Review by: Edward Zacharias
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Genre: Action (Graphic Novel)
MSRP: $7.95 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Secrets and revelations and why we love this older Naruto.
And here I thought nothing could beat the surprising sight of an older Naruto and Sakura in Volume 28. Considered the second chapter in the Naruto saga, we got to see older versions of Team Kakashi and sans Sasuke the pair runs off with Kakashi on a mission to discover what happened to Gaara … the new Kazekage of the Sand Village. In Volume 29, we get a peek at the enemy known as the Akatsuki and what they have planned with the captured Gaara.
At the end of the last volume, Team Guy was also called in to support Team Kakashi and is was great to see the older versions of Rock Lee, Tenten and Neji. They are sent on their way to discover the location of the Akatsuki and they do so with the aid of Pakkun who has already caught Gaara’s scent. Meanwhile, Sakura shows off her medical ninja skills she learned from being a direct apprentice of the Lady Hokage. Her skills are able to successfully aid Kankuro who was poisoned during the battle that led to Gaara’s capture. Sakura’s skills even impress Granny Chiyo who decides to go with Team Kakashi after having heard the name of one of Gaara’s attackers.
Granny Chiyo still has old unresolved feeling about the Leaf Village and is baffled by Naruto’s need to save Gaara. It becomes apparent to her that there’s something not quite normal about our spiky haired hero and she makes inquires about him along the way. Yet during a ceremony performed by members of the Akatsuki, the clan’s leader dispatches two fearsome foes to delay both teams. Stepping out to meet Team Guy is none other then the shark-faced Kisame while Team Kakashi confronts none other than Sasuke’s older brother, Itachi Uchiha. Oh yeah, it’s one of those moments that will have you rubbing your eyes wondering if you’re seeing things correctly.
Sakura is the only member of the team that doesn’t recognize Itachi but Naruto knows him well seeing at both Itachi and Kisame infiltrated the Leaf Village to capture him. While seeing Kisame again is great, it’s the return of Itashi that will have you sitting up. After all, he is the very reason Sasuke left the Leaf Village to join Orochimaru and their first battle was interrupted. Things are different, as Itachi confesses, and Naruto’s fighting skills have improved but during the battle it is Naruto who falls under the spell of Itachi’s Genjutsu. During this nightmarish state, Naruto fears of having failed both Sakura and Kakashi-sensei comes into light. This is one of the finest moments in the volume and when the Genjutsu if broken by Sakura and Granny Chiyo, it takes Naruto some time to react and ends up beating Itachi with a one-two combo between Naruto and Kakashi.
On the other side, Team Guy goes up against Kisame who is completely annoyed with the fact that Might Guy doesn’t remember him. The battle is as fierce as the Itachi battle and when Neju, Rock and Tenten are disabled by Kisame’s clones, Might Guy unleashes his true power that ends the intense battle violently. In the end, however, we come to a major disappointment about Kisame and Itachi. Oh well, the battle was impressive and we’re sure to Itachi and Kisame again.
Yet the best part of the volume are the revelations of the Akatsuki true intentions. It seems that much like Naruto, Gaara possesses a Biju … which in Naruto’s case is the Nine-Tailed Fox that was sealed in him since he was an infant. There is a way of extracting the Biju but at the cost of the life of the host body. In short, extracting Gaara’s Biju would mean Gaara’s death. This, of course, trouble Sakura who fears for Naruto. It’s a tender scene and one that seems to indicate that Sakura is slowly seeing Naruto in a different light than when they were younger. We knew Naruto had a major crush on Sakura but could things be changing in Naruto’s favor now that Sasuke is no longer in the picture? It’s too early to tell be this is why we love the two year jump.
I’m usually not a fan of cliffhangers – in fact, I downright despise them if you have to wait two or so months for the next volume – but this one pulls off a cliffhanger ending that will seriously have you really waiting for Volume 30. Naruto, Volume 29, already contains memorable moments that stand out. If you thought 28 was a good number for Naruto then you will definitely love this one.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The 28th volume of the series was an interesting start that kicked off a new chapter in the Naruto saga but this volume peels off some of the layers that make up the mystery that is the Akatsuki. There are two major fights in this volume and is Sakura’s feelings for Naruto more than just worry?
Visually impressive fight sequences are broken up a bit in this one but you have to love the detail and the sequence where Might Guy unleashes his true strength. Is it me or is the art just getting better and better?
Naruto’s continuing quest to save Gaara reveals much about him and the enemy that had pursued him in the past in Volume 29. While the last volume was a re-introduction (of sorts), this one picks up the pace like past storylines and boy Naruto’s encounter with Itachi Uchiha will not fail to impress.