Naruto Volume 50: Water Prison Death Match

Naruto Volume 50: Water Prison Death Match
Story and Art: Masashi Kishimoto
Release Date: 4th March 2010
Covers Chapters 464-473
Shonen Jump/Viz Media

Naruto hits 50 in volume count and brings with it a wild frenzy of chaos. Sasuke has gone mad, Naruto is breaking apart and Sakura is being… well she’s not handling things in a calm manner. But it isn’t just the main characters feeling the pull of the events of the ninja world, we’ve got the Kage meeting falling apart, Madara revealing his plans and Killer Bee has trouble with Akatsuki once more. Things are packed and crazy.

A lot of things happen in the volume as the opening paragraph suggests, and it all happens at the same time as scenes switch to and fro. Evil Sasuke is still a little odd, yet his fight against all the Kages is frantic and really exciting. We see a huge variety of new jutsus from different characters and seeing Sasuke handle it all in a self-destructive manner really pulls in a scale of uncertainty if he will get out of this. Meanwhile we have Sakura heading to Naruto with a plan which turns out to be something a little out there. Sakura has degraded into a horrible character as the series has gone on, and seeing her lie to Naruto about love is sickening. Naruto not being the happy go getting character of the past is also disconcerting as he’s become overwhelmed by the problems he just can’t get over. It’s a sad state of affairs for the main cast and seems to be a milk case of character assassination as everything is pulled apart. At least it is certainly a bit different from the norm.

Outside of the main cast not doing so well, we have Madara’s plan. This feels a little underwhelming, or at least full of new information which is hard to take at the moment. Ten tails? Neon Genesis style all is one plot? They aren’t terrible ideas and it does mean it leads to some interesting future events, ten tails has to happen now it’s been introduced, but it does seem a little fan fiction as hints haven’t really been there beforehand.

The final bulk of the volume is two fights happening at once. Killer Bee finally returns to the pages as he tackles fish man Kisame, while one of Danzo’s men ends up in a psychological battle against a Mist ninja to try to claim this man’s eye. Brains and brawn all happening at once lead to fights which cover all bases and they are as exciting as Sasuke’s craziness. Kishi really nails the fights in his story if anything, and while Kisame has a slightly odd-looking transformation, he provides some challenges to Bee who has the power of the eight tails behind him. Unfortunately both fights end in unsatisfactory ways, at least in terms of the villains always being the under dog. I just want a bad guy to win for a change!

Volume 50 has everything and while it might not all be pure golden manga, it is certainly entertaining.

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