Review by: Edward Zacharias
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Manga)
MSRP: $7.95 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The power of Uchiha revealed!
I think I have to retract what I said about Sasuke Uchiha in past reviews when Animanga Nation was a print publication. I had called the guy a whiny, unlikable emo kid whose one-track mind frustrated even the likes of Naruto but things have definitely changed in this second chapter. Sasuke has become something else despite the fact that his goals haven’t changed. In Volume 40, Sasuke has officially become one of my favorite new characters in this series.
Sasuke and his newly formed cell had decided to track down Itachi Uchiha by locating members of the Akatsuki and it was two members of this group that found Sasuke instead. Facing off against Deidara and Tobi on his own, Sasuke put up an impressive fight until Deidara decided to unleash his most extraordinary C4 explosive ever … a giant balloon-sized version of himself. The problem isn’t in the bursting of said balloon but the millions of fragments that scatter. You see, upon impact the fragments shred the insides of anything it touches and it touches Sasuke who is eaten alive … or so it seems.
The truth is that Sasuke has not only obtained true power but he has also become smarter in ways that Deidara could not have anticipated. Sasuke’s counterattack is swift and it gives the Akatsuki no choice but to truly unleash his ultimate weapon as a last resort and that weapon is himself. I won’t go into detail what happens but this is definitely Deidara last stand. The impact of these final moments is so massive that it leaves a giant crater in its wake. It startles Naruto and the others who had split up in search of either Sasuke or Itachi Uchiha. On top of that, Sasuke’s presence suddenly disappears.
The Akatsuki also sense the passing of their comrades Deidara and Tobi and news of Sasuke’s death reaches Itachi as well. For a split second, it seems that Itachi was affected by hearing that Sasuke died in the battle but reveals to his close companion that his little brother is alive and kicking … a fact that is proven when Sasuke’s companions locate the injured Sasuke. It seems that Sasuke has pulled out his trump card in the battle as well in his use of one of Orochimaru’s biggest allies. Meanwhile, Kakashi-sensei also believes Sasuke is alive and the team continues the search.
With the help of Kiba, whose tracking abilities and keen nose have improved over the years, comes close to finding Sasuke but it is Sasuke’s companion Karin who throws the team off as Sasuke presses on to locate his brother who is nearby. Interestingly enough, it is Naruto who finds Itachi and – even though the older Uchiha had no plans to attack Naruto but rather speak to him – Naruto’s impulsive nature only makes the brother leave to finally face his younger brother. That’s right, Sasuke has finally caught up with Itachi and the family reunion isn’t pretty. Then again, this moment that we have been waiting for is but just the beginning.
Back in Konoha, Lord Jiraiya makes a startling report to the Lady Hokage who the Pervy Sage convinces to leave her office for some drinks. We knew of their long history together but we come to learn even more about them in the final chapters of the Volume. It is clear to Jiraiya that he must infiltrate the enemy village for more Intel and it is even more clear that Lady Tsunade is worried about Jiraiya. Their conversation even reveals something about Naruto that hardly has come up often in the early half of the series.
In the final chapter, Jiraiya does infiltrate the enemy’s home base and finds out a few shocking details about the Akatsuki leader named Pain. Unfortunately, the enemy also catches wind of Jiraiya’s presence and mobilize to find him as the Pervy Sage tries to get information from a few flunkies. Oh, but there’s more when the real leader of the group reveals himself. It’s definitely an unexpected surprise.
Volume 40 of Naruto is as intense as it is action-packed as Sasuke comes so much closer to realizing his dream of slaying his brother Itachi. The moment he – and we – have been waiting for since Volume 1 is finally here. On top of that, we learn more about Naruto via his mentor Jiraiya who sets off on a dangerous mission that worries even the Hokage. This series just keeps getting better to the point that we can’t help but love it just a little more with each volume.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Sasuke’s battle with Deidara becomes even more intense when the Akatsuki pulls off one of his biggest and most lethal attacks that leads everyone around them to believe that Sasuke is dead. With a deadly member of the Akatsuki gone, the group finds Sasuke alive and Naruto finds Itachi only for the older Uchiha to finally go up against his younger sibling. Meanwhile, Jiraiya enters the lion’s den solo as the village becomes aware of his presence.
Sasuke’s battle with Deidara is, by far, one of the most impressive visual moments in this entire series and one of the most exciting moments that makes each panel worth savoring.
Naruto, Volume 40, is nothing short of impressive as Sasuke Uchiha proves himself worthy of battling against his older brother. With all that has happened in the last three volumes, this one has finally reached a critical point where nothing will ever be the same again and where things are seriously going to get even more exciting in the next few volumes.