With the power of the nine tails mostly in Naruto’s control and a heartfelt meeting with his mother, everything is ramped up! Villains make their moves and the war gets ever closer. A triple dose of fights bring about a chaotic volume. Sharks, rainbows and snakes await!
With Naruto’s new glowing power-up, Kisame can lurk no more. A third match between Kisame and taijutsu user Gai takes place and there is no time to waste. With the threat of the location of the demon hosts getting out, Gai must stop Kisame and prevent the intel escaping. The battle is fast and furious, leading to a slight abandonment of ninja tactics and skills in favour of super powerful attacks, but it is an entertaining ride. It is pleasing to see Gai and Kisame’s feuds come to a close and the final flashback of the badass shark man is a worthwhile one. No soppy backstories to ruin his appeal. Just a shame the rest of the cast have to act like fumbling imbeciles to make this bout take place.
Fight two of the volume is a little more serious, as main villain Madara and ex-Akatsuki member Konan duke it out. Madara has come to claim the all-powerful Rinnegan eyes from the rotting corpse of Nagato, revealing a few juicy details along the way. This fight serves to power-up Madara for the war and he appears incredibly menacing as he attempts to break the bridge of peace Konan hopes to form. There are some silly numbers thrown around in the battle which feels implausible even for Naruto standards, but by this point you just have to accept that Naruto battles are just going to get crazier and crazier as the finale looms ever closer.
And the third battle is Kabuto showing his new abilities as he faces a Kage in battle! More ineptness from side characters brings a little doubt to the heroes actually having brains anymore, and while it worked to entertain in the Kisame fight, it detracts from the severity of the situation here. It does push the plot forward and throws some questions on Kabuto’s true motives, but the plot seems to be making everyone dumber so the heroes don’t dominate too much.
Volume 54 is an action packed volume and works as a fun transition in the war. It has battles, comedy, drama, backstory, movement and a little emotion. Bit of everything before the war begins.