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 secrets of Pain and brotherhood are revealed!
Groundbreaking, colossal and unforgettable are words that come to mind after you finally put down Volume 42 of Naruto. Not since Naruto’s return to Konoha in Volume 28 has a volume joined the ranks of past memorable moments of recently such as the death of Orochimaru by Sasuke’s hand or the demise of Master Asuma by the Akutsaki. Yet in Volume 42 of Naruto, there are two monumental moments that make this particular volume the one that earns the series its “World’s Most Popular Manga” title.
Having infiltrated the enemy stronghold and faced off against the more powerful members of the Akatsuki, Lord Jiraiya did not fall back nor did he want to because somewhere among those robed men are the children he once mentored. Even when the enemy tore his arm off and send the Master Shinobi reeling back from their blow, Jiraiya stayed to discover the secret of Pain and the Akatsuki. As all the faces begin to seem familiar to him, he comes to the realization that he has – at one point in his life – come across each of the present Akatsuki.
Not wanting to run with the little information he has obtained, he sends Ma Toad out of the battlefield and makes her remember a message he wants transmitted back to the Hidden Leaf Village. He just doesn’t know the true identity of Pain until the unthinkable happens during the battle. Suddenly, a flood of memories begins to resurface as Jiraiya begins to despair and remember the failures in his life that include not being able to help his own mentor, stop his close friend turning to the dark side or saving his best pupil. Speaking of said pupil, an interesting revelation is made in one of his memories that concerns Naruto. It becomes apparent to Jiraiya that he didn’t fail in one aspect of his life.
I won’t go into what happens at the end of this chapter but I will say that Jiraiya does come to identify Pain and he transmits this information to Pa during one of the most darkest moments of the chapter. Really, this is by far one of the defining moments in this series and one that will simply not fail to make you read it all over again. Meanwhile, Naruto and the others come across an Akatsuki enemy who challenges them. It’s really a distraction to keep the inevitable meeting between Sasuke and Itachi Uchiha right on schedule.
That’s right, Sasuke finally catches up to his older brother, Itachi. Sasuke is not merciful and doesn’t even show a flicker of emotion towards his brother. Their fight is so intense and jaw-droopingly enthralling that it definitely stands as one of the greatest fights in the series. It becomes clear to Itachi that Sasuke’s skills have come a long way and he even sees right through Itachi’s Genjutsu. Just when Itachi thinks he has his brother by the throat, Sasuke manages to upstage him.
It seems Sasuke was prepared for his showdown with his brother but what he wasn’t prepared for was the answer to his question of why his brother killed off their parents and the rest of the Uchiha clan. At last, we get a straight answer out of Itachi and what he reveals is startling. You see, Itachi is after something only the Uchiha clan possesses as well as the legend behind that something. While that is some shocking news, the most astonishing fact comes in the form of another revelation concerning their clan.
Their battle doesn’t stop there as the two brothers finally drop their gloves and attacks at full force with the power of the Uchiha. Even an Akatsuki onlooker is taken aback by the sheer force of their power and just as things get really good the chapter ends.
As I said, Naruto, Volume 42, is a volume that will be very difficult to shake from your mind. A lot is revealed in this volume and a lot happens that will help shape the future events in a series that simply doesn’t stop to amaze us with the powerful storytelling that continues to make the Naruto series one of the best shonen manga around. Drop what you’re doing and pick up a copy of this volume immediately.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
As Jiraiya decides to take a stand against his Akatsuki opponents, the Pervy Sage finally learns the dark secret about Pain and we learn something about Naruto from his mentor’s memories. After one of the most unbelievable chapters in Naruto history, the moment we’ve been waiting for his here as Sasuke confronts his brother Itachi to learn a dark secret about the Uchiha clan.
Once again, more is said with one detailed panel than a whole dialogue balloon and this is clearly evident in this particular volume. The cover has my vote for Best Naruto Cover Ever.
It isn’t a surprise that the Naruto series just keeps getting better and better with every volume but Volume 42 of Naruto goes well beyond just another great volume. This is the volume that will not only change the face of the series but also be engraved in your mind. This is the one we’ll be talking about for years to come.