Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Manga)
MSRP: $7.95 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
This is a history of Pain and toad prophecies.
As Naruto Uzumaki gets older, we begin to piece together the puzzle that is his mysterious life but we are also beginning to learn more about the people around him. In Volume 40 of Naruto, we catch yet another glimpse of the Pervy Sage’s life as Lord Jiraiya comes to recognize that the passing of an old foe means that something far more stronger than he, Tsunade or Orochimaru is leading the Akatsuki. Now, in Volume 41, Lord Jiraiya doesn’t just fight to preserve peace but to also to stay alive.
Having infiltrated the Hidden Rain Village, Lord Jiraiya is finding it hard to get any information out of the shinobi he captured. Despite being low-ranking ninjas, they are convinced that Pain is a God that has the village’s best interest. It’s interesting to see that they rather be tortured than talk about the leader of the Akatsuki. Meanwhile, the enemy sensed the Pervy Sage’s presence and mobilizes and send Konan who displays her power by falling apart in a sea of paper.
In an interesting twist, Jiraiya recognized the beautiful Konan and she recognizes him. Instantly, we are transported to the past where a young Hidden Leaf Village shinobi and his fellow teammates – Tsunade and Orochimaru – meet three war orphans who beg for food. Out kindness or maybe even a sense or responsibility, Jiraiya stays with the children long enough to teach them the ways of the shinobi. He comes to know each of the children and their personalities. The boy Yahiko, for example, is headstrong and determined to bring stability to his land. Konan is sweet, gentle and loves origami. Finally, there’s Nagato who is emotional and just a tad strange.
Living with the children, Jiraiya comes to learn that the children are skilled and learn quickly. He could see, however, that the strongest of the three is Nagato who possesses a gift of sight that makes Sasuke’s Sharingan or Hinata and Neji’s Byakugan look like parlor tricks. I won’t go into what happened to the children after their training was complete but we do learn that Jiraiya thought the rumors of their death was true. When two other attackers show up with the Rinnegan eyes, it also becomes clear that the old sage is in trouble.
Unfortunately for the Pervy Sage, another somewhat familiar face jumps in to save Konan and the Akatsuki’s appearance shocks Lord Jiraiya. Another surprise is that his old pupils are far more powerful than he has ever anticipated. He is forced to turn to his Toad abilities and summons Ma and Pa to help him fight against his attacker that has no sentimental reason to hold back. In fact, they plan to kill Jiraiya. During the battle, Jiraiya does manage to get his attacker to reveal their mission. The reason is shocking and it reminds Jiraiya of another event in his past when he went before the Elder Toad who tells him of a prophecy of a ninja that will bring about a great change. The Elder Toad isn’t very specific but the change he talks about is either to bring peace to the world or to destroy it.
At the moment, though, Jiraiya escapes long enough to come up with a plan to combat the three attackers. The bad news is that all three possess the Rinnegan and they use it in a way that makes Lord Jiraiya’s attacks ineffective. He comes up with a plan and attempts to carry it out only to suffer a counterattacks that leaves a mark on him. It becomes painfully clear that Pain and his Akatsuki are leaving the older shinobi no chance at all. Badly injured, he’s facing foes that should never have been underestimated even by one of the three great shinobi. Meanwhile, in the forest, Naruto’s search for Sasuke leads him on a direct course to his former teammate who doesn’t even stop for Naruto. Things are definitely getting interesting in this series.
Once again making us sit up in our seat, Volume 41 of Naruto is an intense volume that has the Pervy Sage in the fight of his life as he finds himself discovering the secret of the Akatsuki. Clearly outmatched despite his skills, Jiraiya’s battle is one of the more impressive moments in the series and we can definitely tell that the events of this moment will pale in comparison to what is coming up.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Deep in the Hidden Rain Village, Jiraiya comes face-to-face with the Akatsuki only to be surprised by the identity of two of his attackers who are linked to events in his past and a prophecy that tells of a ninja that will bring about peace or the destruction of the world. This mission becomes a fight for survival for the Pervy Sage as he pulls no punches.
As I said before, Kishimoto knows how to make the battles in Naruto not only pleasing to the eye but also downright memorable. As always, this is great work from a great manga-ka.
The gloves are off as Jiraiya and the Akatsuki leaders clash in enemy territory in Volume 41 of Naruto. The secrets of the Akatsuki’s mission becomes clearer now as Jiraiya doesn’t only fight to save the world that is clearly in danger but also to stay alive in the most intense fights of his life. It doesn’t get any better than this, Naruto fans.