Naruto Volume 55: The Great War Begins

Naruto Volume 55: The Great War Begins
Story and Art: Masashi Kishimoto
Release Date: 21st April 2011
Covers Chapters 515-524
Shonen Jump/Viz Media

The war to protect the demon beast hosts has begun! The Shinobi Alliance versus Madara, Kabuto and their army of clones and undead ninjas! The opening moments to the war can be the most crucial, and here in volume 55 we see which team gains the upper hand. Traps will be laid, blood will be shed, and Naruto will continue to be an oblivious idiot to it all. 

Volume 55 packs a punch as it sets up the upcoming battles, while providing us some warm up matches to keep things exciting. Maps, divisions and tactics are shown which makes for some text heavy chapters, but these information dumps do bring some context and depth to the battles happening on the page. We learn how each side try to outsmart one another and there is a real sense of a huge battle ready to happen, rather than just groups having one on one fights. Thought is being put into this war, though Naruto constantly being tricked to avoid jumping in is getting a little tired. At least he goes off to do some training on his new power so we don’t have to put up with more excuses on why he can’t leave the turtle island.

The opening battles to the war are quick yet have a decent display of team work and tactics. It starts with the two commando units aiming to get an upper hand on the first day, and this battle helps showcase the benefits of the undead army and also some of their weaknesses. Having side characters take the stage mixes things up, no pages of constant Rasengan and Sharingan here. We also get this in the second battle of the volume as Kakashi’s team battles some familiar faces, the war was an excellent idea to give secondary characters some purpose once more. The undead army weakness may be a little cheesy for some people to swallow, but it’s better to have some emotion than just a brainless horde attacking our heroes.

Volume 55 is a strong start to the war, which may push a touch too much info dumping on the reader, but also offers some quick team based battles which utilise the hardly used cast. The undead army also allows us to see some fan favourites back in action along with some powerful past shinobi who don’t feel like they’ve popped into the story from out of nowhere. War is here, war is good.

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