COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Naruto #699-700: The End of Naruto
(Photo Credit: Amazon)
Naruto Shippuuden #699-700
November 10th, 2014
Concluding a journey that began 15 years ago, Masashi Kishimoto’s beloved manga, Naruto, will close out its epic adventure on November 10th, 2014 in a two part finale. By what ever measure of fortune it may be counted, I have been dutifully following the escapades of Naruto and company for the majority of my adult life. Whether as a function of time or due to genuine affection, I have grown invested in Mr. Kishimoto’s narrative. So, truly, it is not without a modicum of sorrow that I bid its characters farewell.
Before I continue, I will warn you that I intend to be forthcoming with a few details that will ruin a bit of the mystery for those waiting to read the comic themselves. In other words: Here, thar’ be spoilers!
I just can’t quit you! (Photo Credit: Japanator)
Appropriately enough, the story picks up after the epic clash at the Valley of the End. There, amid the rubble of a fallen monument, Naruto and Sasuke are slowly succumbing to the wounds they inflicted upon each other in the previous chapter. Their anguish is short lived, however, as Sakura makes a timely appearance and is able administer some much needed aid. We are then treated to a series of panels that show the protagonist and deuteragonist dispelling the Infinite Tsukiyomi in a very particular and entirely appropriate manner – one that borrows from the none-too-subtle opening images and accentuates the impact of the denouement. All the while, Sasuke provides an accompanying narration declaring the importance of Naruto in his life. For those who have been following the story from its earliest chapters, this is an affirmation that dispels much of the miasma that has burdened the heir of the Uchiha for sometime.
You earned it, bud! (Photo Credit: iDigitalTimes)
The story picks up shortly thereafter with a telling shot of the Hokage Monument. In a very welcome addition, it now sports the obscured visage of Team 7’s perpetual instructor: Hatake Kakashi. After a moment of mourning for the fallen (Neiji’s grave is singled out in a side panel), it is revealed that through the efforts of Kakashi and Naruto, Sasuke has received a full pardon for his transgressions against the Hidden Leaf Village. The penultimate chapter concludes with Sasuke leaving on a pilgrimage of sorts. He intends to see what has become of the ninja world after this latest series of events. Before he leaves, however, he vows to return and offers a flustered Sakura some much needed recognition. Finally, as he begins to exit the village, he is confronted by Naruto one final time. The exchange is not unpleasant and allows an opportunity for the latter to return Sasuke’s forehead protector. It is a fitting parting gift and a touching note to end the saga on.
Uh, so we’re cool now, right? (Photo Credit: iDigitalTimes)
The final chapter of the story picks up a few years after the preceding events. The opening scene takes place inside the Hidden Leaf ninja academy where classes are being lead by none other than Aburame Shino. This sets the tone for what ends up being a rather tame closing act. A series of snippets from the lives of our age-progressed heroes inform us of what has transpired during the time-skip. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises here; just about all the pairings you are hoping will happen, do. And while that is satisfying, it also proves to be a slightly underwhelming farewell to a memorable crew. After nearly two decades of pulling at my heart strings, the story kind of fizzles out a little by giving us exactly what we want (although, in a fairly dick move, we are STILL not shown what Kikashi looks like under his mask). That’s not to say that certain mysteries don’t remain; there is a very explicit advertisement included for a future series that promises to address some of these concerns. I suppose, however, that the biggest question lingering in the minds of Naruto fans around the world is very simply whether or not the eponymous hero achieves his goal of becoming hokage. Well, rather than bore you with more word stuffs about who became what and such, I figured it would be more fitting to provide you a few choice snapshots from the epilogue.
(Photo Credit: Naruto Pure Blog)
(Photo Credit: Naruto Base)
Hinata and Himawara (Hinata X Naruto Daughter)
(Photo Credit: Manga Frontier)
Naruto and Bolt (Hinata X Naruto Son)
(Photo Credit: Narutopedia)
In the end, I think all Naruto fans are going to be compelled to finish out the series. While I can’t say this is exactly the ending I would have hoped for, it is a perfectly acceptable and neat closing to a long and hard-fought journey. I believe Mr. Kishimoto said best:
“I feel both happy and sad reaching my final chapter. It’s a difficult feeling. Even so, I can say this: My thanks to all the readers. Thank you so much for reading until the end. Thanks for so long, and good work. Believe it!!”
Quote Translation taken from Kishimoto, M. (2014). Shonen Jump Manga Creators Also Send Off Naruto With Comments. Retrieved from http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2014-11-08/shonen-jump-manga-creators-also-send-off-naruto-with-comments/.80813
It is a “difficult feeling” to have to say good-bye, but I am glad to have been a part of the journey that made it so-dattebayo.
Slider image taken from Fear World Wiki.
All images are the property of Shuiesha, Inc. and creator Masashi Kishimoto.