leaves.

The next day arrives, and Naruto takes his time getting to the arena for the finals, passing through the training grounds where Team 7 was officially formed, finding Hinata there, where she tells him that she thinks he’s one of the strongest working people she knows, and Naruto admits that he thinks he likes people like her. He then leaves and makes it to the arena, where people are coming in constantly, including the Sand Village’s Kazekage, and the exams are prepared to begin in the next volume, with Naruto up against Neji.

All in all, a very good volume that introduces a key character to Naruto’s growth and changes. Jiraiya is a crazy character that you’ll come to love, even with his pervertedness. I can tell you that we’ll be seeing some other important characters, once again, very soon, and we’re going to enter into a crazy arc in just about two volumes, and it’s going to be great!

See you next week!

Manga Mondays: Naruto Volume 10: A Splendid Ninja

Happy Manga Monday, dear readers! Let’s get going with our 10th Naruto manga summary and review!!

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So this volume picks up where the last left off, with the beginning of Rock Lee’s battle against Gaara. As he attempts to get some hits in on his enemy, everyone quickly sees that Gaara has sand in the gourd on his back that protects him on his own, keeping him from ever suffering any injuries from opponents. After being given permissions to remove the weights around his ankles, Lee is able to move fast enough that Gaara’s sand almost can’t keep up, and he’s able to strike a blow on the Sand Genin.

Gaara, however, has a sand shield around himself, which helped to ease the blow from Rock Lee’s attack. Lee is given permission from Guy to used the Forward Lotus (called the Primary Lotus in the English dub of the anime), and he does so, only to see that Gaara had replaced himself with a sand clone. Because of this,a fter recovering quickly, Lee begins to open the eight Gates, a forbidden technique that can, and will, result in death once all eight are open. Lee can only open the first five, however, and does so, landing attack after attack on Gaara. Once he has Gaara down, everyone believes Lee has won, until Gaara appears to be fine, and ends up using his Sand Coffin on Lee’s left arm and leg, crushing them. Before Gaara can attack again, Guy stops the fight, telling Gaara that he wouldn’t let him harm his precious student anymore, which it appears Gaara cannot understand.

Although he’s stopped the fight, Guy and everyone else is surprised to see Lee standing back up, though Guy notices it’s by his own sheer willpower to continue, and he’s not consciously there. The medics enter soon, and one of them pulls Guy to the side, telling him that Lee’s injuries are too severe for them to care for, and that he can never be a ninja again. Of course, pretty much everyone is shocked by this, but there’s nothing they can do at the moment, and they turn to the tenth and final fight, Choji against Dosu.

The final battle begins right away, with Choji remembering that he had seen Dosu’s sound attacks, and he uses his own Jutsu to turn himself into a human bowling ball, hiding his ears. He chases Dosu to a wall, but gets stuck there for a moment. Dosu uses his jutsu during this moment, knocking Choji out of the match and ending the preliminaries. After this, the 8 victors (would be 9 but Sasuke is still in the hospital) have returned to the ground floor, and are told by the Hokage that the final round will take place in a month, allowing the Genin who will compete to rest and prepare new attacks. Before they’re released, they each select a number and the battles are chose. The order is Naruto vs. Neji, Sasuke vs. Gaara, Shino vs. Kankurou, Temari vs. Dosu, and because of the odd number, Shikamaru ends up tacked on the end as an extra round match. The Hokage releases them to do as they wish for the next month, and Naruto asks Sakura where Kakashi has gone, being told he’s most likely at the hospital with Sasuke.

Which we see he is, after a scene where Kabuto and Orochimaru are discussing the finals and Sasuke. After which, Kakashi finds Kabuto in Sasuke’s once ANBU gaurded hospital room, preparing the kill him (he’s still unconscious at the moment). When Kakashi questions Kabuto if he is in league with Orochimaru, but doesn’t receive a straight answer before Kabuto attacks. Kakashi knocks him down, however, one of the “dead” ANBU guards jumps up and escapes through the window, and reveals himself to the be the real Kabuto, who has used a jutsu to change places with the dead guard.

Naruto is next shown at the receptionist desk, asking where Sasuke’s room is before Kakashi shows up and tells him to be quiet. Naruto tries to request Kakashi to teach him, but Kakashi informs him that he’s already set up a different teacher for Naruto and it turns out to be Ebisu, who we haven’t seen since the second chapter of the manga. Naruto doesn’t believe that Ebisu is a better teacher than Kakashi, but he relents to being taught by him after a moment. Their place of training in the hot springs, where Ebisu intends to teach Naruto how to walk on water, a chakra control technique. After watching him for a while, seeing the blond is getting the hang of it, Naruto notices someone trying to speak in women’s bath, and when Ebisu attempts to scold him, he realizes just who it is right before being knocked out cold.

So this volume, obviously, finishes the first set of one-on-one battles from the Chunin Exams. It’s hard for me to write about this one, simply because the battle between Lee and Gaara ends in such a sad way, but the rest of the volume is, surprisingly, funny. We’re introduced to a major character who will be a big part of Naruto’s life from now on, and get a little bit more about Kabuto and Orochimaru’s partnership. This series can be a bit complicated at times, haha, especially when you’re trying to summarize and review it!

Well, I’ll see you guys next week for volume 11!

Manga Mondays: Naruto Volume 9: Neji vs. Hinata

Welcome back to Manga Mondays!

Today we will have a quick review and summary of Naruto volume 9!

Volume 9 begins with the conclusion of Sakura and Ino’s battle in the preliminary third round of the Chunin Exams. Ino, who has just taken over Sakura’s body with her own mind, is preparing to make Sakura surrender the match. As she begins to raise Sakura’s hand and speak as her, Naruto yells at Sakura to not let Ino have control over her, and this causes Sakura to be able to break free of Ino’s jutsu, using her Inner Sakura to force Ino’s mind back into her own body. The battle finishes with one final punch by each of the girls, causing them knock each other out, and Hayate to end the match, not allowing either girl to pass to the official third round. Kakashi and Asuma jump down to bring the girls back the viewing balcony, where they rest during the next match.

The fifth match is Temari against TenTen, and while we don’t see much, we do see that the ending is TenTen’s loss, Temari’s victory. Temari angering Lee by treating TenTen like she was nothing in the end. During this, Sakura and Ino both awaken and, kind of, reconcile their broken friendship, both girls saying they won’t lose next time, nor will they let the other have Sasuke for themselves.

As the sixth match, Shikamaru against Kin, begins, everyone watches as Shikamaru is able to gain victory, using the shadows from Kin’s strings she had tied to her needles to trap her, then tricking her into throwing a shuriken at the same time as he did, Shikamaru bending backwards to keep from being hit and causing Kin to hit her head on the wall behind her.

The seventh match belongs Naruto and Kiba with Akamaru. Naruto protests about Akamaru, but it told it’s allowed because he’s a ninja dog. Naruto at first is overwhelmed by Kiba and Akamaru’s team attacks, especially after Kiba gives Akamaru a military pellet, which turns his fur red (his namesake), and allows Akamaru to turn into a copy of Kiba. After a slight battle where Kiba and Akamaru have Naruto trapped, there are suddnelyΒ three of Kiba standing there, and he instantly attacks one of them, believing he can smell that it’s Naruto, not Akamaru.

However, when he punches this third Kiba, he sees that it turns into Akamaru, then turns around and punches the second Kiba! This one also turns into Akamaru, and the first one he punched truly is Naruto, who turned himself into Akamaru to trick Kiba into attacking his own dog. Kiba goes back on the offensive, but Naruto is able to overtake him and uses an attack similar to Sasuke’s Lion’s Barrage, slamming Kiba into the floor and claiming victory for himself.

When he returns to the viewing balcony, Naruto is stopped by nervous Hinata, who, thanks to Kurenai’s help, is able to give Naruto a medicinal salve for his wounds, which he uses right away. She offers one to Kiba as well, who tells her she needs to keep it for herself and, if she is put up against Neji or Gaara, to drop out right away. And as luck would have it, she is pitted against Neji, her cousin from the cadet branch of the Hyuga clan. Before even beginning to fight, though Hayate has given them the go ahead, Neji tells Hinata to drop out, telling her that she’ll never change from being a failure, and it angers Naruto, who was called a failure himself, to the point where he yells at Neji that Hinata can change, no matter what he says about her.

This causes Hinata to gain the courage to fight against Neji, and she’s able to push him back with her attacks as he uses the same ones on her, and it looks as though, from the viewing balcony, that Hinata has the edge over Neji, until they see that he’s hit her chakra points around her heart, and does the same to her arm, cutting off the flow of chakra. After Neji knocks Hinata to the ground, and Hayate begins to call the match in Neji’s favor, until Naruto yells at him to let the match continue, as Hinata begins to stand back up. When Hinata states to Neji that she believes he’s the one that’s suffering, not her, it angers him and he goes to attack her once again, but is stopped by Kakashi, Guy, Kurenai, and Hayate, before he can kill her.

Kurenai realizes that Neji was trying preparing to kill Hinata, and calls for the medics right away when she starts going into cardiac arrest, and the medics rush her into surgery. Naruto is, obviously, angered by what Neji has done to Hinata, and vows to defeat him for her. Once everyone is back to the viewing balcony, the ninth match is chosen, to be Rock Lee against Gaara, and the volume ends before the battle begins.

I really enjoy this volume. It shows more of Hinata and it’s the first time we get to see and hear of her relation to Neji, and the first time we see their skills in battle. Honestly, after I first read these chapters and saw the episodes, Neji pissed me off and I hated him for the longest time, haha. I also love this because it shows Naruto cheering Hinata on, and it also looks like this is where he starts to fall for her, at least a small crush is beginning at this point. πŸ˜‰

So next week is volume 10, and that’s the start of another 3-in-1, which means a new cover will be shown!! We’re getting closer to the completion of the Chunin Exams, and into more chapters that I really enjoy!

 

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™‚

Manga Mondays: Assassination Classroom Volume 6

***VizMedia did not have a hand in this post other than the publication of the series in the US. They did not provide me with a copy of this book to review. It was done for fun, not monetary gain.***

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After a FIVE MONTH hiatus, Assassination Classroom is FINALLY back! I have volume 7 on order to arrive today, and I’ll get 8, 9, and 10 soon as well, so, I’m slowly catching up so we can continue through this series, and I can pre-order again soon!

So, volume six picks up immediately where volume five did, with the students discussing an underwater attack plan on Koro-sensei, with Meg Kataoka as the primary assassin because of her affinity for and speed in water. Ritsu helps Meg practice in the pool, until she gets a text from a “friend” who needs help with studying, and she leaves, acting weird when she does so, causing Nagisa, Kayano, and Koro-sensei to follow, wondering what was up.

This “friend” of hers, Kokona Tagawa, is in need of help with her classes and forces Kataoka to help her, after an incident the previous summer that almost caused Kokona to drown at the beach, by no fault of Kataoka. Koro-sensei, hearing this, launches a plan with Nagisa, Kayano, and Kataoka for that night, and it succeeds in getting Konona off Kataoka’s back, so she can focus on herself and her studies once again.

A little while later, Class E’s pool is destroyed by someone, and the signs point towards Terasaka, Muramatsu, and Yoshida (I believe that’s his name), but Koro-sensei doesn’t worry and fixes it up instantly at his speed of Mach 20. Terasaka, though his friends are excelling and changing with Koro-sensei’s help, is completely against their alien teacher, but it does not appear that the reasons and thoughts are all his own, as Itona and his handler have returned.

The next day, Terasaka challenges Koro-sensei, and forces his classmates to join in at the pool, but this is shown to be a plan by Itona’s handler, with a signal gun being used by Terasaka to blow up the dam for the pool, almost drowning all his classmates, though he was told of this part. Koro-sensei moves quickly to rescue his students, but is quickly weakened by the water because his body soaks up the water, causing him to slow. This leads Itona to come in and start attacking him, and Koro-sensei is busy trying to defend himself and protect the students that are still in trouble, so Terasaka, feeling guilt for what he’s done, tells Karma to come up with a plan and he’ll follow it to the end.

Karma’s plan involves Terasaka taking a hit from Itona. Since Terasaka was wearing the same clothes as the day before, he was still covered in the chemicals he had sprayed in the classroom and dumped into the water of their pool, and it causes Itona to have the same effects as Koro-sensei, especially once the students cover him in water and he ends up with his tentacles having the same problems as well. Itona’s handler decides they need to leave, and everyone is safe in the end, with Terasaka finally acting like he somewhat enjoys being with everyone.

The last three chapters of this volume go over the beginning of the students’ final exam. Koro-sensei gives them a hard to pass up deal: The students that get the highest score in each subject would be allowed to shoot off one of his tentacles each, lowering his speed for a better chance at them killing him.

Of course that makes the students study harder, especially after making a bet with Class A that, which class loses, will have to fulfill whatever request the winning class makes of them. Principal Asano’s son, Gakushu, draws up a contract that Class E would be forced to abide by should they lose, because of his desire to find out what the deal is with Class E. The final exam begins, just barely, in the final chapter, and the volume closes.

New characters are either good or bad with a series, depending on their personalities and their ties to the story and other, usually main, characters. Gakushu is an interesting addition, even though he feels like he’s really just a carbon copy of his father, which I generally tend to dislike in stories.

I really can’t wait to volume seven later today, because I want to see so badly what happens with the final exam and if Class E can pull out a victory over Class A. I really hope they can and do!!

Manga Mondays — Naruto Volume 7: The Path You Should Tread

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***VizMedia did not have a hand in this post other than the publication of the series in the US. They did not provide me with a copy of this book to review. It was done for fun, not monetary gain.***

Volume 7 of Naruto picks up immedaitely where volume 6 left off. Ino, Shikamaru, and Choji are in the middle of protecting Sakura while she watches of Naruto and Sasuke. They take on the Sound Ninja for a time, until Lee’s teammates TenTen and Neji show up, but they aren’t even able to do a thing before Sasuke finally wakes up from being unconscious, but Sakura can tell something is not right with him. The mark Orochimaru had given him had spread over his body.

Sasuke’s first concern is to find who on earth beat Sakura so badly, and when Zaku, one of the Sound Nin, says it was him, Sasuke quickly starts to fight against him, ending with breaking Zaku’s arms before turning to take on Dosu. Sakura, though, stops Sasuke by hugging him from behind and telling him to stop, which causes the mark to recede and Sasuke to return to normal. The Sound Nin retreat after leaving their scroll of Team 7, things are calm once again.

Moving on from that, the story jumps backwards ten hours, to Anko stumbling through the forest and being found by the ANBU, who take her to the tower. She tells them that exams absolutely must continue because of Orochimaru’s threats, and there was no other way to prevent the descruction of the village at that time. Before anything else can be decided, another proctor for the exam comes in, telling Anko she absolutely had to see something, and plays a video for her, showing that the team from the Sand Village–Gaara, Temari, Kankurou–had completed the exam in just 97 minutes, a new record.

The story jumps even farther back at this point, to 50 minutes after the exam began, and shows Team 8 (Kiba and Akamaru, Hinata, Shino) making their way to the tower after getting their second scroll right away. They come across Gaara and his siblings fighting against a team from the Rain village, and get a glimpse at Gaara’s sand shield, which protects him from the needle rain that comes down on him.

Gaara, unscathed from the attack, takes the chance to trap the first Rain ninja in sand, and kills him without any hesitation, before doing the same to other Rain ninja. Kiba tells Hinata and Shino that Akamaru was warning them that the Rain ninja was in danger, and it was proven by Gaara’s willingness to just outright murder him.

The story returns to present time, and shows Team 7 trying to get some fish in order to be able to eat and continue trying to get their Earth Scroll. Whilte Sasuke goes to some water, Naruto and Sakura discuss the scrolls and Naruto is about to open the scroll, before Kabuto shows up and stops him. Sasuke comes back after a moment, obviouslt disappointed with Naruto and Sakura for trying to open the scroll, and then challenges Kabuto to a fight for their missing scroll, since Kabuto has both already.

Instead of fighting them, Kabuto leads Team 7 closer to the tower, telling them that it’s very likely the other teams, who have yet to get their set of scrolls, would be there with them, waiting to ambush. This is proven true itself, when the other group of Rain ninja show up with a large group of clones, ready to attack. A battle between them goes on all night, but when morning comes, Team 7 is finally able to defeat the Rain ninja and continue to the tower, finally completing the second part of the exam with their set of scrolls.

This was a pretty heavy volume, for being in the first tenth of the series. It shows how different Sasuke is now, with the Curse Mark on him, Sakura’s ability to quell that mark, and Naruto’s growth. It was a really good volume, and it even gives us a look at who Kabuto really is, and it’s just going to get deeper and heavier as things go on!

(Yes, this is a 3-in-1 volume. Everything until the end of Part 1 is now a 3-in-1 volume in my collection.)

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