This is supposedly the "year of Sasuke" but I feel really underwhelmed so far. It's not that the Uchiha battle isn't action-packed. It is (in a genjutsu sorta way), but it isn't as epic as I imagined it'd be for the years I've waited for it. I mean, it's pretty much been established as what to come for oh, I dunno, 391 chapters. Sasuke and Itachi are hands down my favorite characters and without them (mainly Sasuke) I wouldn't be following this series. I didn't mind the direction Kishi seems to have taken with Itachi, making him an insane loon (battle ain't over till it's over so he could do some random 180 and make us all go "wtf?!"), but it's also missing the quality that should set this show apart from the rest as #1. As I reflect on my part II reading, I'm noticing that pretty much all of these battles have lacked the excitement that part I battles entailed. I was hoping this would be different to set it from the rest since this is a REALLY important battle, but Kishi has sort of let me down in that area. I know that the battle's not over, but the "end" is not going to save the overall affect it's had on me.
Part II lacks the same part I spark. I mean, I do like that they are older, but it's not sufficient enough. Kishi's snail pacing just isn't doing it for me. I thought just the Uchihas would be enough, but they aren't. Perhaps if he mixed up what was happening with Konoha and the Uchihas at the same time, it may not feel this bad, but this battle has exposed the character of the pace and quality that defines part II. It's just not the same and just not as good. It's more bearable, but meh...
Team 7 is the glue holding this all together, and yet it's dawned on me that it's been yet ANOTHER two years since the last reunion. Naruto and Sakura can't carry the show without Sasuke. So what does Kishi have them do? Think about him, search for him, recruit other characters to search for him. And now I'm seeing that Sasuke off on his own can't carry the show either. And what has happened besides Kishi just delaying delaying and delaying? No wonder people lose sight of what the story is supposed to revolve around.
Maybe I set my expectations too high. I certainly got a good wake-up call at this year's Katsucon, with a ridiculous amount of cosplaying teeny boppers for this show. The fandom as a whole has absolutely disgusted me. The behavior is childish because they're children.
My slight concern is if Kishi aware himself that he's wasted so much time. Time has not made my heart grow fonder of a damn thing. I hope and hope and hope; and yet now fear that anything we get out of Kishi will be lackluster and not even worth the effort of caring about at all. The time he's wasting in these chapters could be spent strengthening bonds, increasing characterization, and reducing the repetitiveness. Even Kishi gives me what I want, I now don't expect it to be as great as I imagine it to be :-/.
I figured now was a good of time as any, since this is what I've waited for. And now with my new computer, I've found that Naruto no longer has to be the center of my anime watching world. I can fully enjoy other manga and anime series, as well as books. It is certainly refreshing to see that many elements of Naruto are analogous to other series (though I already knew it), and they are already more fulfilling, or on the road to be. I like steady progress. What can I say?