"I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth."

--Ursula K. Leguin

November 2009

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Posts Tagged: 'anime-manga:+naruto'

Sep. 11th, 2009

Weekly manga roundup

TRC: ...for pity's sake, just write a damn /ending/ already.

Naruto: This is getting pathetically boring. The current fight has no draw to it, no magnetism, both parties have gotten downright annoying.

Bleach: *squeaks* Oo! Oo! Maybe they're back?! Also, Starkk rocks.

KHR: *dotes on Gokudera's glee over his explosives* On the other hand, I find it deeply annoying that Amano has reverted to spaz!Tsuna. Total characterization fail, Amano. The prospect of seeing Dino and Hibari fighting is lovely, but clearly only a tease at the moment. *grumps a bit over that*

Apr. 10th, 2009

Weekly Manga Roundup

My response to TRC/Holic is pretty steady these days, and consists of something along the lines of: WTF Clamp?! I mean, the mother named the same thing as the soulmate was bad enough, but now we’re way into the weird spiritual incest and/or masturbation realm. And still no ending in sight. *sighs*

Naruto, on the other hand, is looking interesting, despite the continuing obliteration of the moral and psychological dynamics from the first two-thirds (ie teamwork). It looks like we may be shaping up for a round of “You use that word a lot…”. I am still wondering where the hell Sasuke et al are and how exactly he and/or Madara are going to play into this. I mean, the most emotionally satisfying thing would be for the current trio to break the pattern of the past trios and actually redeem the poor guy, but I’m becoming increasingly unconvinced of Kishimoto’s dedication to satisfying endings.

Bleach… well, now, I have mixed feelings this week. The Ulquiorra-Inoue dynamic got some halfway decent continuation, but little closure. He remains rather a mystery. I don’t actually object to that, but the way that dynamic crossed with the Ulquiorra-Ichigo was… distracting. There’s a lot of development happening, but it all seems to be subterranean. I’m hoping that soon we will get some greater in-action explication.

Jan. 16th, 2009

Weekly manga roundup

Back from the holidays, and all I can say about most of these is “well finally!”.

Naruto )

Bleach )

TRC )

Dec. 18th, 2008

Kishimoto grinds the gears

Reading Naruto, of late, I feel like I’m reading Death Note all over again. As Ohba did, Kishimoto has drastically altered the structure and themes of the story he is telling, halfway through. And, as with DN, I like the first part better.

The first part of Naruto dealt with personal growth and the formation of personal and communal bonds. It dealt with children learning their own strength and, perhaps even moreso, each other’s strength. It also had vivid characters with engaging stories, dramatic enough to be exciting and regular enough to relate to easily, who carried these themes. The team that we follow all through the first part has a wonderfully high-tension relationship in Naruto and Sasuke plus the balance wheel of Sakura, who made it possible for them to operate as a team and thus keep bouncing off each other. It had shifting relationships and growing bonds of love and loyalty between the three of them, plus, for a bonus, the Sardonic Teacher in the form of Kakashi to serve as a commentator on their development.

I’m inclined to call the breakup of the team the first in a series of sharks this story jumped, but on reflection I think that, while true, this was not inevitable.  The development of the above themes actually lasted a bit past Sasuke’s departure. It would have been possible to preserve the momentum. Alas, that is not what Kishimoto chose to do.

Instead, the second half not only breaks up the team (which could have been a perfectly valid narrative move to spur further character growth) but it takes the focus away from their development and their relationships. Instead Naruto finds himself largely in isolation again, this time with the support of adults, cultivating his power.  It’s like his friends have only served to help manifest his solitary destiny, which is totally counter to the early themes.  Sakura seems to have an interesting storyline, from what little we see of it, but that’s the sticking point right there–we see so little of it. As for Sasuke… he has interesting things happening around him, but they seem to have absolutely zero impact on his character; he appears to have actually regressed and, while that too could have been turned into a useful narrative point, nothing is made of the fact.  Instead he’s just been bumped back as if none of his early development happened at all.  He, and Naruto to a large extent, have ceased to grow as characters; instead they just get glitzy new powers. The dynamic tension of their relationship has lapsed, and with it most of the zing of the series.

By the same token, one of the deepest themes of the first part was friendship and rivalry and what they mean and how they interact. That theme has disappeared. We have lingering references to it, but the actions of the characters show no urgency or plot-energy invested in the theme at all. Instead we have the growth of an historical theme, one that steps back and looks at the philosophical issues of ninja-dom in this universe. That could be interesting, but it isn’t what I want while the plot and character threads from the first half are still dangling around unfulfilled!

Really, Kishimoto should just have kept writing Naruto the way he was and spun off a completely different manga, probably focusing on Itachi, if he wanted to address the historical thread. They might have been crossed again later, and that could have made a fascinating maturation opportunity for the youngsters as they got older, but trying to do both in the same narrative space clearly isn’t going to work. And if this is, as is rumored, the fault of the Jump editors… then may the fleas of a thousand camels infest their armpits and may an unclean yak back into their linen closets and may they always have papercuts when they go to prepare vinegared rice.

Jun. 24th, 2008

Weekly Manga Roundup (a bit late)

Bleach: *fans self* Oh my. Aizen has met his match for top contender in the “badness is hot like fire” sweepstakes. Who knew Urahara could be sexy as hell?

Naruto: *slaps desk* There, now that is a fine issue! Why can’t you write like that more often, Kishimoto? Just the right balance of heart-rending and hopeful, with good, stark shading to complement it. Ditch all these fights with characters who take ten freaking issues to die after being gut-stabbed and write like this more.

Eyeshiled 21: … InaMura, you want to kill us, don’t you? What was that? Three reverses in one issue? My heart won’t take another three months of this!

All in all, a darn good week.