Review by: Edward Zacharias
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump)
MSRP: $7.95 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Something annoying this way comes.
I’ve admitted many a time that Sasuke Uchiha was one of my least favorite characters in Naruto and did not miss him one bit when he decided to run off to Orochimaru to become stronger. Like a new certain somebody in this second chapter in the Naruto saga has said, there’s nothing good about a traitor that turns his back on his friends … especially a friend who cried and asked him not to go. Yet Volume 32 of Naruto has shown me that putting up with moody Sasuke wasn’t so bad after all thanks to a new addition to Team Kakashi.
I’m getting ahead of myself here, though, so I’ll start from the beginning.
After having help saved Gaara, Team Kakashi and Team Guy find themselves in a most interesting situation. The Sand Village now consider them and the Leaf Village as friends and the once psychotically out of control kid that was Gaara offers Naruto his hand in friendship and thus closing a rather bitter chapter that was the past. I actually smiled when Naruto shook Gaara’s hand and loved the prospect of seeing these once rivals as close friends. It was also sad to see Sakura standing over the grave of the brave Granny Chiyo who told Naruto to be that one Hokage that would change everything for the better.
Of course, the Akatsuki is still very much a threat with the survivors such as Deidara collecting the remains of his fallen comrades. The tip that an Akatsuki spy will be showing up on the Tenchi Bridge is taken serious by Lady Tsunade who feels it’s important for Naruto and the remains of Team Kakashi be there. The plan is to capture the spy and have him tell them where Orochimaru is hiding and also rescuing Sasuke. Unfortunately, the battle with Deidara has left Kakashi-sensei temporarily disabled so the Leaf Village elders recommend a replacement that comes in the form of a Black Ops commander. The leader of the Black Ops order also wants another addition to the team onboard as well.
Impatiently, Naruto goes on a quest for a new young member of Team Kakashi and encounters characters we had yet to see since the two year time skip. He had already went on a mission with Team Guy and he already caught up with Shikamaru so as he wanders the streets he runs into none other than Shino and Kiba (with Akamaru who is not longer a small pup). It’s great to see these characters again with new uniforms but nothing tops the moment Naruto finds and older Hinata who still has the world’s biggest monster crush on him. This moment is gold, I tell you.
We also meet Kakashi’s replacement, Commander Yamato who is a respected member of the Black Ops. He’s an unusual guy and knows he has big shoes to fill and perhaps this is the reason I like him. Unfortunately, the other new member of Team Kakashi makes his introduction a threatening one when he brings his ink drawings to life to test Naruto’s skills. At that moment, Naruto has managed to catch up with the members of Team Asuma such as Choji and a far more attractive older Ino.
Naruto quickly comes to discover the identity of his attacker and it just so happens to be a mysterious young Sasuke-wannabe named Sai. So far, we can to learn a few things about this character, including his ability to use drawings and the fact that he’s connected to the Black Ops. Oh, and he’s also annoying to the point that you’ll dislike him from the moment he opens his mouth. We’re suppose to feel sorry for a guy who was trained not to show any emotions or know when to keep his mouth shut. Even Sakura knocks his face in when Sai insults Sasuke for having left the Village. As irritating as Sai is, though, the story becomes interesting as the new Team Kakashi reach their destination. The identity of the Akatsuki spy is revealed and it will certainly leave you surprised and hoping the next volume would arrive a lot sooner.
Naruto, Volume 32, isn’t short on surprises whether its catching up to other familiar faces and the pleasant scene between to old foes that ends in friendship. With a number memorable moments, however, comes the bitter aftertaste that is Sai. If you’re able to put with this major aggravation, there’s a great story here that ends in an intriguing cliffhanger.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The Gaara rescue story arc comes to a very satisfying conclusion and its great to see older versions of other characters we haven’t seen since the time skip such as Kiba and Ino just to name a few. With a new replacement for their Master, Team Kakashi must deal with one of the most annoying characters to come along in a long time. Sasuke, I hate to admit it but I miss you, man.
Kishimoto’s art is definitely one of the many highlights the Naruto series has to offer and in this volume he is joined by some awesome artists providing original art throughout the volume. I like Takahashi Kazuhiro’s piece but Ohkubo Akira’s drawing of Naruto and Rock Lee charging into battle is my person favorite.
There’s a lot to love about this volume and there are certainly a lot of standout moments as well (check out the scene where Naruto runs into and older Hinata) but the addition of Sai – I must say – is just as irritating as the character himself. Still, things are going to get really interesting in the coming chapters and we can’t wait.