I leap and roll off of the train and watch it crash off a cliff.
Things have become so stupid, convoluted and contrived that I no longer care about how the Naruto series ends. Kishimoto has demonstrated that he doesn't give a damn about story consistency and he's just going to do whatever the hell he wants regardless of if it makes sense.
It's his story, so technically he can do that. But that doesn't mean that he should.
When a writer just ignores their own set rules and starts doing whatever the hell they want, then it shows in the story and weakens it. Things like Deus Ex Machina/Diabolus Ex Machina are employed when the writer writes themselves into a corner with no other way out; Handwaves are meant to direct the audience away from plotholes so that they can "enjoy" the show; or even jump sharking just to get a cheap reaction from the audience.
There's a lot of them, but some are just symptoms of the disease or signals from noise. Stuff like Naruto disregarding Hinata's feelings or confession in favor of Sakura even after the Failfession; Team 7 being old chums again; and the overall disappointment concerning the coming of the Ten-Tail are frustrating to watch, but they're not the core of the problem. To find the core of that problem, I've narrowed all of the problems with the Final Arc down to 12 problems that no doubt demonstrate just how much Kishimoto no longer gives a shit.
Here we go.
1. Sakura's Chakra Seal
In Chapter 632, Sakura busts out a new Chakra Seal that she'd learned from Tsunade and uses it to clobber a bunch of Ten-Tail minions alongside Sasuke and Naruto. The Seal came as a result of Sakura holding back and storing a large amount of chakra within the seal over the past 3 years and unleashing it to increase her strength and healing ability.
Like many fans, I called bullshit on this.
Normally, I would be the first person to be happy that Sakura's finally stepped out of her useless shell and finally decided to show what she could do. But this was just badly explained and badly timed. How the hell could Sakura have mastered the technique in under 3 years when Shizune, someone whose been Tsunade's apprentice since she was a little girl, couldn't even utilize it? I know that Sakura has good chakra control, but this is just pushing it!
And even if we accepted the idea that Sakura was just that much more naturally talented than Shizune and almost on par with Tsunade, then where the hell was this seal before? Why didn't she use it against Sasori where she could've gotten killed? Why didn't she use it the first time that Team 7 tried to retrieve Sasuke? Why didn't she use it to save Asuma or anyone else who got killed during Pain's Invasion? Why didn't she use it to kill or capture the nearly blind, exhausted and drained Sasuke after the Failfession and nearly get killed by him twice in a row? Why is she only using it now when the war is at the tail end of it's conclusion and not earlier against the immortal zombie army that Kabuto was throwing at her friends and comrades?
And no. This is not a "Sakura sucks" line of thought. I've already stated before that I have more of a problem with Sakura's implementation and how untapped Sakura's potential has been throughout the whole series. What I don't like is that this comes out of nowhere and has little to no foreshadowing whatsoever and in hindsight just makes her appear even less capable since I still ask why she didn't do this in the first place.
I'm not gonna spend a lot of time on this point...the bullshit of this Chakra Seal is very self-apparent.
2. Shinigami Release Mask
Look, I'm certain that the Uzamaki Clan were very good with fuinjutsu, so the idea of having them create a ritual mask that summons the Shinigami and releases the souls within it would be cool. Except...Orochimaru had knowledge of this mask all along.
Why didn't he use it in Part 1?
Seriously! Some of Orochi's best shinobi, the Sound 4, easily infiltrated the village to retrieve Sasuke without being detected until long after they had left. What was stopping Orochimaru from telling the Sound 4 to find the mask and bring it back with them? Why not have Kabuto get the mask and then Orochimaru can release his "soul-arms" from within the mask as well as the souls of four hokage?
Having Orochimaru wait 4 whole years to implement this plan just makes no sense and the lack of his "soul-arms" was a handicap that nearly cost him his life against Naruto, Sasuke, and Itachi. What was he waiting for? Then he could've summoned four Edo Kages against a weakened Konoha, destroyed it and still took Sasuke as his body!
3. Sasuke wanting to be Hokage
Considering all of the character insight that Sasuke has been going through, I guess I can stomach the idea of him turning around and becoming good after Edo Hashirama's Talk-No Jutsu.
Him wanting to become Hokage? Blow me.
Remember people. This is the same guy who knowingly and willingly deserted Konoha and attempted to murder Naruto and Sakura multiple times when they were trying to save him (most of the time). The same guy who declared that he would destroy the village in retaliation for something that only a handful of people were involved in committing. Wanting to cleanse the honor of a clan that was setting up to launch a destructive coup against the village that would've started a ninja war. Even after his zombie brother is telling him not to destroy Konoha and confirms that their clan wasn't such an "innocent" victim, Sasuke still asserts to wanting to nuke the village.
Now he wants to be it's leader.
Think about how little that makes sense.
Think about how everyone is going to laugh in his face if they don't outright slap chains on his limbs and drag him off to Blood Prison.
This is the equivalent of Judas wanting to become the leader of the Early Christians or Benedict Arnold running for President. I don't care how much you've changed for the better, your past record is working against you and for good reason. Sasuke is a deserter and an international criminal who affiliated with a known terrorist organization seeking to destroy the world.
If Sasuke really wants to run his own village, then go out and make one!
4. Team 7's "Reunion"
I'm honestly much more disappointed with Naruto and Sakura concerning Sasuke's return than Sasuke wanting to become Hokage. With all of the shit that Sasuke has put them through, I'm surprised that neither one tried to slug Sasuke in his face. The last time that they'd met, Sasuke had tried to kill Sakura for the crime of hesitating to kill a dying Karin! Naruto had to save his squad-mate from both her own stupidity and from Sasuke's blind rage.
I know that Naruto doesn't want to perpetuate a Cycle of Hatred, but you can't just let Sasuke off the hook.
Think about it! Would you ever trust a guy like Sasuke to have your back? Knowing everything that he's done? Especially the times when he tried to kill you for the crime of trying to stop him from defecting to a pedophile Snake-Charmer? Then he shows, declares that he'll become hokage (which was your life's dream) and you wouldn't at least give this guy a piece of your mind?
Nope! Naruto acts like things are back to the way that they were and Team 7 is reunited and better than ever!
I'm willing to excuse Karin if only on the grounds that she's possibly emotionally damaged and that at least Sasuke apologized to her (assuming that an apology for murder counts). But he doesn't make any apologetic overtures towards Naruto and Sakura. He just shows up and starts expecting everyone to bow before him and kiss his feet. In fact, I'm surprised that no one in the Konoha 9 didn't try to punch out Sasuke.
Forgiveness doesn't mean not holding someone accountable for their actions. If they want forgiveness, they have to work for and want it. And there's nothing that suggests that Sasuke should get any of this from Naruto or Sakura.
5. Generational Theme Forgotten
Remember that great theme about the future generations always surpassing the previous generation?
Throw it out the window.
Because Madara, Hashirama, Minato, Orochimaru, Sarutobi and Tobirama are all leagues above levels that the current generation can ever reach. Hell. The only reason that the Alliance is even having a chance against Tobi and Madara is because the Edo Kages are around to spam their ultra-level jutsu!
This completely de-powers and invalidates any purpose that the rest of the characters had. The entire final arc was, initially, about the ninja world putting aside their scrabbles and differences and coming together against a threat to their world. Villages working together against a common threat, past enemies becoming friends and pooling their strengths together, risking their lives back to back to save their loved one and bringing out the best within each other.
Darui working with Ino and Shikamaru to defeat and seal the Silver/Gold Brothers.
The Hyugas working alongside Iwa and Kumo shinobi to whoop zetsu-ass.
Gaara and Onoki fighting side by side against their predecessors.
The 5 Kage standing together against Madara himself and doing far better than they could've done alone.
The Alliance standing as one against the Ten-Tails and knocking it flat on it's ass again and again and again. Even going as far as to start sharing their thoughts and jutsu with each other.
All of it that goes out the window when the Edo Kages show up and they're pretty much running the entire show. I mean, it's not like the Alliance could possibly beat Madara or Tobito by themselves? Oh wait! Madara is so freaking OP as an Edo Zombie that they need the Edo Kages to stand a chance. You'd think that if they'd succeeded previous generations that they wouldn't need the Edo Kages and that they'd find an interesting and creative way to stop the enemy on their own.
6. Blind/Eyeless Madara using Susanoo
Another brief point, so allow me to explain.
For the 2nd part of the series since Itachi first used Susanoo to survive Sasuke's Kirin, it's been established fact that an MS user requires both eyes to use Susanoo. Something further reinforced by how the susanoo would waver and even disappear if the user's eyesight faded too far. Madara and Sasuke took their brother's eyes for the sheer purpose of getting back their sight and increasing their power. But it still remained an unspoken fact that an Uchiha required both sharingan to use susanoo, I mean that's the only thing that makes sense right?
Then we have the above images.
It's clear that Madara just pulled Susanoo out of his ass because Kishi didn't want the Uber-Uchiha to lose and couldn't think of any other way for Madara to get out of Gaara's seal. It makes no sense! There is now way that you could justify this because Madara doesn't have any damn eyes! He's not just blind, his eyes are not in their sockets!
Self-Explanatory, so moving on.
7. Sage Mode Minato
This should be awesome.
Sage Mode Minato should be awesome.
But it's not here.
It's not awesome because it's brought in during a situation where it wouldn't help anyway since Madara is in god-mode and Minato is just worfed like a chump.
It's also not awesome because it comes out of nowhere and had no previous hints. Particularly that Minato was never seen using Sage techniques in any flashbacks.
And if he became a Perfect Sage before he died, then why didn't he ever use it? Do you realize that this manga would've ended before it started if Minato had gone Sage Mode and just raped Tobi till he split open? Base Minato was already strong enough to waste Tobi and the latter crawled away with his decapitated arm shoved up his ass, so how much more would Tobi had been slammed if Sage Mode Minato was there?
Also considering that Senjutsu dramatically increases the user's physical strength, speed, stamina, reflexes, perception and durability as well as amplifying ninjutsu to become more powerful, Minato likely could've stopped Tobi from extracting the Kyubi which would've saved Kushina's life.
Hell, even 667's "handwave" makes no sense. Minato's Sage Mode is a perfect utilization of senjutsu, but Minato is trying to say that he sucks at senjutsu? Or that he's never used it in an actual fight?
Why the hell not? You're a teleport spammer! What is so hard about teleporting away, meditating to gather some sage energy and then warping back to unleash some ass-kicking no jutsu? Why would you waste time learning a technique that you're never going to use?
Long story short, Kishi should not have given this to Minato if he wasn't going to do so intelligently!
8. Obito is Tobi
How did Obito survive the Giant Rock?
I'm waiting. Go on. Type in a defense for this bullshit.
Even Kishi's own hand-wave doesn't make any sense.
Got one better? I'd love to hear it. I'd also love to hear about just how Obito's right eye remained intact after half of Obito's face was just crushed under several hundred pounds of cold hard stone.
All of my thoughts on that subject can be found here: thaeonblade.deviantart.com/art…
To summarize: Nothing about Obito's survival or his subsequent transformation into Tobi, the main villain of the series, makes any sense and it causes the entire plot to collapse in on itself.
Obito is like the Star-Child of the series, he's literally a walking plot-hole in which everything goes to die. Even his recent "return to the light" is suspect and sounds like terrible writing. Which it is.
9. Madara's Inherently Idiotic Plan
This is also covered in the Tobi Identity Article in Point 8, but it's worth going over here.
Long story short, Madara's plan was to implant his evolved Rinnegan into an Uzamaki orphan who had no way of knowing would live to adulthood, entrust his plans to an emotionally damaged half-crippled Uchiha, have the half-crippled Uchiha have the Uzamaki orphan revive Madara at the cost of his life once all 9 bijuu were captured and stand back and let Madara become the 10-tails Jinchuruki? All without having any way of knowing that said half-crippled Uchiha would follow Madara's plan?
It was a plan asking to fail.
Take out Nagato using the Rinne Tensei to revive Konoha's villagers, take out Tobito reviving an immature 10-Tails and deciding to become it's container himself, take out Kabuto and his Edo Tensei scheme, and Madara's plan makes no sense. There is nothing keeping Tobito from betraying the plan. Not even Black Zetsu would've been able to do jack until Tobito or Nagato were severely weakened and again, they'd have to be alive or Madara's plan is dead on arrival.
Unless someone is stupid enough to actually enable the plan to succeed...oh wait!
10. Minato Stops Kakashi from killing Obito
Yes, the awesome and over-hyped Minato is on this list twice.
Because his single act of mercy has placed his son in danger.
Obito is about to get killed by Kakashi and Minato stops Kakashi and chatises him for wanting to kill a comrade.
A comrade who killed Hiruzen's wife.
A comrade who threatened and tried to kill your newborn son.
A comrade who extracted a 9-tailed Demon from within your wife which pretty much guaranteed that she'd eventually die.
A comrade who summoned said 9-tailed Demon to attack Konoha and kill thousands of civilians and shinobi. A threat so great that you'd have to sacrifice your own life to stop it, seal the demon inside of your son and make him a target for the village's anger and grief.
A comrade who pulled the strings of conflict and death in the ninja world.
A comrade who conspired without a bunch of S-Class shinobi to capture and extract other bijuu at the cost of their host's life. One of said targets, is your grown-up son.
A comrade who sadistically and cruelly killed many shinobi for the crime of protecting their homes.
Why? Because his one-sided boyhood crush died.
And you're stopping him from being lawfully executed for his crimes?
WHAT THE FUCK MINATO!?
This wouldn't be so bad, except that this decision directly enables Black Zetsu to hijack Obito and revive Madara which directly leads to the Kyubi being extracted from Naruto and his very-nearly certain possible death. Now Madara has been transformed into 10-Tails Sage Madara and he's literally moments away from putting the world under Infinite Hypnosis.
Good job Yondaime. Great job!
11. Story about Ninjas is even less about ninjas
More and more, everyone is getting random power-ups left and right. It's practically like a poorly made imitation of Dragonball Z now.
Edo Madara tanks 5 Kages, gets nearly beaten by Edo Hashirama and Naruto before being revived. Blind Madara stomps Edo Hashirama, pulls a Susanoo out of his ass, plops a Rinnegan into his eye socket and uses it to instantly seal the 9 bijuu into himself (a process that took Akatsuki 3 days) and turns into god-mode 10-Tails Madara.
That's just the worst of it.
Everything from the moment that the 10-Tails showed up has just been a power race. Naruto powers up the Alliance and then powers up himself so that he can power up the alliance more. Sasuke shows up and uses Jugo to power his EMS up even further. Naruto fistbumps Minato for an even greater power-up for himself and for the Alliance. Then Naruto and Sasuke fuse their power together to fight Juubito.
What ever happened to all of that surprise and stealth stuff from earlier in the series?
I don't think I've yet to see anyone pull a genjutsu or throw a knife at either of Obito's eyes. There's no longer any strategy, scheming or planning, it's just a race to power-up until you become powerful enough to match the enemy. Hell! All the alliance actually does with their power-up is just stand by and let Naruto, Sasuke and the Edo-Kages do all of the heavy work. Where were the 5 Kage when Blind Madara appeared? What about the Konoha 9? Lets see Madara face off with a coordinated Ino-Shika-Cho assault or try to fight his way through a thick cloud of chakra eating bugs before getting a heart-bursting palm to his face-chest?
Nope. Instead, everyone's pretty much taken a level in idiocy and this is more about a power-play than an actual fight between ninjas.
If someone jumped in this late, would they even know that this is a show about ninjas?
Yeah! Because when I think of ninjas, I think of power-ups upon power-ups and people standing around while their friends get wasted into oblivion.
12. Too much contrivance ruins cohesion.
The culmination of all of the previous problems and more result in the utter ruination of Naruto's story.
The plot-holes, contrivances, handwaves and other forms of bullshit all build up until this is our end result:
Well, it is better than the Narrative Cohesion for Evangelion Rebuild 3.0.
But it's not good.
Especially since it didn't have to be this way.
This muddled Narrative Cohesion chart was perfectly within Kishimoto's ability to avoid as he does have an overall good grasp on his story, characters and mythos.
He just let little problems build up until it ruined everything else.
The problem with Sakura's chakra seal wouldn't be a problem if we had consistently seen Sakura demonstrating skills worthy of an apprentice of Tsunade. Like having her display a rudimentary version of the seal against Sasori and Sasuke and after some training, she pulls out a super version of that seal that legitimately puts her on Naruto and Sasuke's level.
If flashbacks had shown Minato using Senjutsu or at the very least, learning it, then Perfect Sage Mode Minato wouldn't be such an asspull.
If Reborn Madara had used something other than Susanoo like a Wood Clone or that Wood Dragon to break out of the Shukaku's barrier, I would've thought that was awesome and demonstrates Minato to be a legitimate threat.
If anyone other than Obito had been Tobi, then so many problems that collapse the plot would just vaporize. Like instead of being Obito, how about having Tobi be completely anonymous like with V in V for Vendetta so that fans will continue to speculate until the end of time. I would've respected Kishi a lot more if Tobi was left anonymous.
Instead of Sasuke declaring that he'll be Hokage and everyone becoming old chums again, he gets the bashing that he deserves from the Konoha 9 and they remain cautious of him. Forcing him to have to really show that he's changed and that he has to display that he's truly repented of his past actions and attitude. Even then, Sasuke becoming good would be a lot better if he showed a willingness to pay for his past crimes and work to redeem himself.
Sadly, Kishi seems intent on riding this broken train all the way through to the end. Maybe the ending could be good. But it won't change that he only got to that ending by blatantly breaking and making up his own rules instead of sticking to what he'd started out with from the start. It's cheating and it cheapens a good manga/anime from being a great manga/anime.
So now what?
To reiterate what I'd stated in my Tobi's Identity Essay, you are no longer obligated to this story. Since this final arc's story progression is based on a multitude of contrivances then it has no narrative legitimacy. As Kishimoto his broken his own internal consistency, that means that we the fans are free to pick and choose what we accept as canon and what we don't. You are free to rewrite this final arc or even the entire story as you see fit and you're version of Naruto will be just as valid as Kishimoto's.
Don't get me wrong though. I don't hate Naruto. In fact, despite all of the bullshit that these last arcs have demonstrated, I still really like it's characters and the overall story. I'm just the type of fan who doesn't eat something that looks like crap. Obito's survival, Eyeless Susanoo, Sage Minato and other problems are all splinters beneath the surface and I can't ignore any of the problems or questions that they create. If you're capable of enjoying Naruto despite the mess that it's become, go ahead.
Me? I'll just watch the train crash.